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Rod Taylor's Radio Roles

Rod Taylor's acting career evolved from his work as an artist and started in radio, which was booming in Australia during the 1950s.

While still attending East Sydney Technical and Fine Arts College, he saw Sir Laurence Olivier and the Old Vic company in "Richard III," and was inspired to become an actor.

But ... I didn't know anything about acting. I had to earn some money to pay for tuition at the Independent Theatre, where I planned to study. So I faked my age [he was 17] and got a job with Mark Foy's department store, designing and painting backdrops for window displays and fashion shows. ... I worked at Mark Foy's during the day and studied drama at night. ...

After a year or a bit more, I managed to get into radio. ... I did about 20 different daytime shows a week, hopping from studio to studio, playing every imaginable character in soap operas and stuff.

-- People magazine (Australia), Jan. 25, 1967

It was a radio honor -- the
Rola Award as actor of the year -- that sent Taylor on his way to Hollywood. "The Rola Show" was a half-hour program featuring local actors in original Australian dramas. Each week, listeners nominated an actor who would go into the running for the final prize. In 1954, Rod won that prize for his performance in the dual role of a father and son in the drama "O'Sullivan's Bay." The award provided him with £500 and a round-trip ticket to London. Instead, he made a stop in Hollywood and found a new career on the screen.

During a tour of the United States in early 1955 to promote "Long John Silver," Rod said that he had taped dozens of shows to keep his serial characterizations going back home. "If I do stay longer than I expected, there are going to be an awful lot of drastic 'accidents' on Australian soap operas as the various characters I play are written out of the script," Rod told interviewers in February/March 1955.

Following are some of Taylor's radio roles in his native Australia, when he was usually billed as Rodney Taylor. 

 

Rod Taylor and John Meillon
check over a radio script.

LINKS

Sources of info for Rod's radio roles on this page include:

The National Film and Sound Archive, Australia

Trove, an online archive of digitized newspapers from the National Library of Australia

Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood, by Stephen Vagg

Drama in Silent Rooms, a book by Peter Philp

 

LISTENER'S GUIDE

The Dambusters:
Sample clip (.wav file)
Download at Internet Archive

Tarzan:
Sample clip (.mp3 file)
Two 12-minute episodes (.mp3):
Episode 1 // Episode 2

Night Beat:
Episode (.mp3 file)

Strange Story of Deacon Brodie: Grace Gibson Productions
Danger in Paradise: Grace Gibson Productions 

     

Rod's finest hours

   

Reach for the Sky / The Bader Story (1954)
Taylor played heroic British airman Douglas Bader in this weekly radio serial on Australian station 3DB. The show told the story of a real-life World War II flying ace who persevered despite having lost both legs in a 1931 aviation accident.

"The Golden Age of Australian Radio Drama" calls this "probably the finest work Rod did in Sydney radio." In that book, veteran Australian actor John Ewart also recalled:

In his early days in radio, Rod was a very inventive actor. He did something "different." The day we started Bader ... we were all sitting around the studio first thing in the morning ... doing the things you do while you're waiting around. ... And then, Rod was doing the first part of a page, and I became conscious of something happening, and we all lifted our heads. Rod was performing. It was like a shot in the arm, everyone could feel it, and you got off your butt and worked instead of coasting.

There were 52 half-hour episodes of this show, which premiered July 28, 1954. Rod appeared in the first 36 episodes, and actor Bruce Stewart took over when Rod left for America. "Reach for the Sky" was one of three series adapted by scriptwriter Morris West from novels by Paul Brickhill. The other two follow ...

 

Rodney Taylor dramatizes
a scene from "The Bader Story"
for this 1954 publicity photo.

The Great Escape (1954)
Taylor took part in this dramatization of Paul Brickhill's factual account of the efforts of Allied prisoners to break out of a German prison camp. There were 26 half-hour episodes. (Yes, it's the same story that was dramatized in movie form, starring Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, etc., in 1963.)

The Dambusters (1954)
Taylor played pilot David Shannon in this dramatization of Paul Brickhill's best-selling novel about World War II. The documentary series focused on the 617 Squadron and is full of air force adventure. There were 26 half-hour episodes, and the cast also featured Charles "Bud" Tingwell.

 

LISTENER'S GUIDE

The Dambusters:

Sample clip (.wav file)

Download from Internet Archive

     

King of the Aussies

   

Tarzan (1954): Rod became famous across Australia for his performance as Tarzan. The show aired at 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. It was one of many action-adventure serials for young listeners that were so popular in the 1950s. More than 1,000 12-minute episodes were produced. Once Rod left the show to go to Hollywood, other actors took over the Tarzan role.

Two 12-minute episodes are available on a CD titled "Heroes of the Radio Waves: Australia's Radio Favourites from the 1930s, 40s & 50s," produced by the National Film & Sound Archive. The episodes feature Rod as Tarzan, Marcia Hathaway as Jane Porter and Roger Climpson as the serial's announcer.

 

LISTENER'S GUIDE

Audio clip of Rod as Tarzan (.mp3 file)

Two Tarzan episodes (.mp3):
Episode 1 // Episode 2

Tarzan Revisited: Radio documentary. Rod comments briefly at about the 16:30 mark

     

Everyone's in Blue Hills

   

Blue Hills (1953-54): Rod played upright character Anderson Roberts, making him one of more than 1,000 actors who played a part in "Blue Hills" over the years. The world's longest-running radio serial had 5,796 episodes that ran on Australia's ABC Radio for 27 years from Monday, Feb. 28, 1949, until Thursday, Sept. 30, 1976.

 

     
     

Radio Roles by Year

   

Revisions are in progress (Latest update: Nov. 2, 2019). Titles where I have confirmed that Rod was among the cast are indicated by including Rodney Taylor in the description.
Sources of info are coded as follows:
TR - Trove digitized newspapers from the National Library of Australia
SV - Stephen Vagg, in his book, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood

PP - Peter Philp, in his book, Drama in Silent Rooms
NFSA - National Film and Sound Archive, Australia
NP - Newspapers.com archives
GG - Grace Gibson Productions

AOTR - Australian OTR
ABC - The ABC Weekly, via Trove

1950

And in Those Days (Dec. 24, 1950): This Nativity story aired on the ABC on Christmas Eve. It was written by Eric John, who had been appointed the ABC's drama and features producer in 1950 (and would produce "Blue Hills" for 16 years). SV, TR, PP

Captain Singleton (July 31, 1950+): This production, part of the ABC's Children's Session serial, was based on a novel by Daniel Defoe and included one of Rodney Taylor's earliest performances. ABC, SV

Frenchman's Creek (1950): Rod had a guest role during this 52-episode serial adaptation of a Daphne DuMaurier novel. Produced by Grace Gibson Productions, the first 15-minute installment aired May 22, 1950, on 2UW. The role of Dona St. Colomb was played by Sheila Sewell. Jean the Frenchman, with whom she falls in love, is played by Reginald Goldsworth.  TR, SV

Grey Face (1950): Highly regarded Australian playwright Max Afford brought back his amateur sleuths, Jeffrey & Elizabeth Blackburn, for this mystery/thriller series on the ABC. The Blackburns were played by Peter Finch and Neva Carr Glyn in the 1940s. This new series of 12 half-hour installments started on Sept. 24, 1950, and had Nigel Lovell as Jeffrey Blackburn, Veronica Laird as Elizabeth Blackburn, and John Tate as Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Read. Rodney Taylor had the part of Jimmy Knox.  ABC, SV, TR, PP

Nancy's Boy (Nov. 30, 1950): An Actor's Choice production on 2UE, veteran actor Marshall Crosby chose this play written by Philip Mann and had the starring role of Harcourt. The half-hour play also featured Madi Hedd, Guy Doleman and Rodney Taylor. The plot: When one member of a family has an honest dislike of war and killing, can he stand back and be called a coward when the threat of war looms? Rod earned notice from the drama critic of The Listener-In magazine: "Rodney Taylor suggested well the weakness of the pacifist youth." TR, SV, PP

Morning Departure (Aug. 13, 1950): Kenneth Woolard wrote this tragic, realistic story of nine men trapped on the sea bottom when their submarine hits a mine during exercises off the south coast of England. This radio presentation of Lux Theatre on 2UW also had been a success as a stage play, newspaper serial and film. Bill Stewart starred as the skipper of the sub, supported by Rodney Taylor, John Cazabon, John Barnard, Alan White, Rupert Chance and George Simpson Lyttle. ABC, TR, SV

No Logic Before Breakfast (Dec. 5, 1950): This comedy by John Appleton focused on the Morrison family, a spoiled, happy bunch whose routine is upset when their bright young English cousin arrives and proceeds to run their lives. Rodney Taylor had the starring role as the cousin in this Actor's Choice play on 2UE. ABC, SV

Off Finisterre (Dec. 17, 1950): Rodney Taylor, Lola Brookes and Guy Doleman starred in this play by Horton Giddy on 2FC. It's a strange tale about a ship that is believed to be bewitched and to which some mishap always occurs when near Finisterre (Land's End). TR

Strange Life of Deacon Brodie, The (1950-51): Rodney Taylor played Andrew Patterson in the second episode of this 52-episode radio serial. The 15-minute episodes aired Monday to Thursday at on Australian radio station 2UW. It's the true story of the man who inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Actor Bruce Stewart played Deacon Brodie, a pillar of the establishment whose alter ego was William Andrews -- a thief, cheat and murderer who terrified Edinburgh in the late 18th century. Rod's character was hustled in dice and then met with an even worse fate at the hands of the evil William Andrews. Listen to Rod's 3-minute scene (mp3).
The series is available from Grace Gibson Productions.

1951

A Place Where You Whisper (Nov. 10, 1951): Rod played a sheep shearer in this radio play written by D'Arcy Niland. It was produced by Eric John for the ABC, with John Ewart and Nigel Lovell in lead roles. (Niland later rewrote the story as a novel, "The Shiralee," which was made into a film starring Peter Finch.) The story concerns an Australian sheep shearer, Macauley, who has been away from shearing for several years. He brings his blind 6-year-old child with him to a job at Mungindi. The man and child receive a hostile reception from the other shearers, and the reason is revealed over the course of the story. Matters come to a head when Mac and another shearer, Lewis, fight it out for the highest tally. SV, TR, NP

Call Me Cold (Oct. 7, 1951): This radio play won first prize for ABC writer-producer Barbara Woodward in the Actor's Choice drama series. Rodney Taylor had a chief role in the play, along with Sheila Sewell and Allan Trevor. Sewell played Betty Hopkins, wife of the manager of an aerodrome on the Persian Gulf, where life is slow and monotonous. Eager for excitement, Betty plans escape by stowing away, but her husband (Trevor) hears of the plan. TR, SV, NP

Children's Crusade (March 23, 1951): This radio play was part of the Good Friday programming on the ABC. It was written by Barbara Jefferis, a former journalist and future author who wrote more than 50 radio dramas and documentaries as well as serials, scientific and educational programs. The Children's Crusade tells the story of a tragic pilgrimage in the year 1212, when 30,000 children from France and 20,000 from Germany were lured on a crusade to Jerusalem to seize the city from the Turks. The French children were led by a peasant lad named Stephen, and the Germans by a young peasant named Nicholas. The story is told through the eyes of Raymond, a friend of Stephen, who returns to his village in France after eight years of slavery and disillusionment. TR, SV

Concert, The (Jan. 15, 1951): The ABC presented this radio play by Canadian playwright Joseph Schull. It is set in Montreal and involves a budding romance between a doctor (played by Joe McCormick) and a young blind woman (Geraldine Lowe). Rodney Taylor has a support role as the Radio Voice.  ABC, SV

Conscious Effort (1951): Australian playwright Russell J. Oakes wrote this story, set in Papua, for an Actor's Choice broadcast. TR, SV

I Hate Crime: A List of Names in Red (May 14, 1951): This half-hour program debuted in 1950 on 2UE and featured the exploits of Larry Kent (played by Ken Wayne), a New York newspaperman who emigrated to Australia and set himself up as a private eye. Rodney Taylor had a supporting role in this episode, which involves a secret list and death threats to members of a certain political party. ABC, SV

I, Spy: The Crime that Changed History (Sept. 14, 1951): Rodney Taylor played American chemist Harry Gold in this two-episode play about the theft of atomic bomb secrets. It was part of the "I, Spy" series, which dramatized true stories of espionage in self-contained 15-minute episodes. The real-life Gold was convicted in 1951 as the courier who helped physicist Klaus Fuchs (played by William Eldridge) pass information to the Soviet Union during and after World War II. The story is told in episodes 29-30 on the "I, Spy" collection from Grace Gibson Productions. ABC, TR, GG

I, Spy: Five Dollar Accident (Oct. 26, 1951): Rodney Taylor is a U.S. Treasury Department agent and the narrator of this story, which begins when a laundryman is suspicious about a five-dollar note he gets in payment from a woman who is an out-of-work printer. The story is told in episodes 35 on the "I, Spy" collection from Grace Gibson Productions. ABC, TR

Famous Frauds (1951) SV

I'm a Dutchman (Sept. 10, 1951): Part of the Radio Repertory series, this play by Alexander Turner was a prize-winner in the ABC's Jubilee Year play competition. The story centers on Hans Maartens (played by Robert Cubbage), a Dutch painter who comes to Australia in search of a young woman (Lyndall Barbour) he first met in a Sydney suburb. Rodney Taylor plays Plulih. TR, SV

Innocent Sprite, The (April 10, 1951): The Rola Show presented this light-hearted 30-minute play that featured a lovely blonde spirit named Marlene (actress Rosamund Waring) who is summoned during a sťance. Rodney Taylor had a supporting role in this "fairy" tale. ABC

Kiss of Hate (Dec. 30, 1951): This period drama was half of Swallow's Play Parade, which presented two 30-minute plays. Set in Seville, Spain, the story tells of the spiteful wife of a kindly blacksmith who is responsible for the death of their young child. When the blacksmith is kissed by a vengeful woman dying of the plague, the smithy in turn kisses his wife. TR, SV

Lady Asks for Help, The (March 11, 1951): Carla and Hilary Grahame (Lyndall Barbour and Howard Craven) are an English couple whose pleasant lives are disturbed when they learn that a man who once had a flirtation with Carla is now boasting of it. In a confrontation with the man, Hilary knocks him down and accidentally kills him. He covers his tracks and returns home. When his his best friend, Richard Monroe (Leonard Bullen), is arrested for the murder, Hilary faces a moral dilemma. Rodney Taylor plays Harry Grahame, the couple's son and a doctor. ABC, TR, SV

Madame Bovary (Aug. 12, 1951): A Caltex Theatre production, with Richard Lane adapting Flaubert's novel about the love affairs of a country doctor's wife in 19th century France. Sheila Sewell played Emma Bovary and Robert Cubbage was Charles Bovary. The cast also included Guy Doleman. TR, SV

Misfire (Dec. 4, 1951): Actor's Choice play written by John Appleton, with John Ewart in the lead. TR, SV

Miss Bomb for 1951 (May 15, 1951): Rodney Taylor was among the supporting cast of this half-hour Actor's Choice comedy on the Rola Show. Lionel Stevens starred as Nick Smith, a publicist for a movie studio who is assigned to handle a budding new starlet. He comes up with great publicity stunts until he gets the idea of the actress being "atomic." The idea was to cost him dearly, according to The ABC Weekly synopsis.  ABC, SV

My Friend Irma (February 1951): Starting as a popular radio comedy in America (1947-54) and spinning off into TV, comics and cinema (with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in 1949), "My Friend Irma" had its radio debut in Australia in 1951 as part of the Lever Hour of programming and produced by Grace Gibson. Beautiful, ditzy Irma was played by Madi Hedd and her sensible friend Jane was played by Betty McDowall. Rodney Taylor played Jane's boyfriend, Steve, and Alan White was Al, the boyfriend of Irma. The comedy aired in weekly half-hour episodes. ABC

Never Let Me Love You (1951-52): This daytime romantic drama starred Hilda Scurr as Connie, with her husband, Ron Roberts, co-starring and producing. The story was taglined "The story of a love that would not die" and dealt with the effects of a facial disfigurement on a young woman. Rodney Taylor played supporting character named Frank. PP, TR

Night Beat (1951+): "Night Beat" was one of the signature shows produced by Australian radio legend Grace Gibson and is considered the epitome of the "radio noir" genre that she pioneered. Production of the show started in 1950, and its first half-hour broadcast was Jan. 20, 1951. "Night Beat" continued to air on Saturday nights for the next nine years. Its lead character was newspaper columnist Randy Stone, who told human interest stories he uncovered on the night beat. Randy Stone was played by Alan White for the first 164 episodes, then Harp McGuire took over when White went to England to launch a stage and film career. Gibson nurtured the career of many young actors, including Peter Finch and Rod Taylor. Gibson's biography, "Yes, Miss Gibson" had this to say about young Rodney Taylor: "When Taylor first appeared in shows like 'Night Beat' in 1950, he was a dedicated, dashingly handsome art student with a devastating effect on women." Gibson said that Rod "took his acting seriously," but he was always oddly nervous in the studio. Her producer, John Saul, became Taylor's guru. Listen to an episode of Night Beat (.mp3 file) with Alan White as Randy Stone. Rodney Taylor plays Curly, a young man facing a grim future as his father goes to the gallows. Rodney Taylor also had part in a 1953 episode titled The Devil's Plan. SV, TR

Paula Lehmann, New Australian (November 1951+): A daytime serial dramatizing the problems that beset a Viennese housemaid as she tries to adjust to life in Australia. By the third episode she is flung into the arms of the son of the house. TR, SV

Point of Departure (May 29, 1951): This was a special 90-minute ABC adaptation of French author's Jean Anouilh novel. It tells the love story of a penniless cafe musician and an actress in a third-rate touring company. The play surrounds the young lovers with a succession of fascinating minor characters that expound upon Anouilh's unconventional philosophy of life. ABC, SV

Search for the Golden Boomerang, The (1951): This children's serial was produced by George Edwards. It was first broadcast in 1940 by Sydney radio station 2UW. Rod had a role in its final year of 1951. TR, SV

Thistledown (July 29, 1951): This was a Radio Repertory presentation of a play by Swedish writer Selma Lagerslof and was praised as having the qualities of a folk-tale. Teodor Fristedt (John Tate), a rich owner of many ironworks, welcomes his nephew Maurice (Rodney Taylor) and his fiancee to his home in the Swedish countryside. Maurice has upset his relations by choosing the baker's daughter, Anne Marie (Coralie Neville), as his wife. Maurice is a lordly young man who treats Anne Marie with condescension and expects her to help him win the good graces of his rich uncle. But gentle and shy Anne Marie has strength and purpose enough to follow her own judgment. ABC, SV

Two Loves Have I (October 1951): This half-hour drama was part of "The Untold Story" series and starred Muriel Steinbeck. SV, TR

Winterset (Aug. 21, 1951): This adaptation of Maxwell Anderson's play by the ABC was notable for several reasons. It was the first ABC play to be produced by a woman, actress Lyndall Barbour. It's an unusual play in that it's written largely in free verse. It was also one of the ABC's attempts at longer productions, running 90 minutes. "Winterset" is a tragedy that deals indirectly with the the aftermath of the famous Sacco-Vanzetti case, in which two Italian immigrants with radical political beliefs were executed. A reviewer praised Barbour's production for its tenderness and passion and singled out performances by Alan White as Mio, Rosemary Miller as Miriam, Frank Waters as Miriam's father and Lloyd Berrell as gunman Trock. Rodney Taylor was in the supporting cast. TR, SV, PP

1952

Black Lightning (1952): This thriller serial, which debuted June 16, 1952, was set amid the Sydney underworld and at the Lightning Ridge opal mines. Harp McGuire had the lead role of Chris Deloraine. But Rodney Taylor had "probably the most unforgettable character - the stuttering Jimmy the Whistler," according to Peter Philp in "Drama in Silent Rooms." It was a George Edwards production with script by Anthony Scott Veitch. TR, NFSA, PP, SV

Blue Lamp, The (June 1952): In this presentation by Caltex Theatre, Rodney Taylor played Andy Mitchell, a new recruit to the London police force. Andy and his partner are on the search for a missing young woman (Barbara Brunton). They spot her in the street with a young crook, Tom Riley (lead actor Bruce Stewart), but cannot persuade her to return home. A holdup, a shooting and further exciting events ensue. Richard Lane adapted the film version. Produced by Lawrence Cecil. TR, SV

Boy David, The (Oct. 13, 1952): A Radio Repertory production of a play by James Barrie that tells the Old Testament story of David and Goliath. Ray Hartley played David, with Kevin Brennan as Saul. Rodney Taylor played Eliab and First Slinger. TR, SV

Danger in Paradise (1952): Rodney Taylor was a cast member in this radio adaptation of Octavus Roy Cohen's popular mystery novel. It's a story of romance and murder set against the backdrop of glamorous girls and fast-talking men in New York's biggest ad agency. There were 52 episodes of "Danger in Paradise" in 15-minute segments. Grace Gibson Productions has it available on CD or download.

Dark Destiny (1952): This was the Sunday night offering by the 2UW Serial Hour in Sydney, beginning Nov. 2, 1952. An ad encouraged listeners to "Hear the dramatic story of six men and a girl on a island!" Rodney Taylor played one of the six castaways. After "Dark Destiny" finished its run, the same cast presented "Ralph Rashleigh" (1953) in the Serial Hour. AOTR, TR

Foolish Gentlewoman, The (1952): The General Motors Hour presented this series about a woman who tries to correct a wrong by giving away all her worldly goods to a distant relative. Produced by Harry Dearth with Winifred Green starring as Isobel Brocken. The cast also included Audrey Teesdale, Bebe Scott, June Salter, Rodney Taylor and Harvey Adams. TR, NFSA

Golden Bridegroom, The (Sept. 21, 1952): Rodney Taylor played Themison in this radio play based on a story of Lucius Apuleuis, author of "The Golden Ass." Produced by Lawrence Cecil. TR, SV

Hands of Mary Clifford, The (April 4, 1952): This 30-minute Rola Show play by Russell J. Oakes was described as a "drama of menace and murder."  Rodney Taylor starred as Harry Clifford, a man who set great store on his opinion of other's people's hands. He classified those of his wife, Mary (Margo Lee) as eloquent, with hidden strength. He found how just how much strength when a man from Mary's past (Grant Taylor) appears.  ABC

I Am My Brother's Keeper (Oct. 6, 1952): In this 30-minute Rola Show presentation, an Englishman has arrived in Chicago and hires a taxi to see the sights. The taxi driver, played by Rodney Taylor, takes him from one point of interest to another and relates his experiences in the gang warfare that went on during Prohibition days. ABC, SV

Informer, The (1952): It was while listening to this show that writer-producer Martin Rackin heard a young man playing the part of a Brooklyn hoodlum. The accent was so perfect that Rackin thought he'd found an American actor working Down Under. Instead, he had found Rodney Taylor, who he soon cast in "Long John Silver" and sent on his way to Hollywood.

Joe the Magnificent (May 2, 1952): An Actor's Choice drama by Philip Albright about a legendary Polish figure reincarnated in a U.S. steelworks town. Featured actors were Paul McNaughton, Brenda Senders and Harry Hambleton. TR, SV

Like the Duke  (Nov. 17, 1952): This Rola Theatre presentation was written by Harp McGuire who also starred as Roxy Roper, a fight trainer who discovers a new champion. Rodney Taylor was in the supporting cast. ABC, TR, SV

Man Trap (1952-53): This half-hour series of self-contained dramas replaced "I Hate Crime" on 2UE. The novelty was that the central character was an American "girl detective." Tracey Taylor (played by Patsy Shay) is sent to Australia on a government case and decides to stay. She joins a detective agency run by Hartley Forrister (Rodney Taylor). Each episode dealt with a case tackled by the two detectives. Produced by Ron Beck and written by Don Haring. TR, SV

Master of the House, The (Jan. 6, 1952): A Caltex Theatre production starring Ailsa Graham and Lloyd Berrell. The story tells of a widow, Mary Keegan, who lives in a farmhouse in Ireland with her son, Phil. His efforts to build up the farm are threatened when Mary decides to marry John O'Connor, a shiftless man who is despised by the neighborhood. If the marriage goes through, O'Connor will assume control of the farm and the land. TR, SV

Mine Own Executioner (Jan.-Feb. 1952): A Radio Repertory installment based on a novel by Nigel Bachin. It's the story of Feliz Milne (Alexander Archdale), a brilliant psychoanalyst who, while solving other people's problems, is unable to mend his own. The cast also included Muriel Steinbeck as Patricia Milne, Ellen Morgan as Barbara Edge, and Norman Cull as Adam Lucien. Rodney Taylor played Peter Edge, the husband of the woman Milne tries to seduce. TR, SV

Opal of Destiny, The (1952): Rodney Taylor had a supporting role in this serial written by Anthony Scott-Veitch. Set in Sydney and the Lightning Ridge opal fields, it's about a former U.S. naval pilot (played by Harp McGuire) who comes to Australia to start a new life. TR, AOTR

Out of This World (Dec. 15, 1952): Rola Theatre fantasy drama by Errol Martin. The story tells about people on other planets who send observation forces to report on Earth's activities and are dismayed by atomic disturbances on Earth. Frank Bennett starred, with Rodney Taylor among the supporting cast. TR, SV

Richard II (July 1952): The ABC presented a 90-minute version of Shakespeare's play, adapted by Douglas Stewart. It starred Alistair Duncan as Richard, with Rodney Taylor as the Duke of Amerle. TR, PP, SV

Rocky Starr Adventures (1952?): A children's story that capitalized on the rising popularity of science fiction. Howard Craven had the lead role or Rocky Starr and Joe McCormack played his sidekick, Mitch Mitchell. The serial lasted 624 episodes after its initial series of 104 quarter-hour episodes was a success. In one of these series, John Tate played Guy Everest and Rodney Taylor played Dicky Carstairs. PP, SV.

Second Threshold, The  (Oct. 8, 1952): A General Motors Hour play with Australian John Tate in the main role. Twice a month, the General Motors Hour was produced in the U.S. and featured major Hollywood stars. The other two weeks, the play was produced in Australia, with local radio stars. This week it was Australia's turn with Tate playing Josiah Bolton, a man who is disappointed in his son's choice of career and his daughter's choice of husband. He searches for death in a manner that will seem accidental. TR, PP, SV

Silent Inn, The  (1952): Another General Motors Hour play produced in Australia. The story involves an impending avalanche that threatens the destruction of a Swiss village. Eight people at an inn realize they are the only ones left in the village and tension ensues. It starred Alan White and Dinah Shearing, with Guy Doleman, John Ewart and Rodney Taylor among the supporting cast. PP, SV

Spaceways (June 21, 1952): Ray Barrett was the star of this one-hour radio play by Charles Eric Maine presented by the ABC. The story: Raymond Colby is a leading scientist on a project to launch a rocket ship, but he isn't at the launch ceremony. Neither is the wife of George Hills, an assistant on the project. Indications are that Mrs. Hills has eloped with Colby. Later, Hills is charged with double murder. What happens when Hills offers to go after the first rocket in a second rocket, is told in this drama. TR, SV

Star Chamber (July 20, 1952): In this Noel Coward comedy, the playwright turns his gentle malice on his fellow workers in the theater. The action revolves around a committee of theater people who have met to raise funds for Garrick Haven, a benevolent institution. Celebrities and near-celebrities are wickedly drawn in the Coward manner. The cast includes Dinah Shearing, Rodney Taylor and Queenie Ashton. The 35-minute radio play was produced for the ABC by Neil Hutchison. ABC, SV

Tether a Dragon (Nov. 17, 1952): Author Kylie Tennant won the Commonwealth jubilee play competition in 1951 for this drama about prime minister Alfred Deakin and the part he had in bringing about the federation of the Australian colonies. It was turned into a radio play and aired on the ABC in 1952. Kevin Brennan played Deakin, Rodney Taylor played Bailey, and David Butler played David Syme. TR

Time Was My Enemy (1952): Rod played an Australian POW. SV

To Live in Peace (Dec. 7, 1952): Story of a kindly old priest (Douglas Herald) in an Italian mountain village who suddenly discovers that his nephew is the Emperor Napoleon. Rodney Taylor has a supporting role as Maso. TR

1953

Abe Lincoln in Illinois (August 1953): Rodney Taylor played Abraham Lincoln and drew praise from Adelaide Advertiser critic James Cramond, who raved in the Aug. 15, 1953, edition about the "soul stirring" long speeches that Lincoln had written and Taylor performed. "They sufficiently moved actor Rodney Taylor to such emotional heights that he keyed the rest of his character study of Lincoln to them and earned himself the award for this week's best performance." TR, SV

Air Hostess (Jan.-March 1953): The top talent of Sydney and Melbourne were featured in this 52-part series. Each 15-minute episode was a self-contained and individually titled adventure story about an air hostess and the people she meets on her worldwide travels. Margaret Christensen played the name role in the first 13 episodes, "Adventures or Air Hostess Diana Drew," which began in July/August 1952. The pilot, Capt. Don Craig, was played by Don Moore. Later, Mary Disney and Joan Hodgson took on the leading role. In January 1953, with an episode titled "First Flight," actress Barbara Brunton starred with Rodney Taylor. The final episodes, "Proposal" and "Last Flight" aired in March 1953 and depicted a romance between co-pilot Adam Murray (Rod?) and air hostess Lyn Bailey (Brunton?). It seems Adam's weekly proposal to Lyn had become a standing joke -- until one day, he really meant it. In the final episode, Lyn Bailey and co-pilot Adam Murray decide to marry. TR, NFSA

All My Sons (April 1953): Rodney Taylor played Joe Deever, the son of Steve Deever, upon who all the blame was placed for the shipment of faulty aircraft engine cylinder heads that caused the deaths of 21 pilots during WWII. The [Adelaide] Advertiser called it "modern American drama at its peak." TR, SV

Because of the Lockwoods (Jan. 14, 1953): Coralie Neville and Rodney Taylor had starring roles in this General Motors Hour play produced by Harry Dearth. Constance Cox dramatized the best-selling 1949 novel by Dorothy Whipple. It's the story of a family impoverished by the death of the father and tormented by the attitudes of their former neighbors, the Lockwoods. TR, SV

Contraband (1953): Each episode was a dramatic reconstruction of a modern smuggling incident. Written by Ron Ingleby and produced by Artransa, the series premiered May 12, 1953, on 2GB in Sydney. In a Nov. 28, 1953, article, The ABC Weekly noted that Rodney Taylor was in most of the episodes of this series.  SV, TR

Counterfeit (1953): This 52-episode Artransa series premiered Aug. 27, 1953, on 2GB in Sydney. It told true stories about forgers and frauds. In a Nov. 28, 1953, article, The ABC Weekly noted that Rodney Taylor was in most of the episodes of this series. SV, TR

Deirdre of the Sorrows (Nov. 2, 1953): This Radio Repertory play, produced by Eric John, is a re-telling of an ancient and heroic Irish legend. It's the story of Deirdre (Lyndall Barbour) and Naisi (Rodney Taylor) and King Conchubor of Ulster (Lloyd Berrell). A reviewer in The ABC Weekly lamented that this fine Irish play by J.M. Synge simply should not be attempted by Sydney actors. Nevertheless, the critic wrote, "Rodney Taylor has a feeling for poetry and brought both fierceness and a sense of truth to his work." TR, SV

Drama of Medicine: This series told factual stories based on famous medical people. In April 1953, Rodney Taylor starred as the desert doctor, Sidney Garfield. (Garfield later would pioneer HMOs in partnership with  Henry Kaiser, Rod's future friend, sponsor and father figure.) A May 1953 episode, about Louis Pasteur's discovery of a vaccine to combat rabies, included Winifred Green, Ray Hartley, Alfred Bristowe, Lou Vernon and Rodney Taylor in the cast. TR

Famous Fortunes (1953): This series, from Grace Gibson Productions, featured stories about misers, benefactors, squanderers and others who have built, inherited or sought to possess the most fabulous fortunes of history. Rod's mentor, John Saul was the narrator of the series, which was made up of 52 quarter-hour episodes. Lloyd Berrell portrayed Thomas Alva Edison in episode 23, "Edison," with Rodney Taylor and Guy Doleman  in support roles. ABC, NFSA, SV

For the Defence/Lisbon Affair (1953): This series, also from Grace Gibson Productions, featured true stories from famous trials around the world, in war and peace. In this episode, Rodney Taylor played Richard Duncan, a young seaman lured into giving information to a German agent about cargo and shipping movements between England and Lisbon, a neutral port, during World War II. He is caught by a counter-espionage agent -- an officer on another merchant ship -- and becomes the youngest spy ever to be hanged for treason. GG, SV

For the Defence/The Witness (1953): In this episode, set in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Rodney Taylor played Steve Bennett, a young hoodlum who kills a garage owner in an argument over petrol. Both of Rod's episodes were written by Peter Yeldham, who penned "The Liquidator." Rod's two episodes are available on For the Defence, Vol. 2, from Grade Gibson Productions.  GG, SV

For Art's Sake (April 4, 1953): This was called a "fantastic little comedy" about an black marketeer in London named Art (played by Gordon Chater) who has the idea of making a racket out of the arts he sees practiced around him -- music, painting, playwriting, etc. Rodney Taylor played a character named Butch in this Eric John production. TR, SV

It Never Rains (March 11, 1953): This General Motors Hour play told about the misfortunes of the Boltons, an ordinary Yorkshire family. First, Mr. Bolton (Harvey Adams) is paralyzed after a factory accident. As a result, elder daughter Jo (Dinah Shearing) can't continue her medical studies. Teen-age daughter Milly (Audrey Teesdale) becomes involved with 30-year-old Len Jemmett (Barrie Cookson). Son Bill (John Neillson) borrows money for an architecture competition, only to have his entry rejected. Jo's life is further complicated by the appearance of Bob Wainwright (Rodney Taylor), the son of Mr. Bolton's former employer. The ABC Weekly noted that "things turn out better than one might expect." Produced by Harry Dearth. ABC, SV

Laughing Woman, The (Dec. 7, 1953): Rodney Taylor and Georgie Sterling starred in this drama by Gordon Daviot. The play is based on the relationship between French artist and sculptor Henri Gaudier and Polish writer Sophie Brzeska. (Gordon Daviot was the pen name of Elizabeth MacKintosh, a Scottish woman who also wrote detective novels under the name Josephine Tey.) TR, SV

Man Who Came to Dinner, The (Nov. 9, 1953): This madcap comedy by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart was adapted for radio by Edmund Barclay. Kevin Brennan starred as Sheridan Whiteside, a famous radio personality who visits a small Midwestern town on a lecture tour. He may be witty and highly beloved by the public, but Whiteside is a sarcastic egotist who makes life miserable for his hosts when he suffers an injury and is laid up for a few days. Rodney Taylor plays Bert Jefferson, a reporter with ambitions to be a playwright who seems to be the only local that Whiteside respects. But Whiteside is thrown into a panic when his secretary, Maggie Cutler (played by Lyndall Barbour), falls in love with Bert and declares that she will leave her job to marry him. TR, SV

Martin's Corner (April 27, 1953+): Martin's Corner was one of the longest-running serials in Australian radio when it ended a 12-year, 2,425-episode run in December 1952. But it returned in April 1953, with Rodney Taylor joining the cast as Harry Martin. In a Nov. 28, 1953, article, The ABC Weekly noted that Rod in fact played two parts in the serial. ABC, TR, SV

Mr. Denning Drives North (June 28, 1953): A Caltex Theatre radio adaptation of Alec Coppel's mystery novel, which had been made into a film in 1951. Alan Trevor played Mr. Denning, with Irene Harpur as Mrs. Denning. Rodney Taylor played Gypsy. TR

On the Way to Niagara (Nov. 15, 1953): The ABC presented this farce about a young man's efforts to get to a certain church to marry glamour girl Gloria Duff, recently voted the most beautiful woman in America. Rodney Taylor played the young man, Phillip Allen, and the way he is hindered plays a big part in deciding his eventual matrimonial state (likely involving a character named Diane, played by Georgie Sterling). ABC, SV

Petrified Forest, The (March 29, 1953): A drama about a group of people held captive by a fugitive gangster and his cohorts at a wayside diner in a remote town near the Petrified Forest in Arizona. It is based on a play by Robert E. Sherwood and was made into a movie in 1939 starring Bette Davis, Leslie Howard and Humphrey Bogart. The Australian radio play presented by Caltex Theatre starred Margaret Christensen as Gabby Maple, Alan Trevor as Alan Squier, and Frank Waters as gangster Duke Mantee. Rodney Taylor played Jackie, one of the henchmen. TR, SV

Ralph Rashleigh (1953): The 2UW Serial Hour in Sydney presented this radio version of a sensational novel by James Tucker that told the story of a convict in the early penal settlement of New South Wales. Leonard Bullen played Rashleigh, and Kevin Brennan was the bushranger Foxley. Others in the cast were Rodney Taylor, Roger Climpson, Brenda Dunrich and Harp McGuire. TR

Ridge and the River, The (June 14, 1953): This Radio Repertory play was adapted from a novel by Australian author Tom Hungerford. It is about an Australian commando patrol in Papua New Guinea during World War II. The Eric John production first aired Feb. 9, 1953, with Rodney Taylor in a supporting role as Corporal Malise. A repeat performance on June 14, 1953, had Rodney Taylor in the lead role of Corporal Shearwood. TR, SV

Starlit Valley, The (Oct. 3, 1953): This one-hour historical drama was written by Tasmanian playwright Catherine Shepherd on the theme of a man's readiness to pursue images of his own making. Rodney Taylor stars as Robert Clare, an idealist with a sensitive eye for beauty. At the English country home of his elder brother, Stephen (Alan White), he sees a young woman standing in a garden with daffodils in her arms. She is Harriet Barnes (Audrey Teesdale), governess in the home. Robert is smitten. When Robert returns again for a visit, he learns that Harriet has been transported to Van Diemen's Land (Australia). He resolves to follow her and marry her. It's an idyllic plan that does not allow for the possibility that Harriet may have different ideas. ABC, SV

Sundowners, The (1953-54) Rodney Taylor and Sheila Sewell had the leads as Paddy and Ida Carmody in this adaptation of a novel by Australian Jon Cleary. (Robert Mitchum and Deborah Kerr played these characters in the 1960 movie adaptation.) The serial tells the story of the Carmody family, who roam the New South Wales back country in an ancient wagonette. This story is highly praised in the Radio Round-up column in the Nov. 14, 1953, edition of the Adelaide newspaper. TR, SV

Tailormade (March 1, 1953): Comedy about an Australian tourist on the Adriatic coast and an unsuccessful attempt by a local racketeer to outwit the visitor. Rodney Taylor played a character called "Vendor." TR

Three Secrets (Nov. 29, 1953): Adapted from a 1950 film, it's the story of three young mothers who turn their babies over to the same adoption home on the same day and their reactions five years later when a 5-year-old boy -- the son of of adoptive parents -- is the only survivor in a plane crash. It starred Pamela Page, Lyndall Barbour and Margaret Christensen, with Rodney Taylor in the role of Del Prince, an associate of one of the women's lovers. TR, SV

Thunder on the Hill (March 8, 1953): This installment of Caltex Theatre was adapted by Richard Lane from the stage play "Bonaventure" by Charlotte Hastings. It's a mystery thriller about a nun (Sister Mary Bonaventure) at a convent hospital who saves a young woman from the gallows and unmasks the real murderer. It starred Brenda Dunrich and Margo Lee, with Rodney Taylor as Willy Pentridge, simple-minded young man the convent employs to carry out odd jobs. Willy is described as an "idiot savant" in some play reviews. TR, SV

Tragical History of Dr. Faustus, The (Nov. 3, 1953): The ABC aired this radio adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's play, starring Bruce Stewart, Lloyd Berrell and Allan Trevor. It's about a student who turned from science to black magic. Rodney Taylor played Second Scholar/Wrath.  TR, ABC, SV

Trudy and the Quiet Life (Sept. 28, 1953): This comedy presented on the Rola Show starred Rodney Taylor and Myrna Dodd. TR, SV

When a Girl Marries (1953): One of Australia's most popular serials. SV

With Cain Go Wander (July 18, 1953): This installment of the ABC's Saturday Playbill was described as "A new and swiftly moving play by one of the old masters of Australian radio playwriting, Edmund Barclay." Rodney Taylor played the lead role of Mark Lacey, a well-off English ornithologist whose work took him away on frequent trips photographing birds. That left his wife, Carol (Sheila Sewell), alone quite often. Even when he was home, he was preoccupied. He didn't notice the sudden inroads to his bank balance or that Carol had frequent visitors. One evening he came home to hear his wife's laughter mingled with that of a man. So began the tragedy that set upon Mark Lacey the mark of Cain. TR, SV

You An' Me, Both (Feb. 9, 1953): The comedy of a girl who accidentally makes a date with three different men for the same evening. Kerry Norton played the girl, Judy; Harp McGuire was the Yank; Rodney Taylor played the Aussie; and Owen Ainley was Louis.  TR, SV

1954

Adventures of Ellery Queen, The (1954): Rodney Taylor appeared in several installments of this half-hour program by Grace Gibson Radio Productions. It starred Charles Tingwell as Ellery Queen, with Wendy Playfair as his secretary Nikki Porter. Thanks to a great Ellery Queen website, here are the episodes in which Rod appeared in the cast:

  • "The Needle Hole Mystery" aka "The Poisoned Slipper" (Oct. 15, 1954). Rod played Eaton and Man 3.

  • "The K.I. Case" (Oct. 19, 1954). Rod played Santos and Lieutenant.

  • "The Specialist in Cops" (Dec. 10, 1954). Rod played Nutsy Yapp, who specializes in killing cops for hire and has kidnapped Ellery.

  • "Bubsy" (Dec. 24, 1954). Rod played Bubsy Chum, a big, stupid killer who's a one-man crime wave.

  • "Peddler of Death" (Dec. 31, 1954). Rod plays Etna and Sergeant.

Akhnaton (1954): This was a Monday Night Theatre play by Leslie Greener, journalist, author, artist, soldier and Egyptologist. This is quite possibly an adaptation of a play by Agatha Christie. It is set in Ancient Egypt and followed the exploits of the Pharaoh Akhnaton, his wife Nefertiti and his successor Tutankhaton (who would take the name Tutankhamun when he became pharaoh). TR, SV

Amazing Mr. Malone, The (March 25, 1954): Rodney Taylor had a guest role in "The Dude," an episode of this weekly detective series, which was set in New York and was adapted from scripts created for U.S. broadcasts. Rod played Joe Norman, "a sharpshooter who'll do anything for a buck." The series stars John Saul as attorney John. J. Malone and Harp McGuire as homicide detective Lt. Brooks. You can listen to "The Dude" episode as part of the Great Detectives of Old Time Radio podcast hosted by Adam Graham. (Rod will have you humming, "We're in the money...") The entire series of 52 half-hour episodes of The Amazing Mr. Malone is available from Grace Gibson Productions. PP, SV

Animal Kingdom, The (May 1954): A reviewer in the Brisbane Telegraph gushed about this production and said, "The acting of Rodney Taylor was flawless." Rod plays Tom Collier, a man who raises the question whether a man's mistress may sometimes be a truer wife to him than the woman to whom he is legally married. The play, by American Philip Barry, has a witty exterior with a deeper probing of human relations. TR, SV

Assignment Paris (July 28, 1954): Set in the Paris office of one of America's largest newspapers, this General Motor Hours play tells of the desperate attempt to break through an iron wall of censorship to find what is behind the detention of an American citizen by the Hungarian government. Rodney Taylor stars as James Race, the hot-headed but capable young reporter given the job of snooping deep into Communist Hungary to find the truth. ABC, TR

Be Your Age (Jan. 13, 1954): In this romantic comedy for the General Motors Hour, Mr. Archibald Holly (John Tate) is a 48-year-old father of three daughters. One is Gwendolyn (Yvonne Louis), who is away at college and had been expected some day to marry Bob Foley (Rodney Taylor), their neighbor and an employee at Mr. Holly's factory. However, Mr. Holly receives a telegram announcing that his Gwendolyn is engaged. Even more of a shocker is that her fiance is an old schoolmate of his who is a year older than himself. Bob refuses to give up on Gwen, and her teenage sister lends a hand to win her sister back for Bob. ABC, SV

Burning Glass, The (Aug. 16, 1954): The ABC presented this scientific and ethical drama, adapted from a play by English author Charles Morgan. Alan Trevor starred as Christopher Terriford, a scientist who discovers a new method of capturing solar energy that can concentrate the sun's heat upon any portion of the earth. This "burning glass" has the power to benefit mankind or wipe out distant targets with devastating flame. The scientist faces the question of whether to share the discovery or destroy it lest it be used in war. Rodney Taylor played Tony Lack, Christopher's partner in weather control research, and Dinah Shearing played Mary Terriford, the scientist's wife. ABC, TR, SV

Cape Forlorn (Jan. 24, 1954): Caltex Theatre offered this drama by Australian actor-producer Frank Harvey. It's set on an isolated strip of coastline on the south island of New Zealand. Tom Farley plays Captain Kell, a lighthouse keeper whose wife, Elaine (Margaret Christiansen), is much younger than himself. She is having an affair with Cass, an Australian played by Rodney Taylor. They rescue a third man, Kingsley (Alan Trevor), from a boat wreck. The attention he pays to Elaine sets off a powder keg of emotions. TR, SV

Chips: A Story of the Outback (1954): Lee Robinson wrote this adventure serial that starred Chips Rafferty and other top-flight Australian actors such as Alan White, Charles Tingwell, Guy Doleman and Rosemary Miller. Rod also worked on this serial and Robinson subsequently cast him in "King of the Coral Sea," giving Rod his first feature film role. TR, SV

Compelled People, The (Aug. 30, 1954): Reviewers were confused by this hodgepodge of a play presented by the ABC as part of Monday Night Theatre. The main characters are two anti-Nazis in Berlin -- Hugo von Gerhardt (played by Bruce Stewart) and his actress sister, Friedl (Sheila Sewell). Friedl has a chance to escape to America with Joe Mancini (Rodney Taylor) if Joe can get a divorce from his wife back home. Hugo could go to England with Beatrice, a starchy aristocratic lady. But Hugo and Friedl both love Berlin so much and angst over leaving. Other characters and murky accents further muddled the story. TR, SV

Crime and Punishment (January 1954): The ABC presented Fyodor Dostoevsky's Russian classic in four one-hour episodes on Jan. 10, 17, 24 and 31 of 1954. It was adapted for radio by Richard Lane, and produced by Frank Harvey. Alastair Duncan played Rodion Raskolnikov, Rodney Taylor was his friend and foil, Dmitri Razumikhin, and Moray Powell was Porfiry, the police investigator. TR, SV

Crispin's Day (Sept. 19, 1954): This war drama was performed in front of a live studio audience on Caltex Theatre. The drama critic of "The Listener In" said the audience gave Rodney Taylor "the most spontaneous ovation I have heard given to an individual actor," and that the production "was a personal triumph for the young Sydney actor." Rod played an air force pilot and "The Listener In" said, "His emotional breakdown following his successful landing of the plane was a masterpiece of naturalistic acting." The drama is based on an RAF operation film unit's precarious flight during WWII. The operation on which the story centers is conceived in a moment of bravado by a young flying officer. Rod had the starring role of Candy. TR, SV

Dance Dress, The (March 13, 1954): The General Motors Hour presented Edmund Barclay's radio adaptation of a London stage success by Michael Voysey. This play about frustrated East End youth was produced by Eric John. Rodney Taylor starred as Rickie, an orphan from the slums determined to buy a dress for the girl he loves. Mary Jane Windsor plays Fay, Amber Mae Cecil plays Marlene, and Queenie Ashton is Ma.  SV, NP

Doomsday Men, The (1954): This dramatization of a novel by J.B. Priestley was a six-episode serial on the ABC starting Aug. 22, 1954. It's the story of three men -- each on a separate mission -- who band together to fight a sinister group that is threatening to destroy the human race. Rodney Taylor was among the cast with Ray Barrett, Richard Davie and Moira Redmond. PP, SV

Famous Trials/The Real McCoy (1954): This episode is available from Grace Gibson Productions. GG, SV

Forbidden Cargo (1954): This was a drama series presented on Saturday Night Theatre, with self-contained half-hour stories about the war waged between customs agents and smugglers. It was written by Ron Ingleby and produced by Walter Pym. Rodney Taylor had a leading role in the second episode, "The Affair of the Frightened Blonde." Series regulars included Ken Wayne and Guy Doleman, with John Meillon as narrator. AOTR, SV

Full Cry (Feb. 21, 1954): A play based on a thriller by British author Elleston Trevor and produced by Walter Pym for Caltex Theatre. Rodney Taylor played John Mathias, an escaped convict. He was accused of killing one of two elderly spinsters, but said nothing at his trial. When he escapes, pursuers fear that he is on his way to kill the second sister. TR, SV

Gigi (Feb. 6, 1954): Rodney Taylor played Gaston to Audrey Teesdale's Gigi in the romantic comedy set in the Paris of the 1890s. An Eric John production for the ABC, Edmund Barclay adapted the Anita Loos play, which is based on the novel by French author Colette. PP, SV

Golden Boy (July 4, 1954): This radio play of Clifford Odets' well-known drama was produced by Eric John, with Rodney Taylor as Joe Bonaparte and Georgie Sterling as Lorna Moon. Joe is the 20-year-old son of a fruit vendor in the slums who tries to escape the shame and deprivation of his impoverished circumstances. He is a talented violinist, but he gives up on music to become a boxer in a bid for fame and fortune. TR, SV

Golden Fool, The (1954): Rodney Taylor was one of the cast members in this Morris West adaptation of a novel by David Divine. Ads for the serial billed it as "an exciting new action-adventure. The torrid romance of a lust for gold and the love of a woman." It was the dramatic story of a family conflict in the High Veldt region of the Transvaal in South Africa. Lloyd Berrell and Charles Tingwell played the leading roles. The serial tells of the efforts of a Boer farmer, Jacques Nemair, to prevent the news of a gold discovery causing his estates to be over-run by prospectors. The situation is complicated by quarrels between the Dutch farmers and the English as well as within Nemair's family circle. There were 52 quarter-hour episodes produced.  NFSA, SV, TR

Gulliver's Cousin (May 30, 1954): This was an ABC Radio Repertory presentation billed as "Ruth Park's new radio play of William Dampier, pirate." Rodney Taylor played William Dampier, a famous figure who was equal parts navigator, buccaneer and geographical observer. This play tells of the journey during which Captain Swan was marooned on Mindanao Island in the Philippines and the crew ran off with the ship, the Cygnet. Lionel Stevens played Captain Swan, with David Eadie as Defoe and Queenie Ashton as Mistress Dampier. TR, SV

Guns versus Golden Glory (March 6, 1954): This Western series set in 1875 tells the true story of cattlemen vs. the invading wheatmen, centered around Great Bend, the rancher's Mecca and the gambler's paradise town. The cast included Paul McNaughton as Clive Rodgers, Georgie Stirling as Queenie Lois and Rodney Taylor as Mungo. Walter Pym was the producer. TR

Happy Time, The (April 28, 1954): The charming comedic play about a French-Canadian family was adapted for the General Motors Hour. The stars were Owen Weingott as Papa and Lloyd Berrell as Uncle Louis. The supporting cast included Rodney Taylor as Desmonde, Lyndall Barbour as Maman, and Audrey Teesdale as Mignionette. Rod also appeared in a stage version of this play. TR, SV

Hungry God, The (Sept. 22, 1954): The political drama by Joseph Pole starred Moray Powell as Ambassador Gregor Constantin, the representative in London of an unnamed totalitarian state. Constantin is a man of more sympathy and tolerance than is encouraged by his party leaders at home. When one of the delegation is recalled (Bunyano, played by John Meillon), Constantin's loyalties are tested. Rodney Taylor played Ransome.  ABC, TR, SV

Johnny Raven Adventurer (1954): This serial aired 104 one-hour episodes February-August 1954. It was "a good yarn about dope, smuggling gold and plenty of gangsters" with Lloyd Berrell in the lead role. Writer Ronald Ingleby "introduced a crowd of wonderful thugs and heroes into his story," including Rodney Taylor as Cassam. PP

Mary Jane, The (1954): Rodney Taylor played Jamie and Wendy Playfair was Belle in this Sunday-night serial about life on the Murray River in the 1880s. The cast also included John Tate, June Salter and Queenie Ashton. PP, SV

Mirth Melody and McKirdy (1954): The Feb. 13, 1954, edition of The ABC Weekly described this new weekly variety show on 2UW. It starred Arch McKirdy, a versatile host, comedian and singer. "The programme also makes a feature of a comedy sketch, in which McKirdy is supported by actors such as Guy Doleman, Richard Ashley, Junee Cornell and Rodney Taylor." ABC

Musicians, The (July 9, 1954): Rodney Taylor starred as David Glenmore in this fantasy by Australian writer Gene James for the Rola Show. The story is about Glenmore's encounter with a visitor from outer space, who materializes through the medium of music. This being, in the form of a glowing cube of ice, says that his people have been speaking to Earth for centuries and that Earthlings had interpreted their messages as music. The cacophony of the metropolis makes the alien dissolve back into the solar system. ABC, TR

Ned Kelly (April 26, 1954): Rodney Taylor had the role of Aaron Sherritt in this ABC Radio Repertory version of the Douglas Stewart play, written partly in verse, partly in prose. Sherritt was a friend of the Kelly Gang, but may have been a double agent working for both the police and the outlaws. The play opens with the Kelly gang at the peak of its lawlessness. Then they take a downward path, leading to the capture of the leader. Produced by Leslie Rees, the cast of characters included Ned Kelly (Lloyd Berrell), Joe Byrne (Bruce Stewart), Dan Kelly (Richard Meikle), Steve Hart (John Ewart), Living (Lionel Stevens), Mackin (Charles Tingwell), Tarleton (John Tate), Richards (Nigel Lovell), The Lounger (Ben Gabriel), Rev. Gribble (Charles Tasman), The 'Roo (Barbara Wyndon), Sergeant (Kevin Brennan), Rita Sherritt (Margaret Christenson), Mrs. Barry (Queenie Ashton). ABC, TR, SV

No Lullaby for Lise (1954): Advertising for this serial promised action, suspense and romance, with a cast of Dinah Shearing, Charles Tingwell, Rodney Taylor, Alex Archdale, Lyndall Barbour and Queenie Ashton. The ad promoted "A gripping serial of a mother's search for her child in troubled post-war Europe. From King's Cross to Cracow -- through Germany and across to America -- this exciting serial tells of two people's experiences of life behind the Iron Curtain." TR

Oasis (July 15, 1954): In a story involving the French Foreign Legion, five widely different types of men -- antagonistic through temperament or nationality -- are detailed to hold a small oasis until a relief column arrives. The plot involves attacks by marauding Bedoins and violent quarrelling among the Legionnaires as their frayed nerves begin to crack under heat and strain. The cast featured Rodney Taylor, Leonard Bullen, Lloyd Berrell, Paul McNaughton, Alexander Archdale and Frank Waters. Production by Gordon Grimsdale and script by Don Haring. ABC, SV

Octopus, The (1954): A Brisbane columnist in January 1954 commented that "perhaps it's a good thing that actors in sponsored serials generally don't get credits." As an example, he noted: "That upright character Anderson Roberts from 'Blue Hills' turns into the Frenchman from 'The Octopus.' The voice belongs to Rodney Taylor, heard on radio quite a lot." The series was described as a crime serial with an American background, dealing with the ramifications of an international dope-smuggling ring. TR

One Green Bottle (Oct. 16, 1954): A drama about counter-espionage in Britain, presented by the ABC as the Saturday Playbill. A respected scientist is missing the day a new guided missile project will be tested. Detective Crispin (Keith Howard) investigates the disappearance of the man, Arthur Strickland. Strickland's wife (Neva Carr Glyn) is indifferent and hints that her husband had "friends" with whom he may have spent the night. The exciting denouement involves a green bottle hanging on a wall. Audrey Teesdale played Miss Grey and Rodney Taylor played Banks in this thriller written by British novelist and playwright Elleston Trevor. ABC, TR, SV

Operation North Star (April 7, 1954): This story of European espionage was presented as part of the General Motors Hour. Visiting American film star Glenn Langan had the lead role as Col. Mark Cleaver, a U.S. military attache in a European capital. Top secret information has leaked from his office and the traitor must be discovered. Rodney Taylor played Capt. Tom Bryn. ABC, SV

O'Sullivan's Bay (September 1954): Rodney Taylor played a dual role of a father and son in this drama, which was presented on "The Rola Show." His performance earned him the Rola Award as actor of the year -- the honor that sent him on his way to Hollywood. TR, SV

Police File (March 1954): This fact-based crime series presented self-contained episodes of cases taken from the files of the Australian Criminal Investigation Branch. Rodney Taylor appeared in an episode that told the true story of the CIB's work in unmasking a gang of dog racing crooks. The cast included John Kenneth Fell, an executive officer of the National Coursing Association, who played the role he actually took during investigations. Others in the cast are Guy Doleman, Ken Fraser, John Ewart, Charles Tasman, Ken Howard and Owen Ainley. TR

It Remains To Be Seen (June 30, 1954): Musical comedy performer Evie Hayes starred in this presentation of the General Motors Hour, marking her first straight acting role on radio. Hayes played the part of scatterbrained Jody Revere, a band singer who finds herself tied up in the murder of her uncle. This leads to a friendship (an understatement) with Waldo Walton, a charming and naive young man. (This likely was Rodney Taylor's role.) One reviewer feared that some listeners might be "quite shocked by the uninhibited Jody's approach to Waldo." Also in the cast were William Rees and Charles Tingwell, with music by the Guy Merzi Quintet. The play was written by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse, who also penned "Arsenic and Old Lace." TR, SV

Right to Happiness, The (1954): This was billed as "a new serial for women" upon its debut on June 21, 1954. The story tells of a woman who marries the man she loves and strives for the right to happiness. Stars included Margo Lee and Rodney Taylor. TR, SV

Sacrifice to the Wind (1954): This is a drama by contemporary French playwright Andre Obey set during the Trojan wars. It tells the story of King Agamemnon sacrificing his daughter, Iphigenia, as the Greek warriors prepare to set sail for Troy to avenge the loss of Helen. One critic complained that "Agamemnon (Lloyd Berrell), Menelaus (Ray Barrett), Ulysses (Rodney Taylor) and Clytemnestra (Neva Carr Glyn) all shouted at one another for a whole hour without any let up." ABC, TR, SV

Something for Nothing (Aug. 21, 1954): A one-hour play by Dick Wordley. Dock Peters (Rodney Taylor) runs a fishing shop and a boat on the southern coast of Australia. He has a girlfriend, Nonna (Lola Brooks), and an assistant named Bait (John Meillon) who is a deaf war victim, an expert in lip reading and has a sentimental, cynical philosophy. Enter Yvonne Lardner (Georgie Sterling), who sets her sights on Dock. Her husband, Arnold (Don Crosby), was maimed when his legs were bitten off by a shark while he attempted to save his wife. He is determined to seek revenge on a shark, and they solicit the help of Dock to go deep-sea fishing. The scene of the shark capture is strikingly told, according to The ABC Weekly, and the feverish final events of the play are in strange contrast with the idyllic beauty of the fishing resort. ABC, SV, TR

Space Patrol (1954): This serial, which launched April 20, 1954, was set 4,000 years in the future "when the universe has passed through the Second Dark Age." It was written by Michael Noonan and starred Rodney Taylor and Richard Davies. TR

Such Men Are Dangerous (1954): Rodney Taylor played Czar Paul I of Russia in this striking historical play presented on Monday Night Theatre. The central figure is Count Pahlen (played by Lloyd Berrell), governor of St. Petersburg in the days when Czar Paul I was ruler of Russia and Napoleon Bonaparte the master of Europe. Pahlen plots against the czar and exploits the love and loyalty of those around him. Lyndall Barbour played Anna. TR, SV

They Were Champions (1954): This series presented true stories about world sporting champions. There were 52 15-minute episodes. In one episode, Rodney Taylor portrayed Bob Fitzsimmons (1863-1917), a New Zealander who made boxing history as the sport's first three-division world champion. Considered one of the hardest punchers in boxing history, he was a world champion in the middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. TR

Thirty Minutes to Go/Soap Opera (April 8, 1954): After a petrol truck crashes in the path of a forest fire, a policeman radios for help. The action concerns the efforts to save the driver during the half-hour wait for the ambulance. The driver's suffering is emphasized by the broadcast of a soap opera serial on the truck's radio. Lloyd Berrell, Rodney Taylor and Kerry Norton have the leading roles. "30 Minutes to Go" was a popular and well-regarded crime thriller series that aired throughout Australia and the United States in 1953 and 1954. Each of the 53 half-hour episode was a self-contained story, with the action occupying 30 minutes, creating suspense as time counted down. ABC, TR

Thirty Minutes to Go/Escape Committee (Jan. 28, 1954): The story concerns an escape attempt by prisoners of war in which every move is timed to coordinate with the German's camp schedule. Tension mounts as the threat of discovery hangs over the prisoners and the camp schedule is disrupted. A dramatic twist provides the climax. Harp McGuire, Barrie Cookson, Rodney Taylor and Max Obiston headed the cast. ABC

Thirty Minutes to Go/Breaking Point (Feb. 25, 1954): Rodney Taylor plays a psychopath who has planted a time bomb on an airplane. A psychiatrist, played by Frank Waters, has to persuade him to talk in order to learn which plane is threatened and other clues to save the aircraft. ABC

This Happy Breed (Jan. 4, 1954): This Radio Repertory presentation starred Queenie Ashton and Rodney Taylor. Written by Noel Coward, play concerns the working class Gibbons family in London between the end of World War I and the outbreak of World War II. TR, SV

Train for Thought (1954): SV

Three Roads to Destiny (1953-54): Rodney Taylor played Tam in this colorful saga of a family in the 19th century and concerns the hardships overcome by Australian pioneers. The story featured three brothers (played by Howard Craven, John Ewart and Rod Taylor) who meet in Australia after making their separate paths across the world. The story ranges from England, through America, across the Pacific to the Far East and ultimately Australia. There were 208 episodes of this 15-minute serial. NFSA

Wages of Fear, The (1954): A review by Joyce Stirling in the Brisbane Sunday Mail on Sept. 19, 1954, called this "one of the tensest radio plays I've listened to." Stirling said the radio play "was all about two men who (for a suitably high fee) undertook to drive a load of nitroglycerine over a dangerous and rough road for 300 miles in a truck whose shock absorbers were not above suspicion. ... Rodney Taylor gave one of those nervous, high-tension performances of his as driver Gerard, and Ray Barrett just about matched this fine effort as the fear-ridden driver, Johnnie. The play had a fine ironic twist to its tail and kept you biting your nails with suspense to the final five seconds." TR, SV

Walk East on Beacon (Jan. 27, 1954): This General Motors Hour play depicted FBI agents on the hunt to break up a communist spy ring.  The American movie of the same name, made in 1952, was dominating listings at Australian theaters. The Australian radio adaptation starred Lloyd Berrell and Lou Vernon. Rodney Taylor played Martin. ABC, TR, SV

We Were Children (Jan. 20, 1954): Radio adaptation of a play written for U.S. television by Australian writer Sumner Locke-Elliot. It's a realistic human interest drama presented on the General Motors Hour. The leading roles of Lee and Stella Alden are played by Betty Suttor and Muriel Steinbeck, with Rodney Taylor and Maiva Drummond in the cast.  PP, TR, SV

Western Trail (1954): Rodney Taylor played ranger Dick Mason who is beset by a gang of rustlers and wild Apache tribes. Charles "Bud" Tingwell played the leader of the pack of rustlers, Wolf Castella. TR

Wings Off the Sea (1954): Rodney Taylor had the lead role of Lt.-Commander Sherwood in this serial based on a Korean War novel by Australian writer J.E. MacDonnell. The show was praised for its brilliant background effects that gave it a realistic atmosphere. Also in the cast were John Ewart and Max Osbiston. PP, TR, SV

 

     
     

 

         
   

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