Ford Theatre (spelled Ford Theater for the radio version) is a radio and television anthology series broadcast in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s. At various times, the television was to appear on all of the then-three major U.S television networks, while the radio version also was broadcast on two separate networks and on two separate coasts. Ford Theatre was named for its sponsor, the Ford Motor Company, which had an earlier success with its concert music series, The Ford Sunday Evening Hour (1934-42).
Ford Theater as a radio series lasted only for two seasons. It broadcast its first season from New York City on NBC with such actors as Ed Begley, Shirley Booth, Gary Merrill, Everett Sloane, and Vicki Vola. This season ran from October 5, 1947 to June 27, 1948. Due to poor ratings, Ford moved the show to Hollywood and CBS for the second season, where top Hollywood actors headed the casts. This season lasted from October 8, 1948 to July 1, 1949, where it received much higher ratings. However, with television arising as a popular season, Ford decided to end its radio show and focus solely on television.
The first Ford Theatre on U.S. television appeared on October 17, 1948, near the dawn of regularly-scheduled prime time network programming. It was an hour-long drama, broadcast, as was most television of the era, live. This series used primarily Broadway actors. The program began as a monthly series, switching to bi-weekly a year later, in alternation on Friday nights at 9 pm Eastern time with the 54th Street Revue. During this period, programming included adaptations of Little Women, with June Lockhart and Kim Hunter, and One Sunday Afternoon, with Burgess Meredith and Hume Cronyn. During the following season, the final one for the program on CBS, the alternation, in the same time slot, was with Maganavox Theater.
A half-hour, filmed Ford Theatre returned to the airwaves on NBC for the 1951-52 season on Thursday nights at 9:...