KFI Los Angeles, 1948
Favorite Story brought
classic literature to the radio. The series originally began its broadcast on KFI Los Angeles and made the leap
to national broadcast. Hosted by Ronald Colman,
frequent guest stars included William Conrad (later to become famous as the detective
Frank Cannon on television), Raymond Burr, and Helen
Craig. Favorite Story's high
quality and use of timeless literature lead to its rebroadcast for years to come.
Although uncredited, whoever adapted Pride and Prejudice into a 25-minute
slot deserved a medal for their efforts. The story was transformed into a love story based on the theme of how to find
a husband: for at least three of the Bennet sisters, this was a comparatively straightforward process, even though Lydia had
to elope to do so. However Elizabeth Bennet (Helen Craig) remained steadfastly single, abruptly refusing Mr. Darcy's
(William Conrad's) proposal. It was only when she learned about his fundamentally decent nature that her heart melted;
in an alteration more characteristic of 40s America rather than early eighteenth century Britain, she allowed Darcy to embrace
her in the middle of a London street, thereby ensuring for herself a life of future happiness.
Ronald Colman's narration gave the tale a touch of class, his transatlantic British
accent wrapping itself round a rather flowery introduction. We learned that Pride and Prejudice was the favourite
book of designer Oliver Smith; this is why it had been chosen for production. In the entr'acte Colman read out extracts from
"the evening paper," which provided a useful pretext for him to contextualize Austen's story in early Napoleonic Britain.
An entertaining half-hour, that proved beyond doubt how versatile many of the radio
adapters were during that time.