Yeah, yeah, she was great in the movies. Sure, her on-screen presence had a lingering effect on all who watched her perform. But if I may say… you have not lived until you listen to Bette Davis on the radio.
Just as she did as the first lady of the silver screen, Bette Davis was one of the foremost interpreters of radio drama. You can hear her giving everything she had in each performance. In some instances she gave all she had plus all her co-stars had as well. I adore the dramatics of this supreme actor, the emoter-in-chief as elected by Aurora.
If you can’t be in front of a TV or in a theater watching Davis do her thing then I suggest you dim the lights, pour yourself a vodka and listen to her on the radio. I put together a playlist of Davis old-time radio shows as my way of remembering her this week in celebration of the anniversary of her birth on April 5th. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
On the radio…
- From 1946 – An Academy Award Theatre presentation of “Jezebel” starring Bette Davis and Anne Revere
- From January 22, 1939 here’s The Golf Screen Guild Show’s presentation of “Can We Forget” with – wait for it – Bette Davis, Robert Montgomery, Basil Rathbone and Louise Beavers. Directed by Frank Capra (All pictured below during the taping)
- In this 1930s Screen Guild Theatre production Bette Davis does not get top billing. Instead, she’s a fabulous second to William Powell in “Ballerina, Slightly With Accent”
- “The Little Foxes” from Screen Guild Players starring Ms. Davis, Otto Kruger, Teresa Wright, Charles Dingle and Lurene Tuttle
- From January 14, 1940 – Screen Guild Theatre’s presentation of “The Lonely Heart” with Bette and Arch Oboler
- From March 2, 1941 – Screen Guild Theatre’s presentation of “Jane Eyre” with Bette and Brian Ahern
- The Screen Guild Players’ production of “Dodsworth” with Bette, Walter Huston and Nan Sunderland
- “Watch on the Rhine” with Davis, Lucile Watson, Paul Lukas, Donald Woods and George Coulouris reprising their 1943 film roles
- Lux Presents Hollywood…Here’s Bette, Herbert Marshall and James Stephenson reprising their film roles in “The Letter”
- Here’s another Lux Radio Theatre presentation, which is a match made in heaven if you ask me. Bette stars opposite Spencer Tracy in this production of “Dark Victory.” Prognosis positive!
To end this trip down memory lane here’s Bette with Gregory Peck who also celebrated a birthday on April 5th. This is from Lux Radio Theatre and it aired on February 11, 1946. Here’s “Now Voyager.”