OTR SWAG CAST Season 3 – Episode 13 – Guest Host John Bell – Featuring Casablanca and 5fingers

Welcome back to the Swag Cast t! And man do I have a surprise! My buddy John Bell, the Master of the “Bell’s in the Batfry” (and man of 1000 voices) takes over the host chair for some fun as he intros some CLASSICS!

You ROCK JOHN! THANX!!!!!!!!!!

Tonight we feature a CLASSIC ANTHOLOGY show from HOLLYWOOD.

The Lux Radio Theatre!

Put simply, The Lux Radio Theater dramatized movies for radio. And it strove to feature as many of the original stars of the corresponding film productions as possible, usually paying them $5,000 an appearance to do the show.

Lux was power on a scale that even movie people found intimidating. This was not a show to be indulged, perhaps, when shooting schedules permitted: when The Lux Radio Theater called,

shooting schedules were abandoned.

Entire movie companies stood idle while stars rushed off for radio rehearsals because producers knew when a film was dramatized on by Lux, it automatically translated into big box office returns.

The Lux Radio Theater was broadcast from the Music Box Theater (on Hollywood Boulevard) and it was filled to capacity (1000 seats) for each broadcast. At least 50 people were required for each broadcast:

Louis Silver’s orchestra alone numbered 25, there were often 20 or more speaking parts, and when technicians were added, the crew overflowed the stage. Each play was a 5 day commitment, with the first

rehearsals (a table-reading of the script) on Thursday followed by the integration of orchestra and sound effects and further rehearsals over the next 4 days through to the eventual live broadcast at 9pm on Monday evening.

The first Hollywood show was the initial outing for Cecil B. DeMille, hired at $2 000 per week to host the series. DeMille had been associated with many “big” movie productions (incl The Ten Commandments) and his opening refrain:

“Greetings from Hollywood, Ladies and Gentlemen” set the scene for “something special” …

So tonight on the swag cast we feature 2 films made for radio set during World War 2, and let me tell you the intrigue abounds!

First up: CASABLANCA starring Alan Ladd as Rick.

Sometimes the nominal star just wasn’t available eg Alan Ladd replaced Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, owing to Bogart’s overseas duties entertaining the US soldiers (Ladd mentions this fact at the end of the program).

In World War II Casablanca, Rick Blaine, exiled American and former freedom fighter, runs the most popular nightspot in town. The cynical lone wolf Blaine comes into the possession of two valuable letters of transit. When Nazi Major Strasser arrives in Casablanca, the sycophantic police Captain Renault does what he can to please him, including detaining Czech underground leader Victor Laszlo. Much to Rick’s surprise, Lazslo arrives with Ilsa, Rick’s one time love. Rick is very bitter towards Ilsa, who ran out on him in Paris, but when he learns she had good reason to, they plan to run off together again using the letters of transit. Well, that was their original plan….

Also tonight from Lux:

James Mason stars in the radio version of his film “5 Fingers” which was Nominated for 2 Oscars in 1952.

Mason stars alongside his wife in this World War Two thriller.

During WWII the valet to the English Ambassador to Ankara sells British secrets to the Germans while trying to romance a refugee Polish countess.

Based on a true story. In neutral Turkey during WWII, the ambitious and extremely efficient valet for the British ambassador tires of being a servant and forms a plan to promote himself to rich gentleman of leisure. His employer has many secret documents; he will photograph them, and with the help of a refugee Countess, sell them to the Nazis. When he makes a certain amount of money, he will retire to South America with the Countess as his wife.

Also on tap tonight– The Avengers!

Hope you enjoy!

Music in this ep provided by: Stevie K. Farnaby (AKA SKiFfle) and Seraphic Panoply

And also of NOTE! This show is rated PG for parental guidance. Thanks Jack/Shan and Jeremy!! For more info: http://theaudiodramadirectory.com/ratings/

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5 Responses to OTR SWAG CAST Season 3 – Episode 13 – Guest Host John Bell – Featuring Casablanca and 5fingers

  1. Bill Hollweg says:

    Appreciate it my friend!!

  2. Mike Hobart says:

    Some interesting background details about the Lux radio theatre. I wasn’t aware of how the production worked.

  3. Bill Hollweg says:

    Appreciate the listen my friend!
    Was checking out your blog today and enjoyed!


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