Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hollywood On The Air






The symbiotic (and sometimes incestuous) relationship between Hollywood movies and radio blossomed in the 1930s with the maturation of both mediums, and the two remained heavily intertwined for decades.


Move stars were often required to appear on popular radio shows as part of their contract to help promote their latest movie – and many ended up with their own radio shows as well.

Jimmy Stewart was The Six Shooter, Alan Ladd starred in Box 13, and Bogie and Bacall co-starred in Bold Venture . . . just to name a few.


It was common practice to produce condensed radio versions of popular movies – often with the same stars – to help promote films.


Lux Radio Theatre is perhaps the most famous, and enduring, of these shows but others included Screen Director’s Playhouse, Academy Award Theater, and Matinee Theater.


Radio stars (and sometimes entire entire radio shows) would show up on, or even starred in, Hollywood productions.



Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy, Fred Allen, Fibber McGee & Molly,  and Lum & Abner all migrated successfully – and often – into the movies.



While all of the major (and sometimes minor) movie studios worked hand-in-hand with radio, MGM studios was probably better positioned with its musically inclined roster of talent to take full advantage of the radio medium.


For nearly two decades MGM studios produced 15-minute promotional radio shows called LEO is On The Air, each featuring vignettes, musical performances, and frequently guest appearances by the cast members from upcoming theatrical releases.



Similarly, Hollywood Is On The Air, was a 15 minute preview of upcoming movies from other studios.


Sure . . . these are little more than commercials, or `radio trailers’ for upcoming movies  . . .  but they manage to package a great deal of entertainment, and fun, into 15 minutes.  


And if you are an old movie buff, you’ll find a lot to like in these old radio programs.   The Internet Archive has a mixed bag of this genre of radio show, with more than 40 assorted episodes spanning the 1930s and 1940s.



Hollywood Is On The Air




A partial list of what’s available includes:


Life Begins for Andy Hardy

Little Nelly Kelly

Love Finds Andy Hardy

Marx Brothers Go West

Mutiny On the Bounty

New Faces of 1937

Northwest Mounted Police



Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

The Bells of St. Mary's

The Courtship of Andy Hardy

The Fleet's In

The Gay Divorcee



Each show runs about 15 minutes, and is about 3 Mbytes in size.



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