Himan Brown is one of the most influential producers in radio
history. Born and reared in Brownsville, he began his broadcasting career while
studying at Brooklyn College. At the age of twenty-one, he graduated from Brooklyn
Law School as valedictorian of his class.
Brown launched his first show-Hi-Brow Readings, a poetry program-in 1927. In 1929 he joined Gertrude Berg to play her husband in The Rise of the Goldbergs, a weekly comedy about an immigrant family living in a New York City tenement, and arranged the sale of the show to the NBC radio network. He subsequently concentrated on producing radio theater, creating ideas, outlining themes, collaborating on writing, selling the concept to the sponsors, and casting and directing the productions himself.
From the 1930s to the 1950s, millions of Americans tuned into Himan Brown productions, such as Dick Tracy; Bulldog Drummond; Joyce Jordan, M.D.; Nero Wolfe; Grand Central Station; The Adventures of the Thin Man; and the classic Inner Sanctum Mysteries.
For his contributions to the medium, Brown was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame and received the American Broadcast Pioneer Award. He earned the prestigious Peabody Award for CBS Radio Mystery Theater, which he produced and directed from 1973 to 1983. The popular hour-long program was carried seven nights a week by more than 350 stations across the nation.
In recent years, Brown has been busy creating a series of radio theater biographies entitled They Were Giants. Episodes have dramatized the lives of the bridge-building Roebling family and such literary figures as Somerset Maugham, H. G. Wells, Anton Chekhov, and Walt Whitman. Recently, he generously underwrote the Himan Brown Fund for the Spoken Word, which will train Brooklyn College students in broadcasting and related fields in every aspect of producing radio dramas.
For his illustrious career in creating and perpetuating the art of radio theater, Brooklyn College awards Himan Brown the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.