Producer/Director/Creator, Himan Brown's productions include audio
works such as Inner Sanctum, The Thin Man, CBS Radio Mystery Theater,
Terry and the Pirates, Bulldog Drummond, Dick Tracy,
Theater, Grand Central Station, and an endless list of daytime soap
operas. Himan Brown continues to produce quality audio drama before
live audiences and tapes them for distribution. He also lectures and
Himan Brown was one of the most respected figures in radio history. He started in radio by reading poetry in front of a microphone while a student at the City College of New York.
After briefly trying his hand at acting, Brown decided to concentrate on producing and directing. He became a one-man organization who would create ideas, outline themes, help with the writing, sell the concept to the sponsors and then cast and direct the productions.
In 1933, he produced and directed Marie, The Little French Princess, CBS radio’s first daytime soap opera. Brown also secured the radio rights for several popular comic strips. One of those series, 1935’s Flash Gordon, starred Radio Hall of Fame actor Gale Gordon in the title role.
Brown is perhaps best-known as the creator, producer and director of Inner Sanctum Mysteries. He was also responsible for producing or directing The Adventures of the Thin Man, Bulldog Drummond, Grand Central Station and numerous other series.
Throughout his life, Brown actively campaigned to keep radio drama alive in America. From 1974 to 1982, he produced and directed the Peabody Award-winning CBS Radio Mystery Theater. (Hear and download all 1399 episodes of CBS Radio Mystery Theater - click this link)
Himan Brown was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1990.
Mr. Brown died in 2010. The following is his obituary, as published in the New York Times:
BROWN--Himan, 99, died peacefully at his home in Manhattan on Friday June 4th 2010 at 8:13pm. He was Father to Barry Kenneth Brown of California and Hilda Joan Brown of Arizona. Grandfather to Melina Celeste Brown and Barrie Kristen Brown. Beloved great-grandfather "Papa Hymie" to William Samuel Brown, Zoe Judith Mildred Sansted, Zachary Dakota Aloysius Sansted and Zia Eva Dora Sansted, all of Connecticut, he was also father-in-law to Judith Ann Brown of Manhattan. He was the Widow of Mildred Brown and Shirley Goodman. He was preceded in death by his parents Samuel Brown and Dora Arkis Brown who were immigrants from Odessa, Russia, His brothers Mende Brown and Nathan Brown.
He also leaves behind his beloved caretaker Zulfiya Ziyakhodjaev, who gave structure, meaning, and love to his final years, his great friend and doctor Cameron Hernandez of Mt Sinai Visiting Doctors, who he admired as a doctor and loved as a friend, a neighborhood full of people who loved him, and a bustling building full of devoted staff who were more than just that to him; they looked out for him, listened to him and enabled him to remain the independent guy that he was until the very end. He was a member of the community of North Stamford, CT, where he spent every weekend and most summers for his entire life, and he leaves behind a group of friends there who have been a tremendous foundation, providing a retreat to a very intense and creative mind. He also leaves a wonderful, talented, and devoted group of actors who he has worked with for years and who have remained his loyal friends and creative inspiration throughout more years than any may want to admit.
He surely joins those who left this earth before him at some heavenly table-reading, throwing a cue, joking with Zero, and listening to Mercy growl out a laugh. He grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, fluent in Yiddish, and only learned English upon his entry into public school. Steeped in music and great classics, he played violin, and excelled intellectually, while attending Boy's High School with the likes of Bugsy Seigel and The Amboy Dukes. He attended Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Law School graduating as valedictorian with a law degree in 1931, but acting was his great passion, and he already was producing and performing in live theater, Catskills revues, and on the fast growing medium of radio. Legendary creator, producer, director of radio drama, beginning in 1927 with the Hi Brow Readings, he was a one man show, often seen riding a horse in Central Park or walking the country roads of his Stamford, CT retreat while editing scripts with a red pencil, he was a mysterious figure to many but a regular guy to those that knew him.
Some of his notable series include The Rise of the Goldbergs, Dick Tracy, Adventures of the Thin Man, Inner Sanctum Mysteries, Grand central Station, and the Peabody Winning CBS Radio Mystery Theater. In the 1950s he bought Players Studios at 221 West 26th Street, now Chelsea Studios, to produce his shows. He was a Founding Member of the Director's Guild of America, member, proud AFTRA a philanthropist and founder of The Radio Drama Network to propagate the spoken word, and was devoted to health care causes and the issues facing people over 50. He was a proud liberal, intellectual, art collector, and legendarily frugal. A member of the Radio Hall of Fame, Brown is the recipient of the American Broadcast Pioneer and the Peabody Award. Brown has taught audio drama at Brooklyn College and the School of Visual Arts. He has lived at the same apartment on Central Park West since 1938. He was awarded a doctorate of Humane Letters by Brooklyn College in 2003. Services will be private, The family urges that in Lieu of flowers donations be sent to the Visiting Doctors of Mt Sinai, Attn: Dr Cameron Hernandez, 5 East 102nd Street, New York, NY 10029.
Published in The New York Times on June 6, 2010