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Old-time radio programs
Greer sounds great on the radio
Greer took part in many radio broadcasts in the 1940's, reprising some of her own movie roles and performing new ones. She also appeared on a number of "variety" shows on the radio, hosted by such stars as Edgar Bergen and Jimmy Durante.
Unfortunately, many of these broadcasts appear to be derived directly from their movie version, as if the radio adapter had merely gone through the movie's shooting script with a highlighting marker. These copycat versions include "Mrs. Miniver", "Random Harvest", and "Mrs. Parkington."
But there are some exceptions.
"Goodbye, Mr. Chips"
This broadcast took place on October 26, 1941, and costars Basil Rathbone as Mr. Chipping. It was part of "Gulf Screen Guild Theatre" hosted by Roger Pryor.
No highlighter was used here. The production is wonderfully original.
The adapters (Charles Taswell and Hector Shevney (sp?)) have taken the "Kathy" portion of the original script and re-arranged and compressed it to fit it into a half-hour radio slot. They've done a brilliant job, creating a version that is fresh and delightful to listen to even if you've memorized the movie version.
Rathbone is a bit "softer" than Donat was in the movie, and the radio-Kathy is a bit harder-edged, but this is well worth finding.
"Berkeley Square"
This broadcast is from February 8, 1944, costars Ronald Colman and was written by Arch Oboler. Colman hosted a weekly series of Tuesday broadcasts entitled "Everything for the Boys," meaning the boys that are fighting in the war.
You can't get much better than Greer and Ronnie.
I wasn't familiar with this story, so it's been a delight to listen to it over and over again. It was broadcast on the day after Greer received an Oscar® nomination for "Madame Curie". It features some excellent but anonymous character actors. The woman playing "Katherine" has a very attractive voice and the actor playing brother "Tom" is terrific.
"The African Queen"
Greer performs with Humphrey Bogart on December 15, 1952, and she is absolutely wonderful. She is delightfully prim, the sound effects are great, and Zsa Zsa Gabor hilariously mispronounces "delicate" during a commercial break.
I would love to have seen Greer in the movie version.
This really is a fabulous production. It's Bogey's show all the way, though: he knows it like the back of his hand and elicits lots of laughs from the studio audience. (He makes a few slips though.)
We get to hear commercials from the likes of Zsa Zsa Gabor, and even Greer mentions Lux soap one time.
And Greer delivers some delicious "Oh"'s: after Bogey tells her about the Louisa's six-pound guns, and when he's explaining how the boiler leaks steam.
"My Favourite Wife"
This was broadcast on November 12, 1945, and costars Greer's then-husband Richard Ney.
This is a very dated comedy, and I find it chiefly amusing for the several moments when Greer utters a line in an uncharacteristically sultry manner. (Hubba hubba, as they used to say back then.) Mr. Ney has apparently not yet mastered the concept of waiting for the studio audience's laughter to subside before delivering his next line.
"Brief Encounter"
This was broadcast on November 29, 1948, and costars Van Heflin, who has a bit of a British accent.
(Van Heflin won an Oscar® alongside Greer in March 1943.)
This one is very good. Both Greer and Van are very subdued and their characters are in obvious torment.