Classic Theatre (1975)

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We can hardly mention classic drama on WGBH (and PBS) without thinking of the one person perhaps most responsible for the many memorable series seen across America. Joan Wilson Sullivan brought us Masterpiece Theatre, Classic Theatre and Mystery!

At WGBH Radio, Joan co-produced and directed the WGBH Radio Development Project. We have Joan to thank for bringing us, among other treasures, “Upstairs, Downstairs, and “Pennies from Heaven.” These gems alone would have earned her that special place in the Pantheon of broadcast drama. For those fortunate enough to have shared her dream, Joan was our leader, our muse, and our friend.

Frontspiece Classic Theatre Program Guide


  1. Steve Rabin on September 26, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I was Director of the NEH Media Program which provided principle funding for this series.

    When I was testifying before our Congressional Funding Committee, I was asked by the Chair if we could increase the viewership of the series to double what it had been. I replied, with more deference than usual for me, that that should not be our concern. As it turned out, I stated, more people saw these plays through Classic Theatre than probably saw them as live productions since they were written.

    Again, those were heady and stimulating times where very little if any programming on public broadcasting emulated a psychiatrists couch as now seems to be all too much the case on cable.

    Joan and many others such as Rick Hauser, Phil Collier, and the ever inventive Mike Ambrosino and Fred Barzack were so very far ahead of anyones’ time.

    (Via Nat Johnson’s blog.)

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