The mid-30s was an era in radio of forgetable and forgotten 15 minute syndicated radio programs. They were produced, put on transcription disks, and sold to a small number of stations with no name stars. Even those who research the shows may have little information as to where they actually originated or who starred in them.
While some shows are easy to forget, there are some good programs from this era that have survived as Diamonds in the Rough. (Pun Intended.)
I first learned of the Diamond Dramas series from the Digital Deli‘s definitive log. It was a series of twenty-six programs produced between 1926 and 1927 and first aired in 1934 over KDYL in Salt Lake City.
Each installment included a diamond as part of the plot and was based on actual events in the history of great diamonds including the Mogul Diamond. The stories were tightly packed with a mix of romance, intrigue, and drama. Each 15 minute episode contained 4 minutes of Music (meant for local commercial fills) and an eleven minute self-contained story. The majority of the stories involved royalty: Kings, Queens, Empires, and a mix of love, hatred, and the lust for power. The program had a tremendous scope with episodes set in Russia, India, France, Hungary, and England. Among those historic personages featured are Napoleon, Mary Queen of Scots, Marie Antoinette, the Marquis De Lafayette, a couple of King Louies, and Catherine the Great.
Some of my favorites in this series:
The Mighty Akbar:
The Mighty Akbar rules India and possesses the great mogul diamond.Despite his best efforts, his wife doesn’t love him and would like to leave him. She plans to escape to her father’s people with Akbar’s diamond. The story takes a surprising turn
The Queen’s Diamond Charm:
Mary Queen of Scots is in France where Charles reigns but is a weakling controlled by his mother. Can Mary outsmart Charles’ mother to save the life of a kinsman as well as her own?
The King’s Astrologer:
The cynical astrologer of the superstitious and ruthless King Louie XI tries to get the King to surrender a valuable diamond to him. Louie decides have the astrologer killed instead. Another great twist ending to this one.
The Diamond Necklace:
Napoloeon III offers a young woman diamonds and jewels, and everything but marriage.
25 of the 26 episodes of the Diamond Dramas are available at the Internet Archive.
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