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Original The Comedy Theatre of the Air header art

The Comedy Theatre Radio Program

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Original Comedy Theatre mp3 cover art

Old Gold Tobacco logo from 1944
Old Gold Tobacco logo from 1944

Billboard magazine announcement of Harold Lloyd to emcee The Old Gold Comedy Theater of The Air from October 14 1944
Billboard magazine announcement of Harold Lloyd to emcee The Old Gold Comedy Theatre of The Air from October 14 1944

Spot ad for Premiere of The Comedy Theatre from Oct. 29 1944
Spot ad for Premiere of The Comedy Theatre from Oct. 29 1944

Harold Lloyd and daughter Gloria circa 1952
Harold Lloyd and daughter Gloria at NBC mike

Billboard magazine announces The Old Gold Comedy Theatre of The Air move to New York for three weeks from December 30 1944
Billboard magazine announces The Old Gold Comedy Theatre of The Air move to New York for three weeks from December 30 1944

Spot ad for Vivacious Lady from Nov. 19 1944
Spot ad for Vivacious Lady from Nov. 19 1944

Background

The P. Lorillard Company and it's various Old Gold brands of cigarettes were early sponsors of Radio, beginning as early as 1929. Over the years the Old Gold brand and its patented apple 'honey' moisturizing technique ushered in some of the Golden Age of Radio's finest variety and comedy programming:

  • 1929 Paul Whiteman
  • 1932-33 The Fred Waring Show
  • 1934 The Old Gold Program with Dick Powell
  • 1937 Hollywood Screen Scoops
  • 1938 Melody and Madness with Robert Benchley
  • 1939 Barry Winton Orchestra
  • 1940 The Don Ameche Variety Show
  • 1941 What’s New Program
  • 1942 Kraft Music Hall
  • 1943 Bob Crosby Show
  • 1943 Sammy Kaye
  • 1944 Allan Jones
  • 1944 Comedy Theatre of the Air
  • 1945 Meet Me at Parky’s
  • 1946 Rhapsody in Rhythm
  • 1946 Songs By Sinatra
  • 1946 The Sad Sack
  • 1947 The Bickersons and Frank Morgan
  • 1948 Stop the Music
  • 1948 The Original Amateur Hour
  • 1952 Headline Edition with Taylor Grant
  • 1952 Two For the Money

It was challenging time for most mid-1940s to 1950s dramatic programs over Radio. The emerging Golden Age of Television was noticeably eclipsing the Golden Age of Radio. The only way to successfully launch--sustained or sponsored--a new dramatic program over Radio was to top it with a big name Film star. Some typical exemplars of the genre during the mid-1940s to 1950s were as follows:

Old Gold and NBC bring Harold Lloyd to Radio

Old Gold's The Comedy Theatre premiered on October 29th 1944 in a half-hour format over NBC. For Harold Lloyd fans the series was pure gold. Exercising the same control he'd employed in all of his feature films, Harold Lloyd produced, directed and narrated the entire run of Old Gold's The Comedy Theatre of the Air. Aided by many of Lloyd's Film friends, the series featured different Film or Stage stars each week, headlining a popular light comedy adaptation of the era.

Series Derivatives:

AFRS 'Globe Theatre'; The Old Gold Comedy Theatre of The Air; Harold Lloyd's Comedy Theatre
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Comedy Dramas
Network(s): NBC, The AFRS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 44-10-29 01 The Palm Beach Story
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 44-10-29 to 45-06-10; NBC; Thirty-two, 30-minute programs;
Syndication: The AFRS
Sponsors: P. Lorillard Company 'Old Gold Tobacco'
Director(s): Harold Lloyd
Principal Actors: Robert Young, Claudette Colbert, Gary Cooper, Lucille Ball, Dick Powell, Victor Moore, Rosemary DeCamp, Linda Darnell, Lee Bowman, Jack Edwards Jr., Joseph Cotten, John Hodiak, Susan Hayward, Alolphe Menjou, Julie Bishop, Sheldon Leonard, Will Wright, Herbert Marshall, Jane Wyman, Louis Hayward, Brenda Marshall, Jack Oakie, Stu Erwin, Donald McBride, Cara Williams, Guy Kibbee, Ralph Bellamy, Betty Fields, Alan Young, Anne Baxter, Alice Frost, Joseph Curtin, Claudia Morgan, Paul Henreid, Virginia Bruce, Joel McCrea, Gail Patrick, Constance Moore, Verna Felton, George Murphy, Lucille Ball, Robert Walker, James Gleason, Eve Arden, Nat Pendleton, Dick Haymes, Betty Jane Rhodes, Burgess Meredith, Paulette Goddard, William Gargan, Janet Blair, Tom Drake, Randolph Scott, Gene Tierney, Dennis O'Keefe, Mischa Auer, Helen Walker, Joan Fontaine, Sonny Tufts, Edward G. Robinson, Allen Jenkins, Jack Haley, Martha O'Driscoll, Judy Canova, Robert Paige, Joan Bennett, Edmond MacDonald, Maria Montez, Tom Drake, Freddie Bartholomew, Chester Morris, Ann Sothern, Lee Tracy, Jack Carson, Frank McHugh, Pat O'Brien, June Duprez, Tom Conway, June Allyson, Reginald Gardiner, Don DeFore, Bill Williams, Harry Einstein, Fred Allen, Portland Hoffa, Frances Dee
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): Booth Tarkington, Damon Runyon, Howard Lindsay, George Beck, George S. Kaufman, Ring Lardner
Writer(s) Earl Baldwin, Joseph Shranck
Music Direction: Carl Hoff - Music Director
Charles Paul - Composer/Conductor
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Bob Williams, Ben Grauer
Hosts: Harold Lloyd and Herbert Marshall [AFRS]
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
32
Episodes in Circulation: 30
Total Episodes in Collection: 30
Provenances:

RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were the log of the radioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.

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[Date, title, and episode column annotations in
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The Comedy Theatre Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
44-10-29
1
Palm Beach Story

Robert Young, Claudette Colbert and Harold Lloyd rehearse Palm Beach Story
Robert Young, Claudette Colbert and Harold Lloyd rehearse Palm Beach Story

Y
44-10-29 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): premiere of new program directed and narrated by Harold Lloyd, former screen comedian; Claudette Colbert and Robert Young appear in "Palm Beach Story."
44-11-05
2
Ball of Fire

Lucille Ball, Harold Lloyd and Gary Cooper rehearse Ball of Fire
Lucille Ball, Harold Lloyd and Gary Cooper rehearse Ball of Fire

N
44-11-05 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "Ball of Fire," starring Gary Cooper and Lucille Ball; Harold Lloyd, Narrator.
44-11-12
3
True To Life

Victor Moore and Harold Lloyd mug during a rehearsal of True to Life
Victor Moore and Harold Lloyd mug during a rehearsal of True to Life

Y
44-11-12 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "True to Life," with Dick Powell, Victor Moore, Rosemary DeCamp.
44-11-19
4
Vivacious Lady

Harold Lloyd, Linda Darnell and Lee Bowman rehearse Vivacious Lady
Harold Lloyd, Linda Darnell and Lee Bowman rehearse Vivacious Lady

Y
44-11-19 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Linda Darnell and Lee Bowman in "Vivacious Lady."
44-11-26
5
Clarence
Y
44-11-26 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Joseph Cotton starring in Booth Tarkington's "Clarence."
44-12-03
6
Take A Letter, Darling
Y
44-12-03 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): John Hodiak and Susan Hayward in "Take a Letter, Darling."
44-12-10
7
Louder, Please
N
44-12-10 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "Louder, Please," with Adolphe Menjou and Julie Bishop.
44-12-17
8
Lucky Partners
Y
44-12-17 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Herbert Marshall and Jane Wyman in "Lucky Partners."
44-12-24
9
Bachelor Mother
Y
44-12-24 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Louis Hayward and Brenda Marshall in "Bachelor Mother."
44-12-31
10
Room Service
Y
44-12-31 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WMAQ, WIBA): "Room Service," starring Jack Oakie.
45-01-07
11
The Lady Eve
Y
45-01-07 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "Lady Eve," starring Betty Field and Ralph Bellamy.
45-01-14
12
Nothing But the Truth
Y
45-01-14 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "Nothing But the Truth" with Ann Baxter and Alan Young.
45-01-21
13
The Show-Off
Y
45-01-21 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Fred Allan and Portland Hoffa in "The Showoff."
45-01-28
14
Appointment For Love
Y
45-01-28 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Virginia Bruce and Paul Henreid in "appointment for Love."
45-02-04
15
My Favorite Wife
Y
45-02-04 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Joel McCrea, Frances Dee, Gail Patrick in "My Favorite Wife."
45-02-11
16
A Girl, A Guy, and A Gob
Y
45-02-11 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Lucille Ball and George Murphy in "A Guy, a Girl and a Gob."
45-02-18
17
The Milky Way
Y
45-02-18 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Jack Haley, Jimmie Gleason, and Eve Arden in "The Milky Way."
45-02-25
18
You Can't Ration Love
Y
45-02-25 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "You Can't Ration Love" with Dick Haymes and Betty Jane Rhodes.
45-03-04
19
Standing Room Only
Y
45-03-04 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "Standing Room Only" with Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith.
45-03-11
20
The Magnificent Dope
Y
45-03-11 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "The Magnificent Dope" with William Gargan, Janet Blair.
45-03-18
21
A Lady Takes A Chance
Y
45-03-18 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Gene Tierney and Randolph Scott in "A Lady Takes a Chance."
45-03-25
22
Brewster's Millions
Y
45-03-25 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "Brewster's Millions," starring Dennis O'Keefe, Helen Walker, and Mischa Auer.
45-04-01
23
The Major and the Minor
Y
45-04-01 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "The Major and the Minor" with Joan Fontaine and Sunny Tufts.
45-04-08
24
A Slight Case Of Murder
Y
45-04-08 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Edward G. Robinson and Alan Jenkins in "A Slight Case of Murder."
45-04-15
-
The Nervous Wreck
-
45-04-15 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "The Nervous Wreck," starring Jack Haley and Martha O'Driscoll.
45-04-22
25
The Nervous Wreck
Y
45-04-22 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): postponed story, "The Nervous Wreck," with Jack Haley and Martha O'Driscoll.
45-04-29
26
Scatterbrain
Y
45-04-29 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "Scatterbrain," starring Judy Canova.
45-05-06
27
Hired Wife
Y
45-05-06 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): Joan Bennett and Robert Paige star in "Hired Wife."
45-05-13
28
She Loves Me Not
Y
45-05-13 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "She Loves Me Not," starring Maria Montez, Tom Drake, Freddie Bartholomew.
45-05-20
29
Boy Meets Girl
Y
45-05-20 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "Boy Meets Girl," with Ann Sothern, Chester Morris and Lee Tracy.
45-05-27
30
June Moon
Y
45-05-27 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "June Moon" with Jack Carson and Frank McHugh.
45-06-03
31
Having Wonderful Crime
Y
45-06-03 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "Having Wonderful Crime" with Pat O'Brien, June Duprez, Tom Conway.
45-06-10
32
Tom, Dick and Harry
Y
45-06-10 Wisconsin State Journal
9:30 p.m.--Comedy Theater (WIBA): "Tom Dick and Harry" with June Allyson, Reginald Gardiner, Don Defore, Bill Williams.
45-06-17 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 9:30 NBC
Meet Me at Parky's





AFRS 'Globe Theater' Program Log

Date AFRS No. Title Avail. Notes
44-12-03
187
Take A Letter, Darling
Y
44-12-31
-
Room Service
Y
45-01-07
-
The Lady Eve
Y
45-01-14
-
Nothing But the Truth
N
45-01-21
-
The Show-Off
Y
45-03-04
-
Standing Room Only
N
Armed Forces Radio Theater
45-05-13
-
She Loves Me Not
N






The Comedy Theatre Radio Program Biographies




Harold Clayton Lloyd
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor
(1893-1971)

Birthplace: Burchard, Nebraska, U.S.A.

Education: School of Dramatic Art, San Diego, CA

Radiography:
1944 Comedy Theatre
1953 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1958 Voices From the Hollywood Past
1961 The Mitch Miller Show
Harold Lloyd circa 1950
Harold Lloyd circa 1950

Harold Lloyd and daughter Gloria circa 1952
Harold Lloyd and daughter Gloria circa 1952

From the March 9, 1971 edition of the Long Beach Independent:

Famed comedian Harold Lloyd dies 

Combined News Services
 
     Harold Lloyd, who rose to stardom in silent pictures playing the hapless small town boy with horn-rimmed glasses and boater straw hat, died Monday at his home in Beverly Hills.  He was 77.
     Lloyd epitomized the meek loser who managed comically to escape from a series of terrifying predicaments and overcome overwhelming odds to win the leading lady.
     He had been ill for the past 18 months.  His death was attributed to cancer.
     He is, perhaps best remembered for terrifying feats while dangling from the side of tall buildings and uproarious chases.  One famed scene found him clutching the hand of a giant clock high above the ground.  Each minute brought him closer to disaster as the minute hand edged toward the bottom of the dial.  Lloyd's special genius was bringing humor to potentially catastrophic situations.
     His bungling antics in silent films, and later in talkies, won Lloyd millions of fans and as many millions of dollars.  He became one of the wealthiest men in movie history.  He ranked with such other great comics as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle.
     Lloyd was born April 20, 1893, in Burchard, Neb.  He first evidenced interest in the theater when he was 12-years-old.  He played juvenile roles in the Burwood Stock Theater company which performed in Omaha.  Lloyd created the character of "Lonesome Luke," a country bumpkin who wore big shoes, tight fitting coats and a small mustache.  He discarded that character in 1915, donning a pair of 10-cent glassless spectacles which were to become his comedy trademark in many pictures.  Years later, he insured the original glasses with Lloyds of London for $25,000.
     During his early days in the movies, Lloyd co-starred with a young actress named Mildred Davis.  He later married her and the couple had three children, Gloria, Peggy and Harold Jr.
     Lloyd had his own film production company and owned most of the pictures in which he appeared.  Although he hadn't made a film since 1950 when he starred in "Mad Wednesday," Lloyd did compile some of his famous scenes and released them as "Harold Lloyd's World of Comedy" in 1962.  For that film he was honored in 1962 at the Cannes (France) Film Festival.
     Lloyd once estmated that he appeared in 500 pictures.  His fortune has been estimated at $30 million, much of it invested in Southern California real estate.



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