Many years ago I received a box set of old-time radio shows from a friend that included several episodes of Bold Venture, a radio action/adventure series Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall starred in together from 1951 to 1952. I have spent a bit of time on the Bold Venture of late and thought it a fine way to honor Lauren Bacall for the upcoming anniversary of her birth. Not that a reason is needed to spend time with old-time radio programs.
It is difficult to sit here and try to sell Bold Venture as important in the lives or careers of the legendary Bogarts. In fact, the program is rarely even mentioned in retrospectives of either actor’s career. I mean, you do not even get a chance to witness Lauren Bacall’s signature “look” on a radio program for crissakes, the look she “manufactured” due to nerves while working on Howard Hawks’ To Have and Have Not, during which she met Humphrey Bogart. The two went on to star in three more movies together, The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo, and more importantly, fell in love, married and had a family. Anyway, all that said, the short-lived Bold Venure, which was produced by Bogart’s Santana Productions, holds the distinction of being the only radio program series to star either Humphrey Bogart or Lauren Bacall, aside from single episodes of anthology series, so to say it is not worthy is a crime.
In Bold Venture Bogart stars as Slate Shannon, a seafarer who owns a hotel in Cuba that harbors a different shady character each week. Along to assist Shannon for the ride and each week’s adventure is Sailor Duval (Bacall). The premise of Bold Venture and most of the featured stories are reminiscent of the Bogart/Bacall film collaborations, To Have and Have Not in particular, which all but cemented the series’ popularity by capitalizing on the couple’s greatest films. There’s no doubt you’ll enjoy these programs if you are a Bogart and Bacall fan. I was recently surprised to find negative reviews of Bold Venture because for me the magic of what made Bogart Bogart and the allure of Bacall shine through in each episode. What seems to ring true is that the series lasted only one season because Bogart was not happy making it.
Without further ado, here they are, Bogie and Bacall in the “sultry setting of tropical Havana” with each episode promising adventure, intrigue, mystery, and romance…
“A Bullet for Shannon”
“This Gin Will Kill You”
“Dead Men Don’t Leave Prints”
“Revenge Equals Murder Times 2”
“The Bold Venture is Stolen”
“Engaged in Murder”
“Welcome to Civilization Dead Man”
“Revenge is Sweet”
“The Runaway Wife”
“Out of Control”