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University of Southern California

The IJPC Journal, Volume 5 - Fall 2013 - Spring 2014

The Participant Observer: Journalist J.B. Kendall as a Social Research Practitioner in Old Time Radio’s Frontier Gentleman

Jefferson Spurlock


When asked to name a fictional journalist, most people say Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Lou Grant. The name J.B. Kendall doesn’t make many lists. Kendall, the star of Old Time Radio’s Frontier Gentleman, was popular in 1958. Kendall was a British reporter traveling in the Montana and Wyoming Territories of the American Wild West. Thanks to satellite radio and the availability of classic radio programs, today’s audiences are exposed to Kendall, possibly more so than during the show’s initial run. This essay examines Frontier Gentleman and how the 19th century correspondent operates not only as a journalist, but also as a social research practitioner.

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