William N Robson

Show Count: 133
Series Count: 8
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Old Time Radio
Born: October 8, 1906, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: April 10, 1995, Alexandria, Virginia, United States

William N. Robson (October 8, 1906 – April 10, 1995) was a director and producer of radio programs.


Robson was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Yale University, graduating in 1928. Upon graduation he worked as a screenwriter forParamount Pictures, receiving screen credit for the 1933 film Private Jones.

He spent most of his career involved with radio. He joined CBS in 1936. In 1943, he won two George Foster Peabody Awards, for the drama seriesMan Behind the Gun and the documentary Open Letter on Race Hatred. He also produced the Columbia Workshop, Suspense, Escape, Luke Slaughter of Tombstone and Doorway to Life. He additionally contributed writing and direction to these projects.

On June 22, 1950, a pamphlet called Red Channels appeared, focusing on the field of broadcasting. Robson was among 151 entertainment industry professionals (erroneously) named in the context of "Red Fascists and their sympathizers". The Red Channels listing for Robson contained four justifications. (1) in 1942 he had been sponsor of an Artists Front to Win the War organized at a meeting in Carnegie Hall; (2) in December 1946 he had made a speech in Los Angeles, protesting Encroachments on freedom of expression; (3) in 1948 he had signed with other artists a "We Are For [Progressive Party candidate Henry] Wallace" advertisement in the New York Times; (4) he was listed as an "associate" on the masthead of the Hollywood Quarterly, a scholarly journal of film, radio, and television published by the University of California Press. This guilt-by-association would affect Robson's career over the next decade.

During the 1950s, he wrote television dramas. In 1961, he joined the Voice of America where he produced documentaries, among them New York, New York on which Garry Moore interviewed celebrities visiting the city, and 200 Years Ago Tonight, a series about the American Revolutionary Warproduced during the bicentennial year of 1976. His time at the VOA won him four additional Peabody Awards.

With regard to his radio career, Robson would enthusiastically reflect to Dick Bertell in 1976, “The great period of radio was from 1937, '38 really, through the war. It was only 7 years—the golden age of radio. 'Suspense' and 'Escape'—those are the things one does later because one has all the skills at his fingertips. At this time we were trying to find out how to do it. . . We were learning skills, we were sharpening and honing our abilities...when Irving Reis did 'the Fall of the City' in the spring of '37 [it was written] by Archibald MacLeish—one of America's outstanding poets—a man who was so impressed by the medium of radio that he submitted to Irving Reis and the Columbia Workshop a first play for radio. And who directed that? Irving Reis with all of the director staff of CBS assisting him. .Earle McGill, Brewster Morgan, myself, Bill Spier all assisting. Orson Welles as narrator, Burgess Meredith as chief orator. Names that we conjure with now that were just kids then, just kids. That was the time."

Robson died at his home in Alexandria, Virginia, due to complications of Alzheimer's disease on April 10, 1995. He was survived by his wife Shirley, his three sons, and one grandson.

Source: Wikipedia

Beyond TomorrowBeyond Tomorrow
Show Count: 2
Broadcast History: 5 April 1950 to 13 April 1950
Cast: Everett Sloane, Bret Morrison, Frank Lovejoy
Director: Mitchell Grayson, William N Robson
Producer: Mitchell Grayson, William N Robson
Host: John Campbell Jr
Calling All CarsCalling All Cars
Show Count: 116
Broadcast History: 29 November 1933 to 8 September 1939
Cast: Charles Bickford
Director: William N Robson
CBS Radio WorkshopCBS Radio Workshop
Show Count: 76
Broadcast History: 27 January 1956 to 22 September 1957
Cast: Various, Aldus Huxley, William Conrad, Parley Baer, Lurene Tuttle, Jack Kruschen, Joseph Kearns, Vic Perrin, Sam Edwards, Gloria Henry, Charlotte Lawrence
Director: Jack Johnstone, William N Robson, Dee Engelbach, Elliott Lewis, Antony Ellis
Producer: William Froug
The CBS Radio Workshop was an experimental dramatic radio anthology series that aired on CBS from January 27, 1956, until September 22, 1957. Subtitled “radio’s distinguished series to man’s imagination,” it was a revival of the earlier Columbia Experimental Laboratory (1931), Columbia Experimental Dramatic Laboratory (1932) and Columbia Workshop broadcasts by CBS from 1936 to 1943, and used some of the same writers and directors employed on the earlier series'.
Columbia WorkshopColumbia Workshop
Show Count: 168
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.
Life With LuigiLife With Luigi
Show Count: 146
Broadcast History: 21 September 1948 to 3 March 1953
Sponsor: Wrigley’s Gum
Cast: J. Carrol Naish, Alan Reed, Jody Gilbert, Gil Stratton Jr., Mary Shipp, Hans Conried, Joe Forte, Ken Peters
Director: William N Robson, Mac Benoff
Producer: Cy Howard
Broadcast: February 5, 1950
Added: May 24 2013
Broadcast: September 8, 1950
Added: May 21 2013