Academy Award Theater special presentation

This is a special, Oscars presentation – twelve episodes of Academy Award Theater featuring some of the biggest, most popular stars of Hollywood’s golden age.

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“The house of Squibb presents “Academy Award.”  Every week Squibb brings you 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 have been nominated for the famous, golden Oscar of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.”

That was the opening for each week’s episode of Academy Award Theater, an old-time radio anthology series centered on the Academy Awards.  Or rather, movies and actors that had won or had been nominated for the golden statuette.  The show’s producers used a fairly lenient guideline as far as Oscar winners were concerned, however, and in truth any drama fit the bill as long as the cast included at least one Oscar-nominated performer.  As it turned out only a handful of actors appeared on the show recreating their original film roles.  Those included Henry Fonda in Young Mr. Lincoln, Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, Cary Grant in Suspicion and Ronald Colman in Lost Horizon, all of which are featured below.  In cases where the original actors could not appear other popular stars would make the roles their own and the results are always entertaining.

Academy Award Theater lasted only one season probably due to many factors, including the looming medium of television and the fact that aside from paying the actors a good sum to appear on the weekly shows, the show’s sponsor, Squibb also had to pay the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a decent sum for the use of the title each week.  In any case, we’re lucky to have the shows that were produced to enjoy.

Click on the poster to listen to each broadcast.

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10 thoughts

  1. These are wonderful! I was actually doing some research around The Maltese Falcon so also, very helpful. Bogart’s voice is just as evocative in an audio format as it is on screen!

    1. SO glad!! There are several OTR versions of Falcon. I’d previously posted a longer version, if memory serves. I’ve listened to so many of these my mind is a mush. I believe it was a LUX presentation.

      Aurora

  2. Wow! This is an amazing collection of programs! It’s too bad it lasted only the one season, but television is pretty tough competition.

    I’d never in my life heard of House of Squibb. I did an online search and could not find anything on it in Wikipedia! I thought Wikipedia had All Knowledge!

    1. The sponsor was E.R. Squibb who made pharmaceuticals and the like. But the text in the intro used the “House of Squibb” reference. You’ll hear the complete plug during each broadcast.

      Aurora

  3. Now this is the kind of article I look forward to — I’ve marked it so I can listen to all of the broadcasts … I especially love Lost Horizon, and though he’s handsome, I can fall in love with Ronald Colman all over again just hearing that Voice! This was a really interesting piece of movie and radio history that I knew nothing about. Thanks, Aurora!

      1. I love to listen to vintage radio plays while I drive, and many nights when I go to bed. I read a lot, a LOT, and I guess I love listening because it’s the same type of dynamic — creating the world of the plays in my own head. And boy it sure makes a trip go fast, much better than music!

        1. I agree! I have to admit I haven’t been reading as much as I used to but find the radio shows relaxing and so much fun to picture in my head – especially if I’m familiar with the film.

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