Mercury Theatre On The Air - Audio

Mercury Theatre On The Air

(1 customer review)


Literary dramatizations bring to life classic works of literature under the famous direction of Orson Welles. For use with literature courses or as a standalone resource.


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

These eighteen, hour-long literary dramatizations bring to life classic works of literature under the famous direction of Orson Welles. Just a few months after these episodes aired, Welles had achieved front-page notoriety for his “War of the Worlds” broadcast, which secured Campbell’s soup as a sponsor.

Included in this download:

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

The Mercury Theatre On The Air was a weekly series of live radio dramas created by Orson Welles and performed by his Mercury Theatre repertory company between July and December, 1938. Music for the show was composed or arranged by Bernard Herrmann.

Additional information




18 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. Dracula, Bram Stoker. Originally broadcast 7/11/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (Dr. John Seward, Count Dracula), Elizabeth Fuller (Lucy Westenra). George Coulouris (Jonathan Harker), Agnes Moorehead (Mina Harker), Martin Gabel (Dr. Van Helsing), Ray Collins (Russian Captain), Karl Swenson (Mate).
  2. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson. Originally broadcast 7/18/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (adult Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver[10]:141), Arthur Anderson (Jim Hawkins), George Coulouris (Captain Smollett), Ray Collins (Ben Gunn), Agnes Moorehead (Mrs. Hawkins), Eustace Wyatt (Squire Trelawney), Alfred Shirley (Blind Pew); with William Alland, Stephen Fox, Richard Wilson.
  3. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens. Originally broadcast 7/25/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (Dr. Alexandre Manette, Sydney Carton), Mary Taylor (Lucie Manette), Eustace Wyatt (Clerk), Edgar Barrier (Charles Darnay), Martin Gabel (Mr. Jarvis Lorry), Frank Readick (Ernest Defarge), Betty Garde (Madame Defarge), Erskine Sanford (the President), Ray Collins (Prosecutor),[9] Kenneth Delmar (Counselor for the Defense).
  4. The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan. Originally broadcast 8/1/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (Richard Hannay, Marmaduke Jopley).
  5. Three Short Stories: “My Little Boy” by Carl Ewald, “The Open Window” by Saki and “I’m a Fool” by Sherwood Anderson. Originally broadcast 8/8/1938. Cast: Orson Welles, Edgar Barrier, Ray Collins, others.
  6. Abraham Lincoln, play by John Drinkwater. Originally broadcast 8/15/1938. Cast: Orson Welles, Ray Collins, George Coulouris, Karl Swenson.
  7. The Affairs Of Anatol, Arthur Schnitzler. Originally broadcast 8/22/1938. Cast: Orson Welles, Alice Frost, Arlene Francis, Helen Lewis, Ray Collins.
  8. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas. Originally broadcast 8/29/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (Edmond Dantès), Ray Collins (Abbé Faria), George Coulouris (Monsieur Morrel), Edgar Barrier (de Villefort), Eustace Wyatt (Caderousse), Paul Stewart (Paul Dantés) Sidney Smith (Mondego), Richard Wilson (the Officer), Virginia Welles, as Anna Stafford (Mercédès), William Alland (Merchant).
  9. The Man Who Was Thursday, G.K. Chesterton. Originally broadcast 9/5/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (Gabriel Syme), Eustace Wyatt (President Sunday), Ray Collins (the Professor), George Coulouis (Mr. Lucian Gregory), Edgar Barrier (the Marquis), Paul Stewart (Gogol), Joseph Cotten (Dr. Bull), Erskine Sanford (Secretary), Alan Devitt (Witherspoon), Virginia Welles, as Anna Stafford (Rosamond).
  10. Julius Caesar, William Shakespeare. Originally broadcast 9/11/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (Brutus), H. V. Kaltenborn (Commentator), Martin Gabel (Cassius), George Coulouris (Antony), Joseph Holland (Caesar).
  11. Sherlock Holmes, play by William Gillette. Originally broadcast 9/25/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (Sherlock Holmes), Ray Collins (Dr. Watson), Mary Taylor (Alice Faulkner), Brenda Forbes (Madge Larrabee), Edgar Barrier (James Larrabee), Morgan Farley (Inspector Forman), Richard Wilson (Jim Craigin), Eustace Wyatt (Professor Moriarty).
  12. Hell On Ice, Edward Ellsberg. Originally broadcast 10/9/1938. Cast: Orson Welles, Al Swenson, Bud Collyer, Dan Seymour (announcer), Frank Readick, Howard Smith, Joseph Cotten, Ray Collins, Thelma Schnee, William Alland, Bernard Herrmann (composer, conductor), Davidson Taylor (production supervisor).
  13. Seventeen, Booth Tarkington. Originally broadcast 10/16/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (William Sylvanus Baxter), Betty Garde (Mrs. Baxter), Ray Collins (Mr. Parcher), Mary Wickes (Mrs. Parcher), Joseph Cotten (Genesis), Ruth Ford (Lola Pratt, the Baby Talk Girl), Marilyn Erskine (Jane), Elliott Reid (Cousin George), Pattee Chapmen (Rannie), Morgan Farley (Joe Bullitt).
  14. Around The World In Eighty Days, Jules Verne. Originally broadcast 10/23/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (Phineas Fogg), Ray Collins (Mr. Fix), Edgar Barrier (Passepartout), Eustace Wyatt (Ralph), Frank Readick (Stuart), Arlene Francis (Princess Aouda), Stefan Schnabel (Parsee), Al Swenson (the Captain), William Alland (the Officer).
  15. War Of The Worlds, H.G. Wells. Originally broadcast 10/30/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (producer, director, host, performer: Professor Richard Pierson), Dan Seymour (announcer), Paul Stewart (associate producer, adaptor, performer: Studio announcer, Third Studio Announcer), Frank Readick (Reporter Carl Phillips, Radio operator 2X2L), Kenny Delmar (Policeman at farm, Captain Lansing, Secretary of the Interior, Bayonne radio operator), Ray Collins (Farmer Wilmuth, Harry McDonald the radio VP, Rooftop radio announcer), Carl Frank (Second studio announcer, Fascist stranger), Richard Wilson (Brig. General Montgomery Smith, Officer 22nd Field Artillery, Langham Field), William Alland (Meridian room announcer, Field artillery gunner), Stefan Schnabel (Field artillery observer), William Herz (Newark radio operator, Radio operator 8X3R), Howard Smith (Bomber Lt. Voght), Bernard Herrmann (composer, conductor), John Houseman (producer, adaptor, script editor), Howard Koch (adaptor), Davidson Taylor (production supervisor), Ora Nichols (sound effects), Ray Kremer (sound effects), Jim Rogan (sound effects), John Dietz (sound engineer).
  16. Heart Of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, and Life With Father, Clarence Day. Originally broadcast 11/6/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (Author, Ernest Kurtz), Ray Collins (Marlow), Alfred Shirley (Accountant), George Coulouris (Assistant Manager), Edgar Barrier (Second Manager), William Alland (Agent), Virginia Welles, as Anna Stafford (Kurtz’s Intended Bride), Frank Readick (Tchiatosov). LWF Cast: Orson Welles (Father), Mildred Natwick (Mother), Mary Wickes (Employment Office Manager), Alice Frost (Margaret), Arthur Anderson (young Clarence Day).
  17. A Passenger To Bali, Ellis St. Joseph. Originally broadcast 11/13/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (Reverend Dr. Ralph Wilkes), Everett Sloane, Stefan Schnabel, Guy Spaull.
  18. The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens. Originally broadcast 11/20/1938. Cast: Orson Welles (Sergeant Buzzfuzz, Mr. Jingle), Ray Collins (Samuel Pickwick), Alfred Shirley (Augustus Snodgrass), Frank Readick, Elliott Reid, Edgar Barrier, Eustace Wyatt, Brenda Forbes, others.

1 review for Mercury Theatre On The Air

  1. Patrick (verified owner)

    I was a bit disappointed with this. The audio was terrible and due to that I could not follow the stories, at least that is what I am blaming it on. We only listened to the first two. I would not recommend this for that reason and the fact that you can get it for free at other sites.

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