Leslie Howard, a Radio Star (1932-1939)
I have added two articles to the archives, about Leslie Howard and his radio broadcasts. The first one is another article presenting Leslie Howard as a rule-breaker, an unconventional man and actor who gets rid of annoying traditions. It was written by Mildred Mastin and published on Radio Star, in January 1936. The other one is an article about The Amateur Gentleman, published on the Milwaukee Journal in November 1935. You will find other articles in the archives about Leslie on the radio.
Leslie was very popular as a radio actor and guest star of various shows. The first notice I have found of his participation in a radio show is a series of dramatic readings for the Yeardley program (WJZ) in 1932; I am still searching for more information about this program.
During the second half of 1933, Leslie appeared at the The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour, a popular radio show also known as Rudy Vallee Hour, on the NBC network. I could not find further information, this first participation is only cited by Leslie himself during the presentation of his second appearance, on February 14, 1935. This time, Leslie played A Minuet (a play in rhyme) by Louis N. Parker, with Merle Oberon at her first radio appearance. A transcription is available here.
Later, on the 27th of June, 1935, Leslie played the Enchanted Forest scene from James Barrie’s Dear Brutus with his 11-year-old daughter Leslie Ruth. The scene was so acclaimed by the public and got such an amount of fan mail that the scene was repeated a few weeks later.
In October 1935 Leslie started a new radio series, The Amateur Gentleman (October 6, 1935-March 29, 1936), adapted by Edith Meiser from Jeffery Farnol’s novel, in which Leslie played Barnabus Barty, the hero, with Elizabeth Love in the role of Leone, the heroine. Leslie Ruth was also part of the cast, occasionally.
On April 6, 1936, on the NBC network, Leslie Howard broadcast from Hollywood a scene from Galsworthy’s Justice during the popular show The Magic Key of RCA.
Leslie appeared three times at Eddie Cantor’s Texaco Town, on the WABC network: on December 6 (Leslie sang If You Knew Susie, Cantor’s best-known success of 1925), 1936 and February 14 and May 30, 1937.
Leslie’s appearances at the Lux Radio Theater were the following:
- December 9, 1934: Berkeley Square with Helen Chandler;
- March 31, 1935: The Romantic Age
- June 21, 1937: Monsieur Beaucaire, with Elissa Landi;
- November 28, 1938: Interference, with Mary Astor and Herbert Marshall;
- December 12, 1938: The Scarlet Pimpernel, with Olivia de Havilland;
- May 8, 1939: as a guest host, replacing Cecil B. DeMille (The Life of Zola with Paul Muni)
On January 2, 1938, Leslie appeared in a radio broadcast of Hamlet on the Scottish regional programme of BBC.
On May 19, 1937 Leslie Howard appeared as a testimonial in the Lucky Strike program Your Hit Parade (transcript).
On July 19, 1937 Leslie Howard appeared in Much Ado About Nothing for the Shakespeare Festival on the CBS network. He played the role of Benedick, with Rosalind Russell as Beatrice.
On December 15, 1938 Leslie was Bing Crosby’s guest at the Kraft Music Hall, where he presented his own song Without You
On January 8, 1939, Leslie played the leading role in A Study in Triangles, for the Silver Theatre, on the CBS network.
On March 26, 1939, for the Gulf Screen Guild Theatre on the CBS net, Leslie Howard appeared in Never In This World, with Kay Francis.
On June 11, 1939 Leslie was guest host of the Radio Tribute To The King and Queen, on the NBC network.