Saturday, June 11, 2011

Radio's Best Years Special


I don't normally post podcast announcements to the lists as I figure you can
either grab them from the site (1) or the feed, but since this is a special
episode, I'm posting the announcement here. Enjoy the shows!

Welcome to the first special episode of Radio's Best Years. Special
episodes will not be produced on a regular basis and will not have the usual
length and format of regular episodes. Rather, they'll relate to a specific
aspect of classic radio, a certain show, or a particular date. They will
often go over the usual two hour length.

On this first special episode, we take a look at what was arguably one of
the most influential shows on radio. In October, 1934, a new show came to
New York. It was a dramatic show, mostly adapting Broadway plays and some
novels. While they primarily used New York stars, they might use a
Hollywood star who happened to be passing through New York. Other shows,
like the Cavalcade of America did the same thing, but eventually moved to
Hollywood to get more star talent. That was the case with this show as
well, but with a difference. While most shows which moved to Hollywood
changed very little and often kept almost the same cast such as Fibber McGee
and Molly and This is Your FBI, this show completely changed. It got a new
announcer, a new host, a new musical director and a new format. It was
probably one of the most listened to shows on radio and the most expensive
to produce. It had a weekly budget of $100,000. Instead of having one New
York star, it had two, three and sometimes even four Hollywood movie stars
on each episode. It required a week of rehearsal because the stars weren't
used to doing radio work. During its long Hollywood run, (1936-1955) it
had, at least once, almost every major movie star of the era and even many
minor ones.

Of course the show was Lux Radio Theater. On June 1, 1936, it moved to
Hollywood where it remained until 1955, a very long run indeed. June 1st,
2011 is the 75th anniversary of the first Hollywood show. There were many
programs over the years which copied the same format, some better than
others, but there was only one Lux Radio Theater. Therefore, to celebrate
the 75th anniversary, we will first be hearing the June 1, 1936 show,
episode #83 of the series.

In the second hour, we'll be hearing another special program. This program
was made possible thanks to Jerry Haendiges. I literally couldn't have
produced this podcast without his help. Please visit his web site and
consider buying from him. Also check out his weekly shows at the Vintage Radio Place.
Also browse Jerry's main site. He was a
good friend to me over the years, even when I wasn't a friend to him.

The second special program is the 10th anniversary episode. Both the
rehearsal and complete broadcast exist and I have both. We will hear the
rehearsal due to the better sound quality. Jerry Haendiges sent me both.
Note that the circulating broadcast runs 47:55 and is _NOT_ complete. The
complete broadcast runs 59:53 and seems to be hard to find. The rehearsal
seems to not be in circulation at all. Please don't copy, trade, or pirate
the rehearsal. Please support Jerry and buy it from him instead. It is
episode #454, as originally broadcast on 10-16-44, but we'll be hearing the
10-15-44 rehearsal. The show is Seventh Heaven which was the first show
they did in 1934.

I hope you enjoy the first of what will hopefully be two special episodes
looking at Lux Radio Theater. If all goes well, we'll have two more shows
next week, one from 1942 and one from 1946, also a rehearsal. We'll see
what happens. Your comments and feedback are always appreciated.

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