Genre: Radio Show, History, Drama
Source: Received from Radio Archives as part of Solid Gold Reviewer Program at Audiobook Jukebox
"Mr. President" , a dramatic series that premiered over ABC Radio on June 26, 1947 and was heard until September 23, 1953, established its novel premise pretty much from the first broadcast: it dramatized weekly events in the lives of the various men who at one time held the highest office in the land, the Presidency of the United States of America. Created by Robert G. Jennings, "Mr. President's" 'hook' was that during each episode, the name of the President was withheld until a brief epilogue at the program's end. It became a challenge, then, for listeners to identify the subject of that week's drama...though students and scholars of American history probably had an advantage over the average listener by sifting through the clues frequently inserted in the scripts.
While this is an audiobook, it’s not at the same time. It isn’t an audio version of any book you will find in print. It is an audio production of a radio series that aired from 1947-1953. The 20 episodes on this production were aired from 1949 to 1950. I have always enjoyed listening to old time radio shows and this one was just wonderful as well.
One of the things that I loved about this production was the concept. Each episode is 30 minutes and presents an event in one of our President’s lives. Some of these events are very well known and some are a little more obscure, but all happened while they were President. It was very challenging and fun to not know who the President was throughout the episode and to try and guess by clues given – the name of his wife or children, other politicians, events that were taking place, etc. Some were easy, I knew John Adams within the first 5 words of the episode, but never could figure out Chester A. Arthur. Of the 20 presented, I didn’t eventually guess 5. It is sort of like a scavenger hunt.
Just like a radio show it is a full production. You have a different actor for each character within the show and all kinds of sound effects. It certainly kept your attention.
One of the added interesting pieces was that the commercials were still included in the production and I found that I loved them! There are just two very short commercials within each episode and they are nothing like the commercials today. There were segments for giving blood to the Red Cross, sending C.A.R.E. packages to the troops and refugees of the war, being welcoming to neighbors of all races/religions, etc. I think they were better than many commercials today.
There was one thing that I didn’t like about the collection. One of the episodes, the first episode, is included twice. I think this was included this way because they were showcasing the entire season of the show, but it wasn’t interesting to me to listen to an episode again. The allure of “who is the President” was gone and I found I just skipped past it.
Overall this was a wonderful production and I hope that they release more of these collections.
Here is a preview of the audio.
You can purchase the Mr. President Vol 1 collection as a CD set or digital download at the Radio Archives website. I don't think it is available on other sites.