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Cafe Istanbul

Cafe Istanbul is an old-time radio foreign intrigue and adventure program in the United States. It was broadcast on ABC January 6, 1952 - December 28, 1952.[1]

Cafe Istanbul
Marlene Dietrich in Morocco trailer 3.jpg
Marlene Dietrich
GenreForeign intrigue/adventure
Country of originUnited States
SyndicatesAmerican Broadcasting Company
StarringMarlene Dietrich
Ken Lynch
Arnold Moss
Directed byMarx Leebe
Produced byLeonard Blair
Original releaseJanuary 6, 1952 (1952-01-06) – December 28, 1952 (1952-12-28)


Mademoiselle Madou was the singer in Cafe Istanbul, a cabaret located somewhere in the Far East. Patrons of the cafe included "spies, criminals and the Secret Police," and Madou became involved with some of them in each episode.[2]

Jack O'Brian, a reviewer for International News Service, wrote in his radio-television column that the program, "which fills the air with a flavor mixed generously of throaty innuendo, sinister and exotic citizens of foreign extraction, is a fairly unbelievable mishmash but we have no complaints much on that score."[3] He concluded that it was an "earful of sultry fun."[3]


Marlene Dietrich played Mademoiselle Madou, a role that was "created specifically for" her.[4] Dietrich was apparently the power behind the show. In the book Dietrich Icon, Gerd Gemünden and Mary R. Desjardins wrote, "A radio executive told Colliers:'The radio show is her package. She got the idea for it — based on the role she played in The Blue Angel — and she hires the actors and writers with her own money."[5] They also cited an article in Time that described Dietrich as sitting up until 3 a.m. "pecking out 17 pages of script revisions for the first show."[5]

Ken Lynch played Christopher Gard, "an American young man of mysterious connections, who holds a unique place in the affections of Mlle. Madou".[6] Arnold Moss played police Colonel Raul Felki, who didn't know "whether to make love to Madou or throw her in jail."[6] Marx Leebe was the director, and Leonard Blair was the producer. Bernard Green provided the music.[6]


  1. ^ Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Pp. 130-131.
  2. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. Pp. 57-58.
  3. ^ a b O'Brian, Jack (January 26, 1952). "Along The Radio-TV Bands". The Daily Times. Ohio, New Philadelphia. International News Service. p. 7. Retrieved January 28, 2017 – via  
  4. ^ Reinehr, Robert C.; Swartz, Jon D. (2010). The A to Z of Old Time Radio. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 51. ISBN 9780810876163. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  5. ^ a b Gemünden, Gerd; Desjardins, Mary R. (2009). Dietrich Icon. Duke University Press. pp. 91–94. ISBN 0822389673. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "La Dietrich's 'Cafe Istanbul' On Air Sundays". Denton Record-Chronicle. Texas, Denton. January 6, 1952. p. 18. Retrieved January 28, 2017 – via