Ginger on the Air: Kitty Foyle

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Broadcast date: May 5, 1941
Starring: Ginger Rogers, Dennis Morgan, James Craig

Over a year after her Oscar win, Ginger reprises the character she made famous for the radio adaptation of Kitty Foyle. This Lux Radio Theater production begins with the usual introduction by Cecil B. DeMille, who recaps Ginger's deserved Academy Award win. Dennis Morgan and James Craig, the original male leads of the film, join the broadcast to reprise their roles as well.

Kitty Foyle (Ginger Rogers) works at Delphine's Beauty Salon in New York where she had moved from Philadelphia after the passing of her beloved father. As boyfriend Mark (James Craig) drops Kitty off at her place after proposing to her, he makes sure she understands what she has committed herself to. As long as Kitty is sure about her decision to marry Mark, she must meet him at St. Timothy's Hospital later that night.

Kitty enters her apartment to find ex-flame Wyn Straford (Dennis Morgan). He attempts to convince her to go back with him to Buenos Aires, where he plans to move after breaking away from his wife, although he has not divorced her yet. In order to condense the production to the appropriate time, Kitty immediately agrees to sail with him rather than take a few moments to consider whether or not she is making a smart decision. In the film, there are a few instances in which Kitty regretfully wishes that Wyn had expressed all of these feelings to her five years prior rather than now, just as her life was beginning to turn around for the better.

What is really unique is to discover the techniques they used to replicate the mirror scene on radio, as this was an important visual aspect of the movie. Kitty has a conversation with herself in the mirror, and her mirror self is there to remind her of her past and warn her of what is ahead should she decide to sail back with Wyn. For radio, Ginger's voice was clearly previously recorded reciting her mirrored self's lines, and then played back while live Ginger recited present Kitty's lines.

The radio production continues much in the same way as the film. Ginger showcases her famous childlike voice in the first flashback and is as cute as ever. Although Kitty Foyle is not a comical story, there was room for a small handful of one liners, delivered by Ginger with always perfect timing. It is fun to hear the audience's reactions. This is something we do not get to experience in the film.

Ginger with Dennis Morgan in Kitty Foyle (1940)

What was Ginger up to at this point in her life?

Tom, Dick and Harry (1941), the bubbly comedy Ginger made following Kitty Foyle, had yet to be released. The last on-screen taste that the public had gotten of Ginger was in the film that won her the Oscar for Best Actress. She was newly divorced from actor Lew Ayres just a year prior. The United States had entered the war, and much of Ginger's focus would soon be on numerous war bond tours and benefit appearances across the country. She would also be gearing up to appear in the crime farce Roxie Hart (1942).

You can listen to the radio production of Kitty Foyle here.

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