Getting too close to a source

Shirtless sandhogs meet photographer

The 1943 movie “No Time for Love” and this 1944 radio adaptation both starred Claudette Colbert as a society-gal photojournalist and Fred MacMurray as her leading man.

I have found no radio history book that reveals whether he kept his shirt on for the Screen Guild Theater radio broadcast, playing a macho “big, brawny and good-looking” sandhog digging a New York tunnel… and brawling with co-workers, which she captures on film, costing him his job. So she hires him to lug her photo gear around… and gets carried away herself.

Be prepared for more lessons in 1940s-era caveman romance than journalism.

MacMurray never turns into Clark Kent here, but he does get called “Superman” more than once. (Come to think of it, I remember reading somewhere that MacMurray was the muscleman-model for the Superman-alternative comic book character Captain Marvel. Hard to believe if you grew up with the 1950s “My Three Sons” and Disney-comedy era MacMurray.)

Real-life gossip columnist Hedda Hopper also is included in the cast, as Colbert’s character’s sister, already called “Hoppy” in the movie script.

I wound up listening to this after being reminded that Colbert and MacMurray filled the Hildy Johnson and Walter Burns roles in one of the radio adaptations of “His Girl Friday.”

While Colbert didn’t get to play journalists often, she was the romantic interest for reporters in a couple of newspaper-movie classics, “It Happened One Night” and “I Cover the Wayerfront.” She also got to play a newspaper editor-in-chief in a movie I’ve never seen, “Texas Lady,” slightly reminiscent of “Cimarron,” about a woman editor in frontier Oklahoma.

About Bob Stepno

mild-mannered reporter who found computers & the Web in grad school in the 1980s (Wesleyan) and '90s (UNC); taught journalism, media studies, Web production; retired to write, make music, photograph sunsets & walks in the woods.
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