- Academy Award Theater
"Academy Award Theater" (aka "Academy Award") was a CBS radio anthology series which presented 30-minute adaptations of plays, novels or films.
Rather than adaptations of Oscar-winning films, as the title implied, the series offered "Hollywood's finest, the great picture plays, the great actors and actresses, techniques and skills, chosen from the honor roll of those who have won or been nominated for the famous golden Oscar of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences."
With that as a guideline, any drama could be presented as long as the cast included at least one Oscar-nominated performer. For example, Robert Nathan's 1940 novel "
Portrait of Jennie" was not released as a film until 1949. David O. Selznick, having acquired the rights to Nathan's novel in 1944, was spending much time and money in his efforts to bring it to the screen. Thus, "Academy Award Theater"'s 1946 adaptation of "Portrait of Jennie", with John Lund and Oscar-winner Joan Fontaine, had a promotional aspect, concluding with announcer Hugh Brundage revealing, "Portrait of Jennie" is soon to be a Selznick International picture starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten."
The program aired Saturdays at 7pm through June and then moved to Wednesdays at 10pm. Frank Wilson scripted the 30-minute adaptations for producer Dee Englebach, and
Leith Stevensprovided the music. The sound effects crew included Gene Twombly, Jay Roth, Clark Casey and Berne Surrey.
The series began
March 30, 1946, with Bette Davis, Anne Revere and Fay Bainter in "Jezebel". On that first show, Jean Hersholtspoke as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, welcoming the House of Squibb pharmaceutical company as the program's sponsor. It was an expensive show to produce since the stars cost $4000 a week, and another $1600 went each week to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the use of their name in the show's title.
Dramas in which actors recreated their original film roles included
Henry Fondain "Young Mr. Lincoln", Humphrey Bogartin "The Maltese Falcon", Cary Grantin "Suspicion" and Ronald Colmanin "Lost Horizon". However, of the 39 episodes, only six actors recreated their own Oscar-winning roles: Fay Bainter, Bette Davis, Paul Lukas, Victor McLaglen, Paul Muniand Ginger Rogers.
The series ended
December 18, 1946, with Margaret O'Brienand Jeff Chandler in "Lost Angel".
Cavalcade of America
The Campbell Playhouse
CBS Radio Workshop
General Electric Theater
Lux Radio Theater
*Mercury Theatre on the Air
Screen Director's Playhouse
The Screen Guild Theater
*Theater Guild on the Air
*InternetArchiveOTR|id=OTRR_Academy_Award_Theater_Singles|title=Academy Award Theater
* [http://www.old-time.com/otrlogs2/aat_dj.log.txt Episode log by Dick Judge]
* [http://www.otrsite.com/logs/loga1002.htm Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs: "Academy Award Theater"]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.