BW - EP128—008: June 1954—CBS Cancels The Lux Radio Theatre

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At network radio’s height, no dramatic show was more popular than CBS’ Lux Radio Theatre. Between 1936 and 1954 it never finished lower than eighth in the ratings, and it was radio’s top show between 1947 and 1952. Ken Carpenter announced. Radio’s best supporting talent, like Paula Winslowe, worked opposite Hollywood's biggest stars. Mondays at 9PM eastern was appointment radio, and CBS built the rest of its powerhouse Monday schedule around Lux. It helped shows like My Friend Irma, Inner Sanctum, Screen Guild, and Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts reach new heights. It was also radio’s most-rehearsed show. All the players were expected to be available for an entire week leading up to the live Monday broadcast. John Gibson, best known as Ethelbert on Crime Photographer, remembered the schedule. Vincent Price, one of the only Hollywood stars contractually allowed to do as much radio as he wanted, remembered working the show. A TV version of Lux premiered in 1950. Near the end of the radio run it was estimated that Lux had gone through more than fifty thousand pages of script, five-hundred stars, fifteen-hundred supporting players, twenty-thousand music cues, and twenty-thousand sound effects. In 1954 Lux was still rated fifth overall with a 6.2, but even radio’s most famous dramatic show wasn’t immune to the times. Towards the end of the season it was announced that CBS and Lux would be cutting ties in June. All that was left was to put a bow on one of the most successful shows in radio history. Lux would run one more season, moving to NBC where it was still a top-four show. The Lux Video Theatre also shifted to NBC. It ran until 1957 before changing formats and bringing in Rosemary Clooney as star. In its final season in 1959, the show became The Lux Playhouse before being canceled.

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