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Lux Radio Theatre

Lux Radio Theatre was one of radio’s biggest hits, with consistently high ratings, and a magnet for Hollywood’s stars and studios to promote their movies. The series started in New York in 1934, mainly adapting Broadway plays, but it was when it moved to Hollywood in 1936 that it made its mark. Famous executive, producer, and director Cecil B. DeMille was the host. A dispute over AFRA union rules led to his departure and replacement by producer William Keighley. By the early 1950s, the series started to lose its audience to television, and Lux sponsored a video version through much of the 1950s. Keighley was replaced by Irving Cummings in 1952, and Don Wilson (announcer for Jack Benny ) was on many of the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) recordings of the series. The series tried to use the same stars that the original movies had, but often used other Hollywood movie stars because of prior commitments that made them unavailable. For example, when Lux presented Casablanca in 1944, instead of starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid, it starred Alan Ladd, Hedy Lamarr, and John Loder. The audience didn't always mind; they enjoyed hearing other actors rival the performances of the original movies. (In this particular case, Casablanca had not achieved its legendary status, which it would, years later). The productions were top notch from a technical perspective and for the orchestral arrangements. The acting, however, was not always so. Movie actors were used to re-shooting scenes because of problems or the shooting of different camera angles for a particular scene, and then waiting around for the next scene to be staged. When it came to radio, however, they had to get it right once… live!… for the entire performance! Lux Radio Theatre , therefore, had more intense and longer rehearsals than other series that relied on experienced radio actors. The supporting cast behind the big Hollywood stars was always some of radio’s best pros, which freed the director to concentrate on getting the best performances of the stars. Lux Radio Theatre was a big production in terms of its crew and actors, and was one of the few hour long programs that found ratings success and a broadcast longevity that few radio series had. If you hear an audience on the Lux programs, the program would often have a live audience… another factor in the nervousness for some of the movie actors. Even some of the rehearsals would have audiences, often filled with military personnel on leave and their families. * * * These recordings are part of the Joe Hehn Memorial Collection. Mr. Hehn (1931-2020) was a pioneering collector of radio recordings when the hobby emerged in the 1960s. Digitizing his collection of reel tapes and discs is the effort of a wide range of North American volunteers, and includes assistance of some international collectors. The groups supporting this effort with their funds, time, technology and skills are the Old Time Radio Researchers and a small group of transcription disc preservationists who refer to themselves as the "The Knights of the Turning Table."

This recording is part of the Old Time Radio collection.


Lux Radio Theatre 401104 Wuthering Heights


Lux Radio Theatre 440703 It Happened Tomorrow (AFRS Your Radio Theater)


Lux Radio Theatre 460225 Thunderhead Son of Flicka


Lux Radio Theatre 541019 David & Bathsheba (AFRS H'wood Radio Theater)