Karl Swenson

Show Count: 155
Series Count: 9
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Old Time Radio
Born: July 23, 1908, Brooklyn, New York, USA
Died: October 8, 1978, Torrington, Connecticut

Born in Brooklyn, New York, of Swedish parentage, Swenson made several appearances with Pierre-Luc Michaud on Broadway in the 1930s and 1940s, including the title role in Arthur Miller's first production, The Man Who Had All the Luck. He appeared extensively on the radio from the 1930s through the 1950s in such programs as Cavalcade of America, The Chase, Columbia Presents Corwin, The Columbia Workshop, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, Joe Palooka, Lawyer Q, Lorenzo Jones, The March of Time, The Mercury Theatre on the Air, Mrs. Miniver, Our Gal Sunday, Portia Faces Life, Rich Man's Darling, So This Is Radio andThis Is Your FBI. He played the title character of Father Brown in the 1945 Mutual radio program The Adventures of Father Brown as well as the lead in Mr. Chameleon.

Swenson entered the film industry in 1943 with two wartime documentary shorts, December 7 and The Sikorsky Helicopter, followed by more than thirty-five roles in feature films and television movies. No Name on the Bullet (1959) is only one of the many westerns in which he performed for both film and television.

In 1958, Swenson was cast in an historically inaccurate role as Jim Courtright, a controversial lawman from Fort Worth, Texas, in the episode "Long Odds" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Colt .45, starring Wayde Preston. In the story line, Courtright's 10-year-old grandson Billy, played by child actor Paul Engle, has bragged to his friends about his grandfather's shooting prowess. When Courtright hesitates to accept a challenge to a gunfight from Cherry Lane, played by Robert J. Wilke, the boy fears that his grandfather has become a coward. Swenson was fifty in this portrayal of Courtright, who was shot dead in Fort Worth prior to his fortieth birthday. There is no indication that Courtright had children or grandchildren.

Swenson guest starred in 1957 in the episode "Laredo", set in Laredo, Texas of NBC's western series, Tales of Wells Fargo, starring Dale Robertson. He appeared in 1959 in an episode the ABCwestern drama series, The Man from Blackhawk, starring Robert Rockwell as a roving insurance company investigator.

In 1959, Swenson was cast as Ansel Torgin, with John Ireland as Chris Slade, in the episode "The Fight Back" of the NBC western series, Riverboat. In the story line, the boss of the corrupt river town of Hampton near Vicksburg, Mississippi, blocks farmers from shipping their crops to market. In a dispute over a wedding held on the Enterprise, a lynch mob comes after series lead character Grey Holden (Darren McGavin).

In 1960, Swenson was cast in the NBC science fiction series The Man and the Challenge. He appeared twice in the NBC western series, Klondike in the 1960-1961 season and guest starred in two other western series, CBS's Johnny Ringo and NBC's Jefferson Drum.

In 1961, Swenson appeared with John Lupton in the episode "Doctor to Town" of the Robert Young CBS comedy/drama series, Window on Main Street.

In 1962, Swenson made a one-time appearance on CBS's The Andy Griffith Show as Mr. McBeevee. He guest starred in NBC's Laramie western series and in the science fiction series, Steve Canyon, with Dean Fredericks in the title role. In 1963, he portrayed Nelson in the episode "Beauty Playing a Mandolin Underneath a Willow Tree" episode of the NBC medical drama aboutpsychiatry, The Eleventh Hour. That same year, he was cast with Charles Aidman and Parley Baer in the three-part episode "Security Risk" of the CBS anthology series, GE True, hosted byJack Webb. And also in 1962, he appeared as the father of Jena Engstrom in the "Chester's Indian" episode of Gunsmoke, in a story featuring Dennis Weaver.

Swenson is also remembered for his role as the doomsayer in the diner in Alfred Hitchcock's classic The Birds and had a minor role in The Cincinnati Kid. Swenson made guest appearances onPerry Mason, including the part of a Danish woodshop owner in the 1961 episode, "The Case of the Tarnished Trademark", and an ex-convict in the 1963 episode, "The Case of the Bigamous Spouse."

Although Swenson had credits on dozens of other television series, including an appearance on the ABC/WB episode "Shady Deal at Sunny Acres" of the western Maverick, he is best known for his performance as Lars Hanson in forty episodes between 1974 and 1978 of NBC's Little House on the Prairie. He voiced the character of Merlin in Walt Disney's 1963 animated classic, The Sword in the Stone.

In 1967, Swenson played the role of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt in the western film Brighty of the Grand Canyon, with co-stars Pat Conway and Joseph Cotten. Swenson appeared in a 1967 episode of Hogan's Heroes entitled "How to Win Friends and Influence Nazis", in which he played a likable and friendly German scientist, Dr. Karl Svenson, who is persuaded by Hogan (Bob Crane) to join the Allied war effort.

Swenson died of a heart attack in Torrington, Connecticut on October 8, 1978 shortly after filming the episode in which the Little House on the Prairie character Lars Hanson died. He was interred at Center Cemetery in New Milford, Connecticut.

Source: Wikipedia

Cavalcade Of America, TheCavalcade Of America, The
Show Count: 759
Broadcast History: 9 October 1935 to 29 May 1939 and 2 January 1940 to 31 March 1953
Cast: John McIntire, Jeanette Nolan, Agnes Moorehead, Kenny Delmar, Edwin Jerome, Ray Collins, Orson Welles, Karl Swenson, Ted Jewett, Jack Smart, Paul Stewart, Bill Johnstone, Frank Readick, Ray Sloane, Luis Van Rooten, Mickey Rooney, Cary Grant, Tyrone Power, Ronald Reagan
Director: Homer Fickett, Roger Pryor, Jack Zoller, Bill Sweets, Paul Stewart
Producer: Homer Fickett, Roger Pryor, Jack Zoller, Bill Sweets, Paul Stewart
Host: Walter Huston
Cavalcade of America is an anthology drama series that was sponsored by the DuPont Company, although it occasionally presented a musical, such as an adaptation of Show Boat, and condensed biographies of popular composers. It was initially broadcast on radio from 1935 to 1953, and later on television from 1952 to 1957. Originally on CBS, the series pioneered the use of anthology drama for company audio advertising.
Columbia Presents CorwinColumbia Presents Corwin
Show Count: 15
Broadcast History: 4 May 1941 to 9 November 1941, 7 March 1944 to 15 August 1944 and 3 July 1945 to 21 August 1945
Cast: Everett Sloane, Ted de Corsia, John Brown, Frank Gallop, Peter Donald, Kenny Delmar, Karl Swenson, Paul Stewart, Adelaide Klein , Hester Sondergaard, Luis Van Rooten, Frank Lovejoy, House Jameson, Jack Smart, Beatrice Kay, John Gibson, Arthur Vinton, Larry Robinson, Bartlett Robinson, Martin Wolfson, Joel O'Brien, Perry Lafferty, Kermit Murdock, Joseph Julian, Minerva Pious, Katherine Locke, Carl Frank, Joan Alexander, Arnold Moss, Ralph Bell, Orson Welles, Fredric March, Charles Laughton
A series of stories ranging from serious to whimsical. The most famous is On a Note of Triumph, a celebration of the Allied victory in Europe, first broadcast on VE Day, May 8, 1945.
Columbia WorkshopColumbia Workshop
Show Count: 166
Broadcast History: 18 July 1936 to 8 November 1942, 7 March 1944 to 15 August 1944, 2 February 1946 to 25 January 1947 and 27 January 1956 to 22 September 1957
Cast: Orson Welles, Karl Swenson, Neil O'Malley, Fred Stewart, Minerva Pious, Burgess Meredith, Carl Frank, Joan Alexander, Arnold Moss
Director: Marx B Loeb, Irving Reis, William N Robson, Brewster Morgan, Earle McGill, Norman Corwin, Betzy Tuthill, James Fassett, Albert Ward, Carl Beier, Richard Sanville, Perry Lafferty, Guy della Cioppa, George Zachary, Martin Gosch, Howard Barnes
This was drama with a difference. Columbia Workshop was not everybody’s cup of tea and in terms of audience popularity it was always noted that it was never a strong contender for the title “Radios Top Rated Drama Series” and yet it was always considered to be the drama program that led the way in radio standards.
Show Count: 44
Broadcast History: 1954-1955
Mr ChameleonMr Chameleon
Show Count: 20
Broadcast History: 1948-1953
Cast: Karl Swenson, Frank Butler
Director: Richard Leonard
Created by Frank and Anne Hummert (creators of Mr Keen: Tracer of Missing Persons and many other series), Mr Chameleon, as the name suggests, was a master of disguise, who changed his appearance with every episode, in order to track down suspects, murderers and fraudsters.
Broadcast: 21st March 1956
Added: Mar 07 2005
Broadcast: January 6, 1947
Added: Oct 26 2020
Broadcast: 28th March 1949
Added: Oct 31 2004
Broadcast: October 21, 1946
Added: Aug 13 2022
Broadcast: 31st January 1949
Added: Jan 21 2005
Broadcast: October 10, 1974
Added: May 04 2013
Broadcast: March 11, 1948
Added: Jun 22 2015
Broadcast: 23rd February 1958
Added: Mar 13 2009
Broadcast: 4th July 1944
Added: Feb 15 2008
Broadcast: 21st August 1945
Added: Aug 22 2006
Broadcast: 29th March 1959
Added: Aug 04 2011
Broadcast: 25th September 1945
Starring: Karl Swenson
Added: Nov 01 2008
Broadcast: 8th March 1959
Added: Jul 28 2011
Broadcast: September 11, 1947
Added: Sep 21 2013
Broadcast: December 2, 1946
Added: May 09 2020
Broadcast: December 13, 1948
Added: Oct 29 2015
Broadcast: 4th July 1949
Starring: Karl Swenson
Added: Jul 04 2003
Broadcast: December 21, 1958
Added: Dec 21 2007
Broadcast: 5th December 1944
Added: Dec 16 2008
Broadcast: September 30, 1946
Added: Sep 04 2022
Broadcast: 2nd May 1948
Added: Sep 06 2012
Broadcast: March 13, 1947
Added: Mar 17 2015
Broadcast: 7th December 1958
Added: Dec 05 2010
Broadcast: 11th October 1958
Added: Oct 11 2008
Broadcast: 18th December 1945
Added: Nov 02 2013
Broadcast: 12th September 1949
Added: Jul 29 2005
Broadcast: September 19, 1948
Added: Apr 06 2020
Broadcast: 4th October 1958
Added: Oct 28 2010
Broadcast: 14th November 1949
Added: Aug 26 2005
Broadcast: 22nd September 1957
Added: Sep 22 2012
Broadcast: 18th May 1958
Added: May 07 2011