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.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Oklahoma On the Air: The Way it Was, 16 March

1922---The Oklahoma Radio Shop's station 5XT becomes licensed officially as WKY and hits the air . . . well, walking, at first: the station will begin with a schedule of broadcasting weekdays from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. and from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., with Sunday airtimes at 3-4 p.m. and 7:30-9:30 p.m., and a kind of "silent night" policy, beginning the coming november, of airing only four and then three nights a week, reputedly to let listeners tune in to stations from neighbouring states.

The apparent problem: the original owners struggling to keep the station financed, until they begin selling shares in WKY to Oklahoma City radio dealers and, in due course, selling the station to the publishers of the Daily Oklahoman---opening its way toward becoming a full-fledged NBC affiliate by December 1928, dividing programming between local and network.

In due course, a number of prominent broadcast figures will make their broadcasting debuts over WKY, including a singer named Mike Douglas and a reporter named Frank McGee. And WKY---whom Oklahoma Publishing Company will sell to Citadel Communications in 2003---will pass through several formats before settling on a news and talk format in the first decade of the 21st Century, remaining Oklahoma's oldest known radio station.


1947: "A YOUNG VOCALIST FROM WASHINGTON BY WAY OF MISSOURI"---That, of course, would be First Daughter Margaret Truman, making her professional radio debut in a vocal performance with the Detroit Symphony. Her musical abilities become a matter of opinion (and, in the case of one critic, a rather vulgar rejoinder from her father, the President), at minimum. But, in time, Miss Truman will become at least a pleasant comedic presence, with a surprisingly acute sense of timing, as a frequent enough guest of Tallulah Bankhead and company on NBC's The Big Show.


1947: ISLAND OF WOMEN---A ship's steward (Rodney Jacobs) and the woman who broke their engagement (Wendy Clayfair) end up stranded following a shipwreck---and discover how alone they aren't, on tonight's edition of The Clock. (ABC.) The Clock: Hart McGuire. Additional cast: Muriel Steinbeck, Diana Davidson, Georgie Sterling, Pat Martin.

1948: JOE MATTUCK ENTRY---An otherwise robust truck driver (Frank Albertson) too anxious for his independence finds destruction at the end of a path from a hitchhiking girl (Gloria Blondell) to a traffic light stop, a stranger with a black overnight bag (Herbert Litton), and a fire escape battle, on tonight's edition of Diary of Fate. (Syndicated.) Additional cast: Jerry Hausner, Ray Irwinborn, Ivan Dittmar, Hal Sawyer, Writer/director/producer: Larry Finley.

1949: THE BULLY---Archie (Ed Gardner) picks the wrong night to brag (falsely) about clobbering a pack of rowdies the night before---he's quaking before an impatient tough (Sheldon Leonard) who couldn't get a drink while he was busy bragging . . . and seems only too willing to knock him into the middle of next month, on tonight's edition of Duffy's Tavern. (NBC.) Additional cast: Eddie Green, Sandra Gould, Charles Cantor. Writers: Ed Gardner, Bill Manhoff, Bob Schiller.


1892---James Petrillo (union leader: American Federation of Musicians), Chicago.
1893---Isobel Elson (actress: Young Doctor Malone), Cambridge, U.K.
1894---Elizabeth Lennox (singer: Lucky Strike Dance Orchestra), Ionia, Michigan.
1897---Conrad Nagel (actor: Silver Theater, Passing Parade), Keokuk, Iowa.
1901---Edward Pawly (actor: Big Town), unknown.
1906---Henny Youngman (as Henry Youngman; comedian: The Kate Smith Hour, Radio Hall of Fame, The Big Show), Liverpool.
1916---Mercedes McCambridge (actress: I Love a Mystery, Defence Attorney), Joliet, Illinois; Walter Reed (actor: Lux Radio Theater), Bainbridge Island, Washington.
1920---Leo McKern (actor: Rumpole of the Bailey), Sydney, Australia.
1926---Jerry Lewis (as Joseph Levitch; comedian: The Martin & Lewis Show, The Big Show), Newark, New Jersey.
1927---Olga San Juan (actress: The Frank Morgan Show, G.I. Journal, Lux Radio Theater), Brooklyn.
1927---Dick Beals (actor: The Lone Ranger), Detroit.
1931---Betty Johnson (singer: Arthur Godfrey Time), Guilford County, North Carolina.