Our OTRCAT personality-spotlight this time looks toward a man who was in the Broadway musical, "The Second Little Show" (at New York’s Royale Theatre) a few months before he turned to radio as a dramatic actor. He was also a lyricist, working with composers of a number of popular songs in the 1930’s.
His name: Ned Wever
In Octorber 2005, while preparing to produce a radio broadcasts known as "Collectible Classics", I came upon a recording made by singer Mildred Bailey. That disc (a Vocalion) was "Trust in Me." Its label read: Ned Wever, lyric; Jean Schwartz and Milton Ager, music.
In the 1950s, work found me on the highways of New England; the car radio carrying great daytime dramas known as soap operas. I’d heard a voice and wanted to know more about the person behind the voice.
The radio fan-magazines of the time contained articles dealing with radio’s top daytime dramas, but I never found them on the newsstand on the street.
Ned Wever was born in New York April 27, 1899. In his senior year at Princeton University, he wrote the book and lyrics for Princeton’s Triangle Club show.
In September of 1930, he appeared on Broadway in the cast of "The Second Little Show." It was short-lived, running 63 performances. When it closed, Wever directed his energy to radio, becoming a pioneer on the art of daytime radio drama.
From 1932-1940, he was a member of the cast "Betty and Bob." He also appeared on:
- Big Sister (1936-52) playing newspaperman Jerry Miller
- Bulldog Drummond (1943-44)
- Cavalcade of America (1943-44)
- The Court pf Human Relations (1934-39)
- Dick Tracy (1938)
||Ned Wever in Dick Tracy Sept 13, 1945:
"Case of the Buried Treasure" (14:29)
- Her Honor, Nancy James (1938-39) (playing Anthony Hale, a district attorney.) The program musical theme, Song of Youth, was played by organist Lew White
- Irene Rich Dramas (mid 1930’s)
- Kate Hopkins, Angel of Mercy (1940-42)
- Lora Lawton (co-starring with Jan Miner) (1947-48)
- The Shadow (in a supporting role with Orson Welles) (1938)
- Showboat (as the speaking voice for Conrad Thibault) (1934)
- Treasury Star Parade (as an American Pilot downed in China, WWII)
- Twenty Thousand Years in Sing-Sing (1933-37)
- Two on a Clue (co-starring with Louise Fitch) (1944-46)
- Under Arrest (sharing with actor Joe DeSantis the role of Captain Jim Scott (1948-54)
- Valiant Lady (1942-46)
- X-Minus One (1956)
- Ned Wever is well-remembered as Dr Anthony Loring on the long-running serial Young Widder Brown (1941-56).
After his years on radio, he turned to TV and films. On the smaller screen, he dropped in on "Petticoat Junction" in 1964 on "George Burns and Gracie Allen" in 1968; and on "Get Smart" in 1969.
On the wider screen, his roles would include playing judges, police detective, an FBI chief, doctors, and attorney, the owner of a bar, and several productions for Walt Disney Company.
Ned Wever died on May 6th, 1984 at Laguna Hills, California. His heart has given out. I will always think not only of his clear radio voice but of his work in composing lyrics to songs such as:
- "I Can’t Resist You" 1940, Benny Goodman (Columbia); by Hal Kemp (Victor); Ted Steele (Thesaurus)
- "Sing a New Song" 1932 Art Kassel (Columbia); Bennie Krueger (Brunswick); The Coon-Sanders Nighthawks (Victor)
- "Trouble in Paradise" 1933 Ted Weems (Bluebird); Freddy Martin (Melotone)
- "Sweet Stranger" 1938 Mildred Bailey (Vocalion); Wayne King (Victor); Abe Lyman (Decca); Eddie Fisher (Victor); Roy Rogers (Decca); Patti Page (Mercury); Etta James (Argo)
In 1933, Ned Wever became a member of the music licensing firm of The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Before moving to the west coast for his work in film/TV, Mr Wever’s home was in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.
For more Ned Wever recordings, see the Ned Wever MP3 CD compilation.
See also Lou Dumont's other articles: