Friday, July 29, 2011

Myrna Loy's Radio Credits

Hollywood, June 1937
Confident, sophisticated, whip smart and equipped with a wit as dry as the martinis she favored in her films, she had a gift for nuance and comedic timing. More than a pretty face, Myrna Loy made men swoon and set standards of elegance and star power emulated by Hollywood actresses today. She was born in a small Montana town and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 13, following the untimely death of her father. Her unusual look -- Celtic red hair and freckles complemented an exotic almond eyes -- caught the attention of Rudolph Valentino's wife, acclaimed designer Natasha Rambova, who made arrangements for Myrna Loy to appear before the movie cameras

Myrna Loy is perhaps best known for her role as Nora Charles in the six Thin Man movies, but her career on the screen began in the silent era. If she wasn't a chorus girl, she was a villainous vamp who showed more skin than subtlety. Although she plays the role of Dr. Fu Manchu's daughter with perfection in The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932), she fought the studio industry for roles that were more sophisticated, avoiding the typecast personalities she played on the screen for years. I recommend The Mask of Fu Manchu, by the way. It's a great film and often overlooked. Gregory William Mank wrote a superb behind-the-scenes history of the movie for an issue of the now-defunct Scarlet Street Magazine, and it's a great read. But catch if you can, catch the movie when it is screened on Turner Classic Movies. All of the video and commercial DVD releases have been edited (each with various different scenes deleted!) and you have to see this pre-code uncut and unedited to enjoy it.

Having been teamed with William Powell in more than a dozen films, most of the American public believed they were really married. And their appearances together on radio broadcasts helped clinch that belief. Loy never dated or married Powell, but the two ccertainly had chemistry on the screen -- especially in the Thin Man movies -- and the studios knew it. 

Myrna Loy had distinguished ears which MGM producer David O'Selznick insisted be glued to her head by the fakeup artists. Loy considered plastic surgery at one time, but decided that hair styles covering her ears was much better suited and this pleased Selznick. Soon after learning that she was John Dillinger's favorite actress, and was the main reason why he went to see Manhattan Melodrama, the movie that ultimately led to his death outside the theatre, Loy admited she took no pleasure in learning of the news.

Impressed by 16-year-old Myrna Loy's beauty, the head of the art department at Venice High School assigned her to model for a seminude statue that stands even today in the school's courtyard. Ironically, the actress only liked the spotlight when the cameras were rolling, preferring night at home with her brother and mother (or husband when she was married). Director John Ford joked, "Wouldn't you know, the kid they pick to play tramps is the only good girl in Hollywood." 

Myrna Loy statue at Venice High School.
During World War II, Myrna Loy devoted much of her time to the war cause -- far more time than she did acting. Because of this, her screen and radio credits drop considerably during the War Years. After the War, Loy devoted much of her time to public service, including UNESCO.

Unlike most of her competition such as Bette Davis and Barbara Stanwyck, Myrna Loy's radio credits are not as extensive. She did not appear before the microphone unless committed under contract, for the purpose of promoting an up-coming movie. Her guest spots on radio programs that had nothing to do with reprising her movie roles were through an arrangement whereby with the announcer commented, "Myrna Loy appeared courtesy of MGM, producers of the [movie] now in theaters."

Throughout 1934 to 1937, MGM Studios recorded a number of 14-15 minute transcription discs featuring exclusive interviews and audio tracks from their up-coming motion pictures. Local theaters often paid for airtime on local radio stations and the transcriptions were played as 15 minute specials, promoting the day and time the movie is going to be screened. Myrna Loy appears in many of these, from The Thin Man, Parnell, Whipshaw and Libeled Lady, but her radio appearances were in the form of audio tracks from the motion pictures.

Hollywood on the Air
Broadcast on September 12, 1932.
Hosted by Hollywood columnist Jimmy Fidler, this broadcast featured two celebrity interviews with Irene Dunne and Myrna Loy.

Hollywood Hotel 
Broadcast on November 9, 1934.
Sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company.
This was Myrna Loy’s first of three appearances on this radio program, hosted by Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons. William Powell and Myrna Loy are interviewed by Parsons, following a performance of “Within The Law,” in which Loy played a woman falsely accused and imprisoned for a crime she did not commit. Upon her release, Loy exacts revenge on the guilty parties, always remaining within the law to avoid being accused of another crime.

William Powell and Myrna Loy were originally scheduled to appear on Hollywood Hotel on the evening of April 3, 1936, in a scene from “The Great Ziegfeld.” Filming schedules at MGM prevented the actors from appearing on the show. Instead, Hollywood Hotel presented George Burns and Gracie Allen in “I Married A Doctor.” The script originally intended for Powell and Loy was never presented on the program.

Hollywood Hotel
Broadcast on May 22, 1936.
Sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company.
Myrna Loy, Warner Baxter and Claire Trevor reprise their roles for a scene from To Mary, With Love, Release date August 1936?. Myrna Loy plays the role of Mary Wallace, who stands by her husband, Jack, after the Depression of 1929, but considers divorce when he again becomes successful by 1935. Bill Hallam, who loves Mary, works at keeping them together.

The Lux Radio Theatre 
Broadcast on June 8, 1936.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
William Powell and Myrna Loy reprise their role as Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man. This was the second episode of Lux to be broadcast from California under a new format. Prior to June 1, the series originated from New York and featured Broadway actors in adaptations of stage plays and Broadway musicals. In February of 1936, John Gilman, head of Lever Brothers advertising, began conferring with people at J. Walter Thompson about revising the program's format. What ultimately happened was Lux went Hollywood. Not only were they featuring adaptations of motion-pictures, but the series originated from the 965-seat Music Box Theatre on 6126 Hollywood Boulevard in California. Loy stumbles over one line just slightly, but noticeable. For movie buffs, Theda Bara appears after the story and discusses he planned comeback.

UK Magazine, Nov. 1935
Hollywood Hotel 
Broadcast on November 13, 1936.
Sponsored by the Campbell Soup Company.
Buddy Ebsen and James Stewart reprise their roles from the movie, Born to Dance, with Myrna Loy co-starring in the role Eleanor Powell played in the motion-picture. Jean Harlow and Clark Gable are interviewed by Louella Parsons, because the two actors are being filmed for Saratoga, due for a theatrical release in a few months.

Good News of 1938 
Broadcast on December 30, 1937.
Sponsored by Kraft Foods (promoting Maxwell House coffee).
Myrna Loy and Jimmy Stewart appear in a skit about newlyweds. Obviously since the series was designed as a weekly promotional ad spot for MGM, their actors appeared on the program frequently. Wallace Beery star in a scene from The Bad Man From Brimstone. So it comes as no surprise that Lionel Barrymore describes a "name the movie" contest. 

The Silver Theatre
Broadcast on January 15, 1939.
Sponsored by International Silver.
Myrna Loy is the weekly guest in a drama titled "The Debutante."

Good News of 1939  
Broadcast on May 11, 1939.
Sponsored by Maxwell House Coffee.
Myrna Loy and Robert Taylor reprise their roles of Cora Jordan and Bill Overton in Lucky Night, who attempt to settle down witha  serious relationship, only to discover that leopards cannot change their spots. The movie was released theatrically just a few days before this broadcast.

The Gulf Screen Guild Theatre
Broadcast on February 11, 1940.
Sponsored by Gulf Oil.
In an attempt to piggyback on the popularity of William Powell and Myrna Loy's screen personifications, the two actors were scheduled to star in "Single Crossing," a romantic comedy. Powell was unable to attend, however, so James Stewart replaced him.

The Lux Radio Theatre
Broadcast on June 17, 1940.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
William Powell and Myrna Loy reprise their roles of Nick and Nora Charles from After The Thin Man, the second of six Thin Man motion pictures.

The Lux Radio Theatre 
Broadcast on September 9, 1940.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
William Powell and Myrna Loy reprise their roles in an adaptation of Manhattan Melodrama. To give you an idea of how big Gone With the Wind was (not meaning to steer from the subject at hand), the sponsor offered a Scarlet O'Hare brooch to the listeners, during one of the commercials. The movie was released in theaters nine months earlier and was still going on strong.

Bundles for Britain
Broadcast on January 1, 1941.
This was one of several specials designed as patriotic support for the “Bundles for Britain” program. Arch Oboler directed. Celebrities on this broadcast included Myrna Loy, Jack Benny, Bette Davis, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Loretta Young, Claudette Colbert, Spencer Tracy, Charles Boyer, Mary Martin, Ronald Colman, Merle Oberon, Tony Martin and Charles Boyer.

The Gulf Screen Guild Theater
Broadcast on January 19, 1941.
Sponsored by Gulf Oil.
Myrna Loy and Don Ameche play the leads in "Magnificent Obsession."

American Calling
Broadcast on February 8, 1941.
Sponsored by the Greek War Relief.
This ninety-minute special originated from Hollywood and featured an all-star cast that included Clark Gable, Merle Oberon, Groucho Marx, Madeleine Carroll, Connie Boswell, Dick Powell, Charles Laughton, Ronald Colman, Shirley Temple, Ann Rutherford, Barbara Stanwyck, Mickey Rooney, Robert Taylor, Tyrone Power and many others. Myrna Loy appears in a comedy skit with Mary Martin, Jack Benny and Bob Hope. This program was broadcast over both the Mutual Broadcasting System and the National Broadcasting Company.

The Chase and Sanborn Program 
Broadcast on March 23, 1941.
Sponsored by Standard Brands (promoting Chase and Sanborn Coffee).
Myrna Loy is guest, playing opposite to Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen’s ventriloquist buddy. 

The Lux Radio Theatre
Broadcast on June 30, 1941.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
William Powell and Myrna Loy reprised their roles from the 1940 MGM classic, I Love You Again. Powell plays boring businessman Larry Wilson, who recovers from amnesia and discovers he's really a con man. But romance tangles the plot. This same story was done again on Lux in 1948, but not with Myrna Loy in the cast.

William Powell and Myrna Loy were originally scheduled for The Lux Radio Theatre’s production of “Third Finger, Left Hand,” on the evening of September 29, 1941. The announcement was made at the conclusion of last week’s program, and the two stars were even billed in newspapers (such as the New York Times, proving once again how newspapers can be unreliable when researching old-time radio). When both actors came down with a touch of the flu, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Martha Scott were quickly recruited as replacements. Had Myrna Loy been able to attend, she would have been able to reprise her role as Margot Sherwood, an unmarried editor, who attempts to repel potential suitors by pretending to be married to a small town Ohio boy.

Screen Play Magazine, September 1935
The Lux Radio Theatre 
Broadcast on November 3, 1941.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
William Powell and Myrna Loy play the roles of Stephen Dexter, an ad man, and secretary Kendall Browning, who agree to a marriage of convenience as a loophole in order to protect his finances during an important business deal. After the deal is signed and delivered, he asks for a divorce bur Kendall (Loy) surprises him by refusing. Seems she's fallen in love with him. According to Art Pierce and Connie Billips' Lux Presents Hollywood book, this recording was not known to exist in 1995, but has since been discovered and is now commonly circulating among collector hands.

The Silver Theater
Broadcast on November 30, 1941.
Sponsored by International Silver.
Myrna Loy is the celebrity guest for this broadcast, starring in a witty drama titled, “Strictly Personal.”

The Gulf Screen Guild Theater 
Broadcast on January 11, 1942.
Sponsored by Gulf Oil.
Herbert Marshall and Myrna Loy co-star in an adaptation of the 1939 motion-picture, Love Affair, which originally starred Charles Boyer and Irene Dunne. 

The Lux Radio Theatre
Broadcast on February 23, 1942.
Sponsored by Lux Soap.
In Myrna Loy's last of many Lux appearances, she played the role of Jane Alexander, who falls in love with Charles Boyer. This adaptation of "Appointment for Love" was done two years later with a different cast so if you are not a die-hard collector of radio programs, be aware that there are two versions and only the 1942 version features Myrna Loy. Since the U.S. had recently entered World War II, Charles Boyer had recently become an American citizen and was congratulated on the program.

The Cavalcade of America
Broadcast on March 23, 1942.
Until 2002, a recording of this episode was not known to exist in collector circles. A company in Connecticut, Radio Yesteryear, had a this recording in their archives. I bought the audio cassette (at an expensive $12 price tag) and then used it to trade for recordings that collectors were holding on to jealously. The result? I gained a few treasures that it worth spending that kind of money on a single recording and "Angels on Horseback" with Myrna Loy got into circulation. Loy stars as Dr. Mary Breckenridge who created the "Frontier Nursing Service." 

Keep 'Em Rolling
Broadcast on April 12, 1942.
This program was produced in co-operation with the War Production Board. Myrna Loy and Otto Kruger star in an adaptation of "The Captain From Connecticut."

Greece Fights On 
Syndicated beginning circa 1943.
Sponsored by The Greek War Relief Association.
This fourteen-minute recording was designed to promote the sale of a newly-published book, The Atlas of World War II (published in 1943). Profits from the sale of the $1 book were to be donated to The Greek War Relief Association. Celebrities endorsed and urged the purchase of the book: Fred Allen, Tallulah Bankhead, Ilka Chase, Clifton Fadiman, Myrna Loy and Paul Muni. 

Ed Sullivan Entertains
Broadcast on October 18, 1943.
Sponsored by the Colgate-Palmolive Company (promoting Mennen Speed Stick).
This fifteen-minute radio program offered a variety of singers and actors performing for the radio audience, and exclusive interviews. For this broadcast, Myrna Loy was a guest.

Movie Life, March 1938
Mary Margaret McBride  
(“The Martha Deane Show”) 
Broadcast on November 4, 1943.
Myrna Loy is interviewed by Martha Deane.

Command Performance
Recorded circa early 1945.
Myrna Loy was the emcee for this episode. Command Performance was produced by the Armed Forces Radio Service for entertainment to U.S. troops stationed overseas. Various Hollywood stars made guest appearances, providing music and drama. This program was not broadcast in the U.S. per say, but rather for the troops. Recordings of this episode are circulating among collectors with a broadcast date of June 7, 1945, but I am not sure how they acquired such a broadcast date. The official episode number (taken from the transcription disc) is #178.

The Frank Sinatra Show
Broadcast on April 11, 1945.
Sponsored by the Sales Builders.
Myrna Loy was a guest on this broadcast. Looking back on history, had Sinatra’s show aired on Thursday, Friday or Saturday, instead of Wednesday, Myrna Loy’s appearance on this show would have been cancelled. FDR died on April 12 and soon after the news reached the public, all of the major broadcasting studios cancelled regularly scheduled programming in favor of news, solemn music and FDR specials. 

Broadcast on September 20, 1945.
Myrna Loy plays the role of a librarian who deduces a kidnap plot from a torn page in Gone With the Wind. The title of the drama is "The Library Book." Based on a story by Cornell Woolrich.

Movie Premiere 
Broadcast on November 21, 1946. This broadcast originated from the lobby of the Astor Theatre, New York City. Myrna Loy, Virginia Mayo, Hoagy Carmichael and Toots Shor speak before the microphone, moments after the James J. Walker Memorial is dedicated over WOR.

Meet the Stars 
Broadcast on November 25, 1946.
This interview program was broadcast over Chicago and originated from the studios of WGN. Myrna Loy was in Chicago at the time to promote The Best Years of Our Lives, so she appeared as a guest.

The June Baker Show 
Broadcast on November 26, 1946.
This interview program was broadcast over Chicago and originated from the studios of WGN. Myrna Loy was in Chicago at the time to promote The Best Years of Our Lives, so she appeared as a guest.

This is Hollywood
Broadcast on December 14, 1946.
Sponsored by Proctor & Gamble.
Myrna Loy and Don Ameche reprise their film roles from So Goes My Love. Jane Budden (Loy), a country girl, goes to the big city determined to find and marry a wealthy man. Instead, she meets and marries Herman Maxim (Ameche), a struggling inventor. After their marriage, his inventions become successful. Their happiness is complete when they have two children, and Maxim’s portrait is given a place in the National Hall of Science. The host of this radio program was Hedda Hopper.

Broadcast on July 15, 1947, Telephone Quiz featured Myrna Loy -- but not in person. While she was not a guest on this radio quiz program, her name was the answer that the game show host was looking for.
Hollywood Fights Back
October 26, 1947
Sponsored by the First Amendment Committee, this thirty-minute radio special was broadcast over ABC, featuring (as billed by the announcer) 45 Hollywood personalities who chose to strike back at the House Un-American Activities Committee. These included Myrna Loy, Eddie Cantor, Richard Conte, John Huston, Burt Lancaster, Van Heflin, Lucille Ball, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Judy Garland, Charles Boyer, Peter Lorre, Marsha Hunt, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Keenan Wynn, Artie Shaw, Fredric March, Paulette Goddard, Edward G. Robinson, Paul Henreid and many others.

Hollywood Fights Back
November 2, 1947
Sponsored by the First Amendment Committee, this thirty-minute radio special was broadcast over ABC, featuring (as billed by the announcer) 42 Hollywood personalities who chose to strike back at the House Un-American Activities Committee. These included Myrna Loy, Burl Ives, Dana Andrews, Danny Kaye, Dorothy McGuire, George S. Kaufman, Gregory Peck, Groucho Marx, Jane Wyatt, June Havoc, Richard Rodgers, Rita Hayworth, Vanessa Brown and many others. 

The Camel Screen Guild Theatre 
Broadcast November 24, 1947
Sponsored by Camel Cigarettes.
Fredric March and Myrna Loy reprise their roles from The Best Years of Our Lives. This movie won the "Best Picture" Oscar and concerns three World War II veterans who return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

UK Magazine, April 1940
The Spencer Tracy Story  
Syndicated in 1949. 
Narrated by Van Johnson, this MGM air trailer remains a mystery. It was apparently created to promote the numerous films Spencer Tracy starred in, with excerpts from his movies. Myrna Loy appears courtesy of the soundtrack from Test Pilot (1938). A recording of this broadcast exists but has been inaccurately dated 1948. A sound track to Edward, My Son (1949) with Deborah Kerr is featured, verifying the 1948 date is inaccurate.

Camel Screen Guild Players 
Broadcast on May 10, 1948.
Sponsored by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (promoting Camel Cigarettes).
Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Shirley Temple reprise their roles from the 1947 RKO classic, “The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer.” Teenaged Susan Turner (Temple), with a severe crush on playboy artist Richard Nugent (Grant), sneaks into his apartment to model for him and is found there by her sister Judge Margaret Turner (Loy). Threatened with jail, Nugent agrees to date Susan until the crush abates. He counters Susan’s comic false sophistication by even more comic put-on teenage mannerisms, with a slapstick climax.

The Robert Taylor Story
Recorded circa 1951. 
Syndicated from MGM Studios, this fifteen-minute recording features Deborah Kerr who introduces scenes from thirteen of Robert Taylor's films, with many of his leading Except for Deborah Kerr, all of the women appear via recording, sound tracks of Taylor's motion-pictures, including Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Hedy Lamarr, Greer Garson, Ava Gardner, Janet Gaynor, Norma Shearer and Myrna Loy.

The National Symphony Orchestra Annual Kick-Off Luncheon 
Broadcast on January 16, 1951.
Guests included Walter Lippman and Myrna Loy. This program was not broadcast coast-to-coast across the country. It was broadcast only in the Washington D.C. and Maryland/Virginia area.

Broadcast on July 7, 1956.
Myrna Loy was a featured guest for a one-on-one interview about her Hollywood career.

The Louis Sobol Show 
Broadcast September 23, 1957.
Known primarily for the musical programs of the 1930s and 1940s, Sobol began interviewing celebrities on this short-run program heard over New York City radio waves during 1957. Abe Burrows, Jack Benny and others were featured guests. For this broadcast, Myrna Loy was interviewed.

During the 1950s, Myrna Loy was a member of the United States National Commission for UNESCO, and Chairman of The Hollywood Committee for UNESCO. So it comes as no surprise that she appeared on a number of radio programs concerning the organization. On August 3, 1950, Loy participated in a general radio forum, broadcast courtesy of the Voice of America, originating from Washington D.C. The discussion topic was mass communications, with two delegates of the recent UNESCO General Conference, Fifth Session. On March 2, 1958, Myrna Loy was a guest for As Easy as A.B.C., a series on the UNESCO and United Nations Radio. Titled "B is for Bargains," Loy appeared alongside Edward G. Robinson and Dinah Shore. On June 16, 1960, The United Nations Today program offered news from Geneva, Florence and Los Angeles. Myrna Loy spoke as a U.S. observer to the UNESCO meeting in Los Angeles.

The Barry Gray Show

Broadcast on September 10, 1960.
This interview show, originating and broadcast mainly in New York City over WOR, featured a variety of celebrity guests. For this particular broadcast, Myrna Loy was the guest.

If anyone knows of any other radio appearances of Myrna Loy that is not featured on this list, contact me so I can add it to this web page.

Rather than flavor the article with photos of Myrna Loy from her movies, which you can find anywhere you look, I'm including a number of old Screen and Movie Magazine articles about the actress. These are much more fun.

Special thanks to Neal Ellis and Jim Widner for their assistance.