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 01, 2007

Tell 'Em Groucho Sent You: The Way It Was, 1 March

1950: THE SECRET WORD IS "DOOR"---A bachelor and a spinster ("chosen by our studio audience," which tells you something about audiences as matchmakers), a butler and a housewife, and a French consulate mademoiselle and a sightseeing bus driver, take a whack at Groucho Marx, who whacks back in his customary fashion, one week after another earlier couple landed $3,500, on tonight's edition of You Bet Your Life.

Surely you didn't need me to remind you that at least three-quarters of the point of the game was to meet, greet, and get schpritzed by Groucho Marx, with the game itself (pretty simple, as quiz shows went, in terms of questioning and prize money) practically an afterthought. But it's still fun to hear Groucho's mostly affectionate roasting of his guests (and his announcer, George Fenneman), not to mention his announcement at the show's end regarding an honour the show had just won.

And, to ponder what might have been if it's true that Groucho himself once told Fred Allen (his only equal as a comic ad-libber in that time and place) what might have been if the latter had gotten to do You Bet Your Life on television, as Groucho did in due course . . .


1932: "RADIO'S DISTINCTIVE LAUGH NOVELTY"---That serial comedy of manners and malaprops that lent this blog its name among other things, Easy Aces, goes network after two years as a Kansas City, Missouri offering: the show appears for the first time on CBS, based at first in Chicago and sponsored by Lavoris.

The mouthwash will sponsor the show---which stars creator/writer Goodman Ace as a harried realtor, Jane Ace as his wife and malaproprietress, Mary Hunter as live-in best friend (and human laugh track) Marge Hale, and Paul Stewart as ne'er-do-well brother-in-law Johnny---until October 1933, when the show will move to New York pick up a new sponsor, American Home Products---who make a new aspirin known as Anacin.

In due course, Goodman Ace will tell an interviewer Lavoris dropped the show when its radio representative complained about a broadcast starting late---the representative's own clock was a minute or two ahead of the time kept by the station clock.

1941: FREQUENCY MODULATION---W47NV in Nashville is the first radio station in the United States to receive a licence for commercial operation. It transmits at 44.7 MHz. The station will leave the air in 1951.


1942: NO OSCAR FOR JACK---He actually thought he'd win the Academy Award for Best Actor (for Charley's Aunt---in which he played a dual character/dual gender role), a source of mirth for Mary (Livingstone), Don (Wilson), and Dennis (Day)---until Jack (Benny) saunters back from a shopping jaunt in an unexpectedly great mood ("They didn't know whether to name me Best Actor or Best Actress"), on tonight's edition of The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny. (NBC.) Additional cast: Eddie Anderson, Phil Harris, Peter Lind Hayes. Writers: Milt Josefsberg, Sam Perrin.

1944: HANK GUTSTOP THROWS A PARTY---Vic (Art Van Harvey) comes home in an oddly cheerful mood before dining at a downtown hotel, Russell (David Whitehouse, standing in for Bill Idelson who'd been drafted into World War II) swaps cheerful back-fence barbs with nemesis Heinie Call and Vic, and Sade (Bernadine Flynn) finally pries the reason for Vic's good mood her jaunty husband, on today's edition of Vic & Sade. (NBC.) Writer/director: Paul Rhymer.


1885---Lionel Atwill (singer: The Eveready Hour, old-time radio's first known variety show), Croydon, U.K.
1904---Glenn Miller (as Alton Glenn Miller; trombonist/bandleader, The Chesterfield Show, USO Matinee), Clarinda, Iowa.
1910---David Niven (actor: NBC Radio Theatre, Lux Radio Theater), Kirriemuir, Scotland.
1915---Cy Harrice (announcer: The Big Story, Cavalcade America), Chicago.
1916---Dinah Shore (singer: The Eddie Cantor Show; singer/hostess: The Dinah Shore Show, Command Performance), Winchester, Tennessee.


Blogger Andrew Godfrey said...

Great website!! It is the best old time radio journal on the internet and is updated often. Like the way you tell about a show then provide link to that show.

No doubt about it that Groucho was best ad libber ever but Fred Allen would be a close second. The old time radio version of Your Bet Your Life is just as good if not better than the TV version.

I write about old time radio from time to time at my blog: but the main focus is baseball with maybe some comments on blues and jazz singers sometimes.

Thanks for putting together such a great site.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

Andrew---Thank you for both your kind comment here and the one you offered on your own pleasant blog. (As it happens, I also write about baseball here.) I can now proclaim you, my fellow blues and jazz lover, as reader number ten!---Jeff

12:23 PM  
Blogger Andrew Godfrey said...

Just left a post at Old Time Radio Digest telling how great an OTR blog you have. Didn't think it was possible to do a daily OTR blog because OTR more or less died in 1962 but the way you have it set up you have something new and interesting everyday.

6:24 PM  

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