If you are a lover of old-time radio and a fan of Orson Welles, you won't want to miss this treasure chest of legendary Orson Welles radio broadcasts! With his flair for the sensational and innovative, Welles captured audiences' attention with his 1930s CBS weekly drama series The Mercury Theatre on the Air, later renamed The Campbell Playhouse, which featured hour-long dramatizations of classic books. His 1938 production, The War of the Worlds (an H. G. Wells adaptation) was especially memorable, as were many other productions, each featuring talented voices and actors.
Tune into the master of entertainment and enjoy this collection of original Orson Welles recordings, including more than 16 hours of radio drama! Content:
- Campbell Playhouse - A Christmas Carol - December 23, 1938
- Campbell Playhouse - A Christmas Carol - December 24, 1939
- Campbell Playhouse - Ah, Wilderness - September 17, 1939
- Campbell Playhouse - Algiers - October 8, 1939
- Campbell Playhouse - Arrowsmith - February 3, 1939
- Campbell Playhouse - Beau Geste - March 17, 1939
- Campbell Playhouse - Counselor-at-Law - January 6, 1939
- Campbell Playhouse - Craig's Wife - March 10, 1940
- Campbell Playhouse - Dinner at Eight - February 18, 1940
- Campbell Playhouse - Dodsworth - November 26, 1939
- Campbell Playhouse - Escape - October 15, 1939
- Campbell Playhouse - Huckleberry Finn - March 17, 1940
- Campbell Playhouse - I Lost My Girlish Laughter - January 27, 1939
- Campbell Playhouse - It Happened One Night - January 28, 1940
- and many more!
What listeners say about Orson Welles: The Ultimate Collection
Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.
Here is my review for what is worth.
Any additional comments?
Hi here is my review of this collection of old time radio show. The first thing you need to know is that this is a collection of the old time radio shows and it’s the actual radio show not a reproduction or enhanced in any way so you hear all the static, crackle, pops and etc. This is how radio use to sound back in the 30s. So if you are looking for something that sounds clear without defects this is not for you.
One thing that is missing is a list of all the shows that you get so I did a Google search and this is what I have came up with, they are not in order that Audible has them in.
I hope that this helps.
Campbell Playhouse - A Christmas Carol - December 23, 1938
Campbell Playhouse - A Christmas Carol - December 24, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Ah, Wilderness - September 17, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Algiers - October 8, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Arrowsmith - February 3, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Beau Geste - March 17, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Counselor-at-Law - January 6, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Craig’s Wife - March 10, 1940
Campbell Playhouse - Dinner At Eight - February 18, 1940
Campbell Playhouse - Dodsworth - November 26, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Escape - October 15, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Huckleberry Finn - March 17, 1940
Campbell Playhouse - I Lost My Girlish Laughter - January 27, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - It Happened One Night - January 28, 1940
Campbell Playhouse - June Moon - March 24, 1940
Campbell Playhouse - Liliom - October 22, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Lost Horizon - December 3, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Mr. Deeds Goes to Town - February 11, 1940
Campbell Playhouse - Mutiny On the Bounty - January 13, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Only Angels Have Wings - February 25, 1940
Campbell Playhouse - Our Town - May 12, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Peter Ibbetson - September 10, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Private Lives - April 21, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Rabble In Arms - March 3, 1940
Campbell Playhouse - Rebecca - December 9, 1938
Campbell Playhouse - Showboat - March 31, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - The Bad Man - May 19, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - The Citadel - January 21, 1940
Campbell Playhouse - The Count of Monte Cristo - October 1, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - The Garden of Allah - November 19, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - The Glass Key - March 10, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - The Green Goddess - February 10, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - The Hurricane - November 5, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - The Magnificent Ambersons - October 29, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - November 12, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - The Patriot - April 14, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Theodora Goes Wild - January 14, 1940
Campbell Playhouse - There’s Always a Woman - December 17, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Things We Have - May 26, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Vanity Fair - January 7, 1940
Campbell Playhouse - Venessa - December 10, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Victoria Regina - June 2, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - What Every Woman Knows - September 24, 1939
Campbell Playhouse - Wickford Point - May 5, 1939
H.G. Wells Meets Orson Welles - October 28, 1940
Les Miserables - Episode 1 - The Bishop - July 23, 1937
Les Miserables - Episode 2 - Javert - July 30, 1937
Les Miserables - Episode 3 - The Trial - August 6, 1937
Les Miserables - Episode 4 - Cosette - August 13, 1937
Les Miserables - Episode 5 - The Grave - August 20, 1937
Les Miserables - Episode 6 - The Barricade August 27, 1937
Les Miserables - Episode 7 - Conclusion - September 3, 1937
Mercury Theatre - A Tale of Two Cities - July 25, 1938
Mercury Theatre - Abraham Lincoln - August 15, 1938
Mercury Theatre - Around the World In 80 Days - October 23, 1938
Mercury Theatre - Dracula - July 11, 1938
Mercury Theatre - Heart of Darkness - Life With Father - November 6, 1938
Mercury Theatre - Hell On Ice - October 9, 1938
Mercury Theatre - Seventeen - October 16, 1938
Mercury Theatre - The 39 Steps - August 1, 1938
Mercury Theatre - The Affairs of Anatol - August 22, 1938
Mercury Theatre - The Count of Monte Cristo - August 29, 1938
Mercury Theatre - The Immortal Sherlock Holmes - September 25, 1938
Mercury Theatre - The Man Who Was Thursday - September 5, 1938
Mercury Theatre - The Pickwick Papers - November 20, 1938
Mercury Theatre - The War of the Worlds - October 30, 1938
Mercury Theatre - Three Short Stories - I’m a Fool, The Open Window, and My Little Boy - August 8, 1938
Mercury Theatre - Treasure Island - July 18, 1938
Rehearsals - Julius Caesar - September 11, 1938
Rehearsals - The 39 Steps - August 1, 1938
127 people found this helpful
- Great Tutu Kona
It's a time capsule! I love it!
I just purchased this collection of stories, and I am so thrilled, I can't stand it. Listening to Orson Welle's radio programs is astonishing. I had forgotten what listening to radio was like. In the 1940s and early 50s, I used to listen to the radio all the time as a kid. We didn't have TV until 1953, and then it was mostly test patterns with about 4 hours of programming.
But listening to the radio--that was the THING! As I listened to it today, I am amazed at all the special effects that went into the program: the music, the sound effects, the crowd in the background, how wonderful is that? My imagination came to life again. So far I have listened to about ten of the episodes -- the first one, the Christmas Carol is a little gritty, so I moved on. I can go back an listen to it later, Algiers was a great listen, with Paulette Goddard in the lead role. What a young voice she had.
I listen on my iPod late at night after I get in bed. The stories are short enough that I can listen to an entire episode before falling asleep. The actors and actresses are great, too. I'll admit, it's a little hard to hear with the static and all, but that's not in all the programs. And if I remember right, listening over the radio in the 1940s was the same. Reception wasn't that good then, either. So, it's like going back in time for me. I'm delighted.
I have found a new genre now which I hope to mine and get more of the stories that I used to listen to as a kid. Do you remember "Let's Pretend"? It was a Saturday morning series of fairy tales. Ooh, I hope I can find it.
As for the story listings, I googled the book name and found a site that had all the episodes listed in order. So now, I can pick and choose, and I'll be able to go back and listen to my favorites again and again.
38 people found this helpful
Radio Classics from the Master
Like it says in my bio, I looooooove the golden age of radio, and absolutely nobody defined that era quite like the great Orson Welles. The majority of these performances are from the Mercury Theater and the Campbell's Playhouse. The scripts are based on a variety of novels, historical figures, and such, and showcases what I consider to be not only Welles' finest hours, but also some of his forgotten treasures and even some of the performances that weren't quite up to snuff... which is still a lot of fun in most cases. From "The War of the Worlds" to "A Christmas Carol" to a portrayal of Abraham Lincoln and beyond, this is truly an eclectic mix, as one would expect from the Renaissance Man of Radio.
Experienced listeners will already know what to expect, and odds are that if you're in this camp, you know a great deal of the material. Listeners who are new to these sorts of recordings may find that the age and recording / broadcast quality of some of these are, well, quite terrible by modern standards. Static and distortion are to be expected, but for those with ears to hear, these things may actually lend to the overall charm. Regardless of the quality of the recordings or of the scripts, the performances are a great cross-section not only of Welles, but of his fellow actors and actresses as well, Agnes Moorehead and Frank Readick to name but a couple. This is the stuff that began the empire of large scale entertainment, the stuff of legend.
16 people found this helpful
A Potluck Production!
Any additional comments?
This is a good collection of old time radio from a famous broadcaster. However, it is Not Digitally enhanced or edited. This means that some episodes are very staticy, to the point where it is hard to hear the story. The episodes are in completely random order with no a regard for chronology or continuity. Some segments are cut short, while others stretch into dead-air. There are several repeat stories, while other of Welles' famous episodes are left out. Some of the stories are based on timeless classics and some of the stories are very dated. Welles' version of Les Miserables is excellent and there were sever other gems. There is even an interesting, but random, interview between H.G. Wells and Orson Wells in section 6. For me one of the most fascinating broadcasts was Welles' version of Julius Ceaser, where you can hear him berating the cast in the background.
If you are really interested, its worth it, but you can probably find all of these broadcasts and more for free online.
One Final Note: Another Reviewer compiled a list of the shows in this download, but below is my version of that list in the order they appear in the download.
“A Tale of Two Cities,” by Charles Dickens
“Abraham Lincoln,” Original Script, by John Drinkwater and Orson Welles
“Around the World in Eighty Days,” By Jules Verne
“A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens
“A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens
“Ah Wilderness,” by Eugene O'Neill
“Algiers,” By John Howard Lwson
“Arrowsmith,” by Sinclair Lewis
“Beau Geste,” by C. Wren
“Counseled at Law,” by Elmer Rice
“Dinner at Eight,” by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber
“Dodsworth,” by Sinclair Lewis
“The Escape,” by John Galsworthy
“Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
“I Lost My Girlish Laughter,” by George Kaufman and Jane Allen
“It Happened One Night,” by Samuel Hopkins Adams
“June Moon,” by Ring Lardner & George S Kaufman with Jack Benny
“Lilleon,” by Ferenc Molnar
“Lost Herizon,” by James Hilton
“Mr. Deeds Goes to Town,” by Clarence Budington Kelland, motion picture screenplay by Robert Riskin
“Mutiny on the Bounty,” by Charles Nordhoff and Norman Hall
“Only Angels Have Wings,” by Howard Hawks, motion picture screenplay by Jules Furthman
“Our Town,” by Thorton Wilder
"Peter Ibbetson," by George du Maurier
“Private Lives,” by Noell Coward
“Rabble in Arms,” by Kenneth Roberts
“Rebecca," by Daphne du Maurier
“Showboat,” by Edna Ferber
"The Bad Man," by Porter Emerson Browne
"The Citadel" by A. J. Cronin,
“The Count of Monte Cristo,” By Alexander Dumas
“The Garden of Allah," by Robert Hichens
“The Glass Key,” by Dashiell Hammett
“The Green Goddess" by William Archer
“The Hurricane,” by James Norman Hall and Charles Nordhoff
“The Magnificent Ambersons," by Booth Tarkington
"The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" by Agatha Christie
“The Patriot,” by Pearl Buck
“Theodora Goes Wild,” by Mary McCarthy, screenplay by Sidney Buchman
“American cavalcade: The Things We Have,” by Orson Welles
“Vanity Fair,” by William Makepeace Thackeray
“Vanessa,” by Hugh Walpole
“Victoria Regina" by Laurence Housman
“What Every Woman Knows,” by J. M. Barrie
“Wickford Point,” by John P. Marquand
“Count Dracula,” by Bram Stoker
Dialogue between H.G. Wells & Orsen Welles
“Heart of Darkness,” by J. Conrad & Clarence Day
"Hell on Ice" by Edward Ellsberg
“Julius Ceaser”, by William Shakespeare
“Les Miserable,” by Victor Hugo adpted by Orson Welles, part 1
“Les Miserable,” by Victor Hugo adpted by Orson Welles, parts 2-7
"A Passenger to Bali" by Ellis St. Joseph
“Thirty-nine Steps,” by John Buchan
“The Affairs of Anatol" by Arthur Schnitzler
“The Count of Monte Cristo" by Alexandre Dumas
”Sherlock Holmes" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, from the play by William Gillette
“The Man Who Was Thursday,” by G.K. Chesteron
“The Pickwick Papers,” by Charles Dickens
“The War of the Worlds,” by H.G. Wells
Three Stories: “I'm a Fool,” by Sherwood Anderson & “The open window,” by H.H. Monroe aka. Saki & “My Little Boy,” by Carl Eawald
“Seventeen,” by Booth Tarkington
“The Thirty-nine Steps,” by John buchm
“Treasure Island,” by Robert Lewis Stevenson
27 people found this helpful
Hit or miss but the hits are BIG
Is there anything you would change about this book?
No, you either like an individual story or you didnt but, what I liked might not be what you like and vice a versa. The good thing was you get a vast collection for a great price so if you end up only liking half of them you still feel good about the purchase.
What about Orson Welles’s performance did you like?
Classic professionalism! The way he conducted pre and post interviews with his guests is truly a lost art. We just dont have broadcasters of his caliber any more.
Was Orson Welles: The Ultimate Collection worth the listening time?
Definitely, Interesting stories and it was a nice look back at the way things used to be broadcast. I think everyone will be interested in listening to the style of the commercials included with each episode.
Any additional comments?
This is a collection of the old time radio broadcasts whos subject matter varies greatly. I found the stories to be either really great and totally captivating or it just left me cold and I didnt finish it.
7 people found this helpful
Sixty Hours of great radio Plays
Allow for variable radio quality from the 30's and 40's.
Naturally there are some plays I am enjoying more than others. however this was a great adventure for radio of it's day.
Some are adaptations from movies of the day with the actors from the movies. Some have Orson Wells playing one or many roles. Some are adaptations created especially for the radio.
Classics like 'War of the Worlds' and 'The 39 Steps' are here.
A list of the plays and length would be a good addition (as a pdf). As it is, it is pot luck.
Even the adverts for soap and soup are interesting. To their credit they did sponsor these creative radio plays.
14 people found this helpful
Mystery meat navigation
Ugh. This is mystery meat.
The chapters are not labeled by title so there's no way for one to locate a particular episode or performance without randomly searching through each chapter. Amazon sells the same "ultimate collection" as MP3s, but the chapter list there does not seem to correspond to the one here on audibles.
5 people found this helpful
No chapter Titles???? Come On Audible!!
That is just lazy. You cant have a anthology like this and not let us navigate it.
2 people found this helpful
- Andrew H.
There are some issues.
First of all, I paid four dollars for this. It’s definitely worth that. It’s fascinating to hear these old radio broadcasts, and they can be very entertaining. That said… This really could have used better curation. There are some repeated episodes, and everything is out of order. Nothing is chronologically placed. That’s very frustrating, because you can’t het a good sense of how the broadcasts evolved over time. Also, I feel like occasional interjection with historical notes or information about what was going on at the time would have been beneficial. Finally, and this is no surprise, the sound quality can be atrocious at times. Of course we are talking about recordings from 80 years ago, so you have to expect that. At least one episode is only partially present. Still, this is a bargain. And Campbell’s soup really got their money’s worth, as their ads are intact. They made me hungry, and o ended up grabbing some some tomato soup on my next trip to the store.
2 people found this helpful
- Andreea Marin
The Master Troll
Would you listen to Orson Welles: The Ultimate Collection again? Why?
Yes! I bought it alongside wireless speakers so I can have this particular audio playing in the background while I do anything in the house. It's the perfect collection. It makes me feel like I'm in the '50s but with a '30s sci-fi feel.
What did you like best about this story?
I like knowing that Welles played a prank on America with the broadcasting of War of the Worlds. THAT is a great performance. Just the SOUND of Orson Welles brings me back to a past that I've never gotten to experience and it's a privilege to still have so much of his works in audio format.
Have you listened to any of Orson Welles’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
The War of the Worlds only. Equally great. This has 60 hours worth of audio so it's certainly exceeding in its glory.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
"Welles the Master Troll"
2 people found this helpful
GREAT OLD TIME 1930’s Orson Welles
Spoilt for choice in this bumper packed 60 hour Full Ultimate Collection of Welles radio work, which started in the USA in the 1930’s. With old broads like Hedda Hopper, there is bitching aplenty the way only the Americans know how. This is a wide range of work from thrillers to comedies and plenty for everyone. On some of these shows the sound is not too great and advise using some headphones. Could have done with having titles included but seeing as there are none, you have no idea what you are listening to until Orson introduces the shows and says which actors are playing. Still a great bargain for only one credit and will keep me happy for a long time.
1 person found this helpful
Dreadful sound quality
Yes I know it's a very old radio programme but you should be able to make out the words.
Lasted about 10 minutes.
3 people found this helpful