By Fredi Washington PV's Theatrical Editor January 19, 1946 p. S-2
IF YOU LISTENED to the radio Monday night a week ago, you probably heard dramatized the prize winning script, Nine September, by Philip A. Young over station WJZ at 8:30 p.m. Young, who is copy chief of the radio department of the advertising agency, N. W. Ayer and Son, won the $500 prize given by the Young Men's Christian Association of North America and Canada for the best radio script submitted with a design to help North Americans understand better the people of other nations and races.
Scripts were submitted from thirty-eight states and Alaska by amateurs and professionals. This is a pretty good indication of the widespread interest shown in the subject of understanding between nations and races. The judges, who gave a special award of $150 to L. M. Crutchfield of Monrovia, California, for his script which won runner-up honors, are radio people well versed in the vast network of radio activity. They were Mrs. Dorothy Lewis, co-ordinator of listener activity, National Association of Broadcasters; Dr. Harrison Summers, director of Public Service of the American Broadcasting Company; Richard McDonagh, manager of Script Division, NBC; Peter Lyon, president, Radio Writers' Guild; Earle McGill, radio producer and director and Harper Sibley, chairman, International Committee of the Young Men's Christian Association.
The play, Nine September, which starred Lt. Gene Kelly who is still on leave from his dancing and acting chores in the movies while still serving in Uncle Sam's Navy, and Canada Lee, gave opportunity to yours truly to play the one female part while the other two roles were filly by Ian Martin and James McCallion.
It ought to be known that the American Broadcasting Company gave one of its best half hour spots and a first class production to the Y in order that the listening public might have the opportunity of judging, for themselves how interesting can be radio programs which have as their theme social impact. According to the many favorable letters received by this department alone on the broadcast, it would seem that the adverising [sic] agencies could well sponsor a series of such programs. There is a listening public for this kind of radio fare as has been indicated with each such special broadcast. There are writers who are itching to write in serial form scripts which interpret the everyday living of all of the races and nationalities which go to make-up America.
A beginning has been made in the variety programs. Benny's program has 'Rochester', Danny Kaye has Butterfly McQueen, Amos and Andy (while I could dispense with much that they do, it is done in a spirit of natural rich humor) have Hattie McDaniels, Jimmy Baskette and the Deep River Boys, Cantor has Thelma Carpenter and you will find one time guest shots of many Negro artists on commertime [sic] serials in which Gee Gee James, Amanda Randolph, Frank Wilson and several others appear regularly. These programs, however are almost always the kind which call for a type of character, who uses dialect in some form.
In Nine September, Canada Lee and I play straight parts. The author used social [...] to distinguish racial difference rather than manner of speech. The same was done with the Japanese character used in the play, this way, the message came through of [...] and national brotherhood and at the same time, showed the fallacy of one group thinking themselves better than another. This is a kind of integration which is needed on [...] screen and stage. The Negro has been portrayed in commercial stories almost exclusively menials and illiterates or partial illiterates. For heaven's sake let us hear and see more Negroes portraying themselves as Americans who [...] living and striving for the same things the countless other Americans are living and striving for.
The YMCA and the American Broadcasting Company have made a good start. Now let [...] advertising agencies get in step.