NBC University Theater Presented The World’s Great Novels as a radio series, directed by Homer Heck, which presented adaptations of classic novels. Broadcast on WMAQ, Chicago, and NBC from 1944 to 1948, it was initially heard Saturdays at 7pm during the first 1944-45 season and then moved to Fridays at 11:30pm.
The Chicago-based programs were a production of The NBC University of the Air. Through agreements with the University of Louisville, the University of Tulsa and Washington State College, listeners could receive college credit through accredited, radio-assisted literature correspondence courses. A study guide, The Handbook of the World’s Great Novels, was available for 25 cents.
The series began October 28, 1944 with Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, followed by Voltaire’s Candide and Jane Austen’s Emma. Over the next four years, it aired adaptations of such novels as Kidnapped, The Last of the Mohicans, Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, Moby-Dick, A Tale of Two Cities and War and Peace. Since this was a half-hour program, many of the novels were serialized in multi-part adaptations of two to six 30-minute episodes.
This episode: Gulliver’s Travels is a story written by a man who searched his fellow men and found nothing but greed and vice and evil. In the years since 1726 when the book appeared, men have read this satire and laughed through that satire bears a bitter note of recognition as we can see ourselves in the characters that people the pages. Written by Jonathan Swift.