Unlike most actors I’ve featured on HOTR, Richard Widmark did not turn to radio as a means of promoting his film career. He started on radio, working as supporting player, then lead in daytime serials and mystery programs, from the late 1930s to the mid-40s. His first radio appearance was in 1938’s Aunt Jenny’s Real Life Stories, but he went on to appear regularly on The Shadow, Columbia Radio Workshop, and several mystery series. Even in early radio, he was often a villain, or unstable character, though he could play comedy, too. Widmark had the lead in the soap, Front Page Farrell, until it switched networks.
In 1946, Widmark made his Broadway debut, and that success propelled him to Hollywood where he made his first film, Kiss of Death. It’s still among his most memorable, and chilling performances, and got Widmark an Oscar nomination. He continued working in film, as a leading man in noir and Westerns, making occasional return visits to radio in recreations of his films, and as a guest on variety shows. Widmark died in 2008.
Marlene Dietrich appeared frequently on radio in the 1930s, mostly in Lux Radio Theater adaptations of her films. During the war years, she actively raised funds during bond drives and entertained the troops in person and via radio. She appeared in post-war years on variety shows, and in 1953, she briefly had her own series, A Time for Love. This week, we’ll hear the second episode of the series, from January 1953.
Breakfast in Hollywood aired on the Blue Network from 1941 to 1948. The show originated daily from Tom Brenneman’s restaurant in Hollywood and featured Brenneman walking through the restaurant, chatting up the mostly female, and frequently tourist patrons.
In 1946, Harold Schuster made film by the same name, using the show (and Brenneman) as a backdrop for a series of intertwined melodramatic stories. You can watch on YouTube, or download it from The Internet Archiv.
The Breakfast in Hollywood radio show ended in 1948, soon after Brenneman’s untimely death.