KFWB – Anna And The King Of Siam Opening At Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – July 18, 1946 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Ironically, the photo above was taken the same time this broadcast was going on. The typical Hollywood Premier. This one, for the 20th Century Fox Production of Anna and The King of Siam starring Irene Dunne, Rex Harrison and Linda Darnell. The movie is probably not nearly as notable as the musical it eventually became; The King and I, but that’s another story.
The Premier took place on July 18, 1946 and was broadcast live by radio station KFWB in Hollywood. Probably many of the names (with the exception of Rex Harrison) will not sound familiar to you. But at the time, this was the A List.
This was also a time when The Academy Awards were a considerably less glitzy affair – consisting of a dinner and a table full of Oscars and pretty much relegated to an industry get-together. No songs, no choreography, no drawn-out monologues, no teleprompters, no laugh tracks. It was a few years before television became the predominant feature in most American homes. So descriptions were done for the radio audience as they had for many years. Ironic that Television would be the leading cause for the drop in attendance at movie theaters – that many of the palaces constructed during the silent and early sound era would be relegated to the humiliating fates of becoming bowling alleys, supermarkets or worse, victim to the wrecking ball. But in 1946 that was off somewhere in the distance and Hollywood would still be the embodiment of all that was simple, glamorous and absent of controversy.
Just a simple pat-on-the-back/ya-done-good celebration.
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