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Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.

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AMOLAD on the radio


See also NBC Radio broadcast and The Hedda Hopper Show
See also the Live TV broadcast on NBC

We have found information about "Stairway to Heaven" being broadcast as part of the Lux Radio Theatre series on American radio.

These were broadcasts of popular films or stage shows adapted to the radio broadcast between 1934 and 1955. They ran for 1 hour with a few breaks for ads (or "A Message From Our Sponsor").

They appear to have chosen to broadcast "Stairway to Heaven" twice, first with Ray Milland on the 27th October 1947.

But on the 12th April 1955 they broadcast it again with a different cast which included David Niven playing Peter Carter once again.


Details
Thanks to Matthew Barker for these

"Stairway to Heaven" 27 October 1947 Episode #587
Based on the 1947 Archers-Independent Producers/Universal-International film
(screenplay by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)

Intermission guest: Nella Hart, Universal-International starlet.
Ray MillandPeter
Ann BlythJune
Nigel BruceDr. Reeves
Joseph KearnsConductor
Alan ReedEngineer
William JohnstoneFarlan
Ben WrightMr Hannah/Man Two
Herb RawlinsonWaiter
Charles LungDoctor/Chinese
George SorelDutchman
June WhitleyNurse
Edward PhillipsArchitect/Reno
Edward MarrMan [Act1]/Irishman
Paul MarionMan [Act3]/Frenchman
June BannonGirl/Nurse Two

Commercials:
Dorothy LovettLibby
Truda MarsonFirst Voice
Helen AndrewsSecond Voice
June WhitleyThird Voice)

Stairway to Heaven, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1947 fantasy (made in England and released in the United States by Universal-International) of a British flyer who sidesteps his scheduled earthly departure through a mix-up, and who subsequently appeals to be allowed to remain among the living with the girl he loves, made its first visit to Lux with Ray Milland in David Niven's screen role and Ann Blyth in the part played by Kim Hunter in the motion picture. (The movie was released in England as A Matter of Life and Death.)


Play it now
MP3
"Stairway to Heaven" 12 April 1955 Episode #918
Based on the 1947 Archers-Independent Producers/Universal-International film
(screenplay by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)
Adpated for radio by S.H. Barnett
 
Irving CummingsProducer / Announcer
 
David NivenPeter
Barbara RushJune
Herb ButterfieldDr Reeves
Maurice MarsachConductor
Hans ConriedFarlan
William ConradRecorder
Leo BrittMcKuen
Byron Kane
Yvonne Peattie
Al Darenford
Richard Peel
Truda Marson
Eddie Marr

Lux's second version of "Stairway to Heaven" features David Niven resuming his screen role and Barbara Rush in the part taken by Kim Hunter in the film (Lux director Fred MacKaye called the program "an exceptionally good fantasy ... A better show than when it was done before.")


  Proposed CD Cover
Proposed CD Cover
Now for the good news. A copy of the broadcast of April 1955 with David Niven & Barbara Rush has been found! Katie Yu in Vancouver has found a tape of the broadcast.

It's not great quality but it's audible and understandable. The ads weren't recorded on the tape and the end credits are clipped off.

All the lead players do quite a good job, although Hans Conried seems to be doing a W.C. Fields impersonation as Farlan. David Niven sounds older but this might be that it was made shortly after the death of his first wife in a tragic accident and it hit him very hard. Herb Butterfield does a reasonable job as the Doctor but of course his voice can't be as good as Roger Livesey's :)

The music is quite "standard radio serial" type music and they seem to have a laugh track (or an audience) for the courtroom scene (it's also heard lightly in a few places earlier) - but they are also heard when they leave the courtroom and come down to the operating theatre so it can't be meant to be just the audience at the trial.

The tape says that they'll be talking to the stars about the performance "later" - but that didn't make it to the tape either :(

There are some differences between the film and the radio play:

Time given when the crew baled out is different - 04:45, not 03:35

The Chief Recorder is male (played by William "Cannon" Conrad).

The Conductor is identified as "Conductor R 34".

No naked shepherd boy, June and Peter are heard to meet on the beach when the Chief Recorder is explaining to Trubshaw what happened to his skipper.

June is named as "Miss June Adams". She is never given any other name than "June" in the film.

Doc Reeve's meets Peter at Lee Wood House while they are playing chess but there's no mention of a rehearsal for Midsummer Night's Dream. (Although there are some noises in the background which can't be made out over the hiss and crackle - that might be them.)

In the courtroom the adversaries play the cricket match & the "modern" music, but they aren't the ones used in the film.

The stairway doesn't appear until the Conductor shows it to Peter inviting him to walk up it while they are discussing who should represent him. When June agrees to take Peter's place at the end she starts to walk up the staircase - but then it disappears! They don't say if June then tumbled back to earth :)

A lot of these differences are probably due to adaptations necessary for a live radio broadcast. But others are probably to the use of the original script, which was modified and adapted heavily as the film was being made as people thought up new ideas and some things didn't work as well as hoped.

Katie is looking to make CDs of the recording. It's far from "broadcast quality" but is audible. The tape Katie has was probably recorded off air and there's a slight gap where the tape was turned over.

Oddly the end announcer mentions "The Lux Radio Theatre in 1950" despite all records showing it was broadcast in 1955.

This production is now available as an MP3 download from ThenRadio.com along with the Screen Director's Playhouse production



See also about AMOLAD broadcast live on US TV


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