Mercury Summer Theatre on the Air

Mercury Summer Theatre On The Air


Powerful radio dramatizations of classic and contemporary works in the last radio drama series that Orson Welles would direct. For use with literature courses or as a standalone resource.


Compass Classroom is delighted to present The Mercury Summer Theatre On The Air for use with any literature course or as a standalone resource for your homeschool.

These fifteen, 30 minute-long dramatizations bring to life classic and contemporary works. These would compose the last radio drama series that Orson Welles would direct. When he returned to the states permanently in the seventies, radio had lost much of its force as a popular medium.

Included in this download:

  • MP3 files tagged for use in iTunes or similar music database

The Mercury Summer Theatre On The Air was a weekly series of live radio dramas created by Orson Welles and performed by a reunion of many Mercury Theatre actors between June and September, 1946. Music for the show was composed or arranged by Bernard Herrmann.

Additional information




15 Dramatizations



Access the materials at “Downloadable Products” in your Compass Classroom store account, and unzip the file to a location on your hard drive.

Once the files are unzipped, you can play the files directly on your computer. Alternatively, you can upload the files to any device which will play .mp3s. If you use iTunes or a similar music database program, you can drag the unzipped folders to the program icon and they will organize automatically by disc, which corresponds to lesson in the curriculum.

These audio files were obtained in the public domain and are provided as-is. If you have questions, get help at

Episode List

  1. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, based on the musical Welles was then directing on Broadway. Originally broadcast 6/7/1946. Music by Cole Porter, lyrics by Noël Coward. Cast: Orson Welles (Fix), Arthur Margetson (Phileas Fogg), Larry Laurence (Passepartout), Mary Healy (Princess Aouda), Julie Warren (Molly Muggins).
  2. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Originally broadcast 6/14/1946. Cast: Orson Welles (Edmond Dantès), Julie Warren (Mercédès); with Stefan Schnabel, Guy Spaull, Brainerd Duffield.
  3. The Hitch-Hiker by Lucille Fletcher. Originally broadcast 6/21/1946. Cast: Orson Welles, Alice Frost.
  4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. Originally broadcast 6/28/1946. Cast: Orson Welles (Rochester), Alice Frost (Jane Eyre), Guy Spaull, Stefan Schnabel, Mary Healy, Abby Lewis.
  5. A Passenger to Bali by Ellis St. Joseph. Originally broadcast 7/5/1946.
  6. The Search for Henri Le Fevre by Lucille Fletcher. Originally broadcast 7/12/1946. Cast: Orson Welles, Mercedes McCambridge, Julie Warren, Brainerd Duffield.
  7. Life With Adam by Hugh Kemp. Originally broadcast 7/19/1946. Host: Orson Welles, presenting a comic radio play originally produced for Stage 46 in Toronto by Andrew Allen. Cast: Fletcher Markle (Adam Barneycastle), Grace Mathews (Eve), John Drainie (Chester), Betty Garde (Jenkins), Hedley Rainie (Waiter, Producer, others); with Patricia Loudry, Mercedes McCambridge.
  8. The Moat Farm Murder by Norman Corwin. Originally broadcast 7/26/1946. Cast: Orson Welles (Dougal), Mercedes McCambridge (Cecile).
  9. The Golden Honeymoon by Ring Lardner. Originally broadcast 8/2/1946. Cast: Julie Warren, Brainerd Duffield, Mercedes McCambridge, Mary Healy, Ted Osborne, Stefan Schnabel, Santos Ortega. Excerpts from Romeo and Juliet read by Orson Welles.
  10. Hell on Ice by Edward Ellsberg. Originally broadcast 8/9/1946. Cast: Orson Welles, John Brown, Elliott Reid, Byron Kane, Norman Field, Earle Ross, Lurene Tuttle.
  11. Abednego the Slave by Orson Welles and John Tucker Battle. Originally broadcast 8/16/1946. Cast: Orson Welles, Norman Field, Earle Ross, Joe Granby, Barbara Jean Wong, Carl Frank, Byron Kane, John Brown, William Johnstone, Elliott Reid, William Alland.
  12. I’m a Fool by Sherwood Anderson and The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. Originally broadcast 8/23/1946. Cast: Orson Welles, William Alland, Joe Granby, Elliott Reid, Norman Field, Carl Frank, others.
  13. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. Originally broadcast 8/30/1946. Cast: Orson Welles (Ahab), William Alland, Byron Kane, John Brown, Earle Ross, Elliott Reid.
  14. The Apple Tree by John Galsworthy. Originally broadcast 09/6/1946. Cast: Orson Welles, Norman Field, Mary Lansing, Lurene Tuttle, Jerry Farber, others.
  15. King Lear by William Shakespeare. Originally broadcast 09/13/1946. Cast: Orson Welles (King Lear), John Brown (Narrator); with Agnes Moorehead, Edgar Barrier, William Alland, Mary Lansing. Cynara, a poem by Ernest Dawson, read by Welles to conclude the Mercury Summer Theatre series.


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