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.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Signal, a Warble, and a Squeak: The Way It Was, 7 January

1904---The Marconi Company proposes an international radio distress signal, CQD---it was written to mean "stop sending and listen" but often taken to mean "come, quick! danger!" The proposal turned to active use a month later. A year later, it was succeeded . . . by SOS.

1939: RED DEBUT---Cantankerous stage and film comedian Red Skelton---a fixture in MGM film comedies who had made periodic appearances on various radio shows such as Rudy Vallee's---debuts as a radio regular on NBC's variety show, Avalon Time. Within two years, Skelton would become a radio host in his own right.

1940---Gene Autry's Melody Ranch debuts on CBS and becomes a fixture for sixteen years. The same day, a half hour of jazz clarinetist and bandleader Woody Herman's set at the Famous Door---his band known at the time as The Band That Plays The Blues---is broadcast over NBC.

1941---The Squeaky Door debuts on the Blue Network. You know the show better as The Inner Sanctum (or The Inner Sanctum Mysteries).

1951: HEAVY HITTERS---Screen legends Marlene Dietrich and Edward G. Robinson join a cast of host Tallulah Bankhead plus Fred Allen, Phil Baker, Portland Hoffa, and Danny Thomas, on tonight's edition of The Big Show (NBC).


Blogger The Great Gildersleeve said...

As I still get caught up on things, I can never decide if the story is true or just a myth...that the sound effect door which was used for the programme was once spoilt because someone actually oiled it to stop it squeeking :-)

5:32 PM  
Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

Gildy---I don't know the actual cause, but it is true that the door intended originally to produce that brain-bending squeak didn't squeak at all. When the show's mastermind Hiram Brown sat in an adjacent chair and turned in the chair, out came that infamous squeak . . . and thus came the prop for the door.

It was that chair, not a door, that an unnamed and innocent staffer inadvertently oiled one day, forcing the show's sound man to mimic the infamous protracted squeak vocally for one episode.

One of The Inner Sanctum's biggest fans, according to radio historian Gerald Nachman, was Stephen King. Today's high priest of horror told Nachman (for Raised on Radio) of his response when the infamous door became visible when the show came to television: And, visible, it was certainly horrible enough---slightly askew, festooned with cobwebs---but it was something of a relif, just the same. Nothing could have looked as horrible as that door sounded . . .


6:15 PM  

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