A radio and TV producer named Himan Brown, an important figure in media broadcasting, passed away in 2010. On December 10th, a dramatized history of his life which I wrote was performed at the Martin E. Segal Theatre, CUNY Studios, in New York.
Mr. Brown’s accomplishments in radio drama included “The Inner Sanctum” with its signature of a creaking door and the ghostly voice of Raymond welcoming you to that place. “The Inner Sanctum,” The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre,” and many of his other shows utilized thousands of scripts by our writers.
In the 1970’s, he produced a Madison Square Garden spectacle saluting Israel for defending itself successfully against an attack by her enemies. And he produced a short film starring Edward G. Robinson. In a courtroom setting (borrowed from “Perry Mason”) Robinson condemned the Soviet Union for its anti-Semitism. I was the author of that film.
The memorial event on December 10th was performed by a troupe of wonderful actors all of whom worked with Brown in the past. They included Marian Seldes, Tony Roberts, Bob Kaliban, Russell Horton, Roberta Maxwell, Jada Rowland, and Paul Hecht who directed the show. Vintage radio clips were provided by David Saviet. The tribute was produced by Melina Brown, Hi’s granddaughter.
The principal hope of Hi Brown in his later years was that the golden age of radio might be some day revived, a move that would be welcomed by us all. Especially by those of us who remember the unique rewards of radio, the locations created by sound and dialogue that become more vivid than million dollar sets; the unequaled adventures and pleasures arising from our own imaginations, aptly described by Hi Brown as “the joy of listening.”
Jerome Coopersmith is an award-winning dramatist whose work ranges from multiple episodes of Hawaii 5-0 to Broadway’s Baker Street (a musical adventure of Sherlock Holmes). His awards include a Tony Nomination (for Baker Street), a Robert E. Sherwood Award for television writing, and Best New Play of 1998 (Reflections of a Murder) awarded by the Charlotte Repertory Theatre Festival.