Theater 5 probably came a bit late in Radio History to really contribute to the body of Golden Age Radio drama, but better late than never. Theater 5 was an attempt to recapture the wonderful Radio heritage of the Golden Age of Radio.
The production was top notch. Indeed many of the finest voice talents from The Golden Age of Radio are present throughout its run.
Theater 5’s most compelling features were the presentation of expansive mix of genres like mystery, crime, melodrama, suspense, horror and comedy and some of Radio, Stage, Television and Film’s finest guest stars.
Theater Royal, hosted by Sir Laurence Olivier, was a half-hour, dramatic anthology of the plays and novels of the Western World’s most famous authors and playwrights. Sir Laurence himself was finally able to appear in one of his own series’ productions–in this instance, The Purse.
Sir Laurence was able to host only twenty-six of the scheduled thirty-nine programs before having to return to Great Britain. Sir Laurence’s great friend and thespian, Sir Ralph Richardson generously agreed to complete the remaining commitment, hosting and performing in many of the thirteen more programs, in various starring and supporting roles.
After the departure of both of the hosts of Theater Royal, six ‘Command Performances’ were aired to complete the scheduled series of broadcasts. The ‘Command Performances’ were:
Queen of Spades with Orson Welles
The Overcoat with Michael Redgrave
The Happy Hypocrite with Sir John Gielgud
The Sire de Maletroit’s Door with Robert Donat and Renee Asherson
The Judgement with Trevor Howard
The Country of the Blind with Sir Laurence Oliver
The Last Command Performance broadcast marked the end of the Theater Royal.
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