- Lux Radio Theater
Infobox Radio Show
show_name = Lux Radio Theater
imagesize = 100px
caption = Newspaper advertisement for the premier show on the NBC Blue Network, starring
runtime = 1 hour
country = flagicon|United States
language = English
home_station = WJZ (10/14/34-06/30/35)
CBSWABC (07/29/35-05/25/36) CBS(06/01/36-06/28/54) NBC(09/14/54-06/07/55)
Lux Video Theatre(1950-1957)
presenter = John Anthony, Albert Hayes,
Cecil B. DeMille, William Keighley, Irving Cummings
starring = Numerous Broadway and Hollywood stars
director = Antony Stanford, Frank Woodruff, Sanford Barnett, Fred MacKaye, Earl Ebi, Norman Macdonnell
writer = George Wells
record_location = 1934–1936
New York City
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
October 14 1934
June 7 1955
num_series = 21
num_episodes = 926
audio_format = Monaural sound
"Lux Radio Theater", one of the genuine classic radio
anthology series(NBC Blue Network(1934-1935); CBS(1935-1954); NBC(1954-1955)) adapted first Broadway stage works, and then (especially) films to hour-long live radio presentations. It quickly became the most popular dramatic anthology series on radio, running more than twenty years.
The program always began with an announcer proclaiming, "Ladies and gentlemen, Lux presents Hollywood!"
Cecil B. DeMillewas the host of the series each Monday evening from June 1, 1936, until January 22, 1945. On one occasion, however, he was replaced by Leslie Howard.
"Lux Radio Theater" strove to feature as many of the original stars of the original stage and film productions as possible, usually paying them $5,000 an appearance to do the show. It was when
sponsor Lever Brothers(who made Lux soap and detergent) moved the show from New York Cityto Hollywoodin 1936 that it eased back from adapting stage shows and toward adaptations of films. The first "Lux" film adaptation was "The Legionnaire and the Lady", with Marlene Dietrichand Clark Gable, based on the film " Morocco". That was followed by a "Lux" adaptation of "The Thin Man", featuring the movie's stars, Myrna Loyand William Powell.
Many of the greatest---or, at least, the most legendary---names in stage and film appeared in the series, most in the roles they made famous on the screen, including
Abbott and Costello, 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, Cary Grant, Lillian Gish, Charlton Heston, Bob Hope, Vivien Leigh, Agnes Moorehead, Paul Muni, Vincent Price, Donna Reed, Ginger Rogers, Frank Sinatra, Ann Sothern, Barbara Stanwyck, James Stewart, Shirley Temple, Gene Tierney, Spencer Tracy, John Wayne, Jane Wyman, Orson Welles, Loretta Young, and Robert Young, among numerous others.
Among the men,
Don Ameche-- eventually a radio star in " The Bickersons" -- appeared most often, with 18 "Lux" appearances, just ahead of Fred MacMurray's 17. Among the women, the honor went to Barbara Stanwyckwith 15 "Lux" appearances, including her re-creation of her hit film " Sorry, Wrong Number" (itself borne of an earlier radio production, on CBS legend "Suspense"). Loretta Young's 14 appearances were the second most among the women.
Though the show focused on film and its performers, perhaps inevitably several classic radio regulars appeared in "Lux Radio Theater" productions. Jim and Marian Jordan, better known as
Fibber McGee and Molly, appeared on the show twice and also built an episode of their own radio comedy series around one of those appearances. Their longtime costar, Arthur Q. Bryan(wisecracking Dr. Gamble) made a few "Lux" appearances as well. Bandleader Phil Harris---a longtime regular on Jack Benny's radio hit---and his singing actress wife, Alice Faye, who had become radio comedy stars with their own show beginning in 1948, appeared in a "Lux" presentation. Fred Allen, Jack Benny(with and without his wife, Mary Livingstone), George Burnsand Gracie Allenwere among the other radio stars who were invited to do "Lux" presentations as well.
At least once "Lux Radio Theater" presented an adaptation of the film version of a radio series hit: "
The Life of Riley", featuring William Bendixas the Brooklyn-born, California-transplanted, stumbling but bighearted aircraft worker he already made famous in the long-running radio series (and eventual television hit) of the same name.
But also at least once "Lux Radio Theater" offered a presentation without any known performers---its 1942 adaptation of "This is the Army" included a cast strictly drawn from actual American soldiers.
"Mercury Theatre on the Air" -- which eventually made Orson Welles a force to be reckoned with, especially with the commotion his broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" (30 October 1938) provoked -- was initially a summer replacement series for "Lux Radio Theater".
DeMille's clash with Unions
It was a clash over closed shop union rulings favoured by the old American Federation of Radio Artists that ended DeMille's term as "Lux Radio Theater"'s host. AFRA assessed members a dollar each to help back a campaign to enact closed-shop rulings in California. DeMille, an AFRA member but a stern opponent of closed shops, refused to pay because he believed it would nullify his opposition vote. When AFRA ruled those not paying faced suspension from the union, and thus a ban from appearing on the air, DeMille was finished---because he also refused to let anyone else pay the dollar for him. "Lux Radio Theater" auditioned, on the air, several hosts over the next year, until they settled on
William Keighleyas the new permanent host, a post he held from late 1945 through mid-1955.
Final years and TV version
During its years on CBS in Hollywood, "Lux Radio Theater" was broadcast from the Lux Radio Playhouse located at 1615 North Vine Street in Hollywood, one block south of the famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The theater was later renamed The Huntington Hartford Theater, The Doolittle Theater, and is now the Ricardo Montalban Theater.
Lux Video Theatre" began as a live 30-minute Monday evening CBS series October 2, 1950, switching to Thursday nights during August, 1951. In September 1953, the show relocated from New York to Hollywood. In August, 1954, it jumped to NBC as an hour-long show on Thursday nights, telecast until September 12, 1957. James Masonwas the host in the 1954-55 season.
The Screen Guild Theater
Screen Director's Playhouse
*Theater Guild on the Air
Academy Award Theater
Cavalcade of America
CBS Radio Workshop
General Electric Theater
The Campbell Playhouse
*Mercury Theatre on the Air
* [http://www.audio-classics.com/lluxradio.html Audio Classics Archive Radio Logs: "Lux Radio Theater"]
* [http://www.otr.net/?p=luxr OTR Network Library: "Lux Radio Theater" (276 1936-55 episodes)]
* [http://www.freeotrshows.com/otr/l/Lux_Radio_Theater.html Lux Radio Theater - OTR - Old Time Radio (108 episodes)]
*InternetArchiveOTR|id=Lux01|title=Lux Radio Theater (1936-52)
* [http://www.oscars.org/mhl/sc/lux_radio_sc.html The Lux Radio Theatre Collection] in the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Margaret Herrick Library
* [http://www.war-ofthe-worlds.co.uk/war_worlds_lux.htm "Lux Radio Theater": "War Of The Worlds"]
* [http://colsearch.nfsa.afc.gov.au/nfsa/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;group=;groupequals=;holdingType=;page=0;parentid=;query=Number%3A143501;querytype=;rec=0;resCount=10 Lux Radio Theater (Australian version) at the National Film and Sound Archive]
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