The Couple Next Door
The Couple Next Door was a similar Peg Lynch radio series which aired on CBS Radio during the waning days of network radio, (December 30, 1957 – November 25, 1960) with Peg Lynch and Alan Bunce as the married couple. Essentially, it reprised Ethel and Albert, but the new name was necessitated because Lynch had long since lost the rights to the original title. The CBS iteration was named “Best Daytime Radio Program” for 1959 by The National Association for Better Radio and Television.
Lynch and Bunce brought the program to NBC’s weekend programming block Monitor in 1963, performing three- to four-minute vignettes not unlike the original 15-minute shows. Their presence continued a Monitor tradition of offering new material from classic radio favorites (including James and Marian Jordan of Fibber McGee and Molly fame, until Marian Jordan’s death). Lynch returned yet again in the 1970s. In 1973 she revived Ethel and Albert on National Public Radio’s Earplay with a 16-episode run. Karl Schmidt, the creator of Earplay, played Albert in this NPR incarnation. In 1976 she wrote and starred in a syndicated radio feature known as The Little Things in Life, again with Margaret Hamilton and with Robert Dryden as the husband. The Little Things in Life was part of a 4-series block syndicated under the umbrella title Radio Playhouse.
Very few of the original Ethel and Albert radio programs are known to have survived, but almost all of the CBS Couple Next Door episodes exist. Lynch authorized a CD release of 12 Ethel and Albert vignettes from Monitor.
The theme music for The Couple Next Door is “Miss Melanie” by British composer Ronald Binge.
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