rand’s esoteric otr

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Movie Playhouse - Pgm 3

August 7th, 2009

Here's a real oddball program that I'm hoping someone among the readership can fill out some details on.

"Movie Playhouse" appears to be a British program produced by Towers of London, Harry Alan Towers's company that brought us "Harry Lime" and the Gielgud/Richardson "Sherlock Holmes" series, and distributed here in the States by Charles Michelson.  I've reproduced the labels from both sides of the disc so you can see how Michelson pasted over labels on the original transcriptions.

transcription label transcription label

The series consisted of radio adaptations of popular British films and program 3 in the series, heard here, is "Becky Sharp" featuring Margaret Lockwood.  The other program I have, episode 4, is based on the little-known thriller "Take My Life" - according to the IMDB that film was released in different countries between 1947 and 1949, so the series probably dates from at least the late 1940s or from the early 1950s.

"Becky Sharp" sounds as though it was adapted and recorded specifically for radio, but "Take My Life" actually sounds like an edited version of the film's soundtrack.  So, I'm not clear if the series used existing recordings of radio plays and film soundtracks and repurposed them or if some shows were made especially for the "Movie Playhouse" series.

I haven't found any references to the show in the usual sources or by doing searches through publicly available Old Time Radio programs.  So, this appears to be a previously "lost" episode from an undocumented series.

The program was transferred from an original Towers of London/Charles Michelson shellac transcription set, matrix numbers 6CTP 15071-1 and 6CTP 15072-1.  The original disc is rather noisy, so the master file was run through noise reduction software.

I'll post episode 4, "Take My Life", in the next few weeks.