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, April 29, 2007

There's a Doctor in the House: The Way It Was, 29 April

1940---After five months on NBC's Blue Network, the Irna Phillips creation Young Doctor Malone moves to CBS, sponsored by General Foods' Post cereals and starring future Ethel & Albert co-star Alan Bunce as Jerry Malone, a small-town physician in fictitious Three Oaks.

Young Doctor Malone will change sponsors, from General Foods to Procter & Gamble, in 1945---the fourth Phillips soap to be sponsored by the soap and hygiene products giant since they bought the rights to The Right of Happiness. And, as of 1947, the title role will be played by its best-remembered portrayer, future New York children's television legend Sandy Becker.

The soap will also achieve a kind of milestone in June 1952, when Procter & Gamble begins taping the live CBS broadcasts of Young Doctor Malone and The Brighter Day one day . . . and repeating them on NBC the next.

In between Alan Bunce and Sandy Becker, Jerry Malone will be played by Carl Frank and Charles Irving. Elizabeth Reller and, later, Barbara Weeks will play Malone's first wife, Ann; daughter Jill will be played by Madeleine Pierce, Joan Lazer, and Rosemary Rice; Malone's intrusive mother, by Evelyn Varden and Vera Allen; and, second wife Tracy by Joan Alexander, Jone Allison, and Gertrude Warner.

The heroes of Young Doctor Malone, Big Sister, and Young Widder Brown are doctors, and medical men flit in and out of all other serials. The predominance of doctors may be accounted for by the fact that radio surveys have frequently disclosed that the practise of medicine is at the top of the list of professions popular with the American housewife.

. . . Dr. Jerry Malone, by the way, won my True Christian Martyr Award for 1947 by being tried for murder and confined to a wheelchair at the same time. In March of this year, the poor fellow came full Soapland circle by suffering an attack of amnesia.

---James Thurber, in "Soapland: Ivorytown, Rinsoville, Anacinville, and Crisco Corners," The New Yorker, 1948; republished in The Beast in Me and Other Animals: A New Collection of Pieces and Drawings About Human Beings and Less Alarming Creatures. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1948.)

The show's writers included David Driscoll, Julian Funt, David Leeson, and Charles Sussman---the last of whom also wrote for such Phillips soaps as The Right to Happiness and The Road of Life.


1939: THE CLIFF---Five years after forcing his naive subordinate (Milton C. Herman) over a cliff following a botched job, counterfeiter Mack Weber (Frank Lovejoy) looks about to face a similar fate---at the gunpoint of the subordinate's widow (Betty Winkler), on tonight's edition of Arch Oboler's Plays. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Betty Kane, Curt Conway. Writer/director: Arch Oboler.

1945: "WE MUST TAKE THE GOOD NEWS WITH THE BAD"---A Kamikaze attack on an American hospital ship docked off Guam, killing 29 and wounding 33; unconfirmed dispatches of Hitler's death in Berlin; a Swedish confab regarding reputed surrender offerings and terms by SS chief Heinrich Himmler; and, other flashes, bashes, speculations, and rapid-firing on tonight's edition of The Jergen's Journal with Walter Winchell. (ABC.)


1896---Harry McNaughton (actor/panelist: It's Higgins, Sir; It Pays to be Ignorant), Surbiton, U.K.
1899---Duke Ellington (as Edward Kennedy Ellington; jazz composer/pianist/bandleader: Jubilee; Orson Welles Theatre; The Story of Swing), Washington, D.C.
1903---Richard Leibert (organist: Dick Liebert's Musical Revue; Organ Rhapsody), Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Frank Parker (singer: The A&P Gypsies; The Jack Benny Program; The Frank Parker Show), New York City.
1904---Russ Morgan (bandleader: The Russ Morgan Orchestra), Scranton, Pennsylvania.
1912---Richard Carlson (actor: Lux Radio Theater); Albert Lea, Minnesota; Ian Martin (actor: Young Doctor Malone; Meet Corliss Archer), Glasgow; John McVane (NBC News World War II correspondent), Portland, Maine.
1914---Derek Guyler (actor: It's That Man Again), Wallasey, Merseyside, U.K.
1915---Donald Mills (singer, with the Mills Brothers: The Mills Brothers Show), Piqua, Ohio.
1919---Celeste Holm (actress: The House on Q Street, Great Scenes from Great Plays, Lux Radio Theater), New York City.


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