Paul Henreid & Bette Davis
Actor, Paul Henreid was the guest star on one of my favorite Burns & Allen radio episodes. George Burns and Gracie Allen recorded the show on January 25, 1944.
This episode is sometimes called Paul Henreid's Culture School. Henreid had recently appeared in two films which were destined to become classics, Now, Voyager as Jeremiah Duvaux Durrance with Bette Davis. The same year he was in Casablanca as Victor Laszlo with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
The sponsor at that time was Swan Soap. Announcer Bill Goodwin kept the show going, including providing introductions, commercial breaks (which were often incorporated into the show itself) and he served as an actor himself.
In February of 1944, the film In Our Time, which starred Henreid and Ida Lupino was about to premiere. It's fun to hear those who are usually thought of as dramatic actors. On screen they have suave or maybe scary personas, they come onto radio shows let loose and make us laugh.
"All my girlfriends are mad about him. I don't dare mention his name while they're eating. They all get hiccups."
Gracie has a Culture School run out of their home while George is at work. George knows something is going on and rushes to the conclusion that she is having an affair. He asks Gracie if she still loves him. Is there is someone else? She assures him there isn't.
George: "You wouldn't pull my leg would you?"
Gracie: "Anything to make you happy. Lift it up."
Nevertheless George isn't convinced there isn't another man. He enlists the help of their friend, Bill Goodwin to keep an eye on the house. He tells him to watch and report who visits while he's at work.
In an effort to drum up business for her School of Culture, Gracie realizes that testimonials from movie stars would get the public's attention.
"A statement from Errol Flynn saying that our course in poise cured his bashfulness."
She comes up with the idea of advertisements. Handbills are printed and scattered all over town claiming Paul Henreid is a graduate of her school of culture.
"If it weren't for your school I'd still be driving a truck, signed Paul Henreid."
Gracie has apparently never seen any of his films, never even seen a photo of Mr. Henreid.
|Now, Voyager 1 1x14 Photograph Master Print, Bette Davis, Paul Henreid|
So when he shows up at her door threatening to sue her for using his name, she is even more confused than usual. Gracie doesn't know who he is and thinks his funny accent means he's from Missouri.
"Is this the school of culture that claims Paul Henreid is a graduate? What exactly did you do for Paul?"
"We like to work with raw material and Mr. Henreid was about the rawest we ever had. ... We taught him how to make love."
"Surely that was one thing you didn't have to teach him."
"Oh, I can see that you don't know Mr. Henreid. Of course he knew a few things such as how to hold hands and wink."
"Scarcely enough for a well-rounded life."
... "We thought of tricks for him to do in movies. Like the one in that picture with Bette Davis where he lit two cigarettes at once."
"That was your idea?"
"Of course. When he came to me he was so clumsy that he burned himself just lighting one cigarette."
"If he'd taken our advanced course, by now he could've put the whole pack in his mouth!"
"Which would have easily won the Academy Award."
"And now I've got a thrill for you. I can make you into another Paul Henreid." ....
He tells her who he really is and tells him that he will have to sue for using his name. Gracie's tears get to him. He ends up agreeing to represent her school and also to talk George into letting her have the school in their home.
Now, Voyager, Paul Henreid, Bette Davis 1942
Goodwin reports to George that Paul Henreid is 'the other man.'
George: "A continental rat in a pinstriped suit..... Bill, what would you do if you were me and your wife fell for Paul Henreid?"
Bill: "Well, I'd get a gun and I'd load it. And I'd shoot myself."
When Henreid visits George he thinks it's about taking Gracie away from him.
"I'll be frank. Your wife has turned to me to get relief from a very ordinary and humdrum existence."
"Well, that's nice." ...
"Come now, Mr. Burns. Supplying three meals a day, a roof over her head and an occasional kiss on the cheek. Surely you realize that any woman wants more than that from life."
|The Spanish Main 1945|
Paul Henreid Maureen O'Hara Binnie Barnes Original Still Photo
George decides he and Paul should have a Charm Contest to win Gracie's heart that evening. He arrives home with champagne and flowers. He kisses her hand, her arm, even her elbow. She wants to kiss his hand. How continental.
"Tell me, my pet. Do you love me more than Paul Henreid?"
"Of course! Paul Henreid couldn't like you more than I do."
"You didn't think I'd fallen for Mr. Henreid. He may be a great actor, talented, charming and handsome but I like your type better."
Goodwin bursts in to defend George from the homewrecker who's stealing another man's wife.
"You've insulted my friend, George Burns, just because he's a poor, broken down dried up little weasel of a man!"
They tell him that Henreid wasn't trying to steal Gracie and Goodwin apologizes.
Bill Goodwin: "Mr. Henreid, you must think I'm a loud, stupid fool!"
Paul Henreid: "Oh, you weren't so loud."
Once it's discovered that it was all for the Culture School, George privately tells Henreid not to endorse the school. Gracie will run him ragged, he'll be wreck.
|Casablanca Photo Humphrey Bogart Ingrid Bergman Paul Henreid|
Henreid tells George:
"Movie actors are not popular when they resemble a wreck. They are different from crooners. ... She will not want me for her school if I speak like a .. a Bozo."
When Gracie returns to the room he calls her Toots and is acting very differently.
"Is it my imagination or has something happened to your culture."
"Nothing ain't happened to it. I just ain't got any. I only go on with that baloney when I'm acting in pictures."
Pretty soon he's off the hook. She doesn't want him representing her school after all.
Get the Burns & Allen Paul Henreid episode from Amazon
With single seasons or a set of all MP3 The Burns & Allen radio shows you can hear not only Paul Henreid's appearance but also those of other movie and music stars.
There were two radio productions of the film Casablanca. The Screen Guild Theater show of April 26, 1943 featured most if not all of the prominent actors from the film. Lux Radio Theater presented a radio version of Casablanca in January which starred Hedy Lamarr and Alan Ladd.
When Henreid was Star of the Month on Turner Classic Movies,
his daughter created an informative and poignant short tribute to him
The practice of using different actors in film and radio versions of productions wasn't uncommon. It depended on who was available at the time that a radio version of a movie was set to be presented.
Thanks to my TCM Party pals I've learned little trivia tidbits such as:
* Filming for Now, Voyager went over schedule, which caused conflicts with Casablanca.
* The Paris train station set shown in Casablanca was recycled from the film Now, Voyager.
There were (at least) two radio versions of Now, Voyager on The Lux Radio Theater.
One starred Bette Davis and Gregory Peck: February 11, 1946
The radio version of Now, Voyager starred Ida Lupino and Paul Henreid played the same role he had on screen. May 10, 1943.
Two radio versions of Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious aired, both starring Ingrid Bergman. She was the female lead (Alicia Huberman) in the 1946 film. However the film's male lead, Cary Grant, was unavailable for either radio broadcast.
Joseph Cotten played his role in the 1948 Lux Theater broadcast, and in 1949, John Hodiak starred as TR Devlin opposite Ms. Bergman on Screen Guild Theater's version. It can be hard to find Ingrid Bergman's appearance on The Jack Benny Show.
For good measure, Cary Grant appeared in radio versions of films he did not appear in, such as Here Comes Mr. Jordan and Shadow of a Doubt.
Few celebrity episodes of Burns and Allen's radio show are available online, and those that are may disappear, but here is one with screen star, Alan Ladd.
Related Pages of Interest:
Paul Henreid Directs Bette Davis, Ray Charles, Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Gracie's plan to replace Clark gable with George Burns
First couple to share a bed on American television
Songs for successful second marriages, anniversary, wedding songs