THEATRE GUILD ON THE AIR: THREE MEN ON A HORSE
(RADIO)

Summary

One in this series of radio adaptations of successful Broadway plays, and occasionally, books or films, presented by the Theatre Guild. In this presentation, Stuart Erwin, Sam Levene, and Shirley Booth star in Arthur Miller's adaptation of John Cecil Holm and George Abbott's farce "Three Men on a Horse, " a play about Erwin, a greeting card poet and horseracing handicapper extraordinaire. In the first act, Patsy opens by telling the story of a man that could have been a millionaire from betting on the horses. Patsy recalls a day he went to the track with Frankie, Charlie, and Mabel, and found themselves down on their gambling luck -- and to their final ten bucks. Betting that final ten dollars on Big Sneeze, they ultimately lose, leading Patsy and his pals to adjourn to a local bar. Meanwhile, Erwin argues with his wife Audrey in their Ozone Heights home, discussing his greeting card career and whether he's still in love with her. Then, Audrey's brother Clarence comes over, and his sister tells him that Erwin is having an affair. She's come to that conclusion after having found the names of women in a notebook in his coat pocket. Erwin insists, however, that they are the names of horses he bets on as a hobby. Clarence is impressed to learn how good Erwin is at gambling, but is curious where his brother-in-law has been "socking away" all his earnings. Erwin insists that he simply bets "on paper" and has not made any actual money, though Audrey doesn't believe him. Angered, Erwin storms out of the house and heads to a hotel bar to drink away his troubles. At the bar, Erwin meets Patsy and his friends. After they learn of his incredible handicapping ability, they decide to trust his picks on some upcoming horseraces. When those picks turn into winners, Patsy and friends immediately befriend Erwin, who after becoming increasingly drunk decides to head to the office and work on his Mother's Day greetings. Patsy refuses to let Erwin leave the bar, wanting to milk him for more racing picks. The second act opens after Erwin has spent the previous two hours picking horse winners for Patsy's crew. That night, Erwin sleeps his hangover off in Patsy's room. Meanwhile, Clarence and Audrey fret over where Erwin is and why he hasn't come home for the last twenty-four hours. At noon, Patsy and crew -- still keeping Erwin in their apartment -- wake the greeting card writer up and ask him to make more horse picks. Excited to be earning the ten percent of the winnings that Patsy is "awarding" him, Erwin agrees. Discovering Erwin's greeting card poetry, Patsy comes up with an idea for how to help his new "buddy" -- by sending his verses on fancy stationery to bar rooms all over the country and earning him "big dough." Erwin, however, is aghast at the idea of the verses not going to his office and promptly faints. Later, Erwin finds himself alone with Mabel and she performs a dance for him. Patsy returns with Erwin's waylaid verses and is angered by what he perceives as Erwin's betrayal of his trust. When he eventually learns the truth, Patsy apologizes to Erwin and urges him to handicap the day's racing form. But Erwin struggles in making his picks, claiming he can only be successful if he does it while riding the bus to Ozone Heights. Frankie and Mabel take Erwin on the bus and it helps him make the picks. Later, Erwin's boss, J.G. Carver, arrives at Patsy's lair to charge the crew with having stolen Erwin's -- and thus his -- verses, but Patsy quickly scares Carver off. Then, some debate arises over Erwin's pick in the fourth race of the day after a discarded piece of paper is found under Erwin's pillow with an alternate pick. Patsy forces Erwin to make a bet on the race in question to determine his loyalty, though Erwin fears that his placing of a bet may ruin his luck. In the third act, Patsy and crew nervously sit around with $11,000 riding on Erwin's fourth race pick. Then, Clarence arrives, angered at after having bet, and lost, on some picks which he believed -- mistakenly -- were Erwin's. In the fourth race, Erwin's horse finishes second. Angered, Patsy starts to beat up Erwin before learning -- after lengthy deliberations -- that a disqualification has led to Erwin's horse being the victor. Afterward, Audrey comes to the apartment, begging Erwin to come home. She's followed by Mr. Carver, who pleads with Erwin to resume working for him, complete with a raise and some perks. Ultimately, Erwin agrees to go back to his greeting card job after deciding that, after having placed a bet, it's no longer fun to handicap the horses. When Erwin is struck with inspiration, Patsy gets instantly excited, at least until realizing that Erwin is hard at work on his first Father's Day verse. Includes commercials.

(Network affiliation varies: An earlier series "Theatre Guild Dramas" aired on CBS from 1943 to 1944; "The Theatre Guild on the Air" also aired on NBC from 1949 to 1953.)

The acquisition and cataloging of The Arthur Miller Collection was made possible by The Laura Pels Foundation.

Details

  • NETWORK: ABC
  • DATE: January 6, 1946 Sunday PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:58:48
  • COLOR/B&W:
  • CATALOG ID: R:19194
  • GENRE: Radio - Comedy
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Arthur Miller Collection, The; Comedy
  • SERIES RUN: ABC - Radio series, 1945-1949
  • COMMERCIALS: Radio - Commercials - United States Steel Corporation

CREDITS

  • Armina Marshall … Executive Producer
  • George Kondolf … Producer
  • Homer Fickett … Director
  • Lawrence Langner … Direction (Misc.), Co-Director of Theatre Guild
  • Theresa Helburn … Direction (Misc.), Co-Director of Theatre Guild
  • George Abbott … Writer
  • John C. Holm … Writer
  • Arthur Miller … Adapted by
  • Harold Levey … Composer, Conductor
  • Norman Brokenshire … Announcer
  • Stuart Erwin … Cast, Erwin Trowbridge
  • Sam Levene … Cast, Patsy
  • Shirley Booth … Cast, Mabel
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