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Saturday, 21 November 2009


Alan Ladd as Ric in Casablanca - yep, you read that correctly. The Lux Radio theatre started out producing hour long radio versions of popular Broadway hits, but when it started to produce it's own version of current hit movies it doubled its audience overnight.

It strove to use the original stars for their audio recreations of the movies but many of the stars were reluctant to take the then arduous journey from Hollywood to New York or a one off radio show. The result of this was that the Lux Radio show moved to Hollywood and many big stars worked with them - John Wayne, James Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Gary Cooper to name only a few. When the original stars were not available the studio used equally big names which was how Alan Ladd took the Bogart role in the radio adaptation of Casablanca.

Over the years I've picked up a few of these shows on CD but these days most of them can be heard online at the Internet archive.

Here you will find versions of old movies including westerns (She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is especially good), crime thrillers (Angels with Dirt Faces is again excellent), melodrama, comedy and even historical epics. Most feature the original stars and once you start listening you simply can't stop. Several of the shows are embedded above but visit the site and you may even find an alternative version of your favourite movie.

Below is a WIKI list of the actors who recreated their original roles for the Lux Theatre

Many of leading names in stage and film appeared in the series, most in the roles they made famous on the screen, including Abbott and Costello, Jean Arthur, Lauren Bacall, Lucille Ball, Ethel Barrymore, John Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Charles Boyer, James Cagney, Claudette Colbert, Ronald Colman, Gary Cooper, Joseph Cotten, Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Dan Duryea, Frances Farmer, Errol Flynn, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Greer Garson, Cary Grant, Lillian Gish, Charlton Heston, Bob Hope, Vivien Leigh, Fredric March,Agnes Moorehead, Paul Muni, Vincent Price, Donna Reed, Ginger Rogers, Mickey Rooney, Frank Sinatra, Ann Sothern, Barbara Stanwyck, James Stewart, Shirley Temple, Gene Tierney, Spencer Tracy, Lana Turner, John Wayne, Jane Wyman, Orson Welles, Loretta Young and Robert Young.

1 comment:

Laurie Powers said...

Fantastic - thanks for the tip.