Chinese Gong (Aired March 29, 1944)
The First Nighter Program was a long-running radio anthology comedy-drama series broadcast from 1930 to 1953. The host was Mr. First Nighter (Charles P. Hughes, Macdonald Carey, Bret Morrison, Marvin Miller, Don Briggs and Rye Billsbury [later known as Michael Rye). The show's opening recreated the aural atmosphere of a Broadway opening. Before each week's drama began, Mr. First Nighter was first heard walking on Broadway, emerging from the noise of people and street traffic into the crowded lobby of "the Little Theater Off Times Square" and then taking his seat in the third row center, where he gave the whispered introduction: The house lights have dimmed, and the curtain is about to go up on tonight's production. Romantic comedies were the specialty of the series, and the principal roles were played by the teams of Don Ameche and June Meredith (1930-36), Ameche and Betty Lou Gerson (1935-36), Les Tremayne and Barbara Luddy (1936-43) and Olan Soule and Luddy (1943 and after). Joseph T. Ainley produced and directed the series. The announcers were Larry Keating and Vincent Pelletier. Music was provided by Eric Sagerquist (1930-44), Caesar Petrillo (1945-46) and Frank Worth (1947-53). Performing before a studio audience, the actors wore formal attire, with Luddy in a gown and Tremayne clad in evening clothes and top hat.