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General Electric
General Electric
Theater was an American anthology series hosted by Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
that was broadcast on CBS
CBS
radio and television. The series was sponsored by General Electric's Department of Public Relations.

Contents

1 Radio 2 Television 3 Television guest stars 4 Reagan fired by General Electric 5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links

Radio[edit] After an audition show on January 18, 1953, entitled The Token, with Dana Andrews, the radio series, a summer replacement for The Bing Crosby Program, debuted on CBS
CBS
on July 9, 1953, with Ronald Colman
Ronald Colman
in Random Harvest. With such guest stars as Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Van Johnson, Jane Wyman, William Holden, Alan Young, Dorothy McGuire, John Hodiak, Ann Blyth, James Mason, Joan Fontaine, and Judy Garland, the series continued until October 1, 1953. Jaime del Valle produced and directed the show. Ken Carpenter was the host and announcer. Wilbur Hatch supplied the music. Also known as G.E. Stereo Theater, the program "was the first network radio series to be broadcast on FM in stereo."[1] Television[edit] The television version of the program, produced by MCA-TV/Revue, was broadcast every Sunday evening at 9:00 pm EST, beginning February 1 1953, and ending May 27 1962. Each of the estimated 209[2] television episodes was an adaptation of a novel, short story, play, film, or magazine fiction. An exception was the 1954 episode "Music for Christmas", which featured choral director Fred Waring
Fred Waring
and his group The Pennsylvanians performing Christmas music. On September 26, 1954, Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
debuted as the only host of the program. GE added a host to provide continuity in the anthology format. The show's Nielsen ratings improved from #27 in the 1953-1954 season to #17 in 1954-1955, followed #11 in 1955-1956, #3 in 1956-1957, #7 in 1957-1958, #26 in 1958-1959, #23 in 1959-1960, and #20 in 1960-1961.[3] General Electric
General Electric
Theater made the already well-known Reagan, who had appeared in many films as a "second lead" throughout his career, wealthy, due to his part ownership of the show. After eight years as host, Reagan estimated he had visited 135 GE research and manufacturing facilities, and met over a quarter-million people. During that time, he would also speak at other forums such as Rotary clubs and Moose lodges, presenting views on economic progress that in form and content were often similar to what he said in introductions, segues, and closing comments on the show as a spokesman for GE. Reagan, who would later be known as "The Great Communicator" because of his oratorical prowess, often credited these engagements as helping him develop his public-speaking abilities. Television guest stars[edit]

Edie Adams
Edie Adams
and Louis Jourdan
Louis Jourdan
in episode "A Falling Angel" (1958).

Harpo and Chico Marx
Chico Marx
performed "The Incredible Jewelry Robbery" in pantomime in 1959.

Nick Adams and Elinor Donahue
Elinor Donahue
in episode "A Voice on the Phone" (1961).

Among the guest stars on the anthology were:

Bud Abbott Edie Adams Nick Adams Claude Akins Eddie Albert Leon Ames Edward Andrews Fred Astaire Phyllis Avery Parley Baer Raymond Bailey Patricia Barry Anne Baxter Bea Benaderet Jack Benny Whit Bissell Ray Bolger Ward Bond Scott Brady Neville Brand Ernest Borgnine Stephen Boyd Diane Brewster Charles Bronson Sally Brophy Edgar Buchanan Michael Burns Francis X. Bushman Red Buttons Macdonald Carey Jack Carson Jack Cassidy Gower Champion Marge Champion George Chandler Lon Chaney, Jr. Phyllis Coates Lee J. Cobb Claudette Colbert Ronald Colman Chuck Connors Russ Conway Ellen Corby Lou Costello Joseph Cotten Jerome Cowan Bob Crane Joan Crawford Hume Cronyn Tony Curtis Bette Davis Sammy Davis, Jr. Jim Davis (actor) James Dean Richard Denning Dan Duryea John Ericson Richard Eyer William Fawcett Frank Ferguson Nina Foch Joan Fontaine Eduard Franz Eva Gabor Zsa Zsa Gabor Judy Garland Greer Garson Anthony George George Gobel Billy Gray Virginia Gregg Virginia Grey Kevin Hagen Alan Hale, Jr. Barbara Hale Darryl Hickman Ed Hinton Dennis Holmes Skip Homeier Ron Howard Gary Hunley Kim Hunter Burl Ives Victor Jory Allyn Joslyn Louis Jourdan Boris Karloff Joseph Kearns Ricky Kelman Stan Kenton Ernie Kovacs Otto Kruger Nancy Kulp Alan Ladd Michael Landon Joi Lansing Keith Larsen Charles Laughton Piper Laurie Cloris Leachman Art Linkletter Myrna Loy Dayton Lummis Carol Lynley Dorothy Malone Flip Mark Strother Martin Scott Marlowe Nora Marlowe E. G. Marshall Lee Marvin
Lee Marvin
(record 7 appearances) Chico Marx Groucho Marx Harpo Marx Raymond Massey Walter Matthau Tyler MacDuff Gisele MacKenzie Fred MacMurray George Macready Kevin McCarthy John McIntire Eve McVeagh Patrick McVey Tyler McVey Joyce Meadows Burgess Meredith Gary Merrill Robert Middleton Vera Miles Ray Milland Ewing Mitchell George Montgomery Rita Moreno Dennis Morgan Read Morgan Audie Murphy Burt Mustin Leslie Nielsen Lloyd Nolan Dan O'Herlihy J. Pat O'Malley Barbara Parkins Neva Patterson John Payne Larry Pennell Suzanne Pleshette Judson Pratt Vincent Price Nancy Davis Reagan Jason Robards, Sr. Ruth Roman George Sanders Karen Sharpe Robert F. Simon Dean Stockwell Everett Sloane Stella Stevens Jimmy Stewart Olive Sturgess Hope Summers Gloria Talbott Rod Taylor Phyllis Thaxter Gene Tierney Audrey Totter Harry Townes Claire Trevor Lurene Tuttle Gary Vinson Beverly Washburn David Wayne Jesse White Cornel Wilde Rhys Williams Natalie Wood Fay Wray Will Wright Ed Wynn Keenan Wynn

Reagan fired by General Electric[edit] Reagan was fired by General Electric
General Electric
in 1962 in response to his reference to the Tennessee Valley Authority
Tennessee Valley Authority
(TVA) as one of the problems of "big government".[4] Reagan would subsequently reiterate his points in his famous 1964 televised speech for Republican presidential nominee Barry M. Goldwater
Barry M. Goldwater
of Arizona
Arizona
entitled, "A Time for Choosing":[5]

One such considered above criticism, sacred as motherhood, is TVA. This program started as a flood control project; the Tennessee Valley was periodically ravaged by destructive floods. The Army Engineers set out to solve this problem. They said that it was possible that once in 500 years there could be a total capacity flood that would inundate some 600,000 acres (2,400 km2). Well, the engineers fixed that. They made a permanent lake which inundated a million acres (4,000 km²). This solved the problem of floods, but the annual interest on the TVA debt is five times as great as the annual flood damage they sought to correct. Of course, you will point out that TVA gets electric power from the impounded waters, and this is true, but today 85 percent of TVA's electricity is generated in coal burning steam plants. Now perhaps you'll charge that I'm overlooking the navigable waterway that was created, providing cheap barge traffic, but the bulk of the freight barged on that waterway is coal being shipped to the TVA steam plants, and the cost of maintaining that channel each year would pay for shipping all of the coal by rail, and there would be money left over.

The publicity Reagan gained in part from this speech paved the way for his election as governor of California in 1966, when he unseated the two-term Democrat Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, Sr.[6] Brown was the father of Reagan's Successor, Governor Jerry Brown. Michael Reagan, adopted son of Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
and Jane Wyman, contends that Attorney General of the United States
Attorney General of the United States
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
pressured GE to cancel The General Electric
General Electric
Theater or at least to fire Reagan as the host if the program were to continue. The series was not dropped because of low ratings but political intervention, the younger Reagan still maintains. Michael claimed that Robert Kennedy told GE officials that the company would receive no federal contracts so long as Reagan was host of the series. Michael noted the irony that his father's dismissal propelled Reagan into the political arena, and eighteen years afterwards, Reagan would take the oath of office as the oldest person to become U.S. President
U.S. President
up to that time (Donald Trump would surpass this record with his election in 2016). Kennedy's directive is another example of the "law of unintended consequences." Had Kennedy stayed out of GE contract matters, there would have been no Governor or President Reagan.[7] In fact, the primary reason Reagan was fired by General Electric
General Electric
for his comments regarding the TVA was that the TVA was one of General Electric's biggest customers. General Electric
General Electric
was and remains the largest supplier of equipment to the TVA and most other electricity producers in the United States. Don Herbert, a television personality well known as the host of Watch Mr. Wizard, appeared as the " General Electric
General Electric
Progress Reporter," adding a scientific touch to the institutional advertising pitch. The show was produced by Revue Studios, whose successor-in-interest, NBC Universal Television, was co-owned by GE. Following General Electric
General Electric
Theater's cancellation in 1962, the series was replaced in the same time slot by the short-lived GE-sponsored GE True, hosted by Jack Webb. On March 17, 2010, General Electric
General Electric
presented Reagan's widow Nancy Davis Reagan with video copies of 208 episodes of General Electric Theater, to be donated to the Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Presidential Library.[8] On April 20, 2010, a "lost" live episode of General Electric
General Electric
Theater – "The Dark, Dark Hours", which originally aired on December 12, 1954) – was uncovered by NBC
NBC
writer Wayne Federman
Wayne Federman
who was working on a television retrospective for the Reagan Centennial Celebration.[9] The episode was noteworthy because it teamed Ronald Reagan with James Dean. Highlights were broadcast on the CBS
CBS
Evening News, NBC
NBC
Nightly News, and Good Morning America. See also[edit]

Academy Award Author's Playhouse The Campbell Playhouse Cavalcade of America The CBS
CBS
Radio
Radio
Workshop The Cresta Blanca Hollywood Players Curtain Time Ford Theatre GE True Lux Radio
Radio
Theater The Mercury Theatre on the Air The MGM Theater of the Air Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
filmography Screen Director's Playhouse The Screen Guild Theater Stars over Hollywood (radio program) Suspense The United States Steel Hour

References[edit]

^ Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio
Radio
Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. P. 128. ^ "Television Obscurities – Another General Electric
General Electric
Theater Episode Found".  ^ http://www.classictvhits.com/tvratings/index.htm ^ PBS Newshour Reagan biography ^ "A Time for Choosing" (The Speech – October 27, 1964) ^ "Ronald Reagan". PBS. Retrieved 2007-11-27.  ^ Michael Reagan
Michael Reagan
(February 4, 2011). "Ronald Reagan's Son Remembers The Day When GE Fired His Dad". investors.com. Retrieved February 5, 2011. [permanent dead link] ^ Associated Press via Yahoo News (March 17, 2010) ^ CBS
CBS
News: Rare Film
Film
of Ronald Reagan, James Dean
James Dean
Unearthed (April 21, 2010)

Further reading[edit]

William L. Bird, Jr. "Better Living": Advertising, Media, and the New Vocabulary of Business Leadership, 1935–1955. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1999.

External links[edit]

General Electric
General Electric
Theater on IMDb General Electric
General Electric
Theater at TV.com Article on GE Theater from the Museum of Broadcast Communications Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio
Radio
Logs: General Electric
General Electric
Theater General Electric
General Electric
Theater, Museum of Broadcast Communications Company Voice Advertising, Museum of Broadcast Communications General Electric
General Electric
Theater at CVTA

v t e

General Electric

Subsidiaries and divisions

Current

GE Additive GE Aviation GE Capital

GE Capital
GE Capital
Aviation Services GE Energy
GE Energy
Financial Services

GE Digital

GE Intelligent Platforms GE Measurement & Control Solutions

GE Healthcare GE Lighting GE Power

GE Jenbacher GE Waukesha

GE Renewable Energy

GE Hydro GE Wind Energy

GE Transportation Baker Hughes, a GE Company Current, powered by GE GE Global Research

Former and defunct

Australian Guarantee Corporation1 Canadian General Electric1 Compagnia Generale di Elettricità2 Electric Bond and Share Company2 GE Americom2 GE Aerospace2 GE Appliances2 GE Betz2 GE Capital
GE Capital
IT Solutions2 GECIS2 GE Capital
GE Capital
Rail Services2

GE Capital
GE Capital
Rail Services (Europe)

GE Commercial Finance GE Energy1 GE Equipment Services2 GE Home & Business Solutions2 GE Industrial2 GE Oil and Gas1 GE Infrastructure1 GEIS2 Genesis Lease2 GE Security2 Genworth Financial2 Montgomery Ward2 Synchrony Financial2 Tungsram1 Whatman1

Joint ventures and shareholdings

Current

CFM International (50%) Engine Alliance
Engine Alliance
(50%) GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
(60%) GE Honda Aero Engines
GE Honda Aero Engines
(50%) Penske Truck Leasing Prolec GE
Prolec GE
(49.99%) TBS GB

Former

Alco-GE
Alco-GE
(1940–53) NBC
NBC
(1926–30, 1986–2004) NBCUniversal, LLC (2004–13)

Products and brands

Aircraft engines General Comprehensive Operating System GEnie Locomotives Mazda Reciprocating engines Trivection oven Tungsram

People

Founders

Charles A. Coffin Thomas Edison Edwin J. Houston J. P. Morgan Elihu Thomson

Other

James Cash Jr. Ann Fudge Susan Hockfield Jeffrey R. Immelt Andrea Jung Rochelle Lazarus Sam Nunn Roger Penske Douglas A. Warner III Jack Welch Bob Wright

Places and facilities

GE Building General Electric
General Electric
Building Nela Park Realty Plot Research Laboratory River Works Specialty Control Plant Switchgear Plant Welch Technology Centre

Sponsorship

Carousel of Progress (1967-73, 1975-85)

Other

Edison Engineering Development Program GE True The General Electric
General Electric
Concert General Electric
General Electric
EdgeLab General Electric
General Electric
Theater General Imaging Thomson-Houston Electric Company Timeline United States v. General Electric
General Electric
Co. Phoebus cartel

1Now integrated into other GE divisions or business groupings 2Sold or spun off

Category Commons

v t e

Gore Vidal

Plays

Visit to a Small Planet
Visit to a Small Planet
(1957) The Best Man (1960) Weekend (1968) An Evening with Richard Nixon (1972)

Novels

Williwaw (1946) The City and the Pillar
The City and the Pillar
(1948) Dark Green, Bright Red (1950) Messiah (1954) Julian (1964) Washington, D.C. (1967) Myra Breckinridge
Myra Breckinridge
(1968) Two Sisters (1970) Burr (1973) Myron (1974) 1876 (1976) Kalki (1978) Creation (1981) Duluth (1983) Lincoln (1984) Empire (1987) Hollywood (1990) Live from Golgotha: The Gospel According to Gore Vidal
Gore Vidal
(1992) The Smithsonian Institution (1998) The Golden Age (2000)

Screenplays

The Catered Affair
The Catered Affair
(1956) I Accuse! (1958) The Left Handed Gun
The Left Handed Gun
(1958) The Scapegoat (1959) Ben Hur (1959) (uncredited) Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) The Best Man (1964) Is Paris Burning? (1966) Last of the Mobile Hot Shots
Last of the Mobile Hot Shots
(1970) Caligula (1979) Dress Gray (1986) The Sicilian (1987) (uncredited) Billy the Kid (1989) The Palermo Connection
The Palermo Connection
(1989)

Teleplays

The Telltale Clue Danger Climax! Omnibus Suspense The Best of Broadway Goodyear Television Playhouse Studio One NBC
NBC
Matinee Theater General Electric
General Electric
Theater NBC
NBC
Sunday Showcase Ford Startime

People

Eugene Luther Vidal
Eugene Luther Vidal
(father) Nina Auchincloss Straight (half-sister) Burr Steers
Burr Steers
(nephew) Hugh Auchincloss Ste

.