The Mercury Theatre was an independent repertory company founded in New York City in 1937 by Orson Welles and producer
John Houseman, who is best known for his Oscar-winning performance as Professor Charles
Kingsfield in the The Paper
Chase. After a series of
acclaimed stage productions, Welles and his Mercury Theatre were offered their
own weekly hour-long radio program over the CBS radio network. Here Welles—along with Agnes Moorehead, Ray
Collins, Joseph Cotten, Alice Frost, Martin Gabel, and others—presented
powerful adaptations of literary classics with Bernard Herrman as composer and conductor.
Considered by many critics as the finest dramatic
hour on radio, The Mercury
Theatre on the Air was without a sponsor until a single broadcast changed all
that: The War of the Worlds.
Episodes include “Dracula,” starring Martin Gabel,
Agnes Moorehead, George Coulouris, Ray Collins, and Karl Swenson; “A
Tale of Two Cities,” starring Martin Gabel, Ray Collins, Edgar Barrier, Frank
Readick, and Kenny Delmar; “Abraham Lincoln,” starring Orson Welles as Lincoln,
plus Ray Collins, George Coulouris, Karl Swenson, Agnes Moorehead, Carl Frank,
and William Allen; “The Count of Monte Cristo,” starring
Orson Welles, Ray Collins, Eustace Wyatt, George Coulouris, and Edgar Barrier;
Immortal Sherlock Holmes,” starring Orson Welles, Ray Collins, Edgar Barrier,
Alfred Shirley, William Allen, and Arthur Anderson; “Around the World in Eighty
Days,” starring Orson Welles, Al Swenson, Arlene Francis, Edgar Barrier, Frank
Readick, and Ray Collins. Download and start listening now!