Academy Award (radio)

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Academy Award
Other names Academy Award Theater
Genre Anthology of movie stories
Running time 30 minutes
Country United States
Language(s) English
Syndicates CBS
Starring Hollywood film stars
Writer(s) Frank Wilson
Director(s) Dee Englebach
Producer(s) Dee Englebach
Air dates March 30, 1946 to December 18, 1946
No. of episodes 39
Sponsor(s) House of Squibb
Robert Nathan's novel was adapted to Academy Award in 1946 to promote interest in David O. Selznick's film, which did not go into production until the following year.

Academy Award was a CBS radio anthology series which presented 30-minute adaptations of plays, novels or films. The program's title is listed in one source as Academy Award Theater.[1]

Rather than adaptations of Oscar-winning films, as the title implied, the series offered "Hollywood's finest, the great picture plays, the great actors and actresses, techniques and skills, chosen from the honor roll of those who have won or been nominated for the famous golden Oscar of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences."

With that as a guideline, any drama could be presented as long as the cast included at least one Oscar-nominated performer. For example, Robert Nathan's 1940 novel Portrait of Jennie was not released as a film until 1949. David O. Selznick, having acquired the rights to Nathan's novel in 1944, was spending much time and money in his efforts to bring it to the screen. Thus, Academy Award's December 4, 1946 adaptation of Portrait of Jennie, with John Lund and Oscar-winner Joan Fontaine, had a promotional aspect, concluding with host/announcer Hugh Brundage revealing, "Portrait of Jennie is soon to be a Selznick International picture starring Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten."

The program initially aired on Saturdays at 7pm(et) through June, then moved to Wednesdays at 10pm(et). Frank Wilson scripted the 30-minute adaptations for producer-director Dee Englebach, and Leith Stevens provided the music. Frank Wilson was the script writer.[2] The sound effects crew included Gene Twombly, Jay Roth, Clark Casey and Berne Surrey.

The series began March 30, 1946,[3] with Bette Davis, Anne Revere and Fay Bainter in Jezebel. On that first show, Jean Hersholt spoke as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, welcoming the E.R. Squibb & Sons pharmaceutical company {"The House Of Squibb"} as the program's sponsor. It was an expensive show to produce since the stars cost $4000 a week, and another $1,600 went each week to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the use of their name in the show's title.[4] This eventually became a factor in Squibb's decision to cancel the series after only 39 weeks.

Dramas in which actors recreated their original film roles included Henry Fonda in Young Mr. Lincoln, Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, Cary Grant in Suspicion, Gregory Peck in The Keys of the Kingdom and Ronald Colman in Lost Horizon. However, of the 39 episodes, only six actors recreated their own Oscar-winning roles: Fay Bainter, Bette Davis, Paul Lukas, Victor McLaglen, Paul Muni and Ginger Rogers.

The series ended December 18, 1946, with Margaret O'Brien and one of the series' frequent supporting players, Jeff Chandler (appearing under his real name, Ira Grossel) in Lost Angel.

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Terrace, Vincent. (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. P. 8.
  2. ^ "De Havilland in 'Oscar' Role on 'Academy Award'". Harrisburg Telegraph. July 27, 1946. p. 17. Retrieved April 10, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  3. ^ Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. P. 4.
  4. ^ Elliott, Jordan (Summer 2015). "Hooray for Hollywood!". Nostalgia Digest. 41 (3): 24–30. 

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