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.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Couple With No Name: The Way It Was, 10 February

1958: THE COUPLE WITH NO NAME---A not so old but somehow familiar if unnamed couple is puzzled by a telephone call asking her (Peg Lynch) how much they're asking for their home, which isn't for sale, in spite of his (Alan Bunce) reminding her they've often speculated idly on the prospect of a future sale, on today's episode of The Couple Next Door. (CBS.)

If it sounds like an Ethel and Albert update or remodel, don't let that throw you. That's precisely what it is. Peg Lynch, the writer-creator of the original, had lost the rights to the original name, long before launching this version two months earlier. What she didn't lose was her facility for fashioning quiet, insinuating humour.

It may not quite live up to Ethel and Albert, but not many could when all was said and done. But The Couple Next Door is still, in its own way, the kind of lightheartedly clever domestic comedy that shares with its predecessor a shunning of character stereotype, insult, running gag, or absurdist plot.

But it arrives as the so-called old-time radio era is about three quarters of the way toward home. The Couple Next Door will end production as of the 25 November 1960 episode.


1938: MYSTERY IN THE HOTEL---The Man With the Yellow Face has threatened a prominent Egyptologist, and Tracy (Matt Crowley) has retrieved a mysterious code---but now he has to pull a friend out of the ocean fast, on today's episode of The Adventures of Dick Tracy. (NBC Blue Network.)


1893---Jimmy Durante (comedian/singer/pianist: The Jimmy Durante Show, The Big Show), New York City.
1910---James Monk (actor: Mr. Moto), unknown.
1922---Neva Patterson (actress: Cavalcade of America), Nevada, Iowa.
1929---Jerry Goldsmith (composer/conductor: Frontier Gentleman, Romance), Los Angeles.


Blogger Harry "broadcastellan" Heuser said...

This reminded me of what Lynch said during the 2000 FOTR convention in Newark (and I had to dig up my tape recording of her talk to refresh my memory). She said she was encouraged to write for radio after listening to Easy Aces, which she referred to as "really dumb stuff."

1:30 PM  
Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

I wonder if we shouldn't allow a little for the erosions that time often imposes upon the senses and sensibilities. Easy Aces is no more "really dumb stuff" than Ethel and Albert was---unless, of course, what Peg Lynch sought was to create the Aces' kind of low-keyed urbane humour without the malaprops. (And, concurrently, without Goodman Ace's way of language play.)

Which, of course, she did. I'd always thought of Ethel and Albert/The Couple Next Door as Easy Aces without a strangled-eggs female lead. I'm sure there are probably Easy Aces fans who think of Ethel and Albert/The Couple Next Door as really dumb stuff, too, for reasons entirely their own. But that makes me ponder that I'm not entirely certain I'd be comfortable asking either's fans what they think of Lum & Abner, which isn't exactly really dumb stuff but is (if you think about it) a kind of rural, far more leisurely Aces/Arbuckles exercise minus the marital aspects.

I enjoy all three of them.

1:43 PM  

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