Lauren Bacall, by Way of the BBC

LaurenBacallDIDIn the spring of 1979, BBC Radio 4 gifted listeners with Lauren Bacall‘s Desert Island Discs. Along with some wonderful journalist memories of the late actress, this one gets FishbowlNY’s vote.

Let’s start with then-host Roy Plomley’s voice. Although this program was recorded 35 years ago, it sounds like it could just as well have been bottled during the heyday of Bacall’s cinematic career. (Strangely enough, DID was launched in 1942, just two years ahead of Bacall’s breakout first film To Have and Have Not.)

The sing-song of Mr. Plomley and Ms. Bacall is mesmerizing, interrupted eight times by some glorious and often classical music. And oh, the memories.

“That shows that I was crazy from the very beginning,” Bacall says when reminded that as an aspiring model and actress in New York City, she stood outside Sardi’s trying to sell copies of newspaper Actor’s Cues during her day-job lunch hour. A little later, she notes that her first play – Johnny 2X4 – had as one of its producers – George S. Kaufman, one of the folks she “button-holed” in front of Sardi’s.

At the very end of this DID episode, when Bacall is forced to reduce her eight vinyl selections to just the one she could take to the theoretical desert island, she chooses the one with no music! The fact that her final selection ties back to the dulcet tones of Plomley makes it all the more perfect.

[H/T: Claire Black]