This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.
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RADIO’S “LAND OF THE LOST”
Good Clean Fun Under The Water
by Jack French © 2011
(From Radio Recall, April 2011)
A delightful undersea fantasy program for children debuted on ABC on January 8, 1944. It was called Land of the Lost and its creator, writer, and narrator was Isabel Manning Hewson, a native of Baltimore. MD.
This half hour Saturday morning show told of the adventures of Billy and his sister, Isabel, who went under the sea where a talking fish, Red Lantern, guided them around an ocean bottom ruled by King Find-All. There the youngsters would discover all lost toys (and many other lost items) all in perfect working order.
Raymond Ives portrayed Billy while Betty Jane Tyler was the voice of Isabel. Over the years, three different actors played Red Lantern, including Art Carney. The series was also on NBC Blue briefly and aired two years on Mutual. Hewson’s scripts bristled with puns. The characters communicated by “shellaphone”, saw movies by “Samuel Goldswim,” drank “salted milk shakes,” and ate seanut butter sandwiches while in a “sand bar.”
The radio series spawned a comic book and nine issues were published in the 1946-48 period. Land of the Lost fan clubs were formed throughout the country, possibly as many as 2,000, whose juvenile members found “lost” scrap iron for the war effort. The radio show went off the air in July 1948; its last season was sponsored by Bosco chocolate drink. Ten audio copies of the radio show survived and are in circulation today.
Famous Films released three animated cartoons based on the show, each 8 minutes in length and the last one was released in 1951. This trio of animated films were voiced by OTR greats, including Jackson Beck as Red Lantern and Mae Questel as Isabel.