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Lux Radio Theatre, Volume 3 - 6 hours [Download] #RA211D
The Lux Radio Theatre, Volume 3

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The Lux Radio Theatre
Volume 3

Cecil B. DeMille, host of "The Lux Radio Theatre"
"Lux Presents Hollywood!"

Old-time radio enthusiasts are in near unanimous agreement that, during its heyday, "The Lux Radio Theatre" (1934-55) was radio’s most important dramatic hour. The series commanded the crème de la crème of Hollywood’s silver screen stars, the biggest budgets, the best writing, directing and sound effects, and no less than Hollywood’s foremost film director, Cecil B. DeMille, as the program’s master of ceremonies.

"The Lux Radio Theatre" premiered on the Blue Network October 14, 1934, but switched to CBS on July 29, 1935 for what would become a nearly twenty-year run on Monday nights at 9:00 PM. The show was originally designed to be an anthology of the Broadway stage, but at J. Walter Thompson, the agency in charge of the Lever Brothers/Lux account, an executive named Danny Denker saw the handwriting on the wall and soon persuaded the agency and network to have the show moved west. This reasoning - why not go directly to the stars instead of having them come to you? - proved to be precisely the ticket that soon vaulted Lux in the top-ten of network radio shows. The inaugural Hollywood broadcast on June 1, 1936, "The Legionnaire and the Lady”, set the standard for future "Lux Radio Theatre" programs: budgeted at $17,000.00, star Marlene Dietrich scored a $5,000.00 payday while her co-star, Clark Gable, pocketed $3,500.00. The show’s new host, the celebrated DeMille himself, earned $2,000.00 - an amount which would quickly become his weekly salary.

“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend” is a fitting way to describe the story of the long-time host of "The Lux Radio Theatre", who was often shown in publicity photographs as overseeing every aspect of each broadcast. As research has revealed, C. B. DeMille’s contributions to Lux were more along the lines of acting as opposed to directing or producing. The show’s real directors - Tony Stanford, Frank Woodruff, Fred MacKaye, and Earl Ebi - did all of the heavy lifting from week to week, including keeping the stars’ egos in check and making sure everything went off without a hitch. DeMille’s responsibility was simply to lend prestige to the series by providing the weekly introduction, “interviewing” the stars, and signing off with the flowery “This is Cecil B. DeMille saying goodnight from Holly—wood!” The director’s dedication to the show was such that he was once quoted as saying “he wouldn’t give up the job for a million dollars.” As it happened, he was willing to give up Lux for one dollar: when AFRA (the American Federation of Radio Artists) levied a $1.00 fine to those Lux participants unwilling to side with the union in a “right to work” dispute, DeMille refused to go against his principles and left the show in January 1945. Journeyman director William Keighley replaced him in the fall of that year, and was replaced in 1952 by Irving Cummings, who stayed with Lux until its cancellation in 1955.

As "The Lux Radio Theatre" neared the end of its lengthy radio run, some anonymous bean-counter guesstimated that, over the course of the series, Lux had gone through 52,000 pages of scripts, 496 stars (Fred MacMurray and Loretta Young made the most appearances, with 26 and 25, respectively), 1,467 supporting players, 18,667 music cues and 22,667 special effects. Naturally, for the ten programs included in this second Radio Archives collection, this is just the tip of the iceberg. But the listener of today certainly won’t be disappointed with the fine audio quality and first-class star lineup brought to you in this newly restored and remastered six-hour showcase, transferred from C. B. DeMille's own recording library and restored for sparkling audio fidelity.

Cardinal Richelieu
Starring George Arliss & Cesar Romero
Monday, January 23, 1939 - 60:00 - CBS, sponsored by Lux Soap

The Arkansas Traveler
Starring Bob Burns & Fay Bainter
Monday, January 30, 1939 - 60:00 - CBS, sponsored by Lux Soap

Count of Monte Cristo
Starring Robert Montgomery & Josephine Hutchinson
Monday, February 6, 1939 - 60:00 - CBS, sponsored by Lux Soap

Return of Peter Grimm
Starring Lionel Barrymore & Maureen O'Sullivan
Monday, February 13, 1939 - 60:00 - CBS, sponsored by Lux Soap

Stage Door
Starring Ginger Rogers, Rosalind Russell, & Adolphe Menjou
Monday, February 20, 1939 - 60:00 - CBS, sponsored by Lux Soap

Ceiling Zero
Starring James Cagney & Ralph Bellamy
Monday, February 27, 1939 - 60:00 - CBS, sponsored by Lux Soap

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