NBC University Theater, 17 January 1951
Daisy Miller lends itself
to radio adaptation. In Clarice A. Ross' version for the anthology series NBC University Theater, the story
was transformed into a tale of unrequited love narrated by Winterbourne (Grey Stafford), who encounters Daisy Miller (Kay
Stewart), finds her both attractive and exciting, yet cannot actually disclose his true feelings for her. He remains
on the outside, commenting on her various foibles and showing considerable jealousy when she parades about Italy with Giovanelli
(Don Randolph), but never actually engaging with her on anything but a superficial level. When Daisy passes away, Winterbourne
would like us to believe that she remains an "innocent," but perhaps this is nothing more than a rhetorical convenience, an
excuse to compensate for his own inadequacies.
By contrast Daisy enjoyed herself, doing precisely what she wished; walking about in public
with those considered socially "unacceptable" (especially by members of polite expatriate American society); consorting with
every man who paid court to her; and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Italian society. Although dying young,
she experienced more in her short life than anything Winterbourne could have hoped for.
The characteristic production style of the
NBC University Theatre, with short scenes linked by romantic excerpts played by a live studio orchestra, worked well
in this adaptation, reminding us that Daisy Miller is at heart a romance, even though the announcer described it
as an example of "typical Jamesian gentility," shot through with "a hard wallop of tragedy."