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Original Christopher London header art

The Christopher London Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Christopher London

Christopher London Creator and Author Erle Stanley Gardner points to his stack of novels over the years
Christopher London Creator and Author Erle Stanley Gardner points to his stack of novels over the years.

Spot ad for NBC's one-two lineup over Syracuse station WSYR from April 2, 1950
Spot ad for NBC's one-two lineup over Syracuse station WSYR from April 2, 1950

Christopher London premiere spot ad from January 22 1950
Christopher London premiere
spot ad from January 22 1950

Christopher London spot ad from February 12 1950
Christopher London spot ad from February 12 1950

Syndicated article on how the popular Detectives of the era would approach a famous Million dollar theft of the era from January 23 1950
Syndicated article on how the popular Detectives of the era would approach a famous Million dollar theft of the era from January 23 1950


Bringing big name Film and Stage actors to Radio was always a coup for the networks throughout the Golden Age of Radio-for independent programming syndicators as well.

Frederick Ziv successfully coaxed Adolph Menjou and Verree Teasdale, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, Ronald Colman, Fred MacMurray and Irene Dunne into syndicated series' for him. Ronald Colman and Benita Hume also headlined their own The Halls of Ivy in 1950, for NBC. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. starred in a one-off over Radio--The Silent Men (1951). Jimmie Stewart made the solo Radio plunge in 1953 with The Six-Shooter. Van Heflin made his one-off over Radio as Philip Marlowe, Private Detective (1947). Rex Harrison aired his sole recurring Radio vehicle, The Private Files of Rex Saunders in 1951. Helen Hayes aired a series of her own headlining productions between 1935 and 1956. Herbert Marshall's starring solo vehicle, The Man Called X aired for eight years from 1944 to 1952. Victor Jory appeared in two years of Vicks-sponsored adventure dramas between 1940 and 1942 (Dangerously Yours and Matinee Theater). Alan Ladd and Vincent Price also solo'd successfully in Box Thirteen (1947) and The Saint (1947-1951), respectively.

We cite these isolated, mostly solo-outing, big-name Film and Stage star vehicles by comparison with the thousands of Film and Stage adaptation appearances of the era, such as Lux Radio Theatre, The Screen Guild Players series', and the numerous NBC Theater productions, among many others. Those productions found virtually every major Film and Stage star of the era in one--or several--roles throughout the Golden Age of Radio. But it was the one-off dramatic productions that gave Radio listeners a more intimate experience with some of their favorite Stage and Screen actors of the era.

Glenn Ford took the plunge in a solo Radio vehicle with 1950's Christopher London. Ford, known as much for his numerous memorable western Film appearances was just as fondly remembered for his many film noir portrayals.

NBC showcases Glenn Ford in an adventure drama anthology conceived by Erle Stanley Gardner

No Radio novice, Glenn Ford had not yet appeared in his own recurring dramatic Radio showcase. Christopher London gave millions of Glenn Ford fans an opportunity to hear him in a top-notch adventure anthology as Christopher London, a private investigator with an adventurous wanderlust reminiscent of Alan Ladd's Box Thirteen, Herbert Marshall's The Man Called X and Brian Donlevy's Dangerous Assignment--with a few elements of The Shadow and The Green Lama thrown in.

The timing wasn't surprising, given Radio's mounting desperation to retain its listening audience in the face of the exponentially growing Television audience of the era. Many of the one-offs we cited above arrived over Radio at about the same time as Christopher London. Without exception, the big name Stage and Screen actor Radio vehicles of this era were superbly mounted, with Radio's finest supporting actors, directors, producers, engineers and music directors. Christopher London was no exception. William N. Robson directed, Lyn Murray and Van Cleve scored and conducted the musical accompaniment, and West Coast Radio luminaries Joan Banks, Ben Wright, Will Wright, Charlie Lung, Ted deCorsia, Virginia Gregg, Peter Leeds, Barton Yarborough, Alan Reed, Jeanette Nolan, and Stacy Harris appeared in supporting roles throughout the production.

Last and by no means least, the series was created by Erle Stanley Gardner, of long-running Perry Mason fame in Film, Radio and Television, and the creator of the lesser known but thoroughly well conceived A Life In Your Hands (1949) series over Radio. Something of a departure for Gardner, Christopher London's script themes are not courtroom-centered, though two of the surviving exemplars of the series have legal elements contained within the scripts. Two of the circulating scripts were written by Mindret Lord with the season closer written by Bernard Shoenfeld. One of Lord's scripts, anecdotally referred to as The Missing Heiress episode, found its way to Television four years later in Louis Hayward's starring vehicle, The Lone Wolf, as The Emerald Ring epsiode of either 1954 or 1955. This was not an uncommon practice during the early days of Television. The novelty here is the use of essentially the same script in both an Erle Stanley Gardner-created vehicle and a Louis Joseph Vance-created vehicle, within a few years of each other. Mindret Lord penned nine of The Lone Wolf scripts for Television.

For a contemporaneous take on the short-lived series, here's a John Crosby review of Christopher London from the March 15, 1950 edition of the Oakland Tribune:

NBC Attempts Answer to Jack Benny


     "Christopher London" KNBC 4 p.m. P.S.T. Sundays, is NBC's wistful answer to Jack Benny, the man who roosts opposite him on CBS.  As answers go, this is hardly a defiant one.  In fact, there is a distinct note of apology in it like those ads in the personal columns:  "Come home.  All is forgiven."
     Still, Christopher London isn't a bad show if you like adventure stuff.  It was "created by" — as they say on the show—Erle Stanley Gardner, "the world's most renowned mystery writer."  (Mystery writers don't write. They create, like dress designers.  Painters paint.  Sculptors sculpt.  Mystery writers, dress designers and concocters of perfume create.  Any other questions?)
     Christopher London, the wonder-working hero of the piece, is in private life Glenn Ford, the movie actor.  Ford's voice, a marvelous instrument, has apparently been given the full Hollywood treatment; his catarrhs and hesitations and glissandos and tone color are about as perfect as anything you can find outside a saxaphone.  The production, a word that covers a multitude of sound effects, is beyond Reproach (which is just the other side of East Bountiful).  And the creation, to get back to that word, of each episode sounds as if it took a full six days just like that other Creation.


     I find it difficult to discuss Christopher London much farther than that.  These adventure series, which are only faintly tinged with mystery, are adult fairy stories and, like any fairy story, are written within a fairly rigid set of limitations. London (or any of the others) is handsome, single, cynical, terribly accessible, to pretty girls, and given to spouting a stream, of what I gather is consciousness.  ("Paris lay under a pall of moonlight.  The night was made for romance.  It would have been perfect except for one thing.  Why did von Austerlitz put strychnine in my grapefruit?  It troubled me.")
     One thing that troubles me is what London does with the beautiful babes he encounters each week.  Last week, there was this ravishing thing, who, in addition to her charms, was the heiress to a fortune estimated in our house at around $100,000,000.  Her father was the biggest tycoon in the western world.  After getting him safely to the conference of other international tycoons in Venice, after disposing of the Nazis, after assuring that Germany would not be re-armed -- London doesn't fiddle around with small stuff--I left the pair, London and the girl, drifting down the canal in a gondola, feeling awfully intimate.
     Next week, there'll be another girl.  What happens to the girls he leaves in gondolas?  And who pays the fare?  The same thing used to bother me years back about Buck Rogers chasing all over outer space with that beautiful damsel.  Unchaperoned, too.  Where I came from there was a good deal of talk if the girl went as far as Chicago, unchaperoned.  If she wanted to go helling around Saturn with some men, she had to take her mother along.
     "Christopher London," as adventure series go, is written with more than ordinary literacy; it's very well acted and directed.  Stuck anywhere else except opposite Jack Benny, it would probably pass unnoticed.  But it's hardly the answer to Benny.  There probably isn't any answer to Benny.
     Just one other rather irritable observation about mystery-adventure stories in general.  There comes a time in all of them when the girl and the private eye are locked up in the icehouse; the Nazis are gathering firewood to burn the place down; and the girl breathes -- they never talk in these things, they breathe, the words coming out of their nostrils:  "Darling, what are we going to do?"
     "Well, we could play Canasta," he remarks brightly.
     Just for a change it'd be nice if the man said he didn't know, that it was a pretty darned serious situation, all things considered.  But I suppose it would violate all the rules and we can't have that.
Copyright 1950 for The Tribune

Translation (based on his other 100+ reviews we've read): Crosby thought it was passable--but no competition for Jack Benny on Sundays. John Crosby was a severe critic of detective, crime and adventure dramas--even more severe on the 'blood and guts' variety.

The Christopher London character apparently spent some time studying oriental teachings, ala The Green Lama or The Shadow. Though not displaying fanciful powers, as either The Green Lama or The Shadow, London's experiences with oriental philosphy and religion inform his crime detection and investigation methods and approach. London is characterized as sporting a beard in at least one of the circulating exemplars. He's often accompanied by his valet, Ah Song (Charlie Lung), who was apparently with him during his stay at 'The Moon of Yesterday', a Chinese monastery somewhere in the hills of Western China. Oriental elements are also subtly incorporated into the series' theme and underscore by Lyn Murray. Ted de Corsia appears in the--apparently--recurring role of Police Inspector Griffith. De Corsia also introduces the teasers for at least two of the circulating exemplars.

We find the circulating exemplars of Christopher London interesting, well paced, well-scripted and wonderfully produced, performed, and directed. As more exemplars surface we'll no doubt be able to better assess the overall quality of the series. The score interestingly incorporates underscore elements from the Van Heflin run of the Philip Marlowe series as well. We cite these rather more esoteric elements of Radio of the era to illustrate the use--and reuse--of plots, themes, and even musical scores among the hundreds of network offerings of the era. The biggest treat for the listener is Glenn Ford in a recurring dramatic role. Ford appears somewhat uncomfortable with the earlier exemplars, but by the ostensible season closer it's obvious that Ford has both grown into the role and the demands of a recurring Radio portrayal of the era.

In spite of Ford's rare flubs in the role, his mere presence in the series made for compelling Radio. It appears to even out in the end. Some of Radio's most seasoned Radio performers drop a few lines in the circulating exemplars; perhaps in response to the opportunity to appear opposite the legendary Glenn Ford in a radio drama. Listeners of the era also got a combination of Frank Lovejoy in Night Beat, Glenn Ford as Christopher London and Howard Duff and Lurene Tuttle in The Adventures of Sam Spade, back-to-back in several markets for most of the run of Christopher London, which had to have made for an entertaining Sunday--or Monday--evening during the Winter and Spring of 1950.

Unfortunately for Radio listeners, Glenn Ford's growing schedule of Film projects for 1950 curtailed Christopher London to an estimated eighteen or nineteen episodes. The series was replaced by the Ilona Massey vehicle, Top Secret, in the NBC lineup, effective June 12, 1950. Christopher London continued to air in rebroadcasts over NBC affiliates throughout the remainder of 1950.

Series Derivatives:

Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Adventure Dramas
Network(s): NBC
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 50-01-22 01 Title Unknown
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 50-01-22 to 50-06-05; NBC; Eighteen [or Nineteen], 30-minute programs; Sundays afternoons, then Monday evenings, post-curfew.
Syndication: NBC
Sponsors: Sustaining
Director(s): Erle Stanley Gardner [Creator]
William N. Robson [Producer/Director]
Principal Actors: Glenn Ford, Joan Banks, Ben Wright, Charlie Lung, Florence Halop, Ted de Corsia, Peter Leeds, Stacy Harris, Will Wright, Virginia Gregg, Barton Yarborough, Alan Reed, Eleanor Audley, Ramsay Hill, Jeanette Nolan, Georgia Ellis, Rick Vallin
Recurring Character(s): Glenn Ford as Christopher London; Charlie Lung as Ah Song, London's valet; Ted De Corsia as Police Inspector Griffith
Protagonist(s): Christopher London, a private investigator and adventurer schooled in oriental teachings while staying at a Chinese monastery, 'The Moon of Yesterday.'
Author(s): Erle Stanley Gardner
Writer(s) Mindret Lord and Bernard Schoenfeld
Music Direction: Lyn Murray, Van Cleve [Composer/Conductors]
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Fred Collins
Estimated Scripts or
18 or 19
Episodes in Circulation: 3
Total Episodes in Collection: 3

The radioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, newspaper listings.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


We have no idea whatsover why the 'credentialed experts of the OTR community' have always referred to--and persist in referring to--Christopher London as The Adventures of Christopher London. As with much of the 'authoritative OTR history' in wide circulation, The Adventures of Chistopher London is a complete canard. No such program title ever aired over American airwaves--unless of course erroneously referred to as such in vintage Radio rebroadcasts of the series. But certainly never within any of the scripts for the series.

Of the three circulating exemplars--and their sequence and dates--only one comes close to the plot of the script:

  • The episode anecdotally referred to as "The Missing Heiress" is an almost verbatim treatment of the Mindret Lord Television script for a The Lone Wolf episode referred to as The Emerald Ring. Both of Lord's script treatments--Radio and Television--focus on an emerald ring as the key to finding and identifying the supposed missing heiress at the heart of the plot. The date cited by the overwhelming number of 'otr sources' for this episode bears no resemblence to the only newspaper Radio listings that have surfaced for February 5, 1950 for Christopher London. Those listings refer to a question of suicide or murder, complicated by a large insurance policy at the heart of the plot. We have little faith in either the current dating or sequencing of the episode we refer to as The Adventure of The Emerald Ring at February 5, 1950. We've therefore coded it as such.
  • The episode anecdotally referred to as "Price of Sugar" in circulation also seems to miss the mark. Without giving away the plot, the 'price' referred to in the script turns out to be a human price versus a monetary price. This episode is the closest anecdotally titled exemplar in current circulation.
  • The episode anecdotally referred to as "Pattern for Murder" bears no resemblance to the script of the circulating exemplar. Again, without giving away the plot, there is no 'pattern' referenced anywhere in the script. The only thing close, without teasing too much of the plot should be "The System" or, as we've anecdotally titled it, 'The System' - A Code for Murder.

We pretend no omniscience in titling the recordings in our collection--nor do we posture as 'credentialed otr experts,' an appellation that frankly makes us groan. But we do actually listen to our recordings for more than two minutes. In the case of Christopher London, all three circulating exemplars are highly entertaining and we've listened to all three of ours from start to finish.

What you see here, is what you get. Complete transparency. We have no 'credentials' whatsoever--in any way, shape, or form--in the 'otr community'--none. But here's how we did it--for better or worse. Here's how you can build on it yourselves--hopefully for the better. Here are the breadcrumbs--just follow the trail a bit further if you wish. No hobbled downloads. No misdirection. No posturing about our 'credentials.' No misrepresentations. No strings attached. We point you in the right direction and you're free to expand on it, extend it, use it however it best advances your efforts.

We ask one thing and one thing only--if you employ what we publish, attribute it, before we cite you on it.

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We don't pronounce our Golden Age Radio research as 'certified' anything. By the very definition, research is imperfect. We simply tell the truth. As is our continuing practice, we provide our fully provenanced research results--to the extent possible--right here on the page, for any of our peers to review--or refute--as the case may be. If you take issue with any of our findings, you're welcome to cite any better verifiable source(s) and we'll immediately review them and update our findings accordingly. As more verifiable provenances surface, we'll continue to update the following series log, as appropriate.

All rights reserved by their respective sources. Article and log copyright 2009 The Digital Deli Online--all rights reserved. Any failure to attribute the results of this copywritten work will be rigorously pursued.

[Date, title, and episode column annotations in
red refer to either details we have yet to fully provenance or other unverifiable information as of this writing. Red highlights in the text of the 'Notes' columns refer to information upon which we relied in citing dates, date or time changes, or titles.]

The Christopher London Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
Title Unknown
50-01-21 Wisconsin State Journal
As announced here prematurely, "Hollywood Calling" is off the NBC schedule. In its place at 6 p.m. Sunday will be Glenn Ford in a new series, "Christopher London," based on detective stories by Erle Stanley Gardner. (By the way, what became of that NBC rule about no mysteries on daytime or early evening schedules?)

50-01-22 New York Times
7:00-WNBC--Christopher London--Sketch. With Glenn Ford (Premiere)

50-01-22 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Christopher London (WIBA): new series, starring Glenn Ford in stories of Erle Stanley Gardner.
The Adventure of The Chinese Scroll
50-01-29 Wisconsin State Journal WIBA 6:00 Christopher London.

50-01-29 Long Beach Press Telegram - 4:00--KFI--Here is a new character created by Erle Stanley Gardner, "Christopher London"…he uses his knowledge of criminology to track down a priceless Chinese scroll...this weekly feature should be a great treat for E.S.G. fans.
The Adventure of The Emerald Ring
The Missing Heiress
50-01-31 Long Beach Press-Telegram
a man disappears off the San Francisco Bay Bridge it looks like a clear case of suicide, but Christopher London, the new radio sleuth created by Erle Stanley Gardner, finds that it's more like a case of murder during the "Christopher London" broadcast Sunday on NBC at 4 p.m. Glenn Ford, who portrays the title role, unravels the mystery after becoming involved in two doublecrosses and learning ofthe existence of a life insurance policy.

50-02-05 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Christopher London (WIBA): suicide or murder?

a.k.a., The Missing Heiress
Title Unknown
50-02-12 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 6:00 Christopher London
Title Unknown
50-02-19 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 6:00 Christopher London
The Terrible Price of Sugar
Price of Sugar
50-02-26 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 6:00 Christopher London
Title Unknown
50-03-05 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 6:00 Christopher London
Title Unknown
50-03-12 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 6:00 Christopher London
Title Unknown
50-03-19 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 6:00 Christopher London
Title Unknown
50-03-26 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 6:00 Christopher London
Title Unknown
50-04-02 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Christopher London (WIBA): fights terrorists in Great Smokey mountains.
Title Unknown
50-04-09 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 6:00 Christopher London
Title Unknown
50-04-16 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 6:00 Christopher London
Title Unknown
50-04-23 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 6:00 Christopher London
Title Unknown
50-04-30 Wisconsin State Journal
WIBA 6:00 Christopher London
Title Unknown
[Moves from Sundays to Mondays]

50-05-08 Wisconsin State Journal
WMAQ 8:30 Christopher London
50-05-15 Wisconsin State Journal
WMAQ 8:30 Savings Bonds; 9:30 p.m.--Bond Drive Kickoff (WIBA, WISC, WKOW): Pres. Truman, Treasury Secretary John W. Snyder, James Stewart, Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Jack Kirkwood, Les Brown's orchestra.
Title Unknown
50-05-22 Wisconsin State Journal
WMAQ 8:30 Christopher London
'The System' - A Code For Murder
Pattern For Murder
50-05-25 Wisconsin State Journal
FROM RADIO ROW: Ginger Rogers may do a series on CBS.
Glenn Pord: may give ' up his "Christopher London" show because of a heavy film schedule.

50-05-29 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--
Christopher London (WMAQ): piano music helps solve murder mystery.

50-05-29 New York Times
10:30-11--Play: "
Christopher London," With Glenn Ford--WNBC.
Title Unknown
50-06-05 Wisconsin State Journal
WMAQ 8:30 To Be Announced.

50-06-05 New York Times
10:30-11--Documentary: "Death Takes no Holiday"--WNBC.
50-06-12 Mt Vernon Register News
COMING UP TONIGHT: NBC 9:30—New Spy drama, "Top Secret", with Ilona Massey of the movies
as replacement for Christopher London, discontinued.

50-06-12 The Bee
Coming up tonight: NBC 10:30
new drama, "Top Secret," with Iona Massey of the movies as replacement for Christopher London, discontinued.

The Christopher London Radio Program Biographies

Glenn Ford [Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford]
(Christopher London)

Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor

Birthplace: Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Education: London University

Military Service: Coast Guard Auxilliary; Marine Corps [WWII]; Viet Nam [1967];Awarded French Legion of Honor in 1992 after expiration of the Official Secrets Act; Naval Reserve, Captain, Retired

1942 Lux Radio Theatre
1945 The Doctor Fights
1945 Columbia Presents Corwin
1946 The Fifth Horseman
1946 And Sudden Death
1947 Our Land Be Bright
1947 Suspense
1947 Command Performance
1948 Studio One
1949 Cavalcade Of America
1949 One Great Hour
1949 Time and Her Life
1950 Christopher London
1953 The Bob Hope Show
The New National Guard Show

Glenn Ford circa 1951
Glenn Ford circa 1951

Captain Glenn Ford, USNR, Ret
Captain Glenn Ford, USNR, Ret.
From the August 31, 2006 edition of the Huntingdon Daily News (PA):

Glenn Ford, longtime
leading man in scores of
films, dies at 90

Associated Press Writer

     BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Actor Glenn Ford, who played strong, thoughtful protagonists in films such as "The Blackboard Jungle," "Gilda" and "The Big Heat," died Wednesday, police said.  He was 90.
     Paramedics called to Ford's home just before 4 p.m. found Ford dead, police Sgt. Terry Nutall said, reading a prepared statement.  "They do not suspect foul play," he said.
     Ford suffered a series of strokes in the 1990s.
     "It comes to mind instantly what a remarkable actor he was," actor Sidney Poitier, who also starred in "The Blackboard Jungle," said Wednesday evening.  "He had those magical qualities that are intangible but are quite impactful on the screen.  He was a movie star."
     Failing health forced Ford to skip a 90th birthday tribute on May 1 at Hollywood's historic Grauman's Egyptian Theatre.  But he did send greetings via videotape, adding, "I wish I were up and around, but I'm doing the best that I can....There's so much I have to be grateful for."
     At the event, Shirley Jones, who co-starred with him in the comedy "The Courtship of Eddie's Father," called Ford "one of the cornerstones of our industry, and there aren't many left."
     Ford appeared in scores of films during his 53-year Hollywood career.  The Film Encyclopedia, a reference book, lists 85 films from 1939 to 1991.
     He was cast usually as the handsome tough, but his acting talents ranged from romance to comedy.  His more famous credits include "Superman," "Gilda," "The Sheepman," "The Gazebo," "Pocketful of Miracles" and "Don't Go Near the Water."
     An avid horseman and former polo player, Ford appeared in a number of Westerns, "3:10 to Yuma," "Cowboy," "The Rounders," "Texas," "The Fastest Gun Alive" and the remake of "Cimarron" among them.  His talents included lighter parts, with roles in "The Teahouse of August Moon" and "It Started With a Kiss."
     On television, he appeared in "Cade's County," "The Family Holvak," "Once an Eagle" and "When Havoc Struck."  He starred in the feature film "The Courtship of Eddie's Father," which later became a TV series featuring Bill Bixby.
     A tireless worker, Ford often made several films a year.  Ford continued working well into his 70s.  In 1992, though, he was hospitalized for more than two months for blood clots and other ailments, and at one point was in critical condition.
     "Noel Coward once told me, 'You will know you're old when you cease to be amazed.'  Well, I can still be amazed," Ford said in a 1981 interview with The Associated Press.
     After getting his start in theater in the 1930s, he got a break when he was signed by Columbia Pictures mogul Harry Cohn.
     In 1940, he appeared in five films, including "Blondie Plays Cupid" and "Babies for Sale."  After serving with the Marines during World War II, Ford starred in 1946 as a small-time gambler in "Gilda," opposite Rita Hayworth.
     The film about frustrated romance and corruption in postwar Argentina became a film noir classic.  Hayworth plays Ford's former love, a sometime nightclub singer married to a casino operator, and she sizzles onscreen performing "Put the Blame on Mame."
     Ford speaks the memorable voiceover in the opening scene:  "To me a dollar was a dollar in any language.  It was my first night in the Argentine and I didn't know much about the local citizens.  But I knew about American sailors, and I knew I'd better get out of there."
     Two years later he made "The Loves of Carmen," also with Hayworth.
     "It was one of the greatest mistakes I ever made, embarrassing," Ford said of the latter film.  "But it was worth it, just to work with her again."
     Among his competitors for leading roles was William Holden.  Both actors, Ford said, would stuff paper in their shoes to appear taller than the other.  "Finally, neither of us could walk, so we said the hell with it."
     Ford also played against Bette Davis in "A Stolen Life."
     One of his best-known roles was in the 1955 "The Blackboard Jungle," where he portrayed a young, soft-spoken teacher in a slum school who inspires a class full of juvenile delinquents to care about life.
     "We did a film together, and it was for me a great experience because I had always admired his work," recalled Poitier. "When I saw him in films I had always marveled at the subtlety of his work.  He was truly gifted."
     In "The Big Heat," 1953, a gritty crime story, Ford played a police detective.
     "Acting is just being truthful," he once said.  "I have to play myself.  I'm not an actor who can take on another character,
like Laurence Olivier.  The worst thing I could do would be to play Shakespeare."
     He was born Gwyllyn Samuel Newton Ford on May 1, 1916, in Quebec, the son of a railroad executive.  The first name reflected his family's Welsh roots.  When Ford joined Columbia, Cohn asked him to change his name to John Gower; Ford refused but switched his first name to Glenn, after his father's birthplace of Glenford.
     He moved to Southern California at 8 and promptly fell in love with show business, even sneaking onto a Culver City studio lot at night.  He took to the stage at Santa Monica High School.  His first professional job was as a searchlight operator in front of a movie house.
     He started his career in theater, as an actor with West Coast stage companies and as Tallulah Bankhead's stage manager in New York.  In 1939, he made his first Hollywood film opposite Jean Rogers in the romance "Heaven With a Barbed Wire Fence."
     His director, Ricardo Cortez, told Ford he would never amount to anything and the actor returned to New York.  He didn't stay away from Hollywood long, though, signing a 14-year contract with Columbia Pictures.
     He married actress-dancer Eleanor Powell in 1943; the two divorced in 1959.  They had a son, Peter.  A 1965 marriage to actress Kathryn Hays ended quickly.  In 1977, he married model Cynthia Hayward, 32 years his junior.  They were divorced in 1984.

Associated Press Writer Christina Almeida contributed to this report.

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