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Let's Pretend

It was simple concept, but it made for a revolutionary format in children's radio. If the stories were for children, kids should be reading them. That was the concept for Nila Mack's Let's Pretend, and the show aired for two decades.

Lets Pretend

70 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 30 hours, 25 min)
available in the following formats:

2 MP3 CDs
or
32 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from August 23, 1947:

"Mell A Lot"



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Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2022 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Lets PretendOutstanding Children's Theater (1929 - 54)

"Heel-looo, Pretenders! Helllloooo, Uncle Bill!"

Kids are a notoriously difficult audience. The networks found surprising success by targeting housewives with day-time serial dramas, a.k.a. Soap Operas. The wife may not have made all of the household's financial decisions, but as the family shopper, she had a big influence that marketers took advantage of for their products. CBS was anxious to have similar results with the kids. Junior may not make as many buying decisions as Mom did on grocery day, but he could be taught to bug Mom long enough to get her to buy the brand of breakfast cereal pitched on his favorite program.

Uncle Bill Pretends

Originating from the studios of WABC New York, the 'Tiffany Network's' flagship station, a Saturday morning show for the youngsters began in October 1927 titled Aunt Jymmie and Her Tots in Tottyville. Lasting only a few weeks, Tottyville was replaced by The Children's Club Hour, written and hosted by Howard Merrill. Writing Hard and Soft Boiled detective shows would prove a better fit for Merrill, and Children's Club was replaced by The Adventures of Helen and Mary, and run for 229 episodes before being turned over to Nila Mack.

Ms. Mack had worked in Vaudeville and had some small Broadway roles but turned to scriptwriting after being widowed in 1927, about the time CBS began needing writing talent. She helped develop what would eventually evolve into The Columbia Workshop but in 1930 left the network, returning to Kansas to be at the side of her ailing mother.

After six months, the network contacted Nila, offering to let her take over Helen and Mary. She was initially terrified of working with kids, having none of her own, but the opportunity to make great radio (and a steady job early in the Great Depression) won out. Recalling her childhood in Arkansas City, Kansas, Nila determined that kids would tire of heroes such as "spacemen, cowboys, or clear-eyed adventurers" and prefer giants, witches, and fairy godmothers.

Nila eventually retooled Helen and Mary to Let's Pretend ("radio's outstanding children's theater") which first aired on Saturday, March 24, 1934, and would remain part of CBS's Saturday lineup for the next two decades. One of the first shows directed by Ms. Mack was an adaptation of "Sinbad the Sailor". Nila felt that the grown-ups in the cast were not reaching the kids in the audience, so she decided to work almost exclusively with kids (who were paid $5 for three hours of rehearsal and the half-hour broadcast).

Despite her initial misgivings at working with kids, Nila was great at it, and would often be the only grown-up in the studio beside the sound effects man (whose antics delighted the kids). She was also right about the fairytale format; long before Disney brought them to the screen, Let's Pretend aired adaptations of "Cinderella", "Sleeping Beauty", "Beauty and the Beast", "Jack and the Beanstalk", and "Snowdrop and the Seven Dwarfs". For an adaptation of The Little Lame Prince, the show obtained permission from the White House for actor Bill Adams to do an impression of President Roosevelt, who was a victim of polio; CBS made a record of the broadcast to present to the President.

Nila Mack suffered a fatal heart attack at her Manhattan apartment on January 20, 1953. Let's Pretend garnered several awards over the years, including two Peabody's, a women's National Radio Committee Award, and five Radio Daily Awards. After Ms. Mack's passing, directorship went to Jean Hight. The show remained part of the Saturday schedule until October 23, 1954.

For other great Children's show see also: Howdy Doody Time, Minnesota School of the Air, Cinnamon Bear, Wormwood Forest, and Children's Collection.

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2022 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:

  • Show Rating

    13
    10     3


    COMMENTS

    Hard to believe it's been almost 3 years since we have been in touch. I hope you are well. I am pleased to see that you still are in business. The quality of your OTRadio shows is superb. I am going to order a few programs, including Let's Pretend for my wife. She heard it and loves the series.

    Joe Verified Purchase

    What a wonderful website. I can spend hours 'looking' through all the titles. I'm enjoying "Let's Pretend" on my iPod .... I grew up (in the 40s) listening to that program every Saturday morning...before I got out of bed! Thanks for a great site.

    Judy Verified Purchase

    I was listening the other night to a beloved Saturday morning series called "Let's Pretend". It was directed nearly all of its 20 year run by Nila Mack. It originated in March 34 till October 54. There was a series of children's programs in that time slot until Nila Mack originated Let's Pretend. Their long time sponsor was Cream of Wheat and their cast stayed remarkably the same almost throughout the run, and it was on for the entire run for CBS. Mention the program to any child of the 40s and their eyes will light up.

    Walter Verified Purchase

    Think we must have discussed this before, I totally LOVE LOVE LOVE let's pretend. Not so fond of the cream of wheat years, firstly because the 'games' have a rather staged feel, and second because I know it led to cuts in the actual stories. I would just about kill for more stories from before the sponsorship, when Gwen was more-or-less in charge, with 'Mr. Carnova?' on a watching brief haha. Our own Jerry Hendages, (apologies Jerry if spelling is wrong), has supplied me with a few I have not seen elsewhere, but my apetite still remains insatiable haha. One of my favourites is The Elves and the Shoemaker. I love how Nila Mac expanded the story, and what she did with the elves. The Enchanted Frog is a pretty good one too, that's post cream of weat I think. I'm sorry to say I never really took to 'uncle Bill', guess I thought he was a bit... affected, to use a modern word I actually hate haha. Gwen has to be my favourite pretender, but Miriam Wolfe had remarkable voice talent. Betty Jane Tyler is totally cute. Somehow the male pretenders don't stick in my mind so much, except for Arthur Anderson. The amazing thing is that I rarely know until the end who is playing who. They were an amazingly talented group of young people, and the stories are what I call 'straight across', they're not dumbed down or condescending like so much produced for children today, nor do they have any agenda but to entertain. It's a gem that, in my opinion, should be up there with the likes of Fibber MacGee, Gildersleve and Jack Benny, but is sadly not so well known among fans. Of course this is because its target audience was young children, and because far fewer episodes survive. Just yesterday I saw a collection on archive.org, sadly not very well organised, that seems to have some I don't have. This will be more thoroughly investigated later. So remember boys and girls, every Saturday at 11:30, Gwen, Arthur, Jack, Sybil and the whole gang will be waiting...

    Dan Verified Purchase

    Didn't they have a Saturday show with the same cast called "No School Today"?

    Joe Verified Purchase

    When I was a kid, I had a friend called Tommy O'Grady. He liked Smilin Ed McConnel's program and I liked "Let's Pretend", and they were on at the same time. We would interrupt our play and retire to our prospective houses when they came on and then reappear back outside when they were over.

    Walt Verified Purchase

    Aah Smilin' Ed. I quite liked that too, but I think LP was far superior.

    Dan Verified Purchase

    I love listening to lets pretend! Stories told and acted out by children. So glad someone told me about this. Susan

    Susan Verified Purchase

    "Cream of Wheat is so good to eat. We eat it every day. This wonderful song will make us strong." Well-acted and produced Saturday kids radio show.

    Joey Verified Purchase

    An essential part of my childhood.

    Robert Verified Purchase

    Bought all the cds for 170.00 and my mom could not listen to the cds in a regular CD player. Rediculus when I could have just bout the mp3 for 10.00 total rip off and disappointed mom .

    Nancy Verified Purchase

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  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    70 recordings on 2 MP3 CDs for just $10.00. Total playtime 30 hours, 25 min
    70 recordings on 2 MP3 CDs for just $10.00
    total playtime 30 hours, 25 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    1. Volume 1 - 37 shows - total playtime 15 hours 27 minutes
      MP3 CD
      Volume 1: $5.00
      Add To Cart
    2. Lp 410419 Juniper Tree.mp3
    3. Lp 420822 Why Sea Is Salty.mp3
    4. Lp 420829 Little Mermaid.mp3
    5. Lp 420905 Elves And Shoemaker.mp3
    6. Lp 420912 Water Of Life.mp3
    7. Lp 421219 Prince Gigi And Magic Ring.mp3
    8. Lp 421226 House Of World.mp3
    9. Lp 430123 Golden Touch.mp3
    10. Lp 430320 Princess Moonbeam.mp3
    11. Lp 440305 Frog Prince.mp3
    12. Lp 460727 Yellow Dwarf.mp3
    13. Lp 460803 692 Goose Girl.mp3
    14. Lp 460810 Faithful John.mp3
    15. Lp 461026 Jack And Beanstalk.mp3
    16. Lp 461102 705 Puss In Boots.mp3
    17. Lp 470607 Six Swans.mp3
    18. Lp 470621 Bluebeard.mp3
    19. Lp 470628 Thumbelina.mp3
    20. Lp 470705 Brother And Sister.mp3
    21. Lp 470712 Brave Little Tailor.mp3
    22. Lp 470719 Rapunzel.mp3
    23. Lp 470726 Chinese Nightingale.mp3
    24. Lp 470816 Youth Who Learned to Shiver Shake.mp3
    25. Lp 470823 Melilot.mp3
    26. Lp 470830 Aladdin And Wonderful Lamp.mp3
    27. Lp 470906 Twelve Months.mp3
    28. Lp 470913 Donkey Table And Stick.mp3
    29. Lp 470920 Enchanted Frog.mp3
    30. Lp 470927 Cinderella.mp3
    31. Lp 480918 048 Princess on the Glass Mountain - AFRS.mp3
    32. Lp 490403 Princess And Pea.mp3
    33. Lp 490416 Snowdrop And Seven Dwarves.mp3
    34. Lp 490709 Tinderbox.mp3
    35. Lp 510210 177 The Fisherman And His Wife.mp3
    36. Lp 510224 172 Hop O My Thumb - AFRS.mp3
    37. Lp 520816 White Cat.mp3
    38. Lp 521129 One Eye Two Eyes Three Eyes.mp3

    1. Volume 2 - 33 shows - total playtime 14 hours 58 minutes
      MP3 CD
      Volume 2: $5.00
      Add To Cart
    2. Lp 521213 Snow Queen.mp3
    3. Lp 521220 Twas Night Before Christmas.mp3
    4. Lp 521227 Husband Who Was To Mind House.mp3
    5. Lp 530207 Two Dancing Princesses.mp3
    6. Lp 530611 Cinderella.mp3
    7. Lp 531128 Ceres And Proserpina..mp3
    8. Lp 531212 Snow Queen.mp3
    9. Lp 531219 Night Before Christmas.mp3
    10. Lp 540109 Robin Hood.mp3
    11. Lp 540410 Magic Cuckoo.mp3
    12. Lp 540605 Beauty And Beast.mp3
    13. Lp 540612 1097 Tinder Box.mp3
    14. Lp 540619 Andine.mp3
    15. Lp 541002 King Arthurs Son.mp3
    16. Lp 541009 Hansel And Gretel.mp3
    17. Lp 541023 Jorinda And Joringal.mp3
    18. Lp Alice In Wonderland.mp3
    19. Lp Bremen Town Musicians.mp3
    20. Lp Dick Wittington And His Cat.mp3
    21. Lp Douban Physician.mp3
    22. Lp Emperors New Clothes.mp3
    23. Lp Gingerbread Man.mp3
    24. Lp Gullivers Travels.mp3
    25. Lp Jason And Golden Fleece.mp3
    26. Lp King Midas And Golden Touch.mp3
    27. Lp King Thrushbeard.mp3
    28. Lp Magic Carpet.mp3
    29. Lp Man On Corn.mp3
    30. Lp Pinocchio.mp3
    31. Lp Sleeping Beauty.mp3
    32. Lp Tubby Tuba.mp3
    33. Lp Ugly Duckling.mp3
    34. Lp Uncle Bill Interview.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    70 recordings on 2 MP3 Collection Downloads for just $10.00. Total playtime 30 hours, 25 min
    70 recordings on 2 MP3 Collection Downloads for just $10.00
    total playtime 30 hours, 25 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    1. Volume 1 - 37 shows - total playtime 15 hours 27 minutes
      Instant Download
      Volume 1: $5.00
      Add To Cart
    2. Lp 410419 Juniper Tree.mp3
    3. Lp 420822 Why Sea Is Salty.mp3
    4. Lp 420829 Little Mermaid.mp3
    5. Lp 420905 Elves And Shoemaker.mp3
    6. Lp 420912 Water Of Life.mp3
    7. Lp 421219 Prince Gigi And Magic Ring.mp3
    8. Lp 421226 House Of World.mp3
    9. Lp 430123 Golden Touch.mp3
    10. Lp 430320 Princess Moonbeam.mp3
    11. Lp 440305 Frog Prince.mp3
    12. Lp 460727 Yellow Dwarf.mp3
    13. Lp 460803 692 Goose Girl.mp3
    14. Lp 460810 Faithful John.mp3
    15. Lp 461026 Jack And Beanstalk.mp3
    16. Lp 461102 705 Puss In Boots.mp3
    17. Lp 470607 Six Swans.mp3
    18. Lp 470621 Bluebeard.mp3
    19. Lp 470628 Thumbelina.mp3
    20. Lp 470705 Brother And Sister.mp3
    21. Lp 470712 Brave Little Tailor.mp3
    22. Lp 470719 Rapunzel.mp3
    23. Lp 470726 Chinese Nightingale.mp3
    24. Lp 470816 Youth Who Learned to Shiver Shake.mp3
    25. Lp 470823 Melilot.mp3
    26. Lp 470830 Aladdin And Wonderful Lamp.mp3
    27. Lp 470906 Twelve Months.mp3
    28. Lp 470913 Donkey Table And Stick.mp3
    29. Lp 470920 Enchanted Frog.mp3
    30. Lp 470927 Cinderella.mp3
    31. Lp 480918 048 Princess on the Glass Mountain - AFRS.mp3
    32. Lp 490403 Princess And Pea.mp3
    33. Lp 490416 Snowdrop And Seven Dwarves.mp3
    34. Lp 490709 Tinderbox.mp3
    35. Lp 510210 177 The Fisherman And His Wife.mp3
    36. Lp 510224 172 Hop O My Thumb - AFRS.mp3
    37. Lp 520816 White Cat.mp3
    38. Lp 521129 One Eye Two Eyes Three Eyes.mp3

    1. Volume 2 - 33 shows - total playtime 14 hours 58 minutes
      Instant Download
      Volume 2: $5.00
      Add To Cart
    2. Lp 521213 Snow Queen.mp3
    3. Lp 521220 Twas Night Before Christmas.mp3
    4. Lp 521227 Husband Who Was To Mind House.mp3
    5. Lp 530207 Two Dancing Princesses.mp3
    6. Lp 530611 Cinderella.mp3
    7. Lp 531128 Ceres And Proserpina..mp3
    8. Lp 531212 Snow Queen.mp3
    9. Lp 531219 Night Before Christmas.mp3
    10. Lp 540109 Robin Hood.mp3
    11. Lp 540410 Magic Cuckoo.mp3
    12. Lp 540605 Beauty And Beast.mp3
    13. Lp 540612 1097 Tinder Box.mp3
    14. Lp 540619 Andine.mp3
    15. Lp 541002 King Arthurs Son.mp3
    16. Lp 541009 Hansel And Gretel.mp3
    17. Lp 541023 Jorinda And Joringal.mp3
    18. Lp Alice In Wonderland.mp3
    19. Lp Bremen Town Musicians.mp3
    20. Lp Dick Wittington And His Cat.mp3
    21. Lp Douban Physician.mp3
    22. Lp Emperors New Clothes.mp3
    23. Lp Gingerbread Man.mp3
    24. Lp Gullivers Travels.mp3
    25. Lp Jason And Golden Fleece.mp3
    26. Lp King Midas And Golden Touch.mp3
    27. Lp King Thrushbeard.mp3
    28. Lp Magic Carpet.mp3
    29. Lp Man On Corn.mp3
    30. Lp Pinocchio.mp3
    31. Lp Sleeping Beauty.mp3
    32. Lp Tubby Tuba.mp3
    33. Lp Ugly Duckling.mp3
    34. Lp Uncle Bill Interview.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    70 recordings on 32 Audio CDs. Total playtime 29 hours, 14 min
    70 recordings on 32 Audio CDs
    total playtime 29 hours, 14 min

    Lets Pretend Disc A001

    1. Lp Bremen Town Musicians
    2. Lp Dick Wittington And His Cat
    3. Lp Douban Physician

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Lets Pretend Disc A002

    1. Lp Emperors New Clothes
    2. Lp Gingerbread Man

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    Lets Pretend Disc A003

    1. Lp Gullivers Travels

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    Lets Pretend Disc A004

    1. Lp Jason And Golden Fleece
    2. Lp King Midas And Golden Touch

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    Lets Pretend Disc A005

    1. Lp King Thrushbeard
    2. Lp Magic Carpet

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    Lets Pretend Disc A006

    1. Lp Man On Corn

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    Lets Pretend Disc A007

    1. Lp Pinocchio

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    Lets Pretend Disc A008

    1. Lp Sleeping Beauty
    2. Lp Tubby Tuba
    3. Lp Ugly Duckling
    4. Lp Uncle Bill Interview

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    Lets Pretend Disc A009

    1. Lp 410419 Juniper Tree
    2. Lp 420822 Why Sea Is Salty

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    Lets Pretend Disc A010

    1. Lp 420829 Little Mermaid
    2. Lp 420905 Elves And Shoemaker

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    Lets Pretend Disc A011

    1. Lp 420912 Water Of Life
    2. Lp 421219 Prince Gigi And Magic Ring

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    Lets Pretend Disc A012

    1. Lp 421226 House Of World
    2. Lp 430123 Golden Touch

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    Lets Pretend Disc A013

    1. Lp 430320 Princess Moonbeam
    2. Lp 440305 Frog Prince

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Lets Pretend Disc A014

    1. Lp 460727 Yellow Dwarf
    2. Lp 460803 692 Goose Girl
    3. Lp 460810 Faithful John

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    Lets Pretend Disc A015

    1. Lp 461026 Jack And Beanstalk
    2. Lp 461102 705 Puss In Boots

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    Lets Pretend Disc A016

    1. Lp 470607 Six Swans
    2. Lp 470621 Bluebeard
    3. Lp 470628 Thumbelina

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    Lets Pretend Disc A017

    1. Lp 470705 Brother And Sister
    2. Lp 470712 Brave Little Tailor
    3. Lp 470719 Rapunzel

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    Lets Pretend Disc A018

    1. Lp 470726 Chinese Nightingale
    2. Lp 470816 Youth Who Learned to Shiver Shake
    3. Lp 470823 Melilot

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Lets Pretend Disc A019

    1. Lp 470830 Aladdin And Wonderful Lamp
    2. Lp 470906 Twelve Months
    3. Lp 470913 Donkey Table And Stick

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    Lets Pretend Disc A020

    1. Lp 470920 Enchanted Frog
    2. Lp 470927 Cinderella

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    Lets Pretend Disc A021

    1. Lp 480918 048 Princess on the Glass Mountain - AFRS
    2. Lp 490403 Princess And Pea

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Lets Pretend Disc A022

    1. Lp 490416 Snowdrop And Seven Dwarves
    2. Lp 490709 Tinderbox

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Lets Pretend Disc A023

    1. Lp 510210 177 The Fisherman And His Wife
    2. Lp 510224 172 Hop O My Thumb - AFRS

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Lets Pretend Disc A024

    1. Lp 520816 White Cat
    2. Lp 521129 One Eye Two Eyes Three Eyes

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Lets Pretend Disc A025

    1. Lp 521213 Snow Queen
    2. Lp 521220 Twas Night Before Christmas

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Lets Pretend Disc A026

    1. Lp 521227 Husband Who Was To Mind House
    2. Lp 530207 Two Dancing Princesses

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    Lets Pretend Disc A027

    1. Lp 530611 Cinderella
    2. Lp 531128 Ceres And Proserpina.

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    Lets Pretend Disc A028

    1. Lp 531212 Snow Queen
    2. Lp 531219 Night Before Christmas

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    Lets Pretend Disc A029

    1. Lp 540109 Robin Hood
    2. Lp 540410 Magic Cuckoo

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    Lets Pretend Disc A030

    1. Lp 540605 Beauty And Beast
    2. Lp 540612 1097 Tinder Box

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    Lets Pretend Disc A031

    1. Lp 540619 Andine
    2. Lp 541002 King Arthurs Son

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    Lets Pretend Disc A032

    1. Lp 541009 Hansel And Gretel
    2. Lp 541023 Jorinda And Joringal

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