The Big Story is an American radio and television crime drama which dramatized the true stories of real-life newspaper reporters. The only continuing character was the narrator, Bob Sloane.
Radio The Big Story Genre Crime drama Running time 30 minutes Country of origin United States Language English Syndicates NBC Starring Bob Sloane Announcer Ernest Chappell Written by Gail Ingram Arnold Perl Max Ehrlich Directed by Tom Vietor Harry Ingram Produced by Bernard J. Prockter Original release April 2, 1947 – March 23, 1955 Opening theme Ein Heldenleben Sponsored by Pall Mall cigarettes, the program began on NBC Radio on April 2, 1947. With Lucky Strike cigarettes sponsoring the last two seasons, it was broadcast until March 23, 1955.
The radio series was top-rated, rivalling Bing Crosby's Philco Radio Time.
Produced by Barnard J. Prockter, the shows were scripted by Gail Ingram, Arnold Pearl and Max Ehrlich. Tom Vietor and Harry Ingram directed the series. Gail and Harry Ingram were husband and wife. The theme was taken from Ein Heldenleben ("A Hero's Life"), a tone poem by Richard Strauss.
Prockter was inspired to create the program after hearing about a man who was freed from a life sentence in jail by the work of two newspaper reporters in Chicago. Most of the stories in the show dealt with stories about closed cases. Ross Eaman, in his book, Historical Dictionary of Journalism, wrote that the program was "originally intended to honour reporters ignored by Pulitzer committees ...." Jim Cox also cited that plan in his book, Radio Crime Fighters: More Than 300 Programs from the Golden Age.
Each week the program recognized the reporter who wrote the story on which that episode was based and the newspaper in which the story appeared. The reporter received $500, was interviewed on the air and was acknowledged in the introduction, as in this example:
Pall Mall, famous big cigarette, presents The Big Story, another in a thrilling series based on true experiences of newspaper reporters. Tonight, to Russ Wilson of the Des Moines Tribune goes the Pall Mall award for The Big Story. Now, the authentic and exciting story of "The Case of the Ambitious Hobo."