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Orson Welles Commentaries

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Orson Welles Commentaries

Orson Welles Commentaries
Orson Welles (October 29, 1945)
Genre Social commentary, political commentary, reminiscences and readings
Running time 15 minutes
Country United States
Language(s) English
Home station ABC
Host(s) Orson Welles
Writer(s) Orson Welles
Director(s) Orson Welles
Producer(s) Orson Welles
Air dates September 16, 1945 (1945-09-16) to October 6, 1946 (1946-10-06)
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 56

Orson Welles Commentaries (1945–46) is an ABC radio series produced and directed by Orson Welles. Featuring commentary by Welles, with reminiscences and readings from literature, the 15-minute weekly program aired Sunday afternoons at 1:15 p.m. ET beginning September 16, 1945. Lear Radio sponsored the program through the end of June 1946 when it failed to find a larger audience. The series was continued by ABC as a sustaining show through October 6, 1946. Orson Welles Commentaries was the last of Welles's own radio shows.


# Date Program
1 September 16, 1945 Visit of matador Fernando López[1]:366
Cast: Orson Welles[2]:141[3]
2 September 23, 1945 Orson Welles tells The Story of Bonito, the Bull by Robert J. Flaherty, the only part of the unfinished omnibus film It's All True he ever presented to an audience[2]:141[3][4]
Welles later told the story of Bonito in the final episode of his 1955 BBC-TV series, Orson Welles' Sketch Book[5]:418
3 September 30, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:141[3]
4 October 7, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:141[3]
5 October 14, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:141[3]
6 October 21, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:141[3]
7 October 28, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:141[3]
8 November 4, 1945 The ousting of Brazilian president Getúlio Vargas[1]:366
Cast: Orson Welles[2]:141[3]
9 November 11, 1945 Jazz jam session[1]:366
Cast: Orson Welles[2]:141[3]
10 November 18, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:141[3]
11 November 25, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:141[3]
12 December 2, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:141[3]
13 December 9, 1945 Broadcast from the U. S. Naval Training and Distribution Center, Treasure Island, San Francisco, California, via KGO
Featuring Commodore Robert W. Cary, USN, commander of the center
The three theatre complexes are named to honor three World War II heroes killed in action: John Basilone (Theatre Three), Edward O'Hare (Theatre Two) and Doris Miller (Theatre One), the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross
Includes a conversation on race prejudice with Miller's father, Connery Miller, via WACO in Waco, Texas[2]:142[3][4][6][7][8]
14 December 16, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
15 December 23, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
16 December 30, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles[9]
17 January 6, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
18 January 13, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
19 January 20, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
20 January 27, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
21 February 3, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
22 February 10, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
23 February 17, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
24 February 24, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
25 March 3, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
26 March 10, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
27 March 17, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
28 March 24, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:142[3]
29 March 31, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[9]
30 April 7, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[9]
31 April 14, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[9]
32 April 21, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[9]
33 April 28, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:143[3]
34 May 5, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:143[3]
35 May 12, 1946 Cast: George Hays, replacing Orson Welles (ill)[2]:143[3]
36 May 19, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:143[3]
37 May 26, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:143[3]
38 June 2, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:143[3]
39 June 9, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:143[3]
40 June 16, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:143[3]
41 June 23, 1946 Orson Welles calls for protest on the end of the Office of Price Administration[2]:143[4][10][11]
42 June 30, 1946 Orson Welles protests the end of OPA price controls and the imminent atomic test at Bikini Atoll — with his wife Rita Hayworth's image on the A-bomb, nicknamed "Gilda"[10][12]
Cast: Orson Welles[5]:397[13]
43 July 7, 1946 Lear Radios does not renew its sponsorship option due to low audience numbers but ABC continues the program
Orson Welles's pay is cut from $1,700 to $50 per show[2]:144[3]
44 July 14, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:144[3]
45 July 21, 1946 Compromise on OPA rent and price controls
Unrest in Bolivia
Cast: Don Hollenbeck, substituting for Orson Welles (ill)[2]:144[3][4][14]
46 July 28, 1946 Orson Welles reads an affidavit sent to him by the NAACP signed by Isaac Woodard, a black veteran who was beaten and blinded by South Carolina police hours after he had been honorably discharged from the U.S. Army
Welles promises to root out the officer responsible and makes the case a major focus of his weekly show[4][10][15]:329–331[16]
"Welles took up the cause, having always been outspoken on issues of racism and turned the event into a scathing attack on postwar racism and ingratitude" (Bret Wood)[2]:144
47 August 4, 1946 Second program related to the Isaac Woodard case[2]:145[10][15]:329–331
Welles remarks on world peace negotiations and Congress[5]:398
48 August 11, 1946 Third program related to the Isaac Woodard case[2]:145[10][15]:329–331[17]
Welles reads from his July 1944 editorial, "Race Hate Must Be Outlawed"[5]:398
49 August 18, 1946 Fourth program related to the Isaac Woodard case[2]:145[10][15]:329–331
[18]Welles reads and responds to a letter from a white supremicist, and reads from his December 1943 editorial, "The Unknown Soldier"[5]:399
50 August 25, 1946 Fifth and last program related to the Isaac Woodard case[2]:145[10]
"The NAACP felt that these broadcasts did more than anything else to prompt the Justice Department to act on the case" (Museum of Broadcasting)[19]:66
51 September 1, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:146[3]
Welles is told in September that ABC is unable to continue his sustained program after the October 6 show[15]:331
52 September 8, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:146[3]
53 September 15, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:146[3]
54 September 22, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:146[3]
55 September 29, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles[2]:146[3]
56 October 6, 1946 Last show of the series[2]:146[3]
"This is the last of OW's own radio shows" (Jonathan Rosenbaum)[5]:401


  1. ^ a b c Benamou, Catherine L. (2007). It's All True: Orson Welles's Pan-American Odyssey. Berkeley: University of California Press.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar "Alphabetical Listing of Tapes, Orson Welles Papers".  
  4. ^ a b c d e "The Orson Welles Program". RadioGOLDINdex. Retrieved 2015-03-13. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f  
  6. ^ "Orson Welles Wartime Broadcasts".  
  7. ^ "Treasure Island Medal of Honor Dedication: Orson Welles ABC KGO Broadcast Script and Photograph Lot". Snyder's Treasure Trove: Collectible Militaria. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  8. ^ "Treasure Island Theaters to Bear Names of 3 Navy Heroes".  
  9. ^ a b c d e "Orson Welles Almanac". Digital Deli Too. Retrieved 2015-03-12. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "1946 Orson Welles Commentaries".  
  11. ^ "Orson Welles' Commentary (June 23, 1946)". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  12. ^ "Atomic Goddess Revisited: Rita Hayworth's Bomb Image Found". CONELRAD Adjacent (blog). August 13, 2013. Retrieved 2015-03-13. 
  13. ^ "Orson Welles' Commentary (June 30, 1946)". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  14. ^ "Orson Welles' Commentary (July 21, 1946)". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Leaming, Barbara (1985). Orson Welles, A Biography. New York:  
  16. ^ "Orson Welles' Commentary (July 28, 1946)". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 2015-03-13. 
  17. ^ "Orson Welles' Commentary (August 11, 1946)". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  18. ^ "Orson Welles' Commentary (August 18, 1946)". The Paley Center for Media. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  19. ^ Orson Welles on the Air: The Radio Years. Catalogue for exhibition October 28–December 3, 1988. New York:  
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