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The Magnificent Montague

In November 1950 The Magnificent Montague became Monty Woolley's 'one-off' lead in a recurring, dramatic Radio program. Both the concept and the role were tailor-made for Woolley's widely perceived Film personae. The premise found Edwin Montague, ex-Shakespearean actor, founding member of the Proscenium Club of Shakespearean thespians, and supremely enamored of his own great Stage talent casting about for work. But discerning to the nth degree, Montague regularly refused any script, concept, or offer of acting work that failed to meet his--by then--unattainable standards. Edwin Montague (Woolley) is married to the former Stage actress Lily Boheme (Anne Seymour) and they're both holding on--barely--to their housekeeper of 25 years, Agnes (Pert Kelton). As the Montagues' financial situation continues to deteriorate, the apparent final straw comes when their housekeeper and cook, Agnes, can no longer supply the imported kippers that Montague demands with his breakfast on a daily basis. She attempts to make due with domestic kippers and Montague becomes outraged. Lily determines to take matters into her own hands and finds Edwin a job on a local soap opera as 'Uncle Goodheart', on the face of it, the antithesis of Edwin Montague's persona. But presented with the prospect of domestic kippers or none at all, Montague deigns to give the soap opera a try, but only after securing a vow of silence from the household regarding "The Magnificent Montague's" condescension to appear over Radio. After all, if the members of the prestigious Proscenium Club should ever get wind of how far the Magnificent Montague had fallen, he'd be forced to resign in shame. Montague storms into the Radio studio determined to let them all know what's what when it comes to serious drama only to find that Drama over Radio is simply not performed as it is on The Stage. Be that as it may, Montague determines to fashion 'Uncle Goodheart' into a character more like himself. The studio crew and cast are obviously aghast at Montague's performance and after the broadcast, Montague retires home, supremely confident that he'll never be asked to work in Radio again. [digitaldeliftp.com]


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