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Quiz 8 – Joan Banks

November 22, 2013

Joan Banks with her husband, Frank Lovejoy

If you've just checked our blog, we're playing a game on our Facebook “Media Heritage, Inc.” and “Big Broadcast” pages. If you'd like to play, “like” one or both of those Facebook pages and on Mondays, we'll post a photo of an old radio “second banana”…a secondary or character actor from the 1930s through '50s. You'll be instructed to email a guess as to the identity to our email and from the correct answers, we'll pick a winner for a prize each week on Wednesday night! Then check back here at the blog, later in the week, for the answer.

Fans of the classic early-1950s radio drama Nightbeat know the lead character, Randy Stone, was played by actor Frank Lovejoy. However, fans might not know that the actress who often played the femme fatale on Nightbeat, Joan Banks, was Lovejoy's real-life wife. Joan Banks was born in West Virginia in 1918 and found her way onto radio playing a variety of roles in the late 1930s. Around 1938 Banks started to find regular work on radio's Gangbusters program, where she met Lovejoy who was also working on the show. The two married in 1940 and had two children. Lovejoy appeared on several crime dramas including This Is Your FBI and Blue Beetle and Banks found work on Suspense and other CBS shows. On Nightbeat, Banks often played a range of female leads, usually at arms-length-distance from Lovejoy's Randy Stone. Both Banks and Lovejoy also found work in film and on early television, often as “second bananas,” with Banks appearing on several episodes of Perry Mason. In the early 1960s, Banks and Lovejoy started appearing together on stage and it was between performances of the play The Best Man in 1962 in New Jersey that Lovejoy suffered a fatal heart attack. After her husband's death, Banks largely retired from acting. However, her love of radio must have stayed in her heart because she was one of the first performers to sign up with Himan Brown for his innovative CBS Radio Mystery Theater program. Between 1974 and 1980, Banks appeared in 33 episodes of the iconic program. Joan Banks passed away in 1998. (Photo: Joan Banks and Frank Lovejoy)