Leonard Maltin recently mentioned a version of CASABLANCA which I had never heard of.
In 1955, the LUX VIDEO THEATRE produced for television a live ,one hour version of the classic film. It starred PAUL DOUGLAS as ‘Rick’, ARLENE DAHL as ‘Ilsa’ and HOAGY CARMICHAEL as ‘Sam’.
Unfortunately, even Leonard Maltin can’t find a copy of the broadcast. I could only find a few photos – see below.
The rest of the cast included Carl Esmond as ‘Victor Laszlo’, John Hoyt as ‘Captain Renault’, Dan Seymour as ‘Ferrari’ and Ivan Triesault as ‘Major Strasser’.
A strong supporting cast, but anyone involved must have realised that comparisons with the very well known movie version would be made. Most of the TV audience in 1955 would still remember the 1942 film which I’m sure must have been reissued in cinemas after the war.
Paul Douglas was a fine actor, but I just can’t see him as ‘Rick’. Would they really make Paul say that iconic line …..”Of all the gin joints in all the towns……”, or “Here’s looking at you,kid.”
These lines belong to Bogart.
Condensing the plot into an hour, I wonder what was left out.
Unless some changes were made to the script , Paul Douglas seems a strange choice for ‘Rick’.
Arlene Dahl as Ilsa. Did she try a European accent, I wonder.
Hoagy Carmichael was certainly at home in a Bogart film, singing and playing piano in “To Have and Have Not.”
But although Dooley Wilson didn’t play the piano, he is perfect as ‘Sam’.
In the Lux Show, Dan Seymour ( the doorman in the original film) was promoted to the role of Ferrari. Ivan Triesault was Major Strasser.
All the great performers in the original “Casablanca”:
Claude Rains: ”I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here.”
Marcel Dalia:”Your winnings, sir.”
Ludwig Stossel: “Liebschen, sweetness heart – what watch?”
Ilka Gruning: “10 watch.”
Ludwig Stossel: “Such watch?
The beginning of a beautiful friendship.
The one and only Bogart. If ever there was an iconic role, this is it.
LUX VIDEO THEATRE ran from 1950 to 1957. It followed the long running Lux Radio Theatre (1934 – 1955).
In 1944, Lux Radio Theatre had two broadcasts of Casablanca – one with Alan Ladd and Hedy Lamarr. The film cast of Bogart, Bergman and Henreid also did a radio version.
It would be interesting to catch some of the Lux TV broadcasts, like MILDRED PIERCE with Virginia Bruce as ‘Mildred’, Colleen Miller as ‘Vida’, Patric Knowles as ‘Bert’. And Zachary Scott reappearing his original role of ‘Monte’.
Or TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT with Edmund O’Brien, Beverley Garland and John Whalen as ‘Eddie’.
Edward G. Robinson made his TV debut in WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION ,with Andrea King.
DOUBLE INDEMNITY, with Loraine Day, Ray Collins and Frank Lovejoy as ‘Neff’.
SHADOW OF A DOUBT, again with Frank Lovejoy . Barbara Rush in the Teresa Wright role.
WITNESS TO MURDER, with Audrey Totter.
Doesnt seem likely any of them could match the originals, but I wouldn’t mind seeing these casts.