Lux Radio Theater
Overview
 
Lux Radio Theater, a long-run classic radio
Old-time radio
Old-Time Radio and the Golden Age of Radio refer to a period of radio programming in the United States lasting from the proliferation of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until television's replacement of radio as the primary home entertainment medium in the 1950s...

 anthology series, was broadcast on the NBC Blue Network
Blue Network
The Blue Network, and its immediate predecessor, the NBC Blue Network, were the on-air names of an American radio production and distribution service from 1927 to 1945...

 (1934-35); CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 (1935-54) and NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 (1954-55). Initially, the series adapted Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 plays during its first two seasons before it began adapting films. These hour-long radio programs were performed live before studio audiences. It became the most popular dramatic anthology series on radio, broadcast for more than 20 years and continued on television as the Lux Video Theatre
Lux Video Theatre
Lux Video Theatre, is a weekly television anthology series that was produced from 1950 until 1959. The series presented both comedy and drama in original teleplays, as well as abridged adaptations of films and plays....

through most of the 1950s.

Broadcasting from New York, the series premiered at 2:30pm, October 14, 1934 on the NBC Blue Network with a production of Seventh Heaven starring Miriam Hopkins
Miriam Hopkins
Ellen Miriam Hopkins was an American actress known for her versatility in a wide variety of roles.Hopkins was born in Savannah, Georgia, and raised in Bainbridge, a town in the state's southwest near the Alabama border...

 and John Boles
John Boles (actor)
-Early life:Boles was born in Greenville, Texas, into a middle-class family. He graduated with honors from the University of Texas in 1917 and married Marielite Dobbs in that same year. His parents wanted him to be a doctor and Boles studied and finally got his B.A. degree, but the stage called...

 in a full-hour adaptation of the 1922-24 Broadway production by Austin Strong.
Encyclopedia
Lux Radio Theater, a long-run classic radio
Old-time radio
Old-Time Radio and the Golden Age of Radio refer to a period of radio programming in the United States lasting from the proliferation of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until television's replacement of radio as the primary home entertainment medium in the 1950s...

 anthology series, was broadcast on the NBC Blue Network
Blue Network
The Blue Network, and its immediate predecessor, the NBC Blue Network, were the on-air names of an American radio production and distribution service from 1927 to 1945...

 (1934-35); CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 (1935-54) and NBC
NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 (1954-55). Initially, the series adapted Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 plays during its first two seasons before it began adapting films. These hour-long radio programs were performed live before studio audiences. It became the most popular dramatic anthology series on radio, broadcast for more than 20 years and continued on television as the Lux Video Theatre
Lux Video Theatre
Lux Video Theatre, is a weekly television anthology series that was produced from 1950 until 1959. The series presented both comedy and drama in original teleplays, as well as abridged adaptations of films and plays....

through most of the 1950s.

Broadcasting from New York, the series premiered at 2:30pm, October 14, 1934 on the NBC Blue Network with a production of Seventh Heaven starring Miriam Hopkins
Miriam Hopkins
Ellen Miriam Hopkins was an American actress known for her versatility in a wide variety of roles.Hopkins was born in Savannah, Georgia, and raised in Bainbridge, a town in the state's southwest near the Alabama border...

 and John Boles
John Boles (actor)
-Early life:Boles was born in Greenville, Texas, into a middle-class family. He graduated with honors from the University of Texas in 1917 and married Marielite Dobbs in that same year. His parents wanted him to be a doctor and Boles studied and finally got his B.A. degree, but the stage called...

 in a full-hour adaptation of the 1922-24 Broadway production by Austin Strong. The host was the show's fictional producer, Douglass Garrick (portrayed by John Anthony). Doris Dagmar played another fictional character, Peggy Winthrop, who delivered the Lux commercials. Each show featured a scripted session with Garrick talking to the lead actors. Anthony appeared as Garrick from the premiere 1934 episode until June 30, 1935. Garrick was portrayed by Albert Hayes from July 29, 1935 to May 25, 1936, when the show moved to the West Coast.

Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil Blount DeMille was an American film director and Academy Award-winning film producer in both silent and sound films. He was renowned for the flamboyance and showmanship of his movies...

 took over as the host on June 1, 1936, continuing until January 22, 1945. On several occasions, usually when he was out of town, he was temporarily replaced by various celebrities, including Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard (actor)
Leslie Howard was an English stage and film actor, director, and producer. Among his best-known roles was Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind and roles in Berkeley Square , Of Human Bondage , The Scarlet Pimpernel , The Petrified Forest , Pygmalion , Intermezzo , Pimpernel Smith...

 and Edward Arnold
Edward Arnold (actor)
Edward Arnold was an American actor. He was born on the Lower East Side of New York City as Gunther Edward Arnold Schneider, the son of German immigrants Carl Schneider and Elizabeth Ohse.-Acting career:...

.

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. In 1936, when sponsor Lever Brothers
Lever Brothers
Lever Brothers was a British manufacturer founded in 1885 by William Hesketh Lever and his brother, James Darcy Lever . The brothers had invested in and promoted a new soap making process invented by chemist William Hough Watson, it was a huge success...

 (who made Lux soap and detergent) moved the show from New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 to Hollywood, the program began to emphasize adaptations of films rather than plays. The first Lux film adaptation was The Legionnaire and the Lady, with Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich
Marlene Dietrich was a German-American actress and singer.Dietrich remained popular throughout her long career by continually re-inventing herself, professionally and characteristically. In the Berlin of the 1920s, she acted on the stage and in silent films...

 and Clark Gable
Clark Gable
William Clark Gable , known as Clark Gable, was an American film actor most famous for his role as Rhett Butler in the 1939 Civil War epic film Gone with the Wind, in which he starred with Vivien Leigh...

, based on the film Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

. That was followed by a Lux adaptation of The Thin Man
The Thin Man (film)
The Thin Man is a 1934 American comic detective film starring William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles, a flirtatious married couple who banter wittily as they solve crimes with ease. Nick is a hard drinking retired detective and Nora a wealthy heiress...

, featuring the movie's stars, Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy
Myrna Loy was an American actress. Trained as a dancer, she devoted herself fully to an acting career following a few minor roles in silent films. Originally typecast in exotic roles, often as a vamp or a woman of Asian descent, her career prospects improved following her portrayal of Nora Charles...

 and William Powell
William Powell
William Horatio Powell was an American actor.A major star at MGM, he was paired with Myrna Loy in 14 films, including the popular Thin Man series in which Powell and Loy played Nick and Nora Charles...

.

Many of leading names in stage and film appeared in the series, most in the roles they made famous on the screen, including Abbott and Costello
Abbott and Costello
William "Bud" Abbott and Lou Costello performed together as Abbott and Costello, an American comedy duo whose work on stage, radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team during the 1940s and 1950s...

, Jean Arthur
Jean Arthur
Jean Arthur was an American actress and a major film star of the 1930s and 1940s. She remains arguably the epitome of the female screwball comedy actress. As James Harvey wrote in his recounting of the era, "No one was more closely identified with the screwball comedy than Jean Arthur...

, Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall is an American film and stage actress and model, known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks.She first emerged as leading lady in the Humphrey Bogart film To Have And Have Not and continued on in the film noir genre, with appearances in The Big Sleep and Dark Passage ,...

, Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball
Lucille Désirée Ball was an American comedian, film, television, stage and radio actress, model, film and television executive, and star of the sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy and Life With Lucy...

, Ethel Barrymore
Ethel Barrymore
Ethel Barrymore was an American actress and a member of the Barrymore family of actors.-Early life:Ethel Barrymore was born Ethel Mae Blythe in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second child of the actors Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew...

, John Barrymore
John Barrymore
John Sidney Blyth , better known as John Barrymore, was an acclaimed American actor. He first gained fame as a handsome stage actor in light comedy, then high drama and culminating in groundbreaking portrayals in Shakespearean plays Hamlet and Richard III...

, Lionel Barrymore
Lionel Barrymore
Lionel Barrymore was an American actor of stage, screen and radio. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in A Free Soul...

, Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman
Ingrid Bergman was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films. She won three Academy Awards, two Emmy Awards, and the Tony Award for Best Actress. She is ranked as the fourth greatest female star of American cinema of all time by the American Film Institute...

, Humphrey Bogart
Humphrey Bogart
Humphrey DeForest Bogart was an American actor. He is widely regarded as a cultural icon.The American Film Institute ranked Bogart as the greatest male star in the history of American cinema....

, Charles Boyer
Charles Boyer
Charles Boyer was a French actor who appeared in more than 80 films between 1920 and 1976. After receiving an education in drama, Boyer started on the stage, but he found success in movies during the 1930s. His memorable performances were among the era's most highly praised romantic dramas,...

, James Cagney
James Cagney
James Francis Cagney, Jr. was an American actor, first on stage, then in film, where he had his greatest impact. Although he won acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of performances, he is best remembered for playing "tough guys." In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth...

, Claudette Colbert
Claudette Colbert
Claudette Colbert was a French-born American-based actress of stage and film.Born in Paris, France and raised in New York City, Colbert began her career in Broadway productions during the 1920s, progressing to film with the advent of talking pictures...

, Ronald Colman
Ronald Colman
Ronald Charles Colman was an English actor.-Early years:He was born in Richmond, Surrey, England, the second son and fourth child of Charles Colman and his wife Marjory Read Fraser. His siblings included Eric, Edith, and Marjorie. He was educated at boarding school in Littlehampton, where he...

, Gary Cooper
Gary Cooper
Frank James Cooper, known professionally as Gary Cooper, was an American film actor. He was renowned for his quiet, understated acting style and his stoic, but at times intense screen persona, which was particularly well suited to the many Westerns he made...

, Joseph Cotten
Joseph Cotten
Joseph Cheshire Cotten was an American actor of stage and film. Cotten achieved prominence on Broadway, starring in the original productions of The Philadelphia Story and Sabrina Fair...

, Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford
Joan Crawford , born Lucille Fay LeSueur, was an American actress in film, television and theatre....

, Bing Crosby
Bing Crosby
Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby was an American singer and actor. Crosby's trademark bass-baritone voice made him one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, with over half a billion records in circulation....

, Bette Davis
Bette Davis
Ruth Elizabeth "Bette" Davis was an American actress of film, television and theater. Noted for her willingness to play unsympathetic characters, she was highly regarded for her performances in a range of film genres, from contemporary crime melodramas to historical and period films and occasional...

, Dan Duryea
Dan Duryea
Dan Duryea was an American actor, known for roles in film, stage and television.-Early life:Born and raised in White Plains, New York, Duryea graduated from White Plains Senior High School in 1924 and Cornell University in 1928. While at Cornell, Duryea was elected into the Sphinx Head Society...

, Frances Farmer
Frances Farmer
Frances Elena Farmer was an American actress of stage and screen. She is perhaps better known for sensationalized and fictional accounts of her life, and especially her involuntary commitment to a mental hospital...

, Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn
Errol Leslie Flynn was an Australian-born actor. He was known for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films, being a legend and his flamboyant lifestyle.-Early life:...

, Ava Gardner
Ava Gardner
Ava Lavinia Gardner was an American actress.She was signed to a contract by MGM Studios in 1941 and appeared mainly in small roles until she drew attention with her performance in The Killers . She became one of Hollywood's leading actresses, considered one of the most beautiful women of her day...

, Judy Garland
Judy Garland
Judy Garland was an American actress and singer. Through a career that spanned 45 of her 47 years and for her renowned contralto voice, she attained international stardom as an actress in musical and dramatic roles, as a recording artist and on the concert stage...

, Greer Garson
Greer Garson
Greer Garson, CBE was a British-born actress who was very popular during World War II, being listed by the Motion Picture Herald as one of America's top ten box office draws in 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945, and 1946. As one of MGM's major stars of the 1940s, Garson received seven Academy Award...

, Janet Gaynor
Janet Gaynor
Janet Gaynor was an American actress and painter.One of the most popular actresses of the silent film era, in 1928 Gaynor became the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performances in three films: Seventh Heaven , Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans and Street Angel...

, Cary Grant
Cary Grant
Archibald Alexander Leach , better known by his stage name Cary Grant, was an English actor who later took U.S. citizenship...

, Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
Lillian Diana Gish was an American stage, screen and television actress whose film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 to 1987....

, Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston was an American actor of film, theatre and television. Heston is known for heroic roles in films such as The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, El Cid, and Planet of the Apes...

, Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...

, Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh, Lady Olivier was an English actress. She won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire , a role she also played on stage in London's West End, as well as for her portrayal of the southern belle Scarlett O'Hara, alongside Clark...

, Ida Lupino
Ida Lupino
Ida Lupino was an English-born film actress and director, and a pioneer among women filmmakers. In her 48-year career, she appeared in 59 films and directed seven others, mostly in the United States. She appeared in serial television programmes 58 times and directed 50 other episodes...

, Fredric March
Fredric March
Fredric March was an American stage and film actor. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1932 for Dr. Jekyll and Mr...

, Agnes Moorehead
Agnes Moorehead
Agnes Robertson Moorehead was an American actress. Although she began with the Mercury Theatre, appeared in more than seventy films beginning with Citizen Kane and on dozens of television shows during a career that spanned more than thirty years, Moorehead is most widely known to modern audiences...

, Paul Muni
Paul Muni
Paul Muni was an Austrian-Hungarian-born American stage and film actor...

, Vincent Price
Vincent Price
Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. was an American actor, well known for his distinctive voice and serio-comic attitude in a series of horror films made in the latter part of his career.-Early life and career:Price was born in St...

, Donna Reed
Donna Reed
Donna Reed was an American film and television actress.With appearances in over 40 films, Reed received the 1953 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as the tramp Lorene in the war drama From Here to Eternity. She is also noted for her role in the perennial Christmas...

, Ginger Rogers
Ginger Rogers
Ginger Rogers was an American actress, dancer, and singer who appeared in film, and on stage, radio, and television throughout much of the 20th century....

, Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney
Mickey Rooney is an American film actor and entertainer whose film, television, and stage appearances span nearly his entire lifetime. He has won multiple awards, including an Honorary Academy Award, a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award...

, Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

, Ann Sothern
Ann Sothern
Ann Sothern was an American film and television actress whose career spanned six decades.-Early life and career:...

, Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck was an American actress. She was a film and television star, known during her 60-year career as a consummate and versatile professional with a strong screen presence, and a favorite of directors including Cecil B. DeMille, Fritz Lang and Frank Capra...

, James Stewart
James Stewart (actor)
James Maitland Stewart was an American film and stage actor, known for his distinctive voice and his everyman persona. Over the course of his career, he starred in many films widely considered classics and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one in competition and receiving one Lifetime...

, Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple Black , born Shirley Jane Temple, is an American film and television actress, singer, dancer, autobiographer, and former U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia...

, Gene Tierney
Gene Tierney
Gene Eliza Tierney was an American film and stage actress. Acclaimed as one of the great beauties of her day, she is best remembered for her performance in the title role of Laura and her Academy Award-nominated performance for Best Actress in Leave Her to Heaven .Other notable roles include...

, Spencer Tracy
Spencer Tracy
Spencer Bonaventure Tracy was an American theatrical and film actor, who appeared in 75 films from 1930 to 1967. Tracy was one of the major stars of Hollywood's Golden Age, ranking among the top ten box office draws for almost every year from 1938 to 1951...

, Lana Turner
Lana Turner
Lana Turner was an American actress.Discovered and signed to a film contract by MGM at the age of sixteen, Turner first attracted attention in They Won't Forget . She played featured roles, often as the ingenue, in such films as Love Finds Andy Hardy...

, John Wayne
John Wayne
Marion Mitchell Morrison , better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director and producer. He epitomized rugged masculinity and became an enduring American icon. He is famous for his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height...

, Jane Wyman
Jane Wyman
Jane Wyman was an American singer, dancer, and character actress of film and television. She began her film career in the 1930s, and was a prolific performer for two decades...

, Orson Welles
Orson Welles
George Orson Welles , best known as Orson Welles, was an American film director, actor, theatre director, screenwriter, and producer, who worked extensively in film, theatre, television and radio...

, Loretta Young
Loretta Young
Loretta Young was an American actress. Starting as a child actress, she had a long and varied career in film from 1917 to 1953...

 and Robert Young
Robert Young (actor)
Robert George Young was an American television, film, and radio actor, best known for his leading roles as Jim Anderson, the father of Father Knows Best and as physician Marcus Welby in Marcus Welby, M.D. .-Early life:Born in Chicago, Illinois, Young was the son of an Irish immigrant father...

.

Radio regulars


Though the show focused on film and its performers, several classic radio regulars appeared in Lux Radio Theater productions. Jim and Marian Jordan, better known as Fibber McGee and Molly
Fibber McGee and Molly
Fibber McGee and Molly was an American radio comedy series which maintained its popularity over decades. It premiered on NBC in 1935 and continued until its demise in 1959, long after radio had ceased to be the dominant form of entertainment in American popular culture.-Husband and wife in real...

, 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
Arthur Q. Bryan
Arthur Quirk Bryan was a United States comedian and voice actor, remembered best for his longtime recurring role as well-spoken, wisecracking Dr...

 (wisecracking Doc Gamble on Fibber McGee and Molly), made a few Lux appearances as well. Bandleader Phil Harris
Phil Harris
Harris and Faye married in 1941; it was a second marriage for both and lasted 54 years, until Harris's death. Harris engaged in a fistfight at the Trocadero nightclub in 1938 with RKO studio mogul Bob Stevens; the cause was reported to be over Faye after Stevens and Faye had ended a romantic...

, a longtime regular on Jack Benny
Jack Benny
Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, and actor for radio, television, and film...

's radio program and his wife Alice Faye
Alice Faye
Alice Faye was an American actress and singer, called by The New York Times "one of the few movie stars to walk away from stardom at the peak of her career." She is remembered first for her stardom at 20th Century Fox and, later, as the radio comedy partner of her husband, bandleader and comedian...

, who became radio stars with their own comedy show in 1948, appeared in a Lux presentation. Fred Allen
Fred Allen
Fred Allen was an American comedian whose absurdist, topically pointed radio show made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the so-called classic era of American radio.His best-remembered gag was his long-running mock feud with friend and fellow comedian Jack Benny, but it...

, Jack Benny
Jack Benny
Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, and actor for radio, television, and film...

 (with and without his wife, Mary Livingstone
Mary Livingstone
Mary Livingstone , was an American radio comedienne and the wife and radio partner of comedy great Jack Benny . Enlisted almost entirely by accident to perform on her husband's popular program, she proved a talented comedienne...

), George Burns
George Burns
George Burns , born Nathan Birnbaum, was an American comedian, actor, and writer.He was one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned vaudeville, film, radio, television and movies, with and without his wife, Gracie Allen. His arched eyebrow and cigar smoke punctuation became...

 and Gracie Allen
Gracie Allen
Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen , known as Gracie Allen, was an American comedian who became internationally famous as the zany partner and comic foil of husband George Burns...

 were among the other radio stars who were invited to do Lux presentations as well.

Lux Radio Theater once presented an adaptation of the film version of a radio series, The Life of Riley
The Life of Riley
The Life of Riley, with William Bendix in the title role, is a popular American radio situation comedy series of the 1940s that was adapted into a 1949 feature film, a long-run 1950s television series , and a 1958 Dell comic book...

, featuring William Bendix
William Bendix
William Bendix was an American film, radio, and television actor, best remembered in movies for the title role in the movie The Babe Ruth Story and for portraying clumsily earnest aircraft plant worker Chester A. Riley in radio and television's The Life of Riley...

 as 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. At least once Lux Radio Theater offered a presentation without any known performers; its adaptation of This Is the Army
This Is the Army
This Is the Army is a 1943 American wartime motion picture produced by Hal B. Wallis and Jack L. Warner, and directed by Michael Curtiz, and a wartime musical designed to boost morale in the U.S. during World War II, directed by Sgt. Ezra Stone...

during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 featured a cast of American soldiers.

Mercury Theatre on the Air
Mercury Theatre
The Mercury Theatre was a theatre company founded in New York City in 1937 by Orson Welles and John Houseman. After a string of live theatrical productions, in 1938 the Mercury Theatre progressed into their best-known period as The Mercury Theatre on the Air, a radio series that included one of the...

— which eventually made Orson Welles a force to be reckoned with, especially with his broadcast of The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds (radio)
The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938, and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker...

(30 October 1938) provoked—was initially a summer replacement series for Lux Radio Theater in 1938.

A famous urban legend
Urban legend
An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true...

 claimed that actor Sonny Tufts
Sonny Tufts
Sonny Tufts was a United States film actor....

 was slated to appear as a guest alongside Joan Fontaine
Joan Fontaine
Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland , known professionally as Joan Fontaine, is a British American actress. She and her elder sister Olivia de Havilland are two of the last surviving leading ladies from Hollywood of the 1930s....

 for a production of The Major and the Minor
The Major and the Minor
The Major and the Minor is a 1942 American comedy film starring Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland. It was the first American film directed by Billy Wilder, and launched his "incomparable" directing career...

on Lux Radio Theater. When Joseph Cotten
Joseph Cotten
Joseph Cheshire Cotten was an American actor of stage and film. Cotten achieved prominence on Broadway, starring in the original productions of The Philadelphia Story and Sabrina Fair...

 read the names of the next week's cast, he supposedly said, with a mixture of shock and astonishment, that listeners would hear "that new, talented personality... Sonny Tufts?!" However, this never happened. The legend began as a fake segment on one of Kermit Schafer's popular "Bloopers" albums, which have been criticized for their re-creations, fabrications and lack of accuracy. In actuality, Tufts was introduced by Cotten on the radio series Suspense
Suspense
Suspense is a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety about the outcome of certain actions, most often referring to an audience's perceptions in a dramatic work. Suspense is not exclusive to fiction, though. Suspense may operate in any situation where there is a lead-up to a big event or dramatic...

, but Cotten's introduction was perfectly normal.

Clash by night

A clash over closed shop
Closed shop
A closed shop is a form of union security agreement under which the employer agrees to hire union members only, and employees must remain members of the union at all times in order to remain employed....

 union
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 rulings favored by the American Federation of Radio Artists ended DeMille's term as host of Lux Radio Theater. 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 in radio—because he also refused to let anyone else pay the dollar for him.

In his 1959 autobiography, DeMille alleged that a former member of the American Communist Party later confided to him that the party had consciously orchestrated these circumstances of his exclusion from radio, as they considered him to be one of their two foremost enemies in radio.

Hosts

Lux Radio Theater employed several hosts over the following year, eventually choosing William Keighley
William Keighley
William Jackson Keighley was an American stage actor and Hollywood film director....

 as the new permanent host, a post he held from late 1945 through 1952. After that, producer-director Irving Cummings hosted the program until it ended in 1955. For its airings on the Armed Forces Radio Service (for which it was retitled Hollywood Radio Theater), the program was hosted by Don Wilson
Don Wilson (announcer)
Don Wilson was an American announcer and occasional actor in radio and television, with a Falstaffian vocal presence, remembered best as the rotund announcer and comic foil to the star of The Jack Benny Program.-Career:...

 in the early 1950s.
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 intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The theater was later renamed the Huntington Hartford Theater, the Doolittle Theater and is now the Ricardo Montalban
Ricardo Montalbán
Ricardo Gonzalo Pedro Montalbán y Merino, KSG was a Mexican radio, television, theatre and film actor. He had a career spanning six decades and many notable roles...

 Theater.

Television

The Lux Video Theatre
Lux Video Theatre
Lux Video Theatre, is a weekly television anthology series that was produced from 1950 until 1959. The series presented both comedy and drama in original teleplays, as well as abridged adaptations of films and plays....

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 Mason
James Mason
James Neville Mason was an English actor who attained stardom in both British and American films. Mason remained a powerful figure in the industry throughout his career and was nominated for three Academy Awards as well as three Golden Globes .- Early life :Mason was born in Huddersfield, in the...

was the host in the 1954-55 season.

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