Audio tidbits from Mr. B

Lionel Barrymore & Agnes Moorehead, Mayor of the Town

While you can spend hours and hours and weeks listening to Mayor of the Town or the Story of Dr Kildare, here is a small sampling of Lionel Barrymore's verbal performative pyrotechnics!


A Christmas Carol (LB and Orson Welles)
Lionel Barrymore was very well known for his portrayal of Scrooge--this one was done for Welles' Campbell Playhouse on radio, 1939.
In costume for Scrooge--Campbell Playhouse
Lionel missed only two performances of Scrooge, one of which brother John covered--the Christmas 1936 show. Irene Fenwick had died the day before.
This I Believe: Lionel Barrymore
A series of short radio broadcasts started by Edward R Murrow and asking celebrities questions about their beliefs/faith. Here's a link to Lionel Barrymore's response, with a transcript! Thanks!

Lew Ayres and LB, Maxwell House Good News
October 13, 1938 (link is cued to about 29 minutes, where the boys come in). A kind of Dr. Kildare preview-- Young Dr. Kildare would come out one day later, October 14, 1938. Ayres is remarkably quiet in the radio role, while LB is slaughtering everyone else by masterful voice acting and control.

Maxwell House Good News, The Copperhead
Mr. B recreates his role as Milt Shanks, November 10, 1938, on this radio show. Mr. B is AMAZING. Lew Ayres also appears at the start of this show with his costar in a separate film. He also intones a personal prayer, as the following day was Armistice Day: "Please God, let every day be Armistice Day. I hope that some of you, somewhere, have said 'amen'."

Maxwell House Good News, A Free Soul
Lionel Barrymore and Clark Gable recreate their 1931 roles from A Free Soul, to great effect, on October 27, 1938. The performance of this begins about 28 minutes in. It is definitely altered in plot from the film to give the two men more material, (Ace finds Ashe??!) which makes for some excellent drama! *****SPOILER------Ashe shoots Ace dead in front of Jan Ashe!----*****A sharp, tight performance from both men--I didn't expect Gable to handle the radio voice/material well, and he does a great job. Mr. B is typically awesome.

Mail Call Episode 81, 1944 A VERY very funny, apparently uncirculated episode of this WWII-wartime variety show with Lionel Barrymore at his funniest--you can practically hear him wagging his eyebrows. Eddie Cantor and Connie Haines also appear.  Excellent comedic timing, as both straight man and sometime-punner. Lots of humor (and fondness) about Philadelphia and marriage. His voice is remarkably strong in the show--in some of his radio shows he drawls a little in the late 40s and 50s. I wish I had the patience to transcribe it!

Ali Baba, told by Lionel Barrymore with music by LB
Fun tale, amusingly told

Casey at the Bat, told by LB
Lionel was a great fan of baseball, playing in his twenties on an all-stagefolk team in New York during summer for at least two years. He tells a wonderful story of hitting a "three-bagger" in We Barrymores.

In Memoriam: tone-poem composition for brother John by LB
A lovely piece, written by Lionel in honor of John after his little brother's death in 1942.

 Lionel Barrymore: Piano Concerto #1, P. Carter, pianist
A nice recording of one of Lionel's compositions. I prefer In Memoriam and his music for the Dr. Kildare film he did, but this is nice as well.

John & Lionel Barrymore on the Rudy Vallee radio show
I find this all too amusing, as long as I fast-forward through Vallee's annoying singing. Also here is where John and Lionel perform scenes from Richard III, John as the king and Lionel as his hapless brother George.
The boys did have fun!

Lionel and John on Ethel, family, acting, and more

In the 1950s, a radio series called Biography in Sound debuted. Ethel Barrymore was one of the first few, and in this excerpt, you can hear her brothers speaking about her, Mum Mum,and more. John in particular is quite sweet and you can tell he's very touched speaking of his sister "Ee-thel". You can listen to the entire broadcast here: Biography in Sound: Meet Ethel Barrymore

Lionel says happy birthday to Ethel and introduces the family
In 1949, a tremendous all-star cast, including the president, took part in a radio celebration of Ethel Barrymore's 70th birthday. Lionel spoke twice, once an extended version of the one found in the Biography in Sound above, and once saying happy birthday and introducing the family to say happy birthday. It's rather sweet. This is what Ethel ends her autobiography, Memories, with (save her brief note about Lionel's death). Lionel's extended discussion of acting and his family is here: Long version

We Hold These Truths--December 12, 1941 (google drive)
or Norman Corwin: We Hold These Truths (Combined American Networks, 15 December 1941) page
A very ambitious and generally well-done multilocation, multinetwork radio show made just a bit after Pearl Harbor was attacked December 7, 1941. James Stewart narrates, while LB, Edward Arnold, Rudy Vallee, Walter Brennan, and many others are heard. Stokowski conducts the NY Philharmonic as well.

Mayor of the Town-5 Cats
An amusing episode of his very popular WWII radio show, costarring Agnes Moorehead as Merilly. The mayor ends up having to take care of five cats.

Lionel's voice for Alias Jimmy Valentine, reel 9 (soundcloud)
This was considered Lionel Barrymore's first "talkie" in 1929, at least according to some people--the film is not extant but a reel or so of the sound is--this is the excerpt from soundcloud. A neat find!

LB's Hallmark hosting duties can be heard here: Old Radio Programs: Hallmark Hall of Fame 1953
**this is also significant as a story Peters mentions in her book on all 3 Barrymores is shared by someone who "got to know" LB very well, according to her and him, but it seems the actor did not appear on many of the Hallmark shows: Whitfield Connor appears in six of the 32 1953-54 shows narrated by Lionel Barrymore. He's the source of the cat story on a separate post. Why is it significant? Because there are other things besides this story in her book that make me wonder at times if she was, indeed, too credulous in spite of her best intentions.**

Lionel Barrymore's final narration before his death in 1954 was "Rebecca Dorsey" for Hallmark, starring Helen Hayes, which aired 11-14-1954, the day before Lionel Barrymore died. You can hear it here: Rebecca Dorsey

Hallmark did a tribute to LB after his death: Lionel Barrymore Radio Tribute
(thx Old Radio Programs for hosting the archive of the shows!) 

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