Drama -The Theater of the Mind

Lux at KNX radioRadio has often been called the Theater of the Mind and nowhere is it more true than in the field of drama. The classic example has to be the Lux Radio Theater named for its sponsor, Lux Soap. It presented movies on the radio; versions of popular Broadway plays and adaptions of popular films using as many of the original stars as possible. With more than 40 million in the audience and an ever-renewing supply of films, Lux Radio Theater ran until the mid 1950s.

5 Graves to CairoWhat can you expect to hear? Think of any major film from 1935 to 1956 and its probably there. If you're in a traffic jam or there's nothing on the tube, then try one of these. The radio versions weren't made up of bits and pieces of the theatrical releases. Rather, they were shortened adaptations of popular Hollywood films of the day recorded in the radio studio.

Naughty MariettaHow about "The Thin Man", "The African Queen" and "The Maltese Falcon" or "Murder My Sweet"? Or from Disney, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", "Pinocchio", "Alice in Wonderland" and "Peter Pan" using Disney's stars' film voices. Comedies? "My Sister Eileen". Musicals? "Oklahoma", "Penny Serenade", and "Naughty Marietta". Horror? "The Phantom of the Opera". Mystery? "Mr. Lucky" War and Spies? "The Thirty-Nine Steps" and "Five Graves to Cairo". Westerns? "My Darling Clemintine", "Red River", "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon" and "Winchester 73".

It Happened One NightPlay a CD of the 1934 romantic comedy "It Happened One Night,'' told over the sounds of a roaring bus motor to hear the fast-moving story of a runaway society girl (Claudette Colbert) and the reporter who helped her run (Clark Gable).''

Or, listen to Gable's instructions on doughnut dunking ("Where'd you learn to dunk -- in finishing school?'') and his classic hitchhiking lesson (when "the old thumb that never fails,'' does) are worth the price of a download. And the listener is transported back in time when Gable admits he's thinking about Colbert, she breathlessly asks "Really?'' and he replies, "I was wondering what makes dames like you so dizzy.''

Or hear Bogie learning how to whistle all over again in 1944's ``To Have and Have Not".

The list goes on and on and on. The productions were live, with full orchestra.  Since many Hollywood stars were not used to working live without retakes, the performances were sometimes unforgettable.
 

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