Les Misérables (radio)

Les Misérables
Genre Drama series
Running time 30 minutes
Country United States
Language(s) English
Home station Mutual Broadcasting System
Hosted by Orson Welles
Starring Orson Welles
Martin Gabel
Alice Frost
Virginia Nicolson
Written by Orson Welles (adaptation)
Victor Hugo (novel)
Directed by Orson Welles
Air dates July 23, 1937 to September 3, 1937
No. of series 1
No. of episodes 7

Les Misérables is a seven-part radio series broadcast July 23–September 3, 1937 (Fridays at 10 p.m. ET), on the Mutual Network.[1][2] Orson Welles adapted Victor Hugo's novel, directed the series and starred as Jean Valjean. The 22-year-old Welles developed the idea of telling stories with first-person narration on the series, which was his first job as a writer-director for radio.[3]:338 Les Misérables was one of Welles's earliest and finest achievements on radio,[4]:160 and marked the radio debut of the Mercury Theatre.

The production costarred Martin Gabel as Javert, Alice Frost as Fantine, and Virginia Nicolson, Welles's first wife, as the adult Cosette. The supporting cast included Ray Collins, Agnes Moorehead, Everett Sloane, Betty Garde, Hiram Sherman, Frank Readick, Richard Widmark, Richard Wilson and William Alland.[3]:338


The episodes of Les Misérables are described in an annotated chronology of Welles's career created by Jonathan Rosenbaum for the book, This is Orson Welles (1992).[3]:324, 338–339

# Date Program
1 July 23, 1937 "Chapter 1: The Bishop"
2 July 30, 1937 "Chapter 2: Javert"
3 August 6, 1937 "Chapter 3: The Trial"
4 August 13, 1937 "Chapter 4: Cosette"
5 August 20, 1937 "Chapter 5: The Grave" (announced the previous week as 'Marius')
6 August 27, 1937 "Chapter 6: The Barricade"
7 September 3, 1937 "Chapter 7: Finale"


  1. Hickerson, Jay, The Ultimate History of Network Radio Programming and Guide to All Circulating Shows. Hamden, Connecticut, second edition December 1992, page 232
  2. Radio Programs Scheduled for this Week, The New York Times, July 25, 1937
  3. 1 2 3 Welles, Orson; Bogdanovich, Peter; Rosenbaum, Jonathan (1992). This is Orson Welles. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers. ISBN 0-06-016616-9.
  4. Callow, Simon (2006). Orson Welles: Hello Americans. New York: Viking Penguin. ISBN 0-670-87256-3.
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