Dear mteal: Your reference to "The Man Who Was Thursday" reminds me of a caution to those of us who think we know a great deal about the real Orson Welles.
John Houseman tells a droll tale of how Welles considered G. K. Chesterton's story one of the most sublime in the language, and that he was always chomping at having the Mercury do it. Finally, according to Houseman, he said, if you guys can't rough out "The Man Who Was Thursday" out for my revision, I'll do it myself. The result was, again according to Houseman, that the Company was in a panic at air time because Welles had produced virtually nothing useful. Houseman and a couple of others had to write most of the play while it was on the air, and Welles was forced to ad lib for several minutes at the end.
It is a G-R-R-EAT story, and Houseman tells it beautifully.
There is only one thing wrong with it.
Recordings of rehearsals exist for a number of the Mercury shows. Years ago, I ordered a rehearsal copy of "The Man Who Was Thursday," by mistake, from Radio Yesteryear (now part of Radio Spirits). I was so disgusted with myself that I threw the cassettes (it was over an hour long) to one side, without listening to them, and subsequently purchased the broadcast version.
[Welles is right. G. K. Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday" is a wonderful piece of classic satire, as Welles adapted it for Radio, and as The Mercury Theater rendered it.]
Later, I heard Houseman's account, dug out my rehearsal copy, along with the broadcast version, and I compared the two.
Not to go on to much, but the rehearsal tape obviously has a few glitches and runs a bit long but it is complete, and at the end a voice, unmistakeably Houseman's, asks: "Any remarks, Orson?"
To which a wonderfully relaxed and boyish voice replies warmly: "None at all."
And so, it is inescapable, that the script was complete and intact, and had a full rehearsal prior to air time.
Perhaps there is another explanation, but either John Houseman made up this amusing story at Welles' expense, or perhaps, he confused the experience with "There's Always a Woman," the Welles's original, featuring Marie Wilson, which I mentioned earlier on the thread.
In any case, if you Wellsians are at all interested in Radio, by all means, try "The Man Who Was Thursday." Its black humor leveled at governments, intelligence services and anarchist plots is perfectly applicable to the madness which we call "The War on Terror" today.