More Cooper clippings

Title More Cooper clippings
Description from the Trib and elsewhere
Message Text More clippings, including all the Cooper-related Chicago Tribune items dug up so far, in chronological order. Some of these were posted out of order in another thread.


April 30, 1930 census data: employed as advertising copywriter; rents at 282 Bellevue Place in Cook County, Chicago, IL; lives with wife Emily C. (born in Illinois, age 24, father born in Scotland, mother born in New York) and divorced, unemployed brother-in-law Kenneth Beveridge (an advertising salesman, born in New York, age 36, married at age 28); the household has a radio set.

[June 29, 1933 Chicago Tribune]

... The cast of "Tales of the Foreign Legion," popular Columbia feature, is enjoying a five week furlough. They return to the air with WBBM as outlet at 9:30 p. m. Sunday, Feb. 19. ...

[October 14, 1934 Chicago Tribune]

... Willis Cooper, author of those horrifying "Lights Out" ghost dramas at NBC is writing a novel. An interested publisher has induced him to begin work on a long promised opus. ...

[December 27, 1934 Chicago Tribune]

Under the title "Immortal Dramas" epic stories of the Old Testament are to be brought to the air in a dramatized series of programs over coast to coast NBC networks, probably beginning Sunday, Jan. 13. Sponsored by Montgomery, Ward & Co., these biblical presentations call for a cast of more than 80 persons for each presentation. The actors are yet to be chosen. Roy Shield's orchestra will provide the musical background with the assistance of Noble Cain and his a capella choir. Harvey Hays will be the narrator.

Lloyd Lewis will adapt the biblical tales for radio presentation. The story of David and Goliath has been scheduled for the premiere of the series. WMAQ will be the local outlet and the program will run from 1 to 1:30 Sunday afternoons.

[January 20, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

The new Ward program, "Immortal Dramas," is an exceptional piece of dramatic work. Those great stories of the Old Testament really come to life in this new [half] hour. It makes a fine addition to Sunday afternoon radio fare. The program is in perfect taste for a program utilizing the scriptures. There is no sales talk -- in fact, no commercial copy.

[January 23, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

"Lights Out," that Wednesday midnight horror series written by Willis Cooper, NBC continuity ace, will be restored on Jan. 30.

[January 25, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

After television things like this won't be allowed: On last Sunday's "Immortal Drama" program at NBC the story of David and Goliath was dramatized. Tall slim Bill Farnum as David towered over squat Cliff Soubier as Goliath. ...

[After the January 2, 1935 episode, judging by the Chicago Tribune's radio listings, "Lights Out" is off the air for the rest of the month. The Trib reports on January 23 that the series will return January 30 but doesn't mention the program in its daily radio schedule until February 6. From then until April 10 (the last local broadcast before switching to the network) the paper lists some episode titles:]

02-06-1935 Lost in the Catacombs
02-13-1935 The Death Cell
02-20-1935 The Mine of Lost Skulls
02-27-1935 x

03-06-1935 After Five O'Clock
03-13-1935 Sepulzeda's Revenge
03-20-1935 The Haunted Chair
03-27-1935 Submarine

04-03-1935 x
04-10-1935 Play Without a Name

[February 9, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

Fifty members of Evanston's Lights Out club got more than they bargained for the other midnight when they came to NBC studios to view Bill Cooper's macabre "Lights Out" broadcast. This week's episode concerned a honeymooning couple lost in the Roman catacombs. Studio lights are doused during the broadcast, only two narrow beams playing on the actors themselves. The studio sound experts gave Evanstonians a nice case of jitters.

[March 13, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

Willis Cooper, NBC continuity chief and author of those gruesome "Lights Out" productions heard at midnight Wednesdays over WENR, has spent a most unhappy week. Hard boiled radio listeners have been kicking about last week's playlet, "After Five O'Clock," saying it was too mild. Some have charged him with going soft. Other gluttons for the macabre have gone so far as to brand him a sissy. Cooper admits that last week's opus wasn't quite up to standard -- it concerned a guy harassed by his subconscious mind and wound up mildly with three suicides. Cooper's plea was that he was merely trying to mix them up a bit. [A version of this episode survives from the 1945 revival season of "Lights Out" under the title "Man in the Middle"]

Cooper brooded for several days and then resolved to give them something they would remember him by. Tonight he will present his masterpiece of fiendishness which he calls "Sepulzeda's Revenge." "It will satisfy all who insist on HORROR with capital letters," Cooper said yesterday. In this one, Cooper warms up on a cleaver and trunk murder and tops it off with an episode in which a husband beheads his wife. Last Wednesday night Willis didn't rest well but tonight he will sleep like a baby. ...

[March 20, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

"How do I die this time?" Sidney Ellstrom inquired yesterday of Willis Cooper, author of the macabre "Lights Out" series heard Wednesday at midnight on WENR-NBC. "A ghost strangles you in 'The Haunted Chair,'" Cooper replied. "Fine," said Ellstrom, returning to his business for the day.

He has been put to death in this show more than 100 times. And his endings have all been grisly and gruesome. He's been skinned alive, boiled in oil, devoured by a man eating jungle plant, strangled by a vampire. He has been drowned, electrocuted, poisoned, buried alive, decapitated and dismembered.

But sometimes his work is sweet. Now and then Author Cooper turns the tables and allows Ellstrom to get revenge on his persecutors, usually portrayed by Art Jacobson, Don Briggs, Bernardine Flynn, Betty Lou Gerson, or Betty Winkler, other members of the "Lights Out" cast. Once, for example, as a Chinese madman, he was given a chance to inflict "death" through a thousand slashes on Jacobson, usually one of his most fervid annihilators. ...

[March 21, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

... "Immortal Dramas," those old testament stories, will go off the air early in April. ...

[April 7, 1935 Chicago Tribune - the Trib's regular radio columnist writes a few sentences about various Chicago-based radio series:]


by Larry Wolters

... LIGHTS OUT--Murder at midnight. Sound effects that freeze the blood. It may only be a head of cabbage in the studio, but it's red with gore when you hear its dull thud on the floor, by way of the loudspeaker. ...

[April 10, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

Willis Cooper's gristly [sic] "Lights Out" program, for many months heard locally, on Wednesday at midnight will become a network feature next week. It will be aired a half hour earlier locally in order to keep New Yorkers from staying up most of the night to catch it. Tonight Cooper is presenting "Play Without a Name." He couldn't think of a title that would do its horror justice.

[April 19, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

... Mrs. Frank Bering, the former Joan Winters, is playing leading parts in NBC's "Lights Out." She portrayed the countess in Wednesday evening's show. [refers to the series' network premiere, which was April 17] ...

[April 28, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

... "Lights Out," ... which was dropped because Author Willis Cooper had too much other work to do, was restored on WENR at the insistence of thousands of followers. Then it was piped to New York for a test. Eastern executives thought it was too tough for Manhattan, but after uniformly favorable criticism by New York critics they had a change of heart and are now trying it out across the nation. But they're starting in easy -- using ghost and spook stories. The gory yarns are out for the present. Incidentally, Ted Sherdeman is producing the shows and doing a slick job of it at 11:30 now Wednesday. ...

[June 22, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

... Willis Cooper who writes the ghostly "Lights Out" series is the author of a new serial titled "Flying Time" designated for its first presentation at 5 p.m. next Monday over NBC. It concerns aviation and has an airport setting.

[July 2, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

... Willis Cooper's Flying Time was launched last week. ...

[July 21, 1935 Chicago Tribune photo caption]

Things look bad -- but they'll be worse. Betty Winkler is the lady in distress and Don Briggs (right) is plotting destruction for Sidney Ellstrom (center). They are reaching the awful climax of a Lights Out episode, heard Wednesday nights on NBC.

[August 1, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

Realistic sound effects for NBC's radio serial "Flying Time," will be provided by the roar of the world's fastest racing planes when the Aug. 30 and Sept. 2 shows are broadcast from the Cleveland airport during the National Air races. The scripts for the two broadcasts which will originate from the flying field will be written at the airport and will be prepared so as to include much of the action of the air races. They will also bring to the microphone as guest performers many famous pilots, including Jimmy Doolittle, Roscoe Turner, Jimmy and May Haislip [sic] and Al Williams. ...

[August 24, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

Willis Cooper, who writes the macabre "Lights Out" show at NBC, will be a special guest of the Belfry Players when they present one of his "Lights Out" plays in the Belfry theater at Williams Bay, Wis., Monday evening. This theater really is an old church, built by Mormons about 1850. It still contains the original pews, oil lamps, and furnishings and is a point of historical interest in the Lake Geneva district. ...

[August 29, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

Willis Cooper has turned in his resignation as continuity chief at local NBC offices to devote his time to writing "Lights Out," chill and horror show, and "Flying Time," a juvenile thriller. With other members of the "Flying Time" cast Cooper left yesterday for Cleveland, where the program will be aired from the airport during the national air races. Loretta Poynton, Willard Farnum, Ted Maxwell, and Harold Perry made the trip with him. ...

[September 11, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

... Larry Holcomb, who handled Mrs. Roosevelt's NBC commercial series last year, is the new continuity chief at Chicago NBC offices. He succeeded Willis Cooper, who resigned to devote his time his own shows -- "Lights Out" and "Flying Time." ...

[September 30, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

Radio Talk for Matrix Club

Willis Cooper, radio writer, will talk on "Continuity Writers as the Continuity Editors See Them" before members of the Matrix club at 7:30 o'clock tonight at 75 East Wacker drive. ...

[October 24, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

... Willis Cooper, formerly continuity editor at NBC, gave up the job to do free lancing with the view that he would have more time for recreation. But he is finding little time for rest -- he is writing five episodes a week of "Flying Time," an aviation serial; five of "Betty and Bob," another serial, and also turning out a play a week for the macabre "Lights Out" series. On top of that he journeys to Des Moines each Sunday to produce a show there.

[October 27, 1935 Chicago Tribune]


Morning Listening Tough for Males

by Larry Wolters

... "Painted Dreams," Clara, Lu, 'n' Em, Vic and Sade, "Today's Children," and "Flying Time" are among those [daytime serials] for which one hears much enthusiasm expressed by various types of listeners. ...

[November 6, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

... Bill Cooper's goose pimpler "Lights Out," switches from WENR to WMAQ-NBC at 11:30 tonight. Bill has turned out a spine chiller about a lady who comes back to haunt succeeding generations of a family for tonight. Every time she appears the youngest son dies. ...

[November 20, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

... The shakeup in the cast of Betty and Bob continues. Elizabeth Reller has replaced Beatrice Churchill as Betty. A couple of months ago Les Tremayne supplanted Don Ameche in the leading man role. ...

[December 25, 1935 Chicago Tribune]

... 11:30 p. m. - WMAQ - "Lights Out," a Christmas play about three men in France. ...

[January 5, 1936 Chicago Tribune, letter to the radio column]


Why have the characters in Betty and Bob been changed recently? I feel that both the former and present characters have tried their best to make the story interesting, but what really needs a change is the story itself.

ALICE AGNE, Chicago.

[January 28, 1936 Chicago Tribune]

... Betty and Bob, NBC serial, has been renewed by its sponsor for another solid year. ...

[March 9, 1936 Chicago Tribune]

A new spine chilling series which will surely rival NBC's "Lights Out" is to be launched over W-G-N at 8:45 tomorrow night under the title "Witch's Tale." The program also will be heard Wednesday evening at the same hour. First story will be "Frankenstein." "The Hairy Monster," "The Werewolf," and "Grave Yard Mansion" are others to follow.

[March 28, 1936 Chicago Tribune]

... Bill Cooper, who writes "Lights Out," "Flying Time," and "Betty and Bob," will leave for California for the summer, May 1. He will continue his writing while in the west. ...

[April 23, 1936 Chicago Tribune]

Willis Cooper will leave for Hollywood next Tuesday to write dialog for the movies. He will continue to write the radio serial "Betty and Bob," and the horror series, "Lights Out," on the coast.

[May 13, 1936 Chicago Tribune]

... Willis Cooper is still writing "Lights Out" and "Flying Time" for radio production here, while turning out movie dialog in the west. ...

[May 28, 1936 Chicago Tribune]

... Bill Cooper, who writes Flying Time and Lights Out, has been signed by the 20th Century-Fox pictures to write dialog. That's the same studio for which Don Ameche is working. ...

[June 4, 1936 Chicago Tribune]

... William Murphy has taken over the writing of the NBC serial "Flying Time," aired from Chicago studios. Willis Cooper, the previous author, had to give it up because his movie writing is taking up all of his time. ...

[June 6, 1936 Chicago Tribune]

Arch Oboler, young Chicago playwright, is the new author of "The Lights Out" [sic] horror series on NBC succeeding Willis Cooper who has gone to Hollywood. Oboler also writes Irene Rich's "Lady Counselor" sketches. ...

[November 11, 1936 Chicago Tribune]

Armistice day programs on W-G-N include: ... 9:30 -- special Armistice program with a sketch by Francis Coughlin, reading of Willis Cooper's "Unknown Soldier" by Hugh Studebaker, and a special musical setting by Leo Shukin and Harold Stokes, who will direct the program. ... [photo of actor Hugh Studebaker]

[November 13, 1936 Chicago Tribune]

Hugh Studebaker's reading of Bill Cooper's poem to "The Unknown Soldier" on W-G-N Wednesday evening was a noble piece of work. If only the multitudinous rhapsodizers who are jostling each other on the airlanes nowadays might have been tuning in! There was a real lesson for them. ...

[April 29, 1937 Chicago Tribune]

On the eve of the general observance of National Music week on the airlanes W-G-N is to present a gala three-part broadcast from 9 to 10:30 tonight over the coast to coast Mutual Broadcasting system. The special broadcast, in which the concert orchestra under Henry Weber, the dance orchestra under Harold Stokes and with Paul Whiteman as guest leader, distinguished soloists, and an outstanding dramatic cast directed by Blair Walliser are to participate, will be presented from W-G-N's big audience studio before a gathering of business, civic and social leaders. ...

... [In the first half hour, actor] Hugh Studebaker will present Willis Cooper's tribute "To the Unknown Soldier." ...

[June 2, 1937 Chicago Tribune]

... [Actress Barbara Luddy] has rented her home, which is not yet finished, to Willis Cooper, who used to write Lights Out here and now is working in pictures. ...

[November 12, 1937 Chicago Tribune]

... Willis Cooper, [20th Century-Fox] studio writer, formerly with NBC here, is now turning out the Hollywood Hotel radio show. ...

[April 7, 1938 The Lowell Sun]

... Brewster Morgan, who takes over production reins from Fred Ibbett on "Hollywood Hotel" May 15, has been signed to a year's contract at a reported salary of $500 a week. He will also collaborate on the scripts with Willis Cooper. ...

[August 17, 1938 The Lowell Sun]

Nod for the music spot on Hollywood hotel, returning September 9, went to Victor Young last week after Ward Wheelock, agency head, studied several other candidates, including Lud Gluskin and Harry Sosnik. Raymond Paige batoned the soup show for the past three years.

William Powell has been signed to m.c. the show for three years in 39-week stanzas. Joins the program after the sixth broadcast, with some other picture name filling in meanwhile.

Vocalists will be Frances Langford, only holdover from last season, and Jean Sablon, French tenor.

[September 6, 1938 Christian Science Monitor]

Change in Program

In an almost complete change of program, "Hollywood Hotel," one of the oldest sponsored programs, resumes its current season beginning Friday Sep. 9, at 9 p. m. over the CBS to WEEI combination.

Practically the only holdover from the old program is Frances Langford. Herbert Marshall, English screen star, will be master of ceremonies for the first six programs and will be followed by William Powell. Instead of presenting excerpts from current films as done previously, full-length dramatizations of successful stage and screen productions will be the policy this year. Accordingly Claudette Colbert will appear with Herbert Marshall in B. B. Trevelyan's "Dark Angel."

Teamed with Frances Langford will be Jean Sablon, French crooner, and Victor Young's Orchestra will continue to supply the musical program.

[September 8, 1938 Long Beach Independent]

... "Hollywood Hotel," premier musical and dramatic program, will return to the Columbia network from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m., with a program featuring Herbert Marshall as master-of-ceremonies, and Claudette Colbert as guest artist in a full-length dramatization of the motion picture "Dark Angel," in which Marshall appeared on the screen. The "Orchid Room" revue welcomes back lovely Frances Langford as its singing star, and the romantic French troubadour, Jean Sablon. Victor Young, talented composer-conductor, will direct his orchestra in new and unusual arrangements. This broadcast marks the beginning of "Hollywood Hotel's" fifth year on the CBS network. ...

[September 9, 1938 Lima News (OH)]

Herbert Marshall Will Head "Hollywood Hotel" Hour Cast

Cinema Player To Act As Master Of Ceremonies And Have Role In Weekly Dramatizations

Herbert Marshall will head as master-of-ceremonies, an array of musical stars including Frances Langford, Jean Sablon and Victor Young's Orchestra, as well as prominent guests, on "Hollywood Hotel," programs which return to WABC from 8 to 9 p.m. Friday.

"Hollywood Hotel," which is now entering its fifth year, will adopt a new format this season. Each week the "Orchid Room" will present Marshall in a full-length dramatization based on successful stage and screen productions or outstanding fiction. Prominent actresses of the stage and screen will be cast opposite the popular leading man.

Marshall will act as master-of-ceremonies and dramatic star for the first six programs. He is to be succeeded by William Powell beginning Friday, Oct. 21.

The musical revue accompanying the dramatic performances will feature the "blues" singing of Frances Langford, who has been a member of "Hollywood Hotel" almost from the beginning. During the past summer Frances (Mrs. Jon Hall) has been combining an extensive personal appearance tour thruout the country with a belated honeymoon.

Teamed with the "blues" singer will be Jean Sablon, handsome French troubadour. Paris born, Sablon made an enviable name in Paris theatres, clubs and music halls before coming to this country. His winning manner and unusual style of singing both English and French songs have won the praise of critics wherever he has appeared.

Victor Young's orchestra will accompany the singing stars. Young, who has one of the outstanding musical organizations of the country, has been prominently featured on the west coast both in radio and motion pictures. Altho noted for his work in the popular field, Young's training has been primarily classical. He studied violin before he was five years old and made his first public appearance with the Warsaw Philharmonic orchestra. One of the most prolific arrangers in the musical world, he has also written several of the outstanding song hits of recent years. ...

[September 22, 1938 The Lowell Sun]

... Brewster Morgan, the producer at the helm of the newly-revamped "Hollywood Hotel" program. Morgan, a Phi Beta Kappa and former Rhodes scholar-at-large, organized a little theatre during his pre-Oxford days at the University of Kansas, later directed the series of Shakespearean plays annually presented by the students of Oxford university in England, before returning to the professional legitimate stage in this country, then going into radio. ...

[November 4, 1938 Appleton Post-Crescent (OH)]

William Powell, Miriam Hopkins and Charles Butterworth will present a radio version of "Trouble in Paradise" on Hollywood Hotel program at 8 o'clock over WBBM and WCCO.

[November 11, 1938 Appleton Post-Crescent (OH)]

In observance of the 20th anniversary of the Armistice, "Journey's End", war play by R. C. Sheriff, will be dramatized on Hollywood Hotel program at 8 o'clock over WBBM and WCCO. The cast will include William Powell, Burgess Meredith, H. B. Warner and Melville Cooper.

[November 17, 1938 Lima News (OH)]

Diana Bourbon has been retained to produce the Orson Welles Mercury Theatre of the Air when it starts for the soup sponsor as a replacement for Brewster Morgan's production, "Hollywood Hotel." ... Two sponsors began to make bids for Frances Langford's services within a few hours after the announcement that "Hollywood Hotel" would close its doors. The songstress expects to make her decision by the time she closes an engagement at a San Francisco theatre this week. ...

[November 25, 1938 Appleton Post-Crescent (OH)]

William Powell, Gale Page and C. Aubrey Smith will be heard in a radio version of "Death Takes a Holiday" on Hollywood Hotel program at 8 o'clock over WBBM and WCCO. As an added feature, "Amos 'n' Andy" will present a dramatization of their own lives.

[December 2, 1938 Christian Science Monitor]

Passing of the "Hollywood Hotel" program at 9 on the Columbia network brings to an end a program which, like the Rudy Vallee hour, or "Amos 'n' Andy," was a style setter. For "Hollywood Hotel" probably was the first radio program to bring movie stars to the air in some sort of co-ordinated entertainment instead of the chitter-chatter interviews formerly affected. It brought an end to the "amazement era" when radio listeners began to discover that movie stars on the radio sounded like a lot of other people and wanted to know what else they could do. It was responsible for such programs as Cecil B. DeMille's Radio Theatre, the Silver Theatre, and the MGM "Good News" programs of movie entertainment. Orson Welles takes over the period next week with a whole hour devoted to drama.

Tonight's drama on WEEI will be a favorite, "The Canary Murder Case." It will bring William Powell to the microphone again in the role of Philo Vance, which he originated on the screen. In support will be Glenda Farrell, Humphrey Bogart, Charles Butterworth, and Thomas Mitchell.

Fall 1938 episodes of HOLLYWOOD HOTEL:

09-09 to 10-14 Herbert Marshall hosts and acts
10-21 to 12-02 William Powell hosts and acts

09-09 THE DARK ANGEL Claudette Colbert

09-16 BULLDOG DRUMMOND Charles Butterworth, H.B. Warner, Frieda Inescort, Hanley Stafford

09-23 THE BIG SOFTIE Vince Barnett, Josephine Hutchinson

09-30 HISTORY IS MADE AT NIGHT Joan Bennett, Thomas Mitchell

10-07 I MET HIM IN PARIS Ginger Rogers, David Niven, John McLean

10-14 BERKELEY SQUARE Heather Angel, Charles Butterworth

10-21 OF HUMAN BONDAGE Margaret Sullivan

10-28 BY CANDLELIGHT Ida Lupino, Melville Cooper

11-04 TROUBLE IN PARADISE Miriam Hopkins, Charles Butterworth

11-11 JOURNEY'S END Burgess Meredith, H.B. Warner, Melville Cooper

11-18 TOVARICH Luise Rainer, Joseph Calleia, Charles Butterworth

11-25 DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY Gale Page, C. Aubrey Smith, guests Amos 'n' Andy

12-02 THE CANARY MURDER CASE Glenda Farrell, Humphrey Bogart, Charles Butterworth, Thomas Mitchell

[December 30, 1940 Washington Post]

The Post Radio Time Table

... 9, WMAL--Edmund Lowe, Sergeant Quirt of "What Price Glory?" and star of many other films has the lead in four consecutive broadcasts of "You're in the Army Now" telling of life in one of Uncle Sam's training camps. ...

[February 2, 1941 Washington Post]

Networks Entertain While They Inform of National Defense Effort

... On Monday evenings at 9 WMAL programs a half-hour feature, "You're in the Army Now," a continued dramatization of serial characters whose predicaments are often humorous. ...

[October 3, 1941 Chicago Herald]

Radio Beams from Coast-to-Coast by Jack Heinz

... Spirit of '41 author Wyllis Cooper has traveled over 20,000 miles getting material and covering bdcsts [sic] ...

[December 10, 1947 Chicago Tribune]


The American Schools and Colleges association has announced its annual radio awards based on a poll of more than 150 educational and civic leaders. The awards, said Kenneth J. Beebe, president, are made "to encourage radio to strive for public service and public enlightenment thru intelligent programming." ... Classification and winners are: ... dramatic -- Theatre Guild of the Air (ABC), Quiet, Please (Mutual); ...

[May 8, 1949 Chicago Tribune]


Willis Cooper, radio writer, will write, direct, and star in a new weekly series titled Volume One, Numbers One to Six, over the full TV facilities of the American Broadcasting company beginning early next month.

The half hour programs will consist of dramas patterned after radio's Quiet, Please episodes broadcast by ABC on Sunday afternoons. The dramas will be aimed at adult audiences.

Cooper originated the chiller series Lights Out, writing and directing the show in Chicago from 1933 [sic] to 1936. Then he moved to Hollywood and worked as a film writer. During World War II., he wrote and produced the Army hour.

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5/5 based on 1 votes.
Ownership MS
Views 3,540 views. Averaging 1 view per day.
Submission Date Aug 24, 2004