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dc11786   

The St. Petersburg Times covered "The Right to Happiness" on occassion in their Radio Highlights.

October 9, 1957

Helen Mason, nurse attending Lee MacDonald, reports overhearing a racketeer's confession of drugging her patient, rushes information to the legal authorities and breaks the defense of a fraudulent insurance claim case. Ruth Newton is featured as the nurse in the series starring Claudia Morgan.

December 18, 1958

As plans progress for the wedding of teenaged Skip Nelson and Grace Driscoll, his mother [Carolyn MacDonald]fights her misgivings about the girl's honesty. Grace's parents offer no help with the reception or furnishing of an apartment.

NOTE: Grace and Skip didn't marry and hadn't married by the show's conclusion.

March 3, 1959

Though widowed Carolyn Nelson resents her teenage son Skip's love for Grace Driscoll, she admires the young girl's heoric effort to save her ne'er do well father from tragedy. By her kindness to Grace at this moment Carolyn regains her son [skip's] confidence.

NOTE: It appears between March and May Carolyn has married her final husband, Lee MacDonald.

May 7, 1959

Carolyn MacDonald hears her husband [Lee MacDonald] counsel a client on techniques for avoiding direct answers to questions of the opposing attorney under cross examination. Later, he applies a different set of standards when a neighbor asks advice on a martial problem. The MacDonalds come close to their first quarrel over his lack of consistency.

June 25 1959

To Carolyn, his bride of only a few months, Lee MacDonald justifies the unusual amount of time he spends with his widowed client, the beautiful Sharon Graham. Through Sharon's retaining him to protect her interst in a large business corporation, he hopes to build prestige and recognition in legal circles he explains.

July 28 1959

Over the objections of his wife [Carolyn], Lee MacDonald chooses to remain as independent legal cousnel of wealthy Sharon Graham, rather than accepting a flattering offer to join a distinguished law firm. Carolyn is astonished by his candid explanation.

September 17 1959

Carolyn McDonald, bride of less than year, hides the painful knowledge that her lawyer husband [Lee MacDonald] places her wishes second to those of his beautiful widowed client, Sharon. His sudden business trip to New York brings the situation into clear focus.

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DRW50   

Thanks for sharing those! Wow. These drug pushing stories seemed to pop up in the radio soaps in the 50s for some reason, didn't they? One of Rosemary's last stories was about this.

So this was one of the last radio soaps to go?

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dc11786   

I don't think Lee MacDonald was pumped with illegal drugs, but rather sedatives. When Lee first came to town, he was working for a prosecutor investigating some shady figures. When Lee got to close to the story, they locked him in a convalesence home and kept him drugged so he couldn't reveal the truth. I've read Lee first appeared in the summer of 1957 during Debby Nelson's wedding to Craig Chalmers. Debby was the sister of the late Miles Nelson, Carolyn's third husband, and Craig one of the many men who fell in love with Carolyn over the years.

The final storylines were a bit similar to "Rosemary." Sharon Graham tried to seduce a scientist, Alex Thorpe. Alex was run down in a hit and run and Sharon was accused of the crime. Carolyn believed in Sharon's innonence and was determined to learn who the real culprit was. Dick Braden, a friend of Skip's, had actually been driving the car. This was why he mentioned being on parole in the final episode. I was reminded of Lonny and Monica and their hit an run when I was rereading information on "Right to Happiness."

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DRW50   

From the July 1950 Radio TV Mirror.

Right to Happiness

When the courts awarded custody of her son, Skippy, to her divorced husband, Dwight Kramer, Carolyn Kramer would have lost hope if she and her fiance, Miles Nelson, were not certain that Dwight won the suit with evidence faked by his lawyer, Arnold Kirk. Miles, who is running for governor, promises to go after this evidence, which consists of some dictaphone records, as soon as his campaign ends. But while he is away on a tour, Carolyn learns of Dwight's plan to move to Chicago with Skippy, and makes a desperate attempt to get the records herself. She is caught by Kirk, who cleverly uses the incident to blacken her character still further.

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I've mentioned that when I was a teen I was really into the old radio soaps--I listened to those 50 or so consecutive Guiding Light episodes, as well as some 30s ones and various others. Besides Guiding Light, the show I found the most interesting was definitely Right to Happiness--its spin off of course (though I believe Irna handed over the writing job quite early on). I think it was one of the bigger hits too, and of course ran till the bitter end of the radio soap era, I wonder why they never did try to transition it, as a companion to GL on TV or something.

Carl I think 4 or so soaps all left the airwaves at the same time (in 1960?) Right was one of them, but I can't remember the others (Yougn Dr Malone? Road of Life? Which of course both did try out on TV but I believe with different storylines)

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I've mentioned that when I was a teen I was really into the old radio soaps--I listened to those 50 or so consecutive Guiding Light episodes, as well as some 30s ones and various others. Besides Guiding Light, the show I found the most interesting was definitely Right to Happiness--its spin off of course (though I believe Irna handed over the writing job quite early on). I think it was one of the bigger hits too, and of course ran till the bitter end of the radio soap era, I wonder why they never did try to transition it, as a companion to GL on TV or something.

Carl I think 4 or so soaps all left the airwaves at the same time (in 1960?) Right was one of them, but I can't remember the others (Yougn Dr Malone? Road of Life? Which of course both did try out on TV but I believe with different storylines)

Ma Perkins and The Romance of Helen Trent ended in 1960, and I think they might have been the longest-running of the radio soaps (in the US, at least).

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dc11786   

Ma Perkins, Young Doctor Malone, The Right to Happiness, and The Second Mrs. Burton were all ended on the same day in December 1960.

Edited by dc11786

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DRW50   

Do you know anything about Sounds of the City, a black-oriented soap which ran on the Mutual Black Network from spring 1974 to spring 1975?

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DRW50   

June/July/August 1954 Radio TV Mirror entries for Right to Happiness continue the same stuff about Carolyn being worried that Miles is falling prey to Annette and that he has changed and may never be the same again.

This is March 1955.

A friendly gesture has involved Carolyn in one of the most complicated problems she has ever faced, as the development of the Wayne case makes it easier than ever for her enemies to attack her and to pile up more ammunition against her husband, Miles Nelson. Will the trial have a far-reaching effect on Miles' future - not only on his political future but even perhaps his personal one?

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dc11786   

Miles was killed during the investigation into Sherry Wayne's murder. I believe the killer was, or was at least involved, with Jack Townsend. Jack appeared in one of the episodes on archive.org. Jack romanced Carolyn after Miles' death, but he was a baddie.

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DRW50   

A few more Right to Happiness synopses from TV Radio Mirror.

December 1952:

Carolyn Nelson, returning from her dangerous assignment just in time to see her husband, Governor Miles Nelson, collapse from the strain, is appalled when she at last realizes the forces attempting to divide them. What have her enemies managed to make Miles believe during her absence? Has Miles really lost sight of the boundless faith and love on which their marriage was built?

Edited by CarlD2

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DRW50   

August 1955:

Ever since Miles Nelson first embarked on a political career, Annette Thorpe has made herself a powerful force in both his public and private life. Not even Miles himself can remain blind to Annette's unconcealed hatred of Carolyn, but he believes he can retain control of the situation and still avail himself of Annette's considerable influence. But Carolyn knows Miles is deceiving himself.

October 1955:

New understanding unites Carolyn and her husband, Miles Nelson, after the crisis that came close to ending their marriage. And Annette Thorpe is, apparently, defeated as far as Miles personally is concerned. But Carolyn knows Annette too well to be deceived about her attitude toward defeat of any kind. From what quarter will Annette's new attack come - and will Carolyn be able to meet it once more?

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DRW50   

February 1956:

Carolyn Nelson is certain she can vouch for her son Skip's basic character - certain that, despite the recent secretiveness and resentment he has shown ,he can never become the kind of boy his school pricinpal calls delinquent. But can a mother force a teen-age son to be completely honest when he feels honor-bound to protect some of his friends? What if Carolyn's enemies try to make a tool of her own son?

April 1956:

Although she was recently widowed, Carolyn Nelson is not the typical helpless woman thrown into a complex world in which she cannot find her way. Carolyn is more than able to make her own way and handle her own problems. But, with the problem of her teen-age son, she finds herself really in need of a man's help. Is Skip actually on the verge of delinquency? And will Carolyn turn to the right man for help?

July 1956:

Despite her caution and experience, Carolyn Nelson gradually succumbs to the clever attack made on her as a human being and a woman by Jack Townsend. Will the money she holds in trust really find its way to the eager hands of those who play to victimize her and her young son, Skip?

August 1956:

From the moment Carolyn agreed to accept a dead friend's legacy, she treated it merely as a trust, knowing instinctively that it was bound to bring trouble and complications into her life. But even as trustee, Carolyn is a target for money-hungry connivers. How far will Jack Townsend insinuate himself into her confidence before she is brought up against the shattering truth about him?

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dc11786   

Thank you so much Carl! These are amazing. In the past, I've read recollection from radio soap fans, but it is hard to sense how the story plays out on a day-to-day basis over the years. It's interesting. In the 'Golden Windows' thread, I mentioned John Young wrote for 'Right to Happiness' and there seems to be a strong sense of justice on the show, which is interesting considering Carolyn's less than innocent roots. The description of Annette Thorpe sounds like the one provided in the newspaper summaries for Sharon Graham a few years later. I wonder if the audience got bored of having Carolyn's husbands tempted by single women?

The 1956 summaries are interesting as you can see how the show moved out of the political orbit while still telling Carolyn's story. Miles kicks the bucket after several years of marriage and Carolyn's concerns revolve around her son and new beau Jack Townsend. Jack was trying to steal the money Carolyn had inherited from Sherry Wayne and was looking to steal from the youth center, which probably tied Carolyn / Skip to Jack. One of the episodes available online features this story.

I really like 'Right to Happiness' and wish it made the transition to TV since it seemed to play like a television serial.

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