Tag: Jeanette Nolan

Lux Radio Theater: Great Expectations (AWR0246)

Amazing World of Radio

We begin a series looking at radio performances by actors who played villains in the 1960s Batman TV series. This week, we focus on Barbara Rush, who was the guest villain in the Season 3 episode “Nora Clavicle and the Ladies’ Crime Club”.

For this week’s old time radio program, we bring you the Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of Great Expectations, in which Barbara Rush plays a featured role.

An eccentric and twisted elderly woman takes an interest in an orphaned boy. When he grows up, he receives an unexpected inheritance.

Starring: Rock Hudson as Pip; Barbara Rush as Estella; William Conrad; Jeanette Nolan; Alan Reed; Peter Votrian; Susan Seaforth; Christopher Cook; Parley Baer, Vivi Janis; James McCallion; Lillian Buyeff; Norman Field; Howard McNear; Leo Britt; Edward Marr

Original Radio Broadcast Date: October 12, 1954

We then discuss the controversial “Nora Clavicle and the Ladies’ Crime Club”.

Discussed: Podcast episode: To the Batpoles: Tying Ourselves in Knots.

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Twice Told Tale – The McCoy: Three Wayward Girls and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: The Starlet Matter

Once again, we take a look at an old time radio script that was recycled. In this case, the script was a pilot for a new radio series, The McCoy, and then was reused as an episode of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar.

The McCoy is called in by an agent who fears that one of his clients, a promising actress, will be murdered. While they’re talking, a phone call comes in and they learn she was strangled to death.

Originating in Hollywood

Audition date: April 24, 1951

Starring: Howard Duff as The McCoy; Sidney Miller; Sheldon Leonard; Cathy Lewis; Ed Max; Barton Yarborough

Johnny is sent to Hollywood because an agent fears his starlet client is going to be murdered. Johnny finds she’s already been strangled to death.

Originating in Hollywood

Original Air Date: January 16, 1953

Starring: John Lund as Yours Truly Johnny Dollar; Sidney Miller; Raymond Burr; Dick Ryan; John McIntire; Vic Perrin; Virginia Gregg; Jeanette Nolan

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Join us again tomorrow for another detective drama from the Golden Age of Radio.

Radio’s Most Essential People: #51-#49

Previous: 54-52, 57-55, 60-58, 65-61, 70-6671-75, 76-80, 81-85, 86-90, 91-95, 96-100

51) Jeanette Nolan

Jeanette Nolan was a remarkable character actress over radio. Her friend True Boardman said Nolan was a remarkable actress who could play any female role from the Queen, to a widow, to a seductress. Her first major role was on Tarzan in the 1930s Nolan was best known for her old lady roles. Ironically enough, Nolan was in her 20s and 30s while playing most of these dowager roles. She helped to hold some of radio’s great shows together. Producer Norm Macdonnell used her as part of a stock company that appeared often on Gunsmoke, Fort Laramie,and the Adventures of Philip Marlowe. She also made frequent appearances on Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, Suspense, and the Cavalcade of America.

Howard Duff50) Howard Duff

Prior to 1946, Duff’s most memorable radio work may have been as an announcer for the Armed Forces Radio Service. To millions of American soldiers, he was Sergeant X, who hosted the AFRS Mystery Playhouse featuring some of the most notable detectives on radio. Little did Duff know he’d become one of the most famous radio detectives after the war. Duff remains radio’s definitive Sam Spade. During his four years on the program, the show was a radio hit and his sardonic, wise-cracking portrayal of Spade  remains one of radio’s most iconic performances. His status as Spade led to an appearance on the Burns and Allen show in which he played himself, but Gracie believed him to be Sam Spade, and hilarity ensued. In addition, a program featuring a fan of the program was launched and entitled Sara’s Private Capers. A combination of high cost, unjustified accusations of Communist activity against Duff, and justified accusations of Communist activists against Dashiell Hammett led to the end of Duff’s run.  Duff struggled to find radio work after this. He was given a pilot for another detective show called The McCoy that went nowhere. Still, Duff’s role as Spade endures as does his othe radio work.

49) Eve Arden-Eve Arden was not the first choice to play  the title role in Our Miss Brooks. The first attempt at the series featured Shirley Booth in the title role.  Luckily the role went to Arden, whose main claim to fame over radio had been a season spent co-starring on the Danny Kaye Show, though Arden had enjoyed a successful film career. However in Connie Brooks, a wise-cracking, occasionally clumsy, but very competent and beloved English teacher, Brooks found a defining character.  When Our Miss Brooks hit the air in 1948, it was the beginning of a radio megahit. To be certain, Arden wasn’t the only contributor. It’s hard to imagine the show succeeding without Gale Gordon as Osgood Conklin and other parts including  Dick Crenna as Walter Denton and Jane Morgan as Mrs. Davis. However, Arden was the key. She made Miss Brooks likable. She was assertive without being pushy. She was wise-cracking without being mean. Arden had plenty of help but she was the key to the whole enterprise.

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