Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024
Betty and Bob

        Betty and Bob was one of the earliest examples of the radio soap opera. The soap opera followed the lives of Betty and Bob Drake. Betty was a secretary who falls madly in love with her boss, bachelor Bob Drake. The two wed and each day, the subject matter dealt with everything from love to hate, jealousy to divorce, murder to betrayal, and collusion to insanity.

        The program was the first radio program produced by future daytime radio monarchs Frank and Anne Hummert. The program also began a long partnership between the Hummerts and scriptwriter Robert Hardy Andrews.

        The program originally starred Elizabeth Reller and Don Ameche in the title roles of Betty and Bob Drake. The role of Bob Drake is credited as the role that made Ameche the “first radio sex symbol”.[4] But during the program’s eight year run, four other actresses, including Arlene Francis, portrayed Betty and seven other actors, including Les Tremayne, portrayed Bob.

        According to author John Dunning, ratings for the soap opera plummeted after the addition of the Drake’s son Little Bobby. “Raymond William Stedman speculates that listeners refused to accept bickering and jealousy when a child was involved.” Little Bobby died of pneumonia and the Drake’s divorced. But ratings never did pick up again. The last few years of the program centered on how Betty and Bob grieve over the loss of their son, Bob’s relationship with his new girlfriend Pamela Talmadge (portrayed by Ethel Kuhn), and Bob’s time in and out of a mental institution.

        The program premiered on the Blue Network on October 10, 1932. The program moved to CBS then to NBC’s Red Network where the series finished on March 15, 1940. The program was sponsored by both the Wheaties and Bisquick divisions of the General Mills company.

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