Alum’s 1951 Radio Adaptation Airs – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Alum’s 1951 Radio Adaptation Airs

NPR-affiliate radio station WRVO recently broadcast a radio adaptation of Edward Bellamy Partridge’s book, “Salad Days” during its “Tuned to Yesterday” segment. Partridge was a 1900 graduate of Hobart College. The broadcast, which originally aired on CBS as a Hallmark Playhouse show on Nov. 29, 1951, starred actor Ronald Reagan as Partridge.   

The show begins with Partridge (as played by Reagan) being prompted by the questions of his son and an old photo album to recount his time at Hobart College. From watching the DeLancey school girls to having his lovesickness diagnosed by an English professor, Partridge’s recounting is both humorous and evocative of the tribulations and joys of a student going to Hobart in the 1890s.

One of the more interesting aspects of the segment is Partridge’s love story with Judy Dwinell, the fictional representation of his real wife, Pauline Groat Dunwell, a student of DeLancey School for Girls and the daughter of New York Supreme Court Judge James W. Dunwell. From his first glance of her from the windows of Geneva Hall to his eventual proposal, Partridge is awkwardly loveable as he attempts to impress Judy.

After graduation, Partridge went on to study law at Albany Law School. He married Pauline in 1903. For about a decade, Bellamy practiced law with his father, Civil War veteran and country lawyer Samuel Selden Partridge, in Phelps, N.Y., before working as a freelance writer, novelist and popular historian. As a journalist, he was a member of the press delegation that accompanied President Woodrow Wilson to the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919 at the end of World War I. After receiving multiple rejection slips while working at a publishing house, Partridge finally became established and is credited with 22 titles. He assisted in the screen adaptations of two of his books, “Big Family” (1941) and “Country Lawyer” (1939), a national best-seller.

The “Tuned to Yesterday” radio segment is hosted by Mark Lavonier on WRVO Tuesday through Sunday from 9 p.m. to midnight. WRVO is broadcast to Oswego, Syracuse, Utica, the North Country, Watertown, Cortland, Hamilton, Geneva, and Norwich.

Download segment:

Episode 209 (the 2nd half):