On this episode of Movies Are Magic, experience the 1936 Lux Radio Theater's version of The Thin Man movie. This is the real deal with the stars from the film on-air – the brilliant William Powell and the adorable Myrna Loy. This radio show version aired June 8, 1936, just about two years after the Thin Man film was released in May 1934.
It's the famous detective duo Nick & Nora, and the film is one of my favorite movies of all time. In both the movie and this radio show you’ll be hearing tonight, William Powell plays retired detective Nick Charles, and Myrna Loy plays his wealthy wife, Nora. When the “thin man” of the title – an old pal of Nick’s – disappears, the hesitant duo gets dragged into helping the local police solve a murder mystery. The chemistry and hilarious banter between Nick & Nora make this so fun. And this radio show includes a fascinating interview with W.S. VanDyke – who everyone on the show calls simply “Woody,” the director of The Thin Man, who notes some stars in the audience (silent film star Theda Bara even chats on-air at the end!) and sings the praises of his stars, including some inside scoop on VanDyke’s thoughts on his fabulous film. As a long-time fan of his work, it’s fun hearing his voice.
According to the Old Time Radio Researchers Group, Lux Radio Theatre was the biggest, most important, most expensive drama anthology program on radio. Ever. It ran 1934 until 1955, then continued on television as Lux Video Theatre for a couple of years after that. In total, about 926 episodes were broadcast.
Lux Radio Theatre was always broadcast live, with a studio audience and a full orchestra accompanying the performance and providing musical transitions between scenes. So grab your martini – Nick Charles can show you how to make the perfect one – and curl up by the radio just like millions of folks did when this aired live in 1936 – it’s THE THIN MAN starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.
Movies Are Magic with Jennifer host Jennifer Churchill also hosts Classic Films For Kids on The Film Detective. Check out her children's book Movies Are Magic: The Director’s Cut.