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The Big Story Show Summary

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The Big Story Show Summary Empty The Big Story Show Summary

Post by Seamus on 3/25/2019, 9:00 am

Folks another in the growing number of show summaries written by our very own greybelt.

The Big Story

The Big Story was a series that honored members of the press by featuring the most important stories they covered. That is, the series dramatized their stories in an "authentic but fictional" manner, changing the names of all involved except for the reporter.

The series was successful on radio from 1947 to 1954 and also on television from 1950 to 1957. Many of the radio scripts were adapted for the TV version.

There were legal concerns, mainly protecting the producers from nuisance lawsuits, but also providing the writers with the flexibility and dramatic license needed to condense complex stories into 22-24 minutes of fast-paced drama. Some key aspects of the events in each story were not masked, such as the general nature of crimes or circumstances or places of the event.

Sometimes the stories changed so much the reporters were disappointed in the dramatizations. Perhaps that was alleviated by the $500 payment they received, about US$6000 in today's value, which was the same amount of money as winning the Pulitzer Price for journalism at that time!

The series was produced in New York and was considered a big-budget enterprise. There were no big stars on the series, but it included New York's best radio performers, often doubling up as multiple characters.

Because of the tobacco litigation in the US courts from the 1970s forward, virtually all of The Big Story scripts became part of the public record where the litigators used the Pall Mall cigarette commercials as evidence of a willful cover-up of smoking health issues. Unfortunately, not all of the program recordings are available, but savvy collectors were able to download all of the scanned scripts as Adobe Acrobat PDF files. This makes The Big Story one of the golden age's best documented series.

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Collecting and Listening to the Show

The Cobalt Club has an active swap post running for The Big Story. Shows are posted and a lot of great articles and newspaper clippings from the era are added to provide that historical context for the show. An amazing resource for any collector.

Swap Forum Link

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This website has identified many of the original news stories that became the basis of The Big Story episodes.

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