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.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The South Goes Chime Time: The Way It Was, 15 March

1922---Today the South hits the air for the first time, so far as is known, when Atlanta's WSB signs on formally. It realises the dream of Atlanta Journal publisher John S. Cohen, who was convinced by former Navy wireless operator Walter Tison to build a commercial station and ordered equipment post haste---all aimed at beating the rival Atlanta Constitution to the on-the-air punch among Atlanta newspapers.

Just over a week later, country musician Fiddlin John Carson is believed to be the first musician to perform live on WSB. The station will seem to make a specialty of country, gospel, and (ahem) "serious" music in its first decade.

It will also seem to lay claim to originating perhaps the most famous identification tones in radio history. A pair of twin sisters, Nell and Kate Pendley, appear at the station with a set of dinner chimes to sign off each WSB program: the first three notes of "Over There." There will be those radio lovers, in due course, who will swear the Pendley tones at least inspired a certain three-note chime, soon enough, to become immortal as the calling card of a certain national radio network* to which WSB just so happens to be affiliated . . .

The original Pendley Twins four-block dinner chime and its mallet, by the way, will remain on display in the WSB studios, after their final use, into the 21st Century.

* - Extra credit, students, if you can identify the voice of the certain Southern-born stage diva making the station identification . . . and the chorus singing the network call letters prior to the chimes. Hint: Almost invariably, she would pause for station identification, during her short-lived but memorably arrayed Sunday night variety, by saying herself (when her announcer didn't invite her to so do) that it was "time to ring my chimes" . . .


1937: DESIRE---Automobile engineer Tom Bradley (Herbert Marshall, recreating Gary Cooper's film role) is used to smuggle the jewels stolen by a thief (Marlene Dietrich, reprising her film role) with whom he can't help falling in love, on tonight's edition of Lux Radio Theater. (CBS.) Additional cast: Otto Krueger, Zeffie Tillbury. Adapted from the screenplay by Edwin J. Mayer, Waldemar Young, and Samuel Hoffenstein, based on the play by Hans Szekely and R.A. Stemmle. Host/producer: Cecil B. DeMille. (Note: Dietrich and Marshall, according to DeMille, had pushed the start of shooting for their film Angel back a day in order to perform on Lux Radio Theater.)

1942: TEN BEST DRESSED---To which list Gildersleeve (Harold Peary) aspires after he's picked to compete with nine other men for Summerfield's representative in a Ten Best Dressed in America competition, on tonight's edition of The Great Gildersleeve. (NBC.) Additional cast: Walter Tetley, Earle Ross, Lillian Randolph, Lurene Tuttle, Richard Legrand. Writers: Sam Moore, John Whedon.

1947: ADVICE TO THE LOVELORN COLUMN---Riley (William Bendix) throws Babs' (Sharon Douglas) boyfriend Simon out of the house---again. Peg (Paula Winslowe) argues that he's wrong and overreacting---as usual. And a frustrated Riley seeks helpful advice from a newspaper advice columnist(what a revoltin' development that is), on tonight's edition of The Life of Riley. (NBC.) Additional cast: Scotty Beckett, John Brown. Writers: Irving Breecher, Alan Lipscott.


1877---Montague Love (actor: Screen Guild Theatre, Suspense), Portsmouth, U.K.
1904---George Brent (actor: Leave It to the Girls, Lux Radio Theater; moderator: Doctor Fights), Dublin; J. Pat O'Malley (actor: Cavalcade of America, Lux Radio Theater), Lancastershire, U.K.
1910---Nick Stewart (actor: Hollywood Newsreel of the Air), New York City.
1913---Macdonald Carey (actor: Just Plain Bill, Woman in White), Sioux City, Iowa.
1915---David Schoenbrun (reporter/commentator: CBS World News Tonight, CBS News Paris), New York City.
1916---Harry James (trumpeter, Benny Goodman Orchestra: Let's Dance; bandleader: Spotlight Bands, Call for Music, The Danny Kaye Show), Albany, Georgia.
1917---Carl Smith (singer: Grand Ole Opry), Maynardville, Tennessee.
1919---Lawrence Tierney (actor: Lux Radio Theater), Brooklyn.


Blogger Ivan G. said...

That would be none other than "the glamorous, the unpredictable Tallulah Bankhead"!

"May the Good Lord bless and keep you..."

5:34 PM  
Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

It ain't the Story Lady, kiddo! ;)

11:06 PM  

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