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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Old Gold Comedy Theater, The

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The Old Gold Comedy Theater, an NBC radio anthology series, aired on Sundays 10:30 - 11:00 pm hosted by Harold Lloyd (1944-1945) featuring some of Hollywood's top stars of the time period.

Lloyd took the job as director and host of The Old Gold Comedy Theater, after Preston Sturges, who had turned the job down, recommended him for it. The show presented half-hour radio adaptations of recently successful film comedies, beginning with Palm Beach Story with Claudette Colbert and Robert Young.

Some saw The Old Gold Comedy Theater as being a lighter version of Lux Radio Theater, and it featured some of the best-known film and radio personalities of the day, including Fred Allen, June Allyson, Lucille Ball, Ralph Bellamy, Linda Darnell, Susan Hayward, Herbert Marshall, Dick Powell, Edward G. Robinson, Jane Wyman, and Alan Young, among others. But the show's half-hour format — which meant the material might have been truncated too severely — and Lloyd's sounding somewhat ill at ease on the air for much of the season (though he spent weeks training himself to speak on radio prior to the show's premiere, and seemed more relaxed toward the end of the series run) may have worked against it.

The Old Gold Comedy Theater ended in June 1945 with an adaptation of Tom, Dick, and Harry, featuring June Allyson and Reginald Gardiner and was not renewed for the following season. Many years later, acetate discs of 29 of the shows were discovered in Lloyd's home, and they now circulate among old-time radio collectors.



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References: Old Time Radio Researchers Group, Wikipedia, Frank Passage & Others OTR Logs, Archive.org, Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning, Australian Old Time Radio Group



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