Lux Radio Theater: After the Thin Man

Returning from investigating the “Thin Man” case, Nick Charles again hopes to retire, but finds himself drawn into another mystery when his wife’s cousin is approved of murdering her no good husband. Originally broadcast: June 17, 1940

afterthethinmanLux Radio Theater, a long-run classic radio anthology series, was broadcast on the NBC Blue Network (1934-35); CBS (1935-54) and NBC (1954-55). Initially, the series adapted Broadway 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 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 and John Boles 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.

Cecil B. DeMille 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 and Edward Arnold.

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 (who made Lux soap and detergent) moved the show from New York City 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 and Clark Gable, based on the film Morocco. That was followed by a Lux adaptation of The Thin Man, featuring the movie’s stars, Myrna Loy and William Powell.

 

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Herb Lytton, The Voice of FATE

Diary Of Fate and Mr. Keen, Tracer of lost Persons

Herb Lytton, The Voice of FATE

Herb Lytton, The Voice of FATE

The Diary of Fate was broadcast over KECA, an ABC affiliate in Los Angeles, which began broadcasting the show on September 6, 1947 and aired thirty-eight episodes through May 22, 1948. KECA originated Diary of Fate from its studios. Herb Lytton was the heavy handed host Fate, a somewhat sinister sounding character who delights in emphasizing how he manipulates events to force characters in the show to make life changing choices, usually the wrong ones thereby assuring their ultimate downfall. There are only thirty-eight known titles for Diary of Fate, with only twenty-four of those titles in current circulation. Many well known radio actors performed on the show including Hal Sawyer, Frank Albertson, Gloria Blondell, Jerry David Ellis, Lurene Tuttle, Lawrence Dobkin, Daws Butler, William Johnstone and Lou Krugman.
This episode, The Marvin Thomas Entry, originally aired June 8, 1948.

Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons was one of radio’s longest running shows airing from October 12, 1937 to April 19, 1955, continuing well into the television era. It was produced by Frank and Anne Hummert. The sponsors included Whitehall Pharmacal (as in Anacin, Kolynos Toothpaste, BiSoDol antacid mints, Hill’s cold tablets and Heet liniment), Dentyne, Aerowax, RCA Victor and Chesterfield cigarettes. It aired on the NBC Blue network until 1947, when it switched to CBS. With 1690 nationwide broadcasts, Mr. Keen was the most resilient private detective in a namesake role. The nearest competitors were Nick Carter, Master Detective (726 broadcasts), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (657) and The Adventures of the Falcon (473). However, only 59 of those 1690 Mr. Keen programs are known to exist. The cliches, stereotypes and simplistic dialogue of the show provided much fodder for Bob and Ray’s memorable parody, Mr. Trace, Keener Than Most Persons, broadcast in numerous variations. It was also satirized by Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis in Mad’s fifth issue as “Kane Keen!”
The character of Mr. Keen was referenced by Alfred Hitchcock in one of his television shows. Mr. Keen is also mentioned in the stage version of Bye Bye Birdie by the character Mr. Harry MacAfee, who was played by Paul Lynde.

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