After more than 16 years of good entertainment, the voice of Grand Central Station on CBS is no longer heard in the land. What stilled it was not any sudden drying up of human interest drama in Manhattan's great railroad terminal, but rather the fact that Grand Central on the radio just couldn't compete any longer with the overwhelming force of TV playhouses.
No doubt about it, the radio theaters are dwindling. Which is too bad because many of them deserved longer life, and because the very fact that they were heard and not seen enabled them to appeal to the listener's imagination in ways that TV cannot, and to achieve dramatic effects that TV rarely can match.
The oldest radio playhouse of all, 20-year-old Lux Radio Theatre, is still going strong, however, and the big news this year is its switch from CBS to NBC, where it continues to present Hollywood's big names and big stories.
NBC also continues with the year-old Royal Theatre, which Sir Laurence Olivier got off to a good start last October by presenting adaptations of the work of such eminent writers as Alexander Pushkin, William Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene.
CBS, even after relinquishing the Lux series, still has the greatest variety of shows in the field, headed by Stars Over Hollywood, which is going strong after 13 years in which dozens of others have come and gone.
Columbia's offerings range from the whodunit field (Crime Classics) and adventure (Escape and Suspense) to the Hallmark Hall of Fame which honors heroes of U.S. history, and Cathy and Elliot Lewis On Stage, starring the husband and wife team in high-quality originals and classics.
Finally, Mutual concentrates on Family Theatre, now age 7, offering a big array of Hollywood talent in stories by top radio and movie writers.
It'll be interesting to see how many of these hardy perennials can weather the fierce competition of TV for national audiences and will still be with us a year from now.
From Who's Who in TV and Radio, 1954
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