The Hitchhiker (Orson Welles) Aired June 21, 1946
The Mercury Theater was a theatre company founded in New York City by Orson Welles and John Houseman. They had initial success in the theatre, then went to radio, and one of the most notable radio broadcasts of all time, The War of the Worlds. Welles had already worked extensively in radio drama, playing the Shadow for a year, and directing a seven-part adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. In 1938, he was offered a chance to direct his own weekly, hour-long radio series, initially called First Person Singular, then The Mercury Theater on the Air. Welles insisted his Mercury company--actors and crew--be involved in the radio series. This was an unprecedented and expensive request, especially for one so young as Welles. He won out, however, and went on to produce some of the finest radio drama of any era. The Mercury Theater on the Air was an hour-long dramatic radio program which began in the summer of 1938 on the CBS radio network.