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, March 18, 2007

Soap or Spirit? The Way It Was, 18 March

1940---Intended as a serial interpretation of Biblical stories, Light of the World premieres on NBC. In due course, however, the show may be remembered as much as a proper soap opera as a Biblical dramatisation.

The image may be inspired in major part by the several soap opera performers who comprise the show's primary cast, beginning with narrator Bret Morrison---whose credits include Arnold Grimm's Daughter and The Guiding Light as well as, in due course, a long enough tenure in the title role of The Shadow. (Morrison, in fairness, will also show roles in standard dramas and even a situation comedy or two on his final resume.)

Light of the World's regular cast also includes Sanford Bickart (Amanda of Honeymoon Hill), Chester Stratton (Amanda of Honeymoon Hill, Big Sister), and Humphrey Davis (Life Can Be Beautiful)---all established soap opera performers in their own right. Not to mention that its many guest performers will include Ma Perkins herself, Virginia Payne.



1941: ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE---Being only Irish on her mother and father's side, "and that goes for them, too," Gracie (Allen) couldn't let a little thing like the annual parade in New York City stop her from window shopping and her other customary mangles and bangles, on a St. Patrick's Day edition of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. (NBC.) Additional cast: Senor Lee, Jimmy Wallington. Music: Artie Shaw and His Orchestra.

1949: GEORGE HAS A COLD---Not to mention a few headaches when Gracie gets Marlene Dietrich mixed up in her inimitable style, on another St. Patrick's Day edition of what's now called Maxwell House Coffee Time with Burns & Allen. (CBS.) Additional cast: Bea Benaderet, Bill Goodwin, Harry Von Zell, Toby Reed. Music: Harry Goodwin Orchestra.


1941: FIBBER GETS HIS DRAFT NOTICE---For the wrong war, yet (which almost figures), on tonight's edition of Fibber McGee & Molly. (NBC.) Cast: Jim and Marian Jordan, Harold Peary, Isabel Randolph, Bill Thompson, Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King's Men. Writer: Don Quinn.

1941: MISS KELLER TO JOIN THE THIMBLE CLUB---At least, Uncle Fletcher (Clarence Hartzell) wonders whether Sade (Bernadine Flynn) will extend her the invitation, on today's edition of Vic and Sade. (NBC.) Additional cast: Bill Idelson. Writer: Paul Rhymer. (Note: This is one of the shows in which Clarence Hartzell served as the main adult male lead, with Art Van Harvey [Vic] recuperating from a heart attack.)



1901---Alfred Newman (composer/conductor: Hollywood Star Time, Radio Hall of Fame, Silver Theatre), New Haven, Connecticut.
1902---Jimmy Grier (bandleader: Woodbury Soap Show), Pittsburgh.
1906---Michael O'Shea (actor: Textron Theatre, Radio Reader's Digest, Philip Morris Playhouse), Hartford, Connecticut.
1910---Molly Weir (actress: It's That Man Again, Life with the Lyons), Glasgow, Scotland.
1915---Joel Cranston (actor: Fort Laramie, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, Escape), Iowa.
1916---Karl Weber (actor: When a Girl Marries, Dr. Six Gun), Columbus Junction, Iowa.
1917---Nat King Cole (as Nathaniel Adams Coles; singer/pianist: King Cole Trio Time), Montgomery, Alabama.


1886---Edward Everett Horton (actor/host: Shell Chateau, Kraft Music Hall), Brooklyn.
1893---George Olsen (bandleader: Royal Gelatin Revue), Portland, Oregon.
1905---Robert Donat (actor: Justice, Monte Carlo, Reader of Poetry, U.S. Steel Hour), Manchester, U.K.
1911---Smiley Burnette (comedian: The Smiley Burnette Show, Hollywood Hotel), Summum, Illinois; Audrey Marsh (actress: Harve and Esther), New York City.
1912---Art Gilmore (announcer: Amos 'n' Andy, Dr. Christian), Tacoma, Washington.
1914---Ben Gage (actor: Modern Cinderella), Chicago.
1916---Jody Gilbert (actress: Life with Luigi), Fort Worth, Texas.
1926---Peter Graves (actor: Arthur Hopkins Presents), Minneapolis.


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