What do you have when you take Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall and put them on a boat in the steamy waters of Havana, Cuba? You have a Bold Venture, the stunning radio series starring this real-life pair of lovers who knew how to create a spark both personally and professionally.
Bogart is Slate Shannon, a hotelier who owns a boat he calls "Bold Venture" and Bacall as Sailor Duval, is his love interest/foil who joins him on adventures of rescue, intrigue, and crime fighting set against the colorful backdrop that is Cuba, as they become detectives for hire. The repartee between Bogie and Bacall is witty and biting as they turn some tongue-in-cheek dialogue into sparkling chemistry that far transcends the script. Each episode ends with a sort of "pillow talk" where they decompress after their adventure, and take stock of where they are with each other and the world. It's a totally charming two minutes, and shines a light on the spark these two shared as husband and wife.
Bold Venture almost never made it to air because Bogart resisted it at first, not wanting to commit the time needed to be in a studio at a precise day and hour each week to perform a live radio show. A compromise was made to "transcribe" the show, which means the show was recorded on large vinyl discs and then sent out to various radio stations to be aired at the appropriate hour in their time zone, allowing Bogie and Bacall to pre-record several episodes at a time, and not be tied to an on-air schedule. Few dramatic radio shows of the era were able to create an ambiance of time and place as does Bold Venture. Scripts by Morton Fine and David Friedkin allowed these two larger-than-life actors to play whimsical versions of themselves to the delight of millions of listeners each week. Seventy-eight episodes were produced, but only 56 original episodes remain, and have been digitally re-mastered from the transcribed originals.
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