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Marlene Dietrich on Radio: How Her Star Power Went Beyond the Big Screen

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2015 03:33 PM

Marlene Dietrich got her start as a cabaret singer in 1920s Germany and her career came full circle as she returned to her singer roots on Broadway, touring, and with stints in Las Vegas. Once the highest paid actress of the early 1930s, Dietrich focused on the stage and radio in the 1940s and 1950s.

Here are some of Marlene Dietrich's most notable radio performances:

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Lux Radio Theater (1936)

The Legionnaire and the Lady put Dietrich opposite Clark Gable on this popular drama series. This show was notable as it was the first performed in Hollywood after the show moved from New York, and Dietrich sang her song, "Falling in Love Again," at the end of the performance.

The Gulf Screen Guild Theater: Pittsburgh (1943)

For this radio anthology series, Dietrich again took on the role of Josie Winters opposite John Wayne's Pittsburgh Markham in a 30-minute radio adaptation on the movie a year after its release in theaters.

Screen Director’s Playhouse (1951)

Of the film, Christina Riley of Bright Lights Film Journal says, "Such sharp dialogue sets the tone for 'A Foreign Affair; witticisms are exchanged back and forth at breakneck speed with characteristically noir-esque wry humor; the speedy zingers are able to obscure the more serious implications of mere 'sardonic' statements." This dialogue showcases why this performance translated well to radio.

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Plea to Save Babelsburg Studios on BBC Radio (1973)

Dietrich's efforts to save the studio on BBC radio helped save the historic location, which resulted in a studio being named after her in 1995 and the slogan, "Where Marlene Dietrich crossed her lovely legs" in 1995.

Armed Forces Radio Services (1944)

Dietrich was a staunch opponent of Nazi Germany and often made appearance on the Armed Forces Radio Service during The Army Hour and Command Performance, according to the book, "The Marlene Dietrich Handbook."

"Time for Love" on CBS (1954)

Dietrich was featured in 38 chapters of Time for Love on CBS when she played "an international singer who struggled to protect the innocent and reveal the guilty" according to Harry Mackenzie's "The Directory of Armed Forces Radio Service Series."

NBC's Monitor (1958)

Dietrich performed 94 short inserts titled "Dietrich Talks on Love and Life" during 1958, says "The Marlene Dietrich Handbook."

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Marlene Dietrich got her start as a cabaret singer in 1920s Germany and her career came full circle as she returned to her singer roots on Broadway, touring, and with stints in Las Vegas.
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Wednesday, 13 May 2015 03:33 PM
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