Shakespeare on the Radio 1920-1940s

In my never ending search for more information regarding early radio’s interaction with Shakespeare, I’ve complied a partial list of programs that were broadcast from the earliest days of network radio to about 1940. I have a few bits of info about radio adaptations of Shakespeare past 1940, but I find that period less interesting.

These are “direct” adaptations of Shakespeare, so nothing like Jack Benny’s 1936 Minstrel Show version of Romeo and Juliet is included here. It isn’t that those aren’t interesting, but that is just not what I’m interested in right now.

Series Play Date (dd/mm/yyyy)
Precursor to Radio Guild? (NBC) The Tempest 1928
CBC The Tempest 22/04/1929
CBC Taming of the Shrew 11/06/1929
Radio Guild Romeo & Juliet 11/06/1929
Radio Guild As You Like It 15/01/1930
CBC Merchant of Venice 15/06/1930
An Hour with Shakespeare (CBC[?]/NBC) Othello 06/07/1930
An Hour with Shakespeare (CBC[?]/NBC) Hamlet Pt 1 03/08/1930
An Hour with Shakespeare (CBC[?]/NBC) Hamlet Pt 2 10/08/1930
An Hour with Shakespeare (CBC[?]/NBC) Macbeth 17/08/1930
An Hour with Shakespeare (CBC[?]/NBC) King Lear 07/09/1930
An Hour with Shakespeare (CBC[?]/NBC) Othello 14/09/1930
An Hour with Shakespeare (CBC[?]/NBC) Richard III 21/09/1930
Scenes from Shakespeare (CBC/NBC) Much Ado About Nothing Pt 1 12/10/1930
Scenes from Shakespeare (CBC/NBC) Much Ado About Nothing Pt 2 19/10/1930
Scenes from Shakespeare (CBC/NBC) Julius Caesar Pt 1 26/10/1930
Radio Guild Julius Caesar 21/11/1930
Radio Guild Romeo & Juliet 16/01/1931
Radio Guild Hamlet Pt 1 20/03/1931
Radio Guild Hamlet Pt 2 27/03/1931
Radio Guild Macbeth 17/04/1931
Radio Guild Midsummer Night’s Dream 23/10/1931
Radio Guild Julius Caesar 30/10/1931
Radio Guild Hamlet Pt 1 06/11/1931
Radio Guild Hamlet Pt 2 13/11/1932
Radio Guild Romeo & Juliet 31/11/1932
Radio Guild Henry V 07/11/1932
Radio Guild As You Like It 14/11/1932
Radio Guild Richard III 21/11/1932
Radio Guild Julius Caesar 16/10/1933
Radio Guild The Tempest 23/04/1934
CBC Scenes from Shakespeare 25/04/1934
Radio Guild Midsummer Night’s Dream 13/08/1934
Radio Guild Othello 17/09/1934
Radio Guild (CBC/NBC) As You Like It 22/10/1934
Radio Guild Macbeth 19/11/1934
Radio Guild Twelfth Night 31/12/1934
Radio Guild Henry IV, Pt 1 04/03/1935
Radio Guild Midsummer Night’s Dream 29/07/1935
Radio Guild King John 11/07/1935
Radio Guild Much Ado About Nothing 17/10/1935
Radio Guild Richard II 14/11/1935
Radio Guild 1 Henry IV Pt 1 21/11/1935
Radio Guild 1 Henry IV Pt 2 05/12/1935
Radio Guild 2 Henry IV Pt 1 12/12/1935
Radio Guild 2 Henry IV Pt 2 19/12/1935
Radio Guild Henry V Pt 1 26/12/1935
Radio Guild Henry V Pt 2 02/01/1936
Radio Guild Henry VI Pt 1 09/01/1936
Radio Guild Henry VI Pt 2 16/01/1936
Radio Guild Henry VI Pt 3 23/01/1936
Radio Guild Richard III Pt 1 30/01/1936
CBC Richard III Pt 2 06/02/1936
Radio Guild King Henry VIII 13/02/1936
Columbia Workshop Hamlet Pt 1 19/09/1936
Columbia Workshop Hamlet Pt 2 14/11/1936
Radio Guild/CBC Twelfth Night 27/11/1936
Columbia Workshop Macbeth 28/02/1937
Radio Guild Shakespeare 23/04/1937
Theater Guild on the Air Macbeth 11/05/1937
Streamlined Shakespeare (NBC) Hamlet 21/06/1937
Streamlined Shakespeare (NBC) Richard III 28/06/1937
Streamlined Shakespeare (NBC) Macbeth 05/07/1937
Streamlined Shakespeare (NBC) The Tempest 12/07/1937
Shakespearean Cycle (CBS) Hamlet 12/07/1937
Streamlined Shakespeare (NBC) Twelfth Night 19/07/1937
Shakespearean Cycle (CBS) Much Ado About Nothing 19/07/1937
Streamlined Shakespeare (NBC) Taming of the Shrew 26/07/1937
Shakespearean Cycle (CBS) Julius Caesar 26/07/1937
Shakespearean Cycle (CBS) Taming of the Shrew 02/08/1937
Shakespearean Cycle (CBS) Henry IV 23/08/1937
Radio Guild (CBC/NBC) Coriolanus 04/10/1937
Radio Guild Anthony and Cleopatra 12/11/1937
CBC Anthony and Cleopatra 13/11/1937
Great Plays Midsummer Night’s Dream 26/03/1938
CBC A Tribute to Shakespeare 23/04/1938
Radio Guild Julius Caesar 22/04/1938
Great Plays Midsummer Night’s Dream 26/03/1938
CBC Merchant of Venice 10/09/1938
Mercury Summer Theatre Julius Caesar 11/09/1938
Great Plays Midsummer Night’s Dream 13/11/1938
CBC King Lear 13/11/1938
Great Plays Julius Caesar 20/11/1938
Great Plays Othello 27/11/1938
CBC Shakespeare’s England 05/11/1939
Great Plays Romeo & Juliet 12/11/1939
Great Plays Much Ado About Nothing 19/11/1939
Great Plays Macbeth 26/11/1939
Columbia Workshop As You Like It 07/12/1939
CBC Shakespeare’s England 10/12/1939
Columbia Workshop Taming of the Shrew 21/03/1940
Great Plays Love’s Labours Lost 10/11/1940
Great Plays Merry Wives of Windsor 17/11/1940
Great Plays The Tempest 20/11/1940
Great Plays Taming of the Shrew 28/12/1941
CBC The Falstaff Scenes from 1 Henry IV 03/02/1944
Columbia Workshop Richard III 02/06/1946
Theater Guild on the Air Macbeth 11/05/1947
Theater Guild on the Air Romeo & Juliet 08/02/1948
CBC 1 Henry IV, First Half nd
CBC 2 Henry IV, Second Half nd
CBC King John nd
CBC King Henry VIII nd
CBC Midsummer Night’s Dream nd
CBC Twelfth Night 1964
CBC Midsummer Night’s Dream nd
CBC Thanks to Mr. Shakespeare nd
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3 thoughts on “Shakespeare on the Radio 1920-1940s

  1. You found a number of CBC programs that I did not find to list in the book SHAKESPEARES AFTER SHAKESPEARE. Are you at all certain that there were no Shakespeare adaptations on CBC radio prior to THE TEMPEST in 1929, or might some of the n/d titles have been earlier?

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  2. The CBC programs are all material I gathered at the McMaster University CBC archives. Regarding those without dates, I got a sense of roughly the relative dates of the episodes and they all came from a later period than 1929. Sorry about that. It looks for the most part like 1940s and 50s material to me, but without further research, I couldn't say for sure.

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