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.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Founding Father: The Way It Was, 9 April

1897---He is born in Norwich, England, but it will be in New York where he leaves his radio legacy: he will become an engineer at WOR who is given announcing chores as well, until host Bernarr MacFadden---publisher and "physical culturist," who has created the first known wake-up radio show in New York---calls in ill one day in 1925 and, apparently, gives the station a convenient reason to sever ties with MacFadden's difficult enough self ("few people in any field of endeavor," the historian Elizabeth McLeod will write, "were able to get get along with MacFadden for any length of time, it would seem").

Thus he takes over the show and turns it into his own version of the original exercise (in part, the show is kind of the Jack La Lanne Show of the old-time radio generation), music, and patter program. His style is modesty, enthusiasm, and morning pleasantry, including the first known announcements of school closings due to inclement or dangerous weather in the New York metropolitan area.

But he also hosts an afternoon exercise that moves to become his own morning lead-in by the 1940s, and it's the afternoon show's title that soon enough applies to the entire morning exercise. And he will continue hosting the show (the exercise segments are long gone) until his retirement in 1959, when his almost-namesake son---a production engineer who also hosts a show, Music From Studio X---takes over the program and continues it until 1991.

He is John B. Gambling, and his transgenerational creation (his son John A. will ride it to induction into the Radio Hall of Fame and his grandson John R. will be fated with the guillotine when WOR at long enough last decides to dump its morning mainstay in 2000) is Rambling With Gambling.


1946: BRENDA AND COBINA---Live from the Pasadena Community Playhouse, Brenda and Cobina (actually Blanche Stewart and Elvia Allman) want to act in Bob (Hope)'s new play---provided he can convince a cantankerous playhouse producer (Jerry Colonna) to put it on in the first place, on tonight's edition of The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Frances Langford, Trudy Erwin. Music: Skinnay Ennis and His Orchestra.

1949: WHEN THE MAN COMES, FOLLOW HIM---Adapted from the Ralph Bates short story in which three men won't let anyone obstruct their claim to a lost treasure, not even the right hand man (Paul Duval) of a blind racketeer (Herbert Butterfield), on tonight's edition of Escape. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Harry Bartell, Jeff Corey, Barney Phillips, Julius Mathews. Writers: Les Crutchfield, John Dunkel.


1899---Efrem Zimbalist, Sr. (violinist: The Magic Key, Lux Radio Theater), Rostov-on-Don, Russia.
1892---Mary Pickford (actress/hostess: Mary Pickford Dramas, Parties at Pickfair), Toronto, Ontario.
1898---Paul Robeson (singer/actor: The Pursuit of Happiness), Princeton, New Jersey.
1900---Allen Jenkins (actor: Old Gold Comedy Theater, Hollywood Hotel, Lux Radio Theater), New York City.
1903---Ward Bond (actor: Screen Director's Playhouse), Denver.
1906---Antal Dorati (conductor: The CBS Symphony Orchestra), Budapest.
1911---Jim Bannon (announcer/narrator: The Joe Penner Show, The Eddie Bracken Show), Kansas City.
1920---Art Van Damme (jazz accordionist: The Dave Garroway Show), Norway, Michigan.
1921---Frankie Thomas (actor: Tom Corbett, Space Cadet), New York City.

With apologies for a technical problem that prevented earlier posting of this entry . . . a brief absence of online connection. The date and time you see for the posting is the date and time it was intended for posting.--JK.


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