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A Portia Faces Life update as of 1943

A aoap opera that outdoes its sisters, in the realm of feminine drama, is achieving something of a record. "Portia Faces Life" might be said to do that, in presenting an heroine who has to meet-not only the private heartaches (as reported by fiction writers) of a mother and a woman in love-but also the public problems of a criminal lawyer by profession.


In general, Portia Blake's name and character are patterned after Shakespeare's lawyer -heroine in "The Merchant of Venice." Like her, the 20th Century Portia wants to temper justice with mercy, but radio listeners are probably more enthralled by her struggles to keep both her sweetheart and her child than by her tense courtroom battles to save people from injustice. Unlike her Shakespearean counterpart, author Mona Kent's Portia now has a war to contend with, and her current trials are bound up with Nazi spies and saboteurs.


Prior to this, however, she has had many personal problems which late - come -s to her audience should know about, to understand the characters who play a prominent part in her story.


First of all, there was the unhappy marriage of Walter Manning, her fiance. Society girl Arline Harrison had forced him to marry her, through his belief that this was the only way to save her life, but she had soon realized that he was till in love with Portia. She attempted to "frame" the woman lawyer, was saved from the consequences of her plot only by Portia's own legal skill, and finally divorced the husband who didn't love her.


Meanwhile, Walter had gone to Europe as a foreign correspondent, and Portia threw herself into slum clearance work in Parkerstown. There she found a loyal friend in Miss Daisy, whom she took into her own home as nurse for Dickie Blake, her son by a former marriage. Unluckily, she also crossed the path of the town's corrupt "leading citizen," John Parker, who tried to pin a murder on the fighting young lawyer, in order to get rid of her.


Although Portia managed to prove her innocence, the trial gave Mrs. Amelia Blake, her mother-in-law, a new excuse for trying to take Dickie away from her. In Europe, Walter was imprisoned in the dreaded concentration camp at Dachau while his Nazi double, Nicholas Veit, came to America to impersonate him. Veit tried to marry Portia, so no one would suspect his true mission sabotage-but she stumbled upon the real truth and began collecting evidence to prove his subversive activities.


That is the situation leading up to the more recent episodes, as described on the following pages, together with portraits of the players who enact the principal characters.


PORTIA BLAKE (played by Lucille Wall), the lawyer heroine of 'Portia Faces Life," is defending her fiance, Walter Manning, against a charge of treason. She alone knows that he is being tried for the crimes of a Nazi agent who had impersonated him. Walter had killed the impostor, in order to save Portia's life-but, in the absence of the body as evidence, Portia has been unable to prove, even to his friends, that any double ever existed


WALTER MANNING (Bartlett Robinson)-a newspaper man and foreign correspondent-returned from Europe to discover that his place had been taken by a German spy who looked exactly like him. Portia alone believes that "Walter Manning" has really been two different people-and he is now being tried for treason on the very evidence she herself had collected against his double.


ARLINE HARRISON (Nancy Douglas), vivacious but spoiled society belle, uses tank tactics to get what she wants. She wanted Walter, and once snared him-only to lose him. Determined that Portia shall not have him, no matter what else happens, she gave perjured testimony at his trial which might have convicted him of treason, but for Portia'r brilliant cross-examination


MISS DAISY (Doris Rich) is devoted to Portia and has stood by her through trial and mistrial. She lives with her, taking care of Dickie. and acting as combined companion, nurse and housekeeper. She has been a buffer for them both, through one disaster after another, and is one of the few people on whose help the busy lawyer can rely.


AMELIA BLAKE (Ethel lntropidi), mother of the widowed Portia's former husband, has long had a hidden but grim determination to take Portia's son, Dickie, away from her. Using both her frail health and her immense wealth as weapons in the unequal struggle, she has tried to win the youngster's affection away from his busy mother, while Portia was practicing law to support him


BILL BAKER (Les Damon), ex -newspaper man now a captain in Army Intelligence, was once Walter's closest friend but is now his bitter enemy. Believing that Walter is guilty and that Nazi threats had been able to persuade him to shed his democratic principles rather than his skin-Bill is helping the District Attorney with the prosecution. He wants to save Portia, whom he loves devotedly, from a miserable life with a cowardly "traitor."


ELBERT GALLO (Karl Swenson), long respected as a well-to-do publisher, was really the ringleader of a crew of Nazi saboteurs, exposed by Portia's investigation. Although Gallo knows that the false Walter is dead, he has resolved to drag the real Walter down into disgrace and a traitor's death with him, as a final revenge


KATHY MARSH (Selena Royle) is a real friend of Portia', but, as a busy dietitian, plays rather a minor role in the lawyer's professional life. Her wholesome common sense has often been a personal comfort to Portia-and Portia is going to have need of all her friends in the next developments which she faces in the story of her dramatic life, according to present plans.



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Posted (edited)

Pretty Kitty Kelly was an adventure story running from 1937 through 1940


One of the newest and most charming heroines of the air waves is Kitty Kelly, who has "landed in New York" via Frank Dahm's vivid script story, "Pretty Kitty Kelly." The tale of the beautiful Irish girl is heard five mornings a week, Monday through Friday, at 8:30 a. m., over WOW. Kitty Kelly, played by lovely Arline Blackburn, is involved in many an exciting situation as her dramatic story unfolds. Among the adventures and romantic interludes which she encounters are a mysterious murder ... a handsome young man who loves her ... contact with the underworld characters in a great city ... a jewel robbery. The tense situations are brought about mainly because Kitty, upon landing in New York, is stricken with amnesia.

Her loss of memory, coupled with her exploitation by gangsters and an English solicitor and countess, make this new story extremely interesting. Who is Kitty Kelly? How will she disentangle herself from the web that is being spun around her? Only the script author knows -and he's not telling! Frank Dahm, the author of this delightful serial, says that "Pretty Kitty Kelly" was born of a "chance inspiration." Chance, a trip to New York and an Irish mother -in -law were the ingredients which started this mystery melodrama on its course. You see, up until a few months ago, Mr. Dahm lived in or near Chicago. New York was just a name to him. Then he decided to visit the big city and find out what all the shouting was about. The writer was dazzled, and out of that bewilderment Kitty Kelly was born. Upon his return to Chicago, he went to tea with his Irish mother -in- law. Their discussion brought out facts about the Irish people . . . their temperament, habits and very considerable and inimitable charm. Something happened in Dahm's head. His young and lovely heroine . . . the one who was to see New York for the first time and marvel at its many wonders . . . would be an Irish girl just over from the old country. Yes, he had it! And now you hear it over WOW.

Edited by Paul Raven
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The Library of Congress added a 1945 episode of The Guiding Light to its National Recording Registry.


The Guiding Light (Nov. 22, 1945)
The Guiding Light was the longest-running scripted program in broadcast history, running from 1937 until 2009 on radio and television. The program was notable as an archetype of the highly populated radio "soap opera" genre and as a breakthrough success of the innovative and prolific scriptwriter, Irna Phillips, whom many credit with inventing the genre. Although the later TV series revolved around the Bauer family, the original radio version focused on the Rev. John Ruthledge and his congregation in the fictional community of Five Points. Ruthledge's reading lamp, visible to all who passed his house, was the program's namesake. Of the show's hundreds of episodes, the registry adds this installment aired on the first Thanksgiving after the conclusion of World War II. With Ruthledge still serving overseas as a chaplain, his friend, the Rev. Dr. Frank Tuttle, gives a moving sermon to a packed church.


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The following characters and actors started out on JOYCE JORDAN and spun off into THE BRIGHTER DAY.......


Liz Dennis      Margaret Draper    Joyce Jordan's patient


Reverend Richard Dennis     Bill Smith   father of Marcia, Althea,  Liz,  Grayling, Patsy, and Babby.


Grayling Dennis    Billy Redfield


Althea Dennis     Jay Meredith


Margaret (Patsy) Dennis   Judith Lodiser


Barbara (Babby) Dennis    Pat Hosley

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In 1938, Irna Phillips decided to wrap up her still successful 'Today's Children' and replace it with 'Woman in White'



Friends of `Today's Children,'  for over five and a half years you have been like neighbors to my family and to friends of my family. You have seen these `Today's Children' work out their problems, one by one, problems that sometimes were difficult. But somehow, in some way, these children of mine now seem to be on the right path. They are happy and content, they are grown up and able to face their own problems."


With these exact words, "Today's Children's" "Mother Moran" asks a long and faithful audience to listen to "Woman in White." Listeners who tune in "Today's Children" Monday will hear the characters of that serial in their final broadcast, as they become members of the great audience "out there." Following the click of a sound -effects radio - switch, engineers will plug into another studio, introducing "Woman in White," a new daily script show by the same author, Irna Phillips. Everyone who listens and works behind the scenes in radio will wonder why "Today's Children" is being taken off the air when it enjoys top popularity rating among daytime serial programs. The simple, homey words of "Mother Moran" are the answer.


The new serial, "Woman in White," which dramatizes the gripping story of a young graduate nurse, "Karen Adams," will serve a real human need, as "Today's Children,' has filled an important broadcasting spot for five years.

Playing the title role of "Karen Adams" in "Woman in White," will be talented Actress Luise Barclay; "Betty Adams," a sister of "Karen" and herself a student nurse, will be portrayed by youthful Antonia Gillman; "John Adams," a brother, will be played by Willard Farnum; "Dr. Lee Markham" will be acted by Macdonald Carey, and "Alice Day," nurse, will be portrayed by Ruth Bailey.


As the curtain rises on "Woman in White" Monday, tuners -in will hear "Karen Adams" giving her oath and pledge of service at a ceremony being held at a hospital for graduate nurses. Listeners will sympathize with Nurse Adams as she cares for her first case, they'll cheer her service of self as she nurses a middle-aged woman, defeated in her suicide attempt, back to health and adjusts her attitude toward life. Presenting a series of actual cases from which the author bases her script material, "Woman in White" writes finis to Miss Phillips' career as an actress -for she played two important roles in "Today's Children." It also marks the first time in radio that an author and sponsor have invented this novel and effective means of signing off one successful venture to inaugurate a new one. Listeners will have the opportunity of being the critics in this rather revolutionary move.

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Karen Adams was later the name of a character on As the World Turns, also written by Irna Phillips.    Karen was a nurse who was in love with Michael Shea.  She thought that he was going to ask her to marry him, but when he asked her to be the nurse for her son Chuckie, she was crushed.

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1 hour ago, danfling said:

Karen Adams was later the name of a character on As the World Turns, also written by Irna Phillips.    Karen was a nurse who was in love with Michael Shea.  She thought that he was going to ask her to marry him, but when he asked her to be the nurse for her son Chuckie, she was crushed.

I know throughout the years there have been characters with the same names, but I wonder if particular writers have re-used names as this example from Irna?

Karen Adams being a fairly nondescript name, perhaps it was just coincidence or a little in joke that amused Irna.

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