Screen Directors' Playhouse
"Meacham! É you're a blaggard, a liar, a hypocrite
and a stench in the nostrils of an honest man.
If it were in my power, I'd hang you from the nearest tree
and leave your carcass for the buzzard.
But as a representative of the United States government,
you are entitled to the protection of my command,
but that is all É good day, sir"
(Ward Bond as Colonel Thursday in the radio dramatization of Fort Apache)
Powerful words from a great actor, Ward Bond (who had played Sgt. O'Rourke in the film) took the Henry Fonda role for the radio adaptation. Further, John Wayne recreated his screen role (Capt. Kirby York) for the microphone and with Ward Bond swapped stories with the film director John "Pappy" Ford before and after the radio presentation of this fabulous western story.
Such was the quality of a typical program from that much revered radio program:
Screen Directors' Playhouse
Screen Directors' Playhouse (aka Screen Directors' Guild Assignment) was NBC's counterpoint to CBS' Lux Radio Theatre, in that it dramatized popular films and managed to entice the respective film stars to recreate their roles for the microphone.
The difference with this program is that it also added the participation of the film's director É
The director would usually introduce the radio adaptation and afterward, would reminisce with the stars on the making of the film and what the stars and director had done in the meantime.
Like Lux, it was performed in front of a live audience and the collection of stars and directors was impressive: John Wayne, Cary Grant, Edward G. Robinson, Lucille Ball, Claire Trevor, Robert Montgomery, William Powell, Gregory Peck, Burt Lancaster, Alan Ladd, Frederic Marsh, Bob Hope, Jane Russell, Olivia de Havilland, Ray Milland, Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Curtiz, Henry Hathaway, Robert Siodmak, AndrŽ De Toth, John Ford & Henry King.
Series creator Don Sharpe ensured that the programs were well written, with sophisticated sound effects and great musical scoring (from leading conductors & orchestras)
This wonderful radio series was initially of 30 minutes duration but eventually moved to the full hour - in both formats the results make for excellent listening. I have confined my attention to a total of 39 programs: 26 half hour and 13 one hour entries. Each one has been chosen for the value of its story, its stars and the "excitement" it brings to the radio waves. All genres are represented, including a lot of films found in the Adventure, Mystery & Noir section of my website, along with comedies and westerns.
These 39 Screen Directors' Playhouse programs in this collection are listed below with their respective stars and directors indicated alongside.
Note that in a few programs, whilst the star of the original film is missing, he/she has nevertheless been replaced with an equally famous identity:
á Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. replaced Tyrone Power in both Prince of Foxes & The Captain from Castile
á Cary Grant replaced Joseph Cotten in Shadow of a Doubt
á Edmund O'Brien replaced Montgomery Clift in The Big Lift
In some cases, directors, too were unavailable:
á Alfred Hitchcock was absent for Shadow of a Doubt
á John Farrow was ill and could not attend the presentation of Alias Nick Beal
á Producer Leo McCarey filled in for director, Garson Kanin on My Favorite Wife
á Renown director King Vidor acted as Narrator for Lucky Jordan, replacing that film's director, Frank Tuttle
á Well known director George Marshall replaced Alexander Hall for The Great Lover
á Frank MacDonald replaced Rudolph MatŽ for D.O.A.
á Prominent director and President of the Screen Directors Guild, George Sidney, was on board to replace both Henry King for The Gunfighter & John Ford for The Fugitive.
A Note from Trev: In the course of this restoration project, the commercials have been removed - so too the "whats on next week" has been excised - but, the chats between the host, the stars and directors at the end of the program are included (and they are very enlightening!)
As such the half hour programs run for about 25 minutes, with the hour ones lasting around 50 minutes.
All 39 programs are of excellent audio quality and have (each & all) been re-recorded for maximum fidelity (and to allow enthusiasts to move programs onto 80 minute audio CDs, if they require it, without loss of sound quality)
Want to check out one of these programs?
Why not download the 25 minute production of Stagecoach starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Ward Bond with director John "Pappy" Ford?
It can be freely downloaded to your computer - just right button click on any link below and chose "Download Linked File" (or words to that effect). The file is on an average about 24Mb - download time will depend on your (broadband) speed.
These 2 MP3 CDs consist of 39 episodes of Screen Directors' Playhouse
All elements of this collection have been carefully restored - beautiful sound with no hiss!
Disc No. 1 (25 minute Programs)
1. 1949-01-09 Stagecoach - John Wayne, Claire Trevor & Ward Bond with John Ford (D)
2. 1949-01-23 The Exile - Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. with Max Ophuls (D)
3. 1949-01-30 Mr And Mrs Smith - Robert Montgomery with Alfred Hitchcock (D)
4. 1949-02-20 The Prisoner of Zenda - Ronald Colman with John Cromwell
5. 1949-04-03 The Ghost Breakers - Bob Hope with George Marshall (D)
6. 1949-05-29 Trade Winds - Fredric March with Tay Garnett (D)
7. 1949-06-05 The Killers - Burt Lancaster & Shelley Winters with Robert Siodmak (D)
8. 1949-07-15 Yellow Sky - Gregory Peck with William Wellman (D)
9. 1949-07-29 Saigon - Alan Ladd with Leslie Fenton (D)
10. 1949-08-05 Fort Apache - John Wayne & Ward Bond with John Ford (D)
11. 1949-09-16 Whispering Smith - Alan Ladd with Leslie Fenton (D)
12. 1949-10-10 Criss Cross - Burt Lancaster with Robert Siodmak (D)
13. 1949-10-17 Pitfall - Dick Powell, Jane Wyatt & Raymond Burr with AndrŽ De Toth (D)
14. 1949-11-18 The Uninvited - Ray Milland with Lewis Allen (D)
15. 1949-11-25 Spiral Staircase - Dorothy McGuire with Robert Siodmak (D)
16. 1949-12-09 Call Northside 777 - James Stewart with Henry Hathaway (D)
17. 1949-12-30 One Way Passage - William Powell with Tay Garnett (D)
18. 1950-01-20 Mr. Lucky - Cary Grant with H. C. Potter (D)
19. 1950-02-03 The Sea Wolf - Edward G. Robinson with Michael Curtiz (D)
20. 1950-03-03 The Paleface - Bob Hope & Jane Russell with Norman McLeod (D)
21. 1950-03-24 Chicago Deadline - Alan Ladd with Lewis Allen (D)
22. 1950-03-31 The Dark Mirror - Olivia de Havilland with Robert Siodmak (D)
23. 1950-04-07 The Fighting O'Flynn - Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. with Arthur Pierson (D)
24. 1950-04-14 It Happens Every Spring - Ray Milland with Lloyd Bacon (D)
25. 1950-04-28 Rope of Sand - Burt Lancaster & Corinne Calvert with William Dieterle (D)
26. 1950-06-09 Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House - Cary Grant with H. C. Potter (D)
Disc No. 2 (50 minute Programs)
1. 1950-11-09 Shadow of a Doubt - Cary Grant & Irene Dunne
2. 1950-12-07 My Favorite Wife - Cary Grant & Irene Dunne with Leo McCarey (P)
3. 1950-12-28 Alias Nick Beal - Ray Milland
4. 1951-01-04 Prince of Foxes - Douglas Fairbanks with Henry King (D)
5. 1951-01-18 The Big Lift - Edmund O'Brien & Paul Douglas with George Seaton (D)
6. 1951-02-08 Lucky Jordan - Alan Ladd & Sheldon Leonard with King Vidor (N)
7. 1951-03-22 The Great Lover - Bob Hope & Rhonda Fleming with George Marshall
8. 1951-05-03 The Captain from Castile - Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. with Henry King (D)
9. 1951-05-17 Rogues Regiment - Dick Powell with Robert Florey (D)
10. 1951-05-31 Beyond Glory - Alan Ladd with John Farrow (D)
11. 1951-06-07 The Gunfighter - Gregory Peck with George Sidney
12. 1951-06-21 D.O.A. - Edmund O'Brien with Frank MacDonald
13. 1951-07-12 The Fugitive - Henry Fonda with George Sidney