The Lux Radio Theatre was a one-of-a-kind OTR show. Imagine the greatest Hollywood stars doing one-hour versions of their biggest motion pictures, complete with full orchestra, live onstage with a studio audience.
The one and only Cecil B. DeMille was your host (’36-’45) for a lavish production of what was to become a veritable film checklist of many of Hollywood’s best films from the mid-’30s right through the mid-’50s. The first Lux film adaptation was The Legionnaire and the Lady with Marlene Dietrich and Clark Gable, based on the film Morocco. Every genre is included, from darkest noir crime dramas to historical epics to bubbly musicals and broad comedies.
The stars of the movie are usually in the productions, although sometimes contracts or schedules meant that another star took the part. In some another star would be featured in one of the major roles. Some stars were paid upward of $5,000 for their appearance on Lux Radio Theater. The productions were live, with full orchestra, and many Hollywood legends were unused to performing in public without the benefit of retakes. Needless to say, the performances in every show are singular.
Many of the greatest names in film appeared in the series, most in the roles they made famous on the screen, including Barbara Stanwyck, Charlton Heston, Dana Andrews, Lauren Bacall, Lucille Ball, Marsha Hunt, Helen Hayes, Humphrey Bogart, Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, Bob Hope, Agnes Moorehead, Marlene Dietrich, Vincent Price, Frank Sinatra, Loretta Young, Maureen O’Hara, Rita Hayworth, James Stewart, John Wayne, Orson Welles, Mary Astor, Irene Dunne, Charles Laughton, and Robert Young.
The Lux Radio Theatre is a masterpiece in OTR’s crown, and each show is a historical time capsule that takes us back to the glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood.