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The Wizard of Oz radio show

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The Wizard of Oz radio show played on the NBC network in 1933 and 1934. It was based on the novel by L. Frank Baum and W. W. Denslow.

The show was heard three times per week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, in fifteen-minute-long episodes from 5:45 to 6:00 PM. It premiered on 25 September 1933. Dorothy Gale was played by the twelve-year-old Nancy Kelly, while Bill Adams was the Scarecrow, Parker Fennelly the Tin Woodman, and Jack Smart the Cowardly Lion.

Unlike The Wonderland of Oz, Walt Spouse's contemporaneous comic-strip adaptation that was strongly faithful to Baum's originals, the radio show mixed and mingled elements from the books in a chaotic way. Some of the scripts are still extant; the script for the show broadcast on 12 March 1934 included the Phanfasms from The Emerald City of Oz, Johnny Dooit from The Road to Oz, and the burial in popcorn snow from The Scarecrow of Oz, all in a quarter of an hour.

The show was sponsored by Jell-O gelatin. As part of the promotional strategy, Reilly & Lee reprinted four of the Little Wizard Stories of Oz in separate booklets. The show's music was composed by Frank Novak, and played by a four-piece ensemble.

The last program was heard on 23 March 1934; Jell-O then dropped Oz to sponsor Jack Benny instead.

(The Wizard of Oz Waddle Book was published in 1934, but with no connection to the radio show. For more Oz on the radio, see "The Enchanted Tree of Oz.")

References

David L. Greene and Dick Martin. The Wizard of Oz Scrapbook. New York, Random House, 1977.

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