YTJD is arguably the best detective series on old-time radio. It featured seven lead actors over its 13-year run. Three of them made more of a mark as film stars: Dick Powell, Edmond O’Brien, and John Lund. But here’s how they sounded when they played “the man with the action-packed expense account.
You know Lucile Ball’s as TV’s “queen of comedy.” She also had a career in film, before and after her TV work. In the midst of all of it was radio, where she promoted her movie work, and began building a character that would eventually becomes Lucy Ricardo – or at least, it would show the way to where Lucy Ricardo lived.
Lucile Ball began appearing on radio in the late 1930s, when she was an RKO contract player. One of her first gigs was asa series regular on The Wonder Show. She moved on to guest-starring roles on popular comedy and drama series of the 1930s and 40s, and ended the decade as the star of her own radio sitcom, “My Favorite Husband.” This series was written by the team that would create “I Love Lucy” on television.
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.
MGM star, and serial Academy Award nominee (she won once) Greer Garson spent her radio career performing in adaptations of her own films for Lux Radio Theater. She was also active in on-air wartime fundraising, and performed on variety shows with Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy and Jimmy Durante. This episode of HOTR, which was suggested by a listener, features an episode of Academy Award, in which Garson takes the female lead in a 1946 adaptation of Brief Encounter.
The words Rita Hayworth and radio star don’t seem to quite fit together. Celebrated primarily for her beauty and glamour, Rita Hayworth electrified the motion picture screen. But did she have the personality for a medium without pictures, or even the inclination to perform there? Apparently the answer was yes. Between 1942 and 1947, she is credited with 34 radio appearances, on program ranging from the dramatic Lux Radio Theater and Suspense) to the light-hearted Edgar Bergen. She was also a popular attraction on wartime series, Mail Call and Command Performance. In this episode of HOTR, we hear Rita paying “herself” on the Burns & Allen program from March 21, 1944.
With this episode, I begin a five-part series focusing on the history of Lux RadioTheater, the most successful, longest-running radio drama series in history.
We begin with the first Lux Radio Theater broadcast to originate from Hollywood. In The Legionnaire and the Lady, MarleneDietrich recreates her role in the 1930 film, Morocco. She stars with Clark Gable, who takes the part played by Gary Cooper in the film. From this star-studded beginning, Lux built a phenomenal 20-year run, and sold a whole lot of soap flakes.
Dick Powell began his film career as a juvenile leading man and crooner in musical comedies of the early 1930s. Bored by musicals, Powell remade his image in the 1940s as a hard-boiled film noir hero. His first major noir role was as Philip Marlowe in the 1944 film, Murder, My Sweet. In 1945, Powell began his first radio series, Rogue’s Gallery, playing private eye Richard Rogue. The culmination of Powell’s radio career came in 1949 when he starred as Richard Diamond, Private Detective, in the Blake Edwards-penned series. On today’s show, we hear an episode of each series.
Edward G Robinson was both a prolific film actor, and a frequent radio performer. Today we feature an episode of Robinson’s radio series, Big Town, entitled.”Harding Factory Fire,” from October 26, 1937. Claire Trevor co-stars with Robinson. Next, it’s an episode of Suspense with an interesting twist; Robinson plays a dual role in “The Man Who Wanted To Be Edward G Robinson”, from October 17, 1946.<