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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

March 6: Happy Birthday, Virginia Gregg

March 6: Happy Birthday, Virginia Gregg

She had gun and she traveled, even if Virginia Gregg didn't have one of the lead roles in the radio drama Have Gun--Will Travel. She played Miss Wong, the girlfriend of Hey Boy (Ben Wright), a booksmart, somewhat sophisticated gal.

Have Gun Will Travel was a rare beast that began as a television series and then went to radio. Both versions were wildly successful, and some of the credit for the success of the radio show goes to the quality of the cast. Gregg was already a big name in radio before the show began airing. As was the case with many performers of the day, she made the rounds of many different series such as The Adventures of Adventures of Sam Spade, Lux Radio Theatre, Johnny Dollar, and Dragnet.

Virginia Gregg was born on Mar. 6, 1916 in Harrisburg, Illinois, and died in Encino, CA on Sept. 15, 1986.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 29: Happy Birthday, Fredric Brown

I'm sure we're all grateful that the world of old-time radio is peopled by lovable hams and charming cut-ups. However, Fredric Brown injected some very deep thought into the medium. Not a song and dance man nor announcer, Brown was a sci-fi writer whose works were adapted into radio programs.

One of the most interesting and cerebral of the pulp sci-fi writers of the mid-century, Brown wanted to experiment with the form and push the boundaries. One of his most noted short stories, "Knock," opens with the last man on Earth receiving a visitor. He challenged himself and worked his imagination so hard that, according to his wife, he actually hated writing.

But listeners of Lux Radio Theater and other shows featuring his work probably wouldn't have guessed, and they themselves probably loved what Brown put to paper.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 29: Happy Birthday, Ingrid Bergman

The winsome Ingrid Bergman was born on this day in 1915. In the world of classic radio, she entertained listeners while entertaining troops on the patriotic program "Everything For The Boys," hosted by Ronald Colman

Early in its life, the program was like other radio programs in adapting stories by contemporary writers and bringing in top-notch actors. Here's where Bergman came in, starring in "Death Takes a Holiday."

The Swedish actress also played her way into America's hearts in episodes of Lux Radio Theater such as "A Man's Castle," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and "Gaslight." She played the title role in a production of Anna Karenina on Screen Guild Theater and the role of Isla Lund on a rendering of Casablanca on the same classic program.

The three-time Oscar winner is just one of many examples of all the top talent making its way to the world of radio back in the golden days.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 1: Happy Birthday, Alice Frost


Before "Scooby Doo" or "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective," before PBS's "The Bloodhound Gang," came the original self-appointed crime-fighters, Mr. and Mrs. North. This dynamic duo, Jerry and Pam North of Greenwich Village, often ran around solving murders even though they weren't professional or trained detectives.

While Joseph Curtin played Mr., Mrs. was, of course, today's birthday girl, Alice Frost.

Early in Frost's career, she teamed with Walter O'Keefe in a comedy act, playing various characters. Before long, she was making appearances on some of the bigtime radio shows such as Lux Radio Theatre, Mercury Theatre, and The Campbell Playhouse. From there, it was the starring role in Big Sister and then her part in Mr. and Mrs. North. In addition, she played Martha Jackson on "Woman of Courage."

We salute the memorable character acting of Alice Frost!

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29: Happy Birthday, William Powell



The Bogey to the Bacall of Myrna Loy, William Powell was born today, 1892.

William Powell and Myrna Loy paired up for no less than fourteen movies, including TheThin Man, The Great Ziegfeld, and Manhattan Melodrama.

It's enough to keep a man busy, but WP still had time to play roles in nearly a dozen episodes of Lux Radio Theatre, one of them an adaptation of The Thin Man.  He also lent his acting chops to The Cavalcade of America and The Kraft Music Hall.  And if you think Loy's partner never appeared on Suspense, think again.  He starred alongside John Dehner and Joseph Kearns in a 1953 adaptation of "The Man Who Cried Wolf."  Other Suspense appearances teamed him with Anne Morrison, Paula Winslowe, and Jack Kruschen.

We salute the birthday of the late William Powell.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16: Happy Birthday, Ginger Rogers


The Rogers of Astaire and Rogers was born July 16, 1911. The lovely Ginger Rogers was a  captivating dancer and actress would perform more than 10 movies with Fred Astaire and be a romantic focus of his as well. Born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence Missouri, Ginger would grow up with her grandparents in Kansas City. During this time her mother worked in Hollywood writing scripts. Due to the fact one of her cousins could not properly pronounce her first name, she took on the nickname of “Ginga’.” “Ginga’” moved to Texas where where her mother was working as a theatre critic for a Fort Worth newspaper. During this time, Miss Rogers became fascinated with the stage and started to learn to sing and dance. She became involved vaudeville and the stage, performing in a number of productions. One of her most memorable was Girl Crazy, where she met the choreographer, Fred Astaire, for the first time. By 1929 she had moved onto Hollywood and became a film performer. During the years of 33-39 she made a number of films with Astaire as her dancing partner. Rogers made a number of guest appearances on radio. her academy award winning Kitty Foyle was a showpiece on Lux Radio Theatre. She also made appearances on Command Performance, Screen Guild Theatre, G.I. Journal and Suspense. Ginger Rogers had as much presence on-air as she did on the motion picture screen. She was married five times, but never to Fred Astaire. She loved to perform, be involved in civics and enjoyed people. She left this world in 1995 of a heart attack. She had danced her last earthly dance.

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 1: Happy Birthday, James M. Cain

Fans of old-time radio have no doubt enjoyed adaptations of the gritty fiction of James M. Cain. Cain, whose 1892 birthday we commemorate today, wrote Mildred Pierce, Double Indemnity, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. These classics were adapted into bracing radio dramas by such programs as Screen Guild Theater and Lux Radio Theater

Cain was a tough customer whose contribution to the "hard-boiled" noir genre was a bit different from those of writers like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, since he wrote about the criminal rather than the detective. He also explored human depravity, applying keen psychological insight. He was drawn to the unsympathetic character and often featured one manipulative criminal seducing another into a web of evil. No wonder radio producers were drawn to his work. We salute, thee, James M. Cain.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June, 29: Happy Birthday, Joan Davis

When Joan Davis was born on June 29, 1907, America was blessed with talent that would encompass all avenues of entertainment. This young comedian was going to make her mark on television, radio, vaudeville and in the movies...not in necessarily in that order. he first arena for performing was in vaudeville with her comedian husband Si Willis.

One of her enterprising talents was that of a physical comedian; her size and lanky build was suited for the making the slapstick variety of visual humor. In 1941, Joan Davis entered the radio arena by appearing on the Rudy Vallee Show, where she would become a regular a few months later.

When Vallee left to serve during WWII in 1943, Davis and Jack Haley became co-hosts of the program, The Sealtest Village Store. In 1945 she moved over to CBS and did a radio program centered around owning a tea room. In 1947, the show changed placing her name on the title still with the focus of the tea room and the happenings in Smallville, running until 1948. By July of that same year, Leave it to Joan ran in place of Lux Radio Theatre for the summer.

In August 1949 the program became a yearly diet for america with its run until March of 1950. Her physical comedy was played up on the radio and developed her prowess for that type of comedy. it worked for when NBC took her on television opposite of Jim Backus with I Married Joan. It ran until 1955. In 1961, MS Davis passed away at the age of 53 in Palm Springs, California. Comediennes like Lucille Ball and Eve Arden owe much of their success to the talents pioneered by Joan Davis.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20: Happy Birthday, Errol Flynn

June 20 of 1909, Robin Hood and Captain Blood was born in the visage of Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn.

Born and raised in Australia, the entrepreneur turned performer made his way to the USA via time performing theatre and movie work in England. Flynn made a major impression upon the American scene for motion pictures due to his swarthy good looks and care-free attitude to life. It was during his short, but action-filled life that Errol Flynn created the roles of Captain Blood, Don Juan and Robin Hood.

His sword-play was considered some of the best Hollywood magic of the time and earned him more roles as a 200.000 dollar a film performer. Flynn was able to handle less swash-buckling of on-screen roles in war and western themed motion pictures.

During the 1940’s Errol Flynn attempted to serve the country that had made him famous by trying to enlist, but heart and health issues prevented that from happening. However, in 1937 he did serve as a reporter during the Spanish Civil War and used the 40’s and 50’s to write his autobiography and other works. Errol Flynn’s voice was so distinctive that he did some some characterizations for the radio airwaves.

 In fact, his characterizations made him a favorite for work on The Cavalcade of America and Lux Radio Theatre radio programs. These programs were a few of his more notable movie roles scripted for the airwaves. Flynn was married three times and had one son (later declared missed and dead in Cambodia) and a number of daughters.

  Errol Flynn passed away in 1959 from a heart attack at the young age of 50.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May 26: Happy Birthday, John Wayne

Hey, pilgrim, you didn't think John Wayne was one of those movie stars who didn't appear on radio, did you? One of today's birthday boys, originally christened Marion Morrison, the Duke made many memorable appearances on the biggest classic radio shows.

He crackled over the airwaves on Lux Radio Theater with adaptations of "Red River," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," and "Movie Time, USA."

Wayne, of course, is a symbol of American manhood, or at least a certain variety of it. He was a supporter of the Vietnam War, a staunch conservative, and a bar fighter who could mix it up with the best. His swaggering walk and even more swaggering speech made him one of the biggest movie stars of all time.

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20: Happy Birthday, Jimmy Stewart

It's only natural that a man with a voice as distinctive as Jimmy Stewart's would have a good time with radio. Of course he's known as a huge movie star, but he spent more than his share of time in front of a radio microphone as well.

Stewart, whose birthday we celebrate today, made frequent appearances on classic radio mainstays such as Screen Guild Theater, Lux Radio Theater, and Silver Theater. He also starred in Six Shooter from 1952-'54.

Some of the productions to which Stewart lent his talents on air include "It's a Wonderful Life," "Winchester '73," and "Destry Rides Again."

Later he would host a show called "Good News," a promotional venture for MGM. On this show, he'd interview MGM stars with upcoming films. So next time the name Jimmy Stewart comes up, remember his radio career and that he wasn't just a movie star.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 7: Happy Birthday, Gary Cooper


Lux Radio Theater was one of the chief homes of the radio work of Western film star Gary Cooper. On the legendary program, he starred in adaptations of his hit films "The Virginian," "The Pride of the Yankees," and "Mr. Deeds Goes to Washington."

Mr. Cooper lent his talents to Screen Guild Theater with adaptations of "Sergeant York," "A Farewell to Arms," and "Along Came Jones."

In 1947, the actor appeared on The Charlie McCarthy Show. In the same year, he also graced Philco Radio Time, hosted by Bing Crosby. The debonair screen star showed that he could shine on more than one medium. Let's give props to the star, born on this day in 1901.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Friday, April 5, 2013

April 5: Happy Birthday, Bette Davis


Rumored to have intimidated--and insulted--Marilyn Monroe on the set of All about Eve, Bette Davis is one of the icons of the 40's and 50's. Known as a diva among divas, feuding with Joan Crawford and Humphrey Bogart and flicking her acerbic opinions into the air like so many ashes from her ever-present cigarettes, she was much more than a doe-eyed princess.

She first hit the airwaves in 1935 on an episode of Shell Chateau. From there, Bette Davis appeared in Command Performance, Calvalcade of America, and many episodes of Lux Radio Theater. Her most regular gig was on Whispering Streets, in 1958.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March 20: Happy Birthday, Wendell Corey

March 20: Happy Birthday, Wendell Corey

Wendell Corey was a stage and screen actor whose appealing voice made him a shoo-in for radio success. The star of the films Hell's Half Acre, Rear Window, and Alias Jesse James and the TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Peck's Bad Girl, Corey also made notable appearances on the radio.

His performances were on notable shows such as Inner Sanctum, Lux Radio Theater, and Cavalcade of America.  On Lux Radio Theater, Corey reprised his supporting role in the film "Carbine Williams."

A future Santa Monica City Council member, Corey was a team player as an actor, taking on many supporting roles.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3: Happy Birthday, Barbara Jean Wong

March 3: Happy Birthday, Barbara Jean Wong

Barbara Jean Wong was an American actress- primarily a radio actress- born to third-generation Chinese-American parents. She started her career at an early age of five. She had a fine, clear voice at the age due to which she garnered many roles in radio programs at such a small age.

Often called The Chinese-American Shirley Temple, L.A. native Barbara Jean Wong was a child actress and radio phenom.

The role you may remember her in was that of Arbadella in Amos 'n' Andy. Arbadella was Amos's daughter, enjoying tender moments with Amos, including his teaching her the significance of the Lord's prayer. She was also a staple on Christmas programs.

The charming young gal also threw her personality into appearances on Lux Radio Theatre, Cavalcade of America, and Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Most of the characters the fifth-generation Chinese-American played were not Asian. Here's a salute to a character actress on Amos 'n' Andy, one of the all-time greats of radio.

Friday, March 1, 2013

March 1: Happy Birthday, David Niven

March 1: Happy Birthday, David Niven

While countless men have been inspired by 007, James Bond, David Niven is said to have been the inspiration for the famous fictional spy. In the Bond film You Only Live Twice, Niven is called the only true gentleman in Hollywood. Legend has it the novelist Ian Fleming had Niven in mind as a bit of a prototype for the suave, playboy type who Bond would become in the novels and then the films.

The British-born Niven , a soldier who experienced the D-Day invasion before becoming an actor, is of relevance to us here because of his appearances on Lux Radio Theatre, The Rudy Vallee Royal Gelatin Hour, and The Bob Hope Show.

Perhaps most noteworthy, the debonair Brit voiced George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 on NBC University Theatre on Aug. 27, 1949.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 7: Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens

February 7: Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens

We salute the author of A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, David Copperfield, and many other classics because so many of his works were adapted into radio plays.

If you can recall sitting on the floor with the fire crackling nearby, your mom sorting her coupons at the coffee table, and radio actors giving voice to great Dickens dramas, here's what you're remembering, specifically:


Imagine turning on commercial radio today and hearing classic literature instead of gossip about Miley Cyrus or the latest hit song by Justin Bieber.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February 6: Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan

February 6: Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan

Inventing the cotton gin was one of the only things Ronald Reagan didn't do. The actor, governor, and president actually began his career as a radio announcer.

It all began for Dutch Reagan in 1932 when WOC from Davenport, Iowa needed someone to call
the Iowa-Minnesota homecoming football game. He moved on to WHO , a Des Moines NBC affiliate.

Known for sprinkling some humor into his presidential communiques, Reagan honed his comic style, in addition to his television appearances, on the radio. As he became a relatively big name on the tube, he began, as many TV stars did, appearing on some of the big radio shows. His appearance on Lux Radio Theatre teamed him future wife Jane Wyman for an adaptation of Nobody Lives Forever. The Gipper also guested on The Bing Crosby Show, The Burns and Allen Show, Suspense, and Colgate Sports Newsreel.

Later, The Great Communicator would broadcast many presidential speeches.  Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911 and died June 5, 2004.

Friday, February 1, 2013

February 1: Happy Birthday, Clark Gable

February 1: Happy Birthday, Clark Gable


Both before and after his epochal role in 1939's Gone With The Wind, Clark Gable made more than a dozen appearances of popular radio shows including Lux Radio Theatre, Cavalcade of America, and Good News.

One of his earliest roles was in a 1936 performance of "The Legionnaire and the Lady" on the Lux Radio Program. This was an adaptation of the film Morocco, and starred, in addition to Gable, Marlene Dietrich.

On May 5, 1937, Gable starred with Josephine Hutchinson and Jack LaRue in a Lux production of "A Farewell To Arms."

On May 5, 1938, he starred in "Manhattan Melodrama" on Good News.

In all, Gable's radio performances allowed him to work with Ginger Rogers, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Lana Turner, and Judy Garland.

We honor the King of Hollywood for his sterling on-air performances.