Showing posts with label Lux Radio Theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lux Radio Theatre. Show all posts

Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 27: Happy Birthday, Marlene Dietrich



We wish a Merry Christmas to all our readers, and, simultaneously, a happy birthday to the mysterious, urbane songstress, Marlene Dietrich.  As Marie Magdalene Dietrich, she entered the world on this day in 1901.

While her icy stare may not have played well on the radio, her voice certainly did.  She turned in sensuous and beguiling performances in such episodes of Lux Radio Theater as "Song of Songs," "Manpower," and "The Legionnaire."  She also appeared on Martin and Lewis and Burns and Allen.

An anti-Nazi voice and USO participant, Dietrich died in Paris at the age of 90.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Happy Birthday, Helen Hayes



The First Lady of American Theater, the first stage actress to go on to win an Academy Award, Helen Hayes was born on this day in 1900.  Helen Hayes starred in Victoria Regina, The Sin of Madelon Claudet and Happy Birthday.

In 1941, she took the helm as producer, actress and even casting director of the CBS radio series The Helen Hayes Theatre of the Air, a series running contemporary plays.

Hayes starred in a 1938  Lux Radio Theatre production of Jane Eyre and turned in appearances on a wide variety of classic radio series such as The Campbell's Playhouse, The Silver Theatre, and Dupont Cavalcade of America.  Radio gave us all the big stars of the 30's, 40's, and 50's, delivered as just a voice to let our imaginations fill in the rest.  Helen Hayes was just one shining example.

Friday, September 4, 2015

September 4: Happy Birthday, Dick York

Dick York, the tall, willowy actor who played Darrin on "Bewitched," was born today in 1928. 

To look at the extensive, prolific TV career of York, take this quiz. Which of these TV series did York not appear in: "The Twilight Zone," "Dr. Kildare," "The Virginian," "Wagon Train." You're absolutely correct if you said he appeared in all of them. He also played occasional roles in "Rawhide," "The Flintstones (himself)," and "Simon & Simon."

Dick York was born at the right time to catch the tail end of radio's comet, and appeared in series such as The Cavalcade of America, Tales of Tomorrow, and Meet the Meeks.

York is widely quoted as saying that Lux Radio Theater inspired him to puke, but it's unclear what he meant by this.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23: Happy Birthday, Gene Kelly


They just don't make 'em like Gene Kelly anymore, do they?  George Clooney, Tom Cruise, you name any of today's big leading men and whatever their virtues, they fall short of the charm and all-around talent of Gene Kelly.

He could act, he could sing, he could dance!  He could even choreograph. Today we celebrate the 1912 birth of Eugene Kelly, the man who gave us Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris and so much more.

While dancing works only so well on the radio, Kelly did lend his talents to the medium that concerns us here.  He appeared on some of the cream of old-time radio, such as Suspense and The Lux Radio Theatre (I'll bet his appearances sold a lot of soap!).    He also appeared on episodes of The Hotpoint Holiday Hour, Opportunity USA, and The Best of Groucho.  His first known appearance on the airwaves was in 1942 (Your Hollywood Radio Reporter) and his last in 1978 (The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast).  What a lot of great memories in between!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August 2: Myrna Loy



A few days (and seven years) after the birth of William Powell, Myrna Loy realized if she wanted to star with him in fourteen films, she'd have to be born too.  So she was, on Aug. 2, 1905.

Loy spent her childhood switching from Montana and Southern California, permanently settling into Culver City in 1918, after the death of her father.  She began playing vampy, exotic roles in less-than-stellar silent films like A Girl in Every Port.

Her big break was her first role with Powell, in The Thin Man.  She'd soon become a sought-after actress, starring alongside Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Clifton Webb, and--why not?--Shirley Temple.

She hit the airwaves for a few adaptations of movies she'd starred in, produced by Lux Radio Theatre.  On Suspense she starred in "The Library Book," which probably sounded a lot more intriguing in 1945 than it would today, and she was part of an intrepid group of artists appearing on the 1947 special Hollywood Fights Back.  This program voiced protest against the Un-American Activities Committee.

Thanks for the memories, Myrna!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 7: Happy Birthday, Jessica Tandy


The Oscar Award winning actress (Best Actress, "Driving Miss Daisy") Jessica Tandy was born on this day in 1909.  She reached adulthood and began her acting career in a world that was becoming familiar with broadcast radio, and she thrived in this new medium.

Those of you with the sharpest memories might recall her work on the NBC sustaining program "The Marriage," on which she played the wife of the character played by Hume Cronyn, her real-life second husband.

She also turned in sterling performances on The Lux Radio Theatre (as an intermission guest on "Presenting Lily Mars"), The Columbia Workshop (on "The Trojan Women"), and Great Plays (on "The Tempest").

A happy birthday to someone who thrilled audiences half a century before becoming Miss Daisy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 5: Happy Birthday, Tyrone Power


Could Tyrone Power have been anything other than an actor? The branches of his family tree included Laurence Olivier and Tyrone Guthrie, who instituted the Stratford Festival, while his great-grandfather, Tyrone Power (1795-1841) was an actor, as was his father Tyrone Power, Sr. Thus, the man known for his parts in The Black Swan, The Mark of Zorro, and Blood and Sand couldn't have been better suited for a life on stage and in front of the camera.

Today's birthday boy made many solid appearances on some of the biggest radio shows, such as Lux Radio Theatre, The Cavalcade of America, and The Gulf Screen Guild Theatre. On Jan. 7, 1940, he starred alongside Humphrey Bogart in an adaptation of Robert Sherwood's "The Petrified Forest." Power's radio travels also allowed him to work with Gale Gordon, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Hans Conried. So take a moment and remember the times you heard Mr. Power on the radio, on this, the day of his 1914 birth.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28: Happy Birthday, Lionel Barrymore

Lionel Barrymore's 61st birthday celebrated at MGM with a few of his friends! Norma Sheaerer on his right and Rosalind Russell on his left.  In back of him he has Mickey Rooney, Robert Montgomery,  Clark Gable, Louis B. Mayer, William Powell and Robert Taylor. 
Known to have been a reluctant performer in a family full of them, Lionel Barrymore is much loved for his annual performance as Ebenezer Scrooge on various old time radio programs. His biggest gig was in The Story of Doctor Kildare, in the role of Doctor Gillespie. Gillespie was the older doctor who graciously mentored Kildare.

He was the mayor of the town Mayor of the Town, a 1940s radio series, and made many appearances on Lux Radio Theatre, Command Performance, and Kraft Music Hall.

He would go on to shine as a screen actor in such movies as It's a Wonderful Life and A Free Soul, winning an Oscar for the latter. Ask your friends if they know who was born today in 1878. Tell 'em Lionel Barrymore -- that's who!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

January 3: Happy Birthday, Ray Milland



Ray Milland won an Oscar in 1946 for his work in Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend.  He also starred in Dial M For Murder, Close To My Heart, and Reap the Wild Wind.

But who are we kidding?  You and I love Ray for his role in the CBS blockbuster radio program Meet Mr. McNutley.  The series ran from '53-'54, and starred Ray Milland and Phyllis Avery.  Mr. McNutley was, as his name might imply, a warm-hearted, perhaps absent-minded professor at Lynnhaven College for Women.  The show ran simultaneously on the airwaves and the tube.

Plots include Peg buying a new outboard motor for Ray; Ray trying to divine the gender of a new parakeet; and an O. Henryesque miscue involving a mink coat.

Milland appeared as a guest on Lux Radio Theatre, Safari, Camel Screen Guild Theatre, and Suspense.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November 2: Happy Birthday, Burt Lancaster



In the world of show biz bios, you can either be a lower-working class kid from Bumble Bluffs, Illinois who hopped on a tomato truck and rode out to L.A. hoping to make it big, or you can come from one of the big cities and be drawn to the entertainment world around you.

Burt Lancaster wasn't from Bumble Bluffs.  He was born in New York City and was very affected by Joan Crawford and Lon Chaney in the 1927 silent film The Unknown.  From there it was a stint working for the circus (OK, maybe he was a bumpkin from the corn belt), Hollywood, and eventually his huge roles in Elmer Gantry, Atlantic City, and The Birdman of Alcatraz.

If you were a radio listener at the time and you wanted to hear Burt's voice, you could tune in to The Bob Hope Show, Hedda Hopper's Hollywood, Lux Radio Theatre, and The Cavalcade of America.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

October 22: Happy Birthday, Joan Fontaine



The lovely Joan Fontaine led a colorful and unusual childhood, alternately living in California and Japan.

As soon as she struck adulthood she began auditioning for Hollywood film roles, racking up a spree of parts in B-movies.  A breakthrough role was in Hitchcock's Rebecca, in which she co-starred with Laurence Olivier.

The radio producers new she even sounded pretty, and snapped her up for parts in adaptations of contemporary dramas.  In this capacity, she appeared on Lux Radio Theater, Screen Guild Theater, and Theater Guild on the Air.

Born in 1917, Fontaine is now an American treasure.

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 17: Happy Birthday, Rita Hayworth



A dancer as a child and actress and sex symbol as an adult, Rita Hayworth was born Margerita Carmen Cansino on this day in 1918.

Star of Gilda, Pal Joey, and Separate Tables, the stunning brunette was also once married to Orson Welles and romantically involved with Prince Aly Khan, Aga Khan's son.

But let's allow others to worry about her lovelife, her scandals and intrigues.  We're here to celebrate her radio performances: there were many.  She appeared on The Lux Radio Theatre, Gulf Screen Guild Theatre, The Pepsodent Show (hosted by Bob Hope), Suspense, and Command Performance.  On these top-flight shows, she acted alongside Cary Grant, Cecil B. DeMille, George Burns, and Angela Lansbury.

Hayworth was dashing and sensual, and has been recognized by collective memory as one of the great film actresses of all time.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September 27: Happy Birthday, William Conrad



Thanks for stopping by to help us celebrate the birthday of quintessential radio character actor William Conrad, who entered the world in 1920.

If you're remembering Conrad as Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke you're probably in good company.  However, Conrad once estimated he'd played more than 7,500 roles.  How did he find the time?  We do know for sure that he appeared on Fibber McGee and Molly, Lux Radio Theater, Suspense.  He also spent a few years as the announcer for Escape, bringing listeners in and asking them if they'd like to get away.

Resembling Orson Welles, Conrad was deep-voiced, a rugged man's man.  He was also a mainstay in the world of classic radio.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

September 25: Happy Birthday, William Faulkner



If ever an author's words were tailor-made for the airwaves, it was those of William Faulkner, whose lyrical phrasings with their attention to rhythm were meant for the ear.

Faulkner, born on this day in 1897, is, of course, one of the greatest American authors who ever lived, the creator of timeless classics such as As I Lay Dying, Go Down, Moses, Light In August, and The Sound and the Fury.

Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Anne Diamond all got a chance to bring Faulkner stories to life on such radio programs as NBC Theater and Lux Radio Theater.  Wild Palms, Honor, and The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam were all adapted for radio.  It's another way the words of this brilliant writer touched a nation.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 7: Happy Birthday, Peter Lawford

A member of the Rat Pack, a Kennedy in-law, and a good-looking British-born actor, Peter Lawford was born today in 1923.

Lawford is well known for his roles in "The Picture of Dorian Gray," "Above Suspicion," and "Son of Lassie."

Radio-wise, he graced the airwaves on shows such as The Frank Sinatra Show, Suspense, and Lux Radio Theater.

Being a member of the Rat Pack, glamorous though it may be, is not without its hazards. The story goes that after Lawford had fallen out of Sinatra's favor, when he went to see the singer performing, Sinatra refused to go on until Lawford had left.

We're happy to commemorate the birth and life of Peter Lawford, radio great!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 12: Happy Birthday, Cecil B. DeMille



People can debate whether it was "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup," or "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille," but there can be no dispute over the fact that the film director was also a huge figure in oldtime radio.

Cecil DeMille was a regular actor and frequent host of The Lux Radio Theatre, working alongside such greats as Loretta Young, Lionel Barrymore, Clark Gable, and Geraldine Peck. His run on the show stretched from 1936-1945.

DeMille was amazing in his ability to adapt to media after media. Born--today--in 881, he began as a stage actor and writer. He met the new medium of film and began directing silent films in 1914. When radio began crackling over the airwaves, he became a virtuoso in that form, also becoming a legend in talkies--motion pictures with sound.

We salute a paragon of versatility, a man known as a filmmaker whose legacy also includes great work in front of the microphone.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 29: Happy Birthday Nelson Eddy

A baritone that could sweep the hearts of bubble gum chewing teenagers to older women was Nelson Eddy. Born June 29, 1901, this classically trained crooner led four decades of entertaining people through radio, movies and live concerts. Most people will remember him for his time spent filming a number of movies opposite Jeanette MacDonald.

The first notice of Eddy singing (besides early years being fired for crooning on the job Nelson Eddy would hit the Hollywood scene and contract with MGM to make almost 20 motion pictures. His on-screen performances were as well received as his nightclub performances. Eddy made over 600 on-air radio appearances.
) was a tenor in a church boys choir. During his teens he became a trained singer of the opera genre. His talent drew him attention when he won a singing competition in Philadelphia. Throughout the 20’s and into the early 30’s, Eddy could be seen in some of the more impressive opera houses around the country. By 1933,

Nelson Eddy would host The The Voice of Firestone in 1936, The Chase and Sanborn Hour from 1937-1939 and his own program with CBS from 1947-1948. Nelson Eddy drew acclaim for his rendition of “Shortenin’ Bread” with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy on the Sanborn radio program. In the late 40’s he performed on the Lux Radio Theatre broadcast alongside of Cecil Demille. Nelson Eddy would also be heard on the Alan Young Show, as well as perform a few other operas on-air. In 1967, Eddy died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27: Happy Birthday, Vincent Price


Imagine a dozen voices singing "Happy Birthday" in a sepulchral, raspy Vincent Price voice.

 Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. was born on this day in 1911 and would forge a career in broadcasting, television, and film. The gothic ghoul who oozed cool graced the airwaves of such programs as Lux Radio Theater, Suspense, Escape, and Hollywood Star Playhouse.

Check out the titles of the programs brought to life by Price's mid-century appearances on Suspense: "Fugue In C Minor," "Hands of Mr. Ottermole," "Rave Notice." He also starred in literary chillers "Occurrence At Owl Creek" and Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum."

The Yale-educated Price started his acting career in Broadway and didn't waste much time busting into film, starring in the 1953 flick "House of Wax" alongside Frank Lovejoy and Phyllis Kirk.

Price may be the only person born today who has won a "Grim Reaper Award" and who is a member of the Horror Hall of Fame. A scary and horrific birthday to you, Vincent!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 5: Happy Birthday, Gregory Peck


Lux Radio Theatre and Suspense gave Peck a chance to shine in productions of "The Yearling," "Gentleman's Agreement," and "Murder Through the Looking Glass." He also appeared in a rendering of Anna Karenina on Screen Guild Theater.

Peck was born in La Jolla, CA, and schooled first at St. John's Military Academy and then at the University of California, Berkeley. Without really knowing why, the English major took a role in a stage production of Moby Dick, and a promising career was born. Happy Birthday, Gregory Peck!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 23: Happy Birthday, Joan Crawford

Today's birthday salute goes to Joan Crawford, born today in 1904.  Crawford's career began kicking in 1924, when she worked as a dancer in traveling revues.  Spotted in a performances, she landed a gig in Innocent Eyes on Broadway.  It wasn't long before she landed her first movie role, in The Circle, and the rest is history.

In 1934, Crawford made her first of many appearance on The Lux Radio Theatre, starring in an adaptation of the 1934 MGM film "Chained."  In 1938 it was "Anna Christie," with Crawford playing the role made famous by Greta Garbo.  She would later star in "A Doll's House" on the same program.

The much-sought actress also lent her talents to Screen Directors' Playhouse, Stars Over Hollywood, Hollywood Star Playhouse, and Suspense.

A happy birthday to Joan Crawford.