Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: Bold Venture

In 1951, Humphrey Bogart (who was the biggest film star at the time, bar none) and Lauren Bacall, his husky-voiced wife and herself a big screen star (thanks to the Bogart pictures she had previously been in) began the radio series, Bold Venture.

It took some doing to finally draw Bogart to radio.  Firstly, it took a gob of money (Bogart and Bacall got $4000 for each of the 78 episodes) and secondly, the series was recorded on tape recorder; some say this was the first of it's kind.  This allowed Bogart to be more versatile (and accept film roles) while doing the series without having to be on set all the time.

The show takes place in and around 1951 Havana, Cuba - back before the infamous Castro and just 11 years shy of the biggest cold war standoff in history.

Remember the Bogart film, To Have and To Have Not?   Bold Venture takes the feel of that film and twists it a bit, making it more like the original story by Ernest Hemingway.  What you have is the syndicated radio series (produced by some of the best writers and producers in radio and later, television, David Friedkin and Morton Fine.)  Friedkin and Fine had previously written for the Broadway is My Beat and Crime Classics radio series.

The show revolves around Slate Shannon (Bogart) and Sailor Duvall (Bacall.)  Bogart owns a hotel and is much older than Sailor; Sailor has a thing for Shannon and you think he probably has something for her too, but he keeps it quiet.  They run the business together (she works for him) and though I have never heard it said on the show, I think that Shannon knows there could be trouble if he gets romantically involved with his younger business partner.

Shannon is in enough trouble as it is as it seems every drifter that rolls in takes a page from another Caribbean Bogart-Bacall film, Key Largo (where, by the way, the action revolves around yet another hotel.)  Shannon and Sailor are often held hostage, robbed, beat up, etc.  And both act as amateur detectives - basically, this is like the typical Bogart-Bacall Warner Brothers film of the 1940's, with this one exception: Bogart never carries a weapon.  He faces the criminals with his wit and bare fists.

The reason why the show works is that it seems as if it is an extension of the films I have mentioned (and throw in the classic Casablanca for good measure.)

The show is full of the same innuendo that is in the films:
Sailor: You talk about Havana as if it were a woman.
Shannon: Do I?
Sailor: How do you talk about me behind my back?
Shannon: Walk ahead of me and I'll think of something.
If you enjoy the films I've mentioned, you will most certainly enjoy Bold Venture.

©Jimbo 2010/2011


  1. This is a show I think I should like, but, too often can resist it. Not sure the reason why as I do like both Bogart and Bacall. It must be the stories in general. I do not put these shows in my cue.

  2. Hi BB, thanks for the comments!

    One thing I have figured out is that you can'r hear everything. You may as well focus on what you like.

    I thought for sure you listened to this one though.


Let me know what you think of this post or this site! It only take a few seconds and I'd really appreciate your comments...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...