Straight Arrow

Vintage Bakelite Radio

On what was surely a six month test run, the Straight Arrow radio program was first broadcast from May 1948 to January 1949 on KHJ in Los Angeles, a 5000-watt regional radio station owned jointly by the Don Lee Network and the Mutual Network. The Don Lee Network was a 12-station Southern California network while Mutual had stations all over the United States. In February 1949 the Straight Arrow radio series cut its KHJ Californian connections and went nation-wide on the Mutual Network alone. The show was broadcast twice a week - Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5 p.m. Generally, the five o'clock time slot was pretty much monopolized by adult soap operas and broadcasters were surprised when the children's program Straight Arrow made significant gains in the struggle for listeners. National broadcasts of the Straight Arrow radio series on Mutual continued until June 1951.

Howard Culver played Straight Arrow (and his alter ego, Steve Adams). Fred Howard played Packy McCloud and Gwen Delano played the ranch housekeeper, Mesquite Molly. Frank Bingman was the announcer-narrator although it seems that Eddy Weet may have taken over this role towards the end of the series. Sheldon Stark was the scriptwriter for all 292 shows. Stark had had long experience writing radio adventure tales. He had spent ten years at WXYZ in Detroit writing episodes for The Green Hornet and Challenge Of The Yukon.

Straight Arrow radio programs had a standardized introduction, effectively bringing together music, rhythm, verbal imagery and emotionally charged symbolism to a unified whole.

Nabisco is the name to know.
For a breakfast, you can't beat
Eat Nabisco Shredded Wheat!"

This advertisement or jingle was repeated with a very rhythmic intonation, simulating the sound of an indian drum. An organ playing in the background reinforces this rhythm.

"Keen eyes fixed on a flying target... a gleaming arrow set against a rawhide string... a strong bow bent almost to the breaking point... and then... "

At this point organ music created a distinctive and highly effective set of sounds that simulated the release of the bow string, an arrow in flight and finally the thud of the arrow hitting its target.


"Nabisco Shredded Wheat presents Straight Arrow, a thrilling new adventure story from the exciting days of the Old West!"

"To friends and neighbors alike, Steve Adams appeared to be nothing more than the young owner of the Broken Bow cattle spread, but when danger threatened innocent people, and when evildoers plotted against justice, then Steve Adams, rancher, disappeared. And in his place came a mysterious, stalwart Indian, wearing the dress and war paint of a Comanche, riding the great golden palomino Fury. Galloping out of the darkness to take up the cause of law and order throughout the West comes the legendary figure of..."


The programs were performed live and few seem to have been recorded. The final episode of the series, "The Long Summer," performed on June 21, 1951, can serve as an example of the Straight Arrow radio series.