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Legendary Joan Crawford

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Joan Crawford Radio Days

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Joan Crawford - On the Radio

The radio was a powerful medium in Hollywood's heyday. Before the wonder of television, the radio was the only form of news or entertainment that a family could tune to for updates on what was going on in the world. For that reason, many movie stars chose radio as an outlet for self promotion. They would also lend their voices to the reading of serials and skits that would run week in week out, just as any weekly television series would air today. Joan Crawford was no stranger to the radio and many fans tuned into her when she honored us with her graceful voice.

Below is a list of radio broadcasts featuring "the voice" of Joan Crawford - Listed from her earliest known recording to her last, it's a whole other career, spanning an impressive thirty years.

On the Radio - 1930s

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Above: A freckle-faced Joan Crawford gets a visit from Cecil B. DeMille
while broadcasting "Within the Law" for the "Lux Radio Theater" in 1935.

October 14, 1935 - "Lux Radio Theater" - "Within the Law" - 60 minutes. This Joan Crawford's first known performance on the radio. (More photos from this radio broadcast can be found below in the "Photos" section.)

July 4, 1936 - "Shell Chateau" - Aired on the "NBC-Red Network" 9:30pm. - Joan Crawford and Franchot Tone appear in "Shell Chateau" with Smith Ballew as master of ceremonies. This was the first radio performance since Joan and Franchot were married. (See the photo below in the photo gallery that provides this new information. The typed information was typed up on the back of a promo photo for this radio appearance.)

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Above: Joan Crawford clutches her reading glasses and script at the "Lux Radio Theater"
while recording "Chained" for a radio broadcast in 1936.

July 27, 1936 - "Lux Radio Theater" - "Chained" - 60 minutes. Starring Joan as Diane Lovering and Franchot Tone as Michael Bradley. Franchot Tone, Joan's second husband, appeared with Joan on this hour-long program. Franchot encouraged Joan to explore radio broadcasts. This would be the first of several radio appearances Joan and Franchot would do together. "Chained" was also a film that Joan Crawford made with Clark Gable in 1934. (Photos from this radio broadcast can be found below in the "Photos" section.)

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Above: Franchot Tone and Joan Crawford stare each other down
while performing "Elizabeth the Queen" at 'Rupert Hughes' Caravan Theater.

October 27, 1936 - CBS - Rupert Hughes' Caravan Theater - "Elizabeth the Queen" - 60 minutes - Joan co-stars with husband Franchot Tone in a play by Maxwell Anderson that originated on Broadway, starring Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt.

November 1936 - "Leo on the Air" - "Love on the Run" - 15 minutes. A short promo distributed by MGM to promote the upcoming film, "Love on the Run" co-starring Clark Gable.

May 10, 1937 - "Lux Radio Theater" - "Mary of Scotland" - 60 minutes - Cast: Joan Crawford as Mary, Queen of Scots, Franchot Tone as the Earl of Bothwell and Judith Anderson as Queen Elizabeth. Franchot Tone and Judith Anderson were the other performers. Judith Anderson was a major star on Broadway throughout the 30s, 40s, and 50s. This was the third, but not the last time, Joan would appear on the radio with second husband, Franchot Tone.

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Above: Marjorie Rambeau, George Marion, Sr., Joan Crawford, and Cecil B. DeMille, (left to right), talked it over like this just before the curtain rose at the CBS "Music Box Theater" in Hollywood, California, for the stars to go on in "Anna Christie."

February 7, 1938 - "Lux Radio Theater" - "Anna Christie" - 60 minutes - Spencer Tracy appeared with Joan. "Anna Christie" was a major film in 1930 starring Greta Garbo. Garbo was an idol to Joan Crawford. Joan not only appeared with upcoming actor, Spencer Tracy, on this radio performance but she also stared in the major motion picture "Mannequin" the same year. Crawford and Tracy were having a torrid love affair in 1938.

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Above: Before the curtain rose on the broadcast of a play, Joan Crawford and Director Cecil B. DeMille, confer just before the movie star went on the air in the CBS "Music Box Theater" in Hollywood, California, for the Radio Theater's production of "Anna Christie."

May 19, 1938 - NBC - "Good News of 1938" - 60 minutes - Robert Young was the host of this particular show, featuring other noted performers such as, Fanny Brice and Frank Morgan and of course, Joan. The first play is entitled, Dark World, and Joan plays, Carol Matthews, a patient who's just died in hospital. After hearing one of the nurses talk sadly about Carol's (Joan) unhappy and lonely life, the listener hears Carol's (Joan) response from "the other side." When the play ends, Joan is thanked by Robert Taylor and later they have a three way chat with Frank Morgan being the third party. Joan has trouble reading her lines and can be heard laughing on and off throughout the rest of the Broadcast. Joan Crawford also starred in "The Shining Hour" with Robert Young the same year as this radio broadcast. They also were in two other films together, "Today We Live" and "The Bride Wore Red." (The "Good News of 1938" was also known as 'The Maxwell House Hours,' 'The Maxwell House MGM Hours' and the 'Film Stars on Parade.')

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June 6, 1938 - Lux Radio Theater - "A Doll's House" - 60 minutes - Cast: Joan Crawford as Nora Helmer and Basil Rathbone as Torvald Helmer. Also featuring Sam Jaffee. Basil Rathbone appeared with Joan. Rathbone was a stage star in the 1920s and early 1930s. Rathbone abandoned his first love, the theater, for a film career and appeared in many well-known films such as "A Tale of Two Cities," "Anna Karenina," and "The Adventures of Robin Hood."

October 20 , 1938 - "Good News of 1939" - 60 minutes - Robert Young hosted the show with such stars as Judy Garland, Fanny Brice, Billie Burke and Frank Morgan appearing with Joan on this episode. Joan appears in a dramatic play with Robert Young, entitled, "The Moon is on Fire." They play friends who've crashed their plane into the ocean, as the plane sinks, they sing, "Come Josephine." Joan also appears in a later skit with Billie Burke and Fanny Brice, a comedy entitled, "If Women Went on Hunting Trips as Men Do." The final song of the show is "The Bumpy Road to Love," with Judy Garland leading the sing along and everyone else joining in. As we all know, Judy Garland, Frank Morgan and Billie Burke would go on to star in one of the biggest movies ever, "The Wizard of Oz." Billie Burke appeared in three movies with Joan Crawford, "Forsaking All Other," "The Bride Wore Red," and "They All Kissed the Bride." Frank Morgan appeared in two movies with Joan Crawford, "I Live My Life" and " The Last of Mrs. Cheyney." (The "Good News of 1939" was also known as 'The Maxwell House Hours,' 'The Maxwell House MGM Hours' and the 'Film Stars on Parade.')

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Above: Jack Benny, George Murphy, Joan Crawford and Reginald Gardiner share some laughs
at the "The Screen Guild Theater" in 1939.

January 8, 1939 - "The Screen Guild Theater" - "Variety Review" - 30 minutes - Joan appears alongside, Judy Garland and Jack Benny. This was Joan's third radio performance with a young Judy Garland. 1939 was a banner year for both stars, Judy Garland cemented her career with "The Wizard of Oz" and Joan revitalized her career with the smash hit "The Women." Jack Benny, known for his comedic genius, appeared in "Hollywood Revue of 1929" and "Hollywood Canteen" as did Joan Crawford. Also featured in this broadcast were George Murphy, Reginald Gardiner, Ralph Morgan and the Oscar Bradley Orchestra.

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Above: Joan Crawford and Jack Benny review their lines, while on the set of the "Variety Show,"
at the "The Screen Guild Theater" in 1939.


May 7, 1939 - Silver Theater - "Train Ride" - 30 minutes - Hosted by Conrad Nagel, Joan appeared alongside, John Hiestand and Carlton Kadell. Joan played Mary Crane in this radio broadcast.

October 15, 1939 - "The Screen Guild Theater" - "None Shall Part Us" - 30 minutes. Cast: Joan as Sarah Farrington, Lew Ayres as Michael Farrington, Ronald Colman as Captain Alan Harcourt and Montague Love as Sir George Packman. Joan appeared alongside, Ronald Coleman, Lew Ayres and Montegue Love. Lew Ayers had appeared in "The Ice Follies of 1939" with Joan Crawford the same year they did this radio broadcast together.

More Photographs from Radio Days - 1930s

Below are more photographs from Joan's "Radio Days" from the 1930s. To view the photo, click on the thumbnail below and a new window will open with a larger, clearer, photograph. Enjoy!

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"Within the Law" in 1935.

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"Within the Law" in 1935.

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"Chained" in 1936.

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"Chained" in 1936.

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"Elizabeth the Queen" in 1936.

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"Elizabeth the Queen" in 1936.

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Radio Advertisment circa 1936

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Promo photo "Shell Chateau" 1936

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Back of "Shell Chateau" promo

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"Good News of 1938" in 1938.

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"Good News of 1939" in 1938.

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"Train Ride" in 1939.

     

On the Radio - 1940s

March 2, 1940 - Arch Oboler's Plays: "Baby"

November 22, 1940 - "Every Man's Theater" - "Two" - Joan appears alongside, Raymond Edward Johnson, in a dramatic story about two people left alone in the world after an atomic holocaust.

1942 - "Mail Call"

1945 thru 1949 - Maxwell House Good News - This comedy-variety program featured guest appearances by many Hollywood stars including Louis B. Mayer. Joan was a guest on the program, however her air date is unknown.

March 17, 1949 - "The Screen Guild Theater" - "Dark Victory" - 30 minutes. Joan appeared alongside Robert Young and Paula Winslow.

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Above: Joan Crawford looks fearful while performing "The Ten Years," a radio broadcast program in 1949.

June 2, 1949 - "Suspense" - "The Ten Years" - 30 minutes. The Vintage Radio Logs, state that Joan refused to do this program unless they agreed to the show being transcribed. Her fear of live performances coupled with her desire to appear in a professional way, made for a certain set of rules when having Joan Crawford appear on your radio show.

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Above: Joan Crawford again diving into her performance in "The Ten Years," a radio broadcast program in 1949.

December 24, 1949 - "The George Fisher Show:" "Christmas With the Crawford's." Joan and oldest children, Christina and Christopher are interviewed by George Fisher on Christmas Eve. (Twins Cathy and Cynthia are also in attendance.)

On the Radio - 1950s

April 17, 1950 - "United Nations Radio" - "Document A/777" - 60 minutes

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Above: A gleeming Joan Crawford reunites with old pal David Brian to relive their roles
from "Flamingo Road" on the radio in 1950.

May 26, 1950 - "Screen Director" Playhouse" - "Flamingo Road" - Directed by Michael Curtiz, Joan appeared alongside, David Brian. Both reprised their film roles as Lane Bellamy and Dan Reynolds form the film "Flamingo Road."

January 15, 1951 - "Hollywood Star Playhouse" - "Statement in Full" - 30 minutes.

March 22, 1951 - "Suspense" - "Three Lethal Words" - 30 minutes.

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Above: A beautiful Joan Crawford prepares for a radio broadcast of "The Damned Don't Cry"
at the "Screen Director's Playhouse" in 1951.

April 5, 1951 - "Screen Director's Playhouse" - "The Damned Don't Cry" - 60 minutes - Joan appeared alongside, Frank Lovejoy and Paul Frees.

April 13, 1951 - "The Cancer Show" - 30 minutes. Joan appeared alongside, Jimmy Durante, Eddie Jackson, Judy Holiday, Garry Moore and Mindy Carson. She gave a speech urging people to donate to the American Cancer Society. Here's the speech Joan gave:

"I'd like to take a moment to tell you something that may someday save your life. If recognized in time, cancer can be and is being cured. Yes, every day lives are being saved. Saved because people have knowledge about it. The magnificent work of the American Cancer Society has brought this knowledge to millions of Americans. And with it has come the hope for the ultimate victory over this dread disease. Victory through the vast programs of the American Cancer Society. Education. Research. Service. These are the weapons in the 1951 cancer crusade. Support the American Cancer society. That is the way to guard your family. Please send your generous contribution to Cancer, care of your local post office. And please send it now."

May 10, 1951 - The Screen Guild Theater - "Secret Heart" - 60 minutes.

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Above: Joan Crawford appearing as her glamorous self in 1951 for the "Stars Over Hollywood."

October 6, 1951 - "Stars Over Hollywood" - "I Knew This Woman" - 30 minutes.
Joan appears as herself.

March 1, 1952 - "Stars Over Hollywood" - "When the Police Arrive" - 30 minutes.

March 27, 1955 - "Cavalcade of Stars" - 30 minutes - In a true testament to how appreciative Joan was to her fans for her success, she said : "I think everyone in the industry has a sincere regard and respect for the motion picture audience. In the final analysis, it is the moviegoer who decides what motion pictures shall be. Through the box office and their likes and dislikes, the audience chooses the stories and the players they want most. An actor stands or falls by the approval of the audience. It goes even further than that. Speaking for myself, I feel a deep sense of responsibility. It matters greatly to me what people think of me on the screen. And I'm sincerely grateful when they like what I do. I've spent my lifetime trying to measure up to what the moviegoer expects of me. The most important reward is something more than merely success. What I truly appreciate is the approval of the audience. If I have that...I'm happy because motion pictures are my life...and a good life too."

On the Radio - 1960s

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February, 1960 - Pepsi Promo - Radio promo record. "Joan Crawford Presents Pepsi-Cola's 1960 Radio Selling Team." 33-1/3 rpm. Side One tracks: Joan Crawford; Chet Huntley, NBC; David Brinkley, NBC; Bob and Ray, CBS. Side Two: Joan Crawford; John Daly, ABC; Frank Singiser, Mutual.

June 5, 1960 - Eternal Light - "Message to the World" - 30 minutes. Joan appeared alongside Franchot Tone, telling the story of motion picture executive, Nate B. Spinghold. The show consisted of Jewish literature, history, music and stories for the Jewish Theological Society. Joan and Franchot were reunited after almost 25 years from their last radio performance in 1937.

November 15, 1962 to January 31, 1963 - March of Dimes Recruitment Broadcast Information. A 33-1/3 rpm volunteer recruitment announcement for the 15th annual Mothers' March. Side B has a minute-long message from Joan, plus 30-second announcements from Helen Hayes and Nanette Fabray, and 15-second announcements from Rosemary Clooney and Bess Myerson.

January 21, 1964 - "Arthur Godfrey Morning Show" - 50 minutes. This was the 30th anniversary program for Godfrey's show. His guests were Pat Buttram, Joan Crawford, and Jackie Gleason.

August 1968 - United Negro College Fund - A radio commercial featuring Joan. This was Joan's last radio broadcast.

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