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Academy Award Theater Cavalcade of America Joan Fontaine Lux Radio Theater Old Time Radio

Happy Birthday Joan Fontaine!

As much fun as Old Time Radio is, it is sad that we mourn the passing of so many marvelous talents. Even more distressing is that these occasions become less frequent, because so many of the talented people who worked during the golden age of Radio have already left us.

Perhaps that makes it extra nice to be able to send Happy Birthday wishes to Joan Fontaine, who turns 95 on Oct 22, 2012. Joan is better remembered for her movie career; most of her radio appearances are in support of her films. Our collection includes several appearances on Academy Award Theater, Screen Guild Theater, Screen Director’s Playhouse, and Lux Radio Theaterwhere Joan reprises her famous movie roles. We have also included a 1944 appearance on Cavalcade of America, and a thrilling 1949 appearance on Suspense!

A great deal has been made about the long running feud between Joan Fontaine and her older sister, Olivia de Havilland. The sisters are clearly estranged from one another, but both maintain that the bad blood between them has largely been inflated by the Studio publicity machines and the tabloid press. The National Enquirer is still running pieces about it.

At last report, Ms. Fontaine is living out of the public eye in Carmel-by-the-Sea near Monterey, CA. She has been honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1645 Vine Street. Let’s hope that someone will think to place some birthday flowers there.

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Academy Award Theater Bette Davis Dragnet Fatal Females Lux Radio Theater Old Time Radio

Fatal Females in Old Time Radio

If you’ll check the record, the first Femme Fatale was a lady named Eve. Since then, Fatal Females have come in all shapes and sizes. It is fun to list the famous ones: Salome, Jezebel, the Sirens, Delilah, Morgan le Fay, Cleopatra. As beautiful as these ladies were, we can’t help but remember what happened to the good men who became involved with them.

The real danger of a Femme Fatale is of course her powers of seduction. This implies that the trouble that men get into isn’t really their fault; they would never be lead astray by a virtuous woman. Yet it is little surprise that men aren’t all that interested in virtuous a woman. The danger of a Femme Fatale is part of her attraction, sort of a role reversal of Good Girl’s attraction to the Bad Boy. The classic Femme Fatale is at least somewhat exotic, like the Eastern allure of spy Mata Hari, or the bombshell good-looks of a moll from a Hard-boiled Noir-detective story. In any case the male victim knows that here is a dame he should have nothing to do with, but he can’t help himself.

Our collection of Fatal Females starts with Academy Award Theater and Lux Radio Theater‘s productions of “Jezebel” with Bette Davis. Lux goes on to give us a number of femme fatale stories, including “Samson and Delilah” and “All About Eve”.

The ladies who show up on Suspense! are likely to be up to no good, but then again, almost everyone who turns up on Suspense! is pretty much suspect.

Speaking of suspects, Sgt. Joe Friday brings us more than his share of baddies in his pursuit of “just the fact’s, ma’am.” Private detectives of both the Hard and Soft Boiled variety get to deal with untrustworthy Dames, and we bring you examples from Sam Spade, The Fat Man, and Have Gun, Will Travel; Paladin’s adventure has the potential to be deadly but turns out even more dangerous, as the Lady falls for the gun fighter!

Of course we haven’t forgotten the classic Fatal Female, Cleopatra herself. Blackstone, the Magic Detective and Origin of Superstition deal with this deadly lady’s legend while Stroke of Fate reminds us what happens to one of her boyfriends in “Julius Caesar”.

Enjoy this episode of “Cat Wife” from Lights Out:

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Academy Award Theater Bette Davis Debut Episode Old Time Radio

Academy Award Theater debuts starring Bette Davis, 3-30-46

Today in 1946, Academy Award Theater was heard for the first time. The first dramatized story was titled, Jezebel and starred actresses, Bette Davis and Ann Revere.

Sponsored by Squibb, this is the first show of the series: an adaptation of the story of the ultimate Southern “bitch.” Jean Hersholt, president of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, speaks.

Please enjoy this debut episode:

[audio:Academy-Award-Theater-460330-Jezebel.mp3]