The Mercury Theatre was an independent repertory company founded in New York City in 1937 by Orson Welles and producerJohn Houseman, who is best known for his Oscar-winning performance as Professor CharlesKingsfield in the The PaperChase. After a series ofacclaimed stage productions, Welles and his Mercury Theatre were offered theirown weekly hour-long radio program over the CBS radio network. Here Welles—along with Agnes Moorehead, RayCollins, Joseph Cotten, Alice Frost, Martin Gabel, and others—presentedpowerful adaptations of literary classics with Bernard Herrman as composer and conductor.
Considered by many critics as the finest dramatichour on radio, The MercuryTheatre on the Air was without a sponsor until a single broadcast changed allthat: The War of the Worlds.
Episodes include “Dracula,” starring Martin Gabel,Agnes Moorehead, George Coulouris, Ray Collins, and Karl Swenson; “ATale of Two Cities,” starring Martin Gabel, Ray Collins, Edgar Barrier, FrankReadick, 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,” starringOrson Welles, Ray Collins, Eustace Wyatt, George Coulouris, and Edgar Barrier;“TheImmortal Sherlock Holmes,” starring Orson Welles, Ray Collins, Edgar Barrier,Alfred Shirley, William Allen, and Arthur Anderson; “Around the World in EightyDays,” starring Orson Welles, Al Swenson, Arlene Francis, Edgar Barrier, FrankReadick, and Ray Collins.