Baron the Bengal Lancer — April 10, 1939

10 Apr

Lives of a Bengal Lancer

Presented by Cecil B. DeMille

Starring Errol Flynn, C. Aubrey Smith, Bruce Aherne, and Jackie Cooper

Lux Radio Theater
Air Date: April 10, 1939

“A thrilling story of the Her Majesty’s Lancers who bring peace and order to a far flung corner of India, suggested by the book of Francis Yeats-Brown.”

“The intermission guest is General Hugh Johnson, Member of FDR’s Brain Trust, director of the National Recovery Administration, columnist, and soldier under General Pershing. He spoke from Washington D. C.”

At the broadcast’s conclusion, Errol gives a big thanks to his fans throughout the U.S., with especial gratitude and praise for those who attended the Dodge City World Premier nine days earlier, on April 1, 1939.

Inspired by Lives of the Bengal Lancers with Gary Cooper, the film that inspired Warnet Brothers to produce The Charge of the Light Brigade.…

— Tim


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  1. Karl

    April 10, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    To my ear… Flynn’s absolute BEST radio performance, and he’s equally matched by his co-player and cohort, Lt. Forsythe, as expertly played by a person of recent conversation here on the blog, Brian Aherne.

    Further, ImHO:

    Too bad it wasn’t Flynn in the film in the McGregor role as he gave the SUPERIOR performance over Gary Cooper!

    I even PREFER the radio version over the film itself!

    (Franchot Tone, in the film, and Mr. Aherne, in the same theater of the mind role, come out as a draw).

    As an interesting aside, Jackie Cooper (quadruple threat: actor, director, producer, singer) *, as young Stone in this radio drama, had some “air time” here recently through a PSA on Sean Flynn.

    He began as one of the leading child/young adult stars for 62 films (as a child: notably in The Champ, 1931, and Treasure Island,1934) and 44 radio performances.

    Transitioned successfully into TV for 38 appearances in episodic television before landing a couple of series: The Peoples Choice (1955-8) and Hennessy (1959-62), and then, still MANY further guest starring spots.

    (Not to mention also, his going back to film, and a later career “plum role” in all 4 Reeve Superman films in the character of Perry White).

    Which brings me back now to the subject at hand- Lives of a Bengal Lancer, and a curious connection.

    Jackie Cooper, as you might imagine, having 131 total acting credits under his belt and slightly more in the area of TV than film… such that he ULTIMATELY wound up in a “brother-in-law” role on the popular, long running (12 years) Murder She Wrote tv series.

    Now why would I bother to highlight this particular factoid?

    Well, back in 1935 Richard Cromwell appeared in the film as the young Lt. Donald Stone, and Cooper (Jackie)- played that same role on the radio program in 1939.

    So what?

    Well, just short of 50 years later, Cooper (still Jackie) played with Cromwell’s onetime wife (and his “sister-in-law in the teleplay) in Murder She Wrote… and the actress: Angela Lansbury.

    As our noble leader (and host) often remarks: “Small world, innit?”


    Ever notice at the Academy Awards of late, how the old stars tend not to be applauded during the “In Memoriam” segments?

    Well, Jackie Cooper (1922-2011) was HEARTILY acknowledged at the time of his remembrance- no doubt through his contribution as a director (42 credits) having worked with perhaps many of this younger audience and made a PERSONAL connection… go back to the Sean PSA to see what I mean. As he was asked MANY times if his co-star, Wallace Beery, was as nice off screen as he was on, apparently that was a quality, VERY true indeed, of Jackie himself.

    * “As of 2010, he held two Oscar records: Youngest performer nominated in a leading role (this record has stood for 79 years); and oldest nomination (1931) in any and all Academy categories for an individual still living.”

    • Gentleman Tim

      April 11, 2020 at 10:10 am

      You’re The Champ, Karl!


      Let me see if we can tie Kevin Bacon to Jackie Cooper?

      Jackie Cooper was in Superman with Terence Stamp.

      Terence Stamp was in Young Guns with Kiefer Sutherland.

      Bacon was in A Few Good Men with Kiefer Sutherland.


      Cary Elwes was Marlon Brando’s PA in one of the Supermans with Jackie Cooper before Elwes did his Men in Tights (and Princess Bride) take(s) on Errol.

      Small world, innit?…

  2. Ralph Schiller

    April 13, 2020 at 11:01 pm

    Thank-you Karl for that wonderful honor to Jackie Cooper. I met him in 2009 in Hollywood as he made “Men Of Texas” (1942) at Universal with Broderick Crawford and Robert Stack. Cooper was very nice to me and all his fans and the lines for his autograph never diminished. The fees went to an animal charity. Ralph Schiller