Jeff Kallman's excellent The Easy Ace: A Journal of Classic Radio
is a wonderful place to spend hours on end, rediscovering the Golden Age of Radio
as it's meant to be discovered and celebrated. Article after article
is filled with a wonderful new vignette about Golden Age Radio History.
---The Digital Deli Online.

[I]n his matchless on-this-day approach to chronicling “yesteryear,”
he easily aces out a less organized mind like mine,
which promptly lapsed into a more idiosyncratic mode of relating the past.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

June Allyson, RIP: Occasional Radio

June Allyson, who died 8 July of pulmonary respiratory failure and acute bronchitis, wasn't entirely a stranger to classic radio. Somewhere between making 1944's Music for Millions and 1945's Her Highness and the Bellboy, she joined Reginald Gardiner and Don DeFore in the last show of the short-lived Old Gold Comedy Theater (hosted and directed by silent screen legend Harold Lloyd).

As Janie, she played a telephone operator longing first for and then beyond a handsome local millionaire, in "Tom, Dick, and Harry," aired 6 June 1945. Allyson was exactly as film audiences were becoming accustomed to knowing her: the sweet girl with just enough soft tartness to transcend the temptresses and stand calmly above their pursuers. (You saw how many obituaries saying the GIs ogling Betty Grable's pin-up still wanted to come home to June Allyson?) She seemed bewildered enough on microphone alone at the outset, but she shed her discomfort as the program progressed and became her usual persona with deceptive effortlessness.

Allyson made a few more radio appearances while her film career took off in earnest. Her unusual voice (it has been called cracked and smoky at once, as if her persona had had to be bad to learn how to be good) and knack for unaffected left-field punch lines would have made her a fine radio career if she'd chosen to make one. But owning the near-perfect wife or girl friend franchise on celluloid was her destiny, for a decade, anyway.


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