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.
---broadcastellan.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Death of a Patriarch: The Way It Was, 21-26 May

26 MAY 1993---The man who sought respite from his ordinarily megahigh old-time radio dramas by creating the most popular radio serial ever to originate from San Francisco, in storyline and in broadcast origin, dies today at age 91.

Chronicling the affluent and mostly upright Barbours of San Francisco, Carleton Morse's One Man's Family was born in 1932 at NBC's Sutter Street studios in the Bay City and broke a radio soap pattern, airing weekly until 1950 and then converting to a daily fifteen-minute serial format.

Louisiana-born Morse was already the number one radio dramatist on the West Coast---his creations included The Witch of Endor, The City of the Dead, Captain Post, Crime Specialist, The Game Called Murder, Dead Men Prowl, and a quartet of programs based on San Francisco police files. Then, he tired of the murder and mayhem and developed a simple but effective family drama.

After the First World War, there was a beginning of a deterioration of the family, of parent-child relationships. I had been brought up with very strict, conventional home life, and it rather appalled me to see what was going on.

---Carleton Morse, to an interviewer.

Written mostly by Morse, with One Man's Family co-star Michael Raffetto (Paul Barbour) and Harlan Ware later in the show's run, One Man's Family in due course earned the ultimate compliment, when mad-lib comedians Bob & Ray developed a running satire of the soap known as "One Fella's Family," right down to satirising the show's trademark episode introductions ("Book See El See, Chapter Vee Eye Ex Eye Eye Ex Vee").

Morse---who once bound his One Man's Family scripts into leatherback bindings---also created another rather enduring old-time radio drama. Perhaps you've heard of that one, too: I Love a Mystery.

CHANNEL SURFING . . .

21 MAY

1950: THE RARE BLACK ORCHID---It's what Conklin (Gale Gordon) wants Connie (Eve Arden) to protect as a surprise for his wife (Paula Winslowe)---which probably seems akin to asking a mongoose to protect a cobra so far as Conklin's concerned, on tonight's edition of Our Miss Brooks. (CBS.)

Mrs. Davis: Jane Morgan. Boynton: Jeff Chandler. Walter: Richard Crenna. Harriet: Gloria McMillan. Stretch: Leonard Smith. Writer: Al Lewis.

1950: DRIVER'S LICENCE RENEWAL---Bad enough: Alice (Faye) plowing a police car while trying to back hers in, en route taking her first driver's licence exam. Worse: Phil (Harris) learning the hard way he can't renew his own licence on his actual or alleged fame and charm alone, on tonight's edition of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show. (NBC.)

Remley: Elliott Lewis. Julius: Walter Tetley. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: Ray Singer, Dick Chevillat.

22 MAY

1932: THE OCEAN CRUISE---In which our intrepid scramblers of law and disorder find themselves stowing away aboard a cruise ship, tucked aboard a lifeboat, stuck for an idea for getting ashore without getting bastinadoes by ship officers, and don't ask what the hell they were doing on board in the first place, on tonight's edition of Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, Attorneys at Law. (NBC Blue.)

Waldorf T. Flywheel: Groucho Marx. Emmanuel Ravelli: Chico Marx. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: Nat Perrin, Arthur Sheekman, George Oppenheimer and Tom McKnight.

1949: DEATH IS NO JOKE---An invitation to a country home from its owner's correspondent sounds harmless and simple to Holliday (Alan Ladd) . . . until he misses death by a hair when his brakes are cut, on tonight's edition of Box 13. (Mutual.)

Suzy: Sylvia Packer. Kling: Edmund MacDonald. Additional cast: Possibly Alan Reed, Frank Lovejoy, Luis van Rooten, Lurene Tuttle. Writer: Russell Hughes.

23 MAY

1943: FRED'S BIOGRAPHY---That's what George Jessel would like to try filming, assuming they can avoid complications, after the Alley demimonde mulls National Poetry Week, on tonight's edition of Texaco Star Theater Starring Fred Allen. (CBS.)

Co-stars: Portland Hoffa, Jimmy Wallington. John Doe: John Brown. Mrs. Nussbaum: Minerva Pious. Socrates Mulligan: Charles Cantor. Falstaff Openshaw: Alan Reed. Music: Al Goodman and His Orchestra, Hi-Lo Jack and the Dame.

1960: SPEAKING OF ONE FELLA'S FAMILY . . . --- . . . today's episode is "The Figure Problem," from Book Ex, Chapter Ex Ex, Page Two, where the family's standing by the radio ready to commence . . . their contribution to today's quiet mayhem on Bob & Ray Present the CBS Radio Network. (If you gotta ask, we're not doing it right.)

Writers: Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding.

24 MAY

1950: BOXING OR MEDICINE?---Hall (Ronald Colman) astonishes Victoria (Benita Hume Colman) when he favours a medical student with good hands in the gloves as well pursing professional boxing, the better to finance his eventual medical career, on tonight's edition of The Halls of Ivy. (NBC.)

Merriweather: Willard Waterman. Wellman: Herb Butterfield. Additional cast: Unknown. Writer: Don Quinn.

25 MAY

1943: SORRY, WRONG NUMBER---The original old-time radio drama, in which a bedridden wife (Agnes Moorehead) whose husband is missing panicks when she overhears a murder plot on the telephone . . . and can't convince anyone else she heard it, on tonight's edition of Suspense. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Unknown. Writer: Lucille Fletcher.

1949: ED WYNN NARRATES ARCHIE'S OPERA---And it's even money who'll be less the same, the veteran comedian or opera, on tonight's edition of Duffy's Tavern. (NBC.)

Archie: Ed Gardner. Eddie: Eddie Green. Finnegan: Charles Cantor. Miss Duffy: Possibly Sandra Gould. Writers: Ed Gardner, possibly Larry Rhine, possibly Bob Schindler.

26 MAY

1937: UNTIL DEAD---The night before final summations to the jury, an accused wife killer asks his attorney to get him a knife---to use against the man he claims committed the crime, on tonight's edition of Lights Out. (NBC.)

Cast: Unknown. Writer: Arch Oboler.

PREMIERING TODAY . . .

21 MAY

1901---Horace Heidt (bandleader: Horace Heidt Brigadiers; Pot o' Gold; Treasure Chest), Alameda, California.
1904---Robert Montgomery (actor: Doctor Fights; Suspense; This is War); Fats Waller (as Thomas Waller; pianist/composer: Columbia Variety Hour; Saturday Night Swing Club), New York City.
1912---Lucille Manners (vocalist: The Cities Service Concert), Newark.
1915---Cathleen Cordell (actress: The Second Mrs. Burton; Valiant Lady), Brooklyn.
1917---Raymond Burr (actor: Fort Laramie; Dragnet), New Westminster, British Columbia; Dennis Day (singer/comedian: The Jack Benny Program; A Day in the Life of Dennis Day), Bronx, New York.
1918---Jeanne Bates (actress: One Man's Family; Gunsmoke), Berkeley, California.
1923---Rick Jason (actor: Sears Radio Theatre), New York City.

22 MAY

1879---Alla Nazimova (actress: I'm an American; Toward the Century of the Common Man), Yalta.
1891---Parks Johnson (host/interviewer: Vox Pox), Sheffield, Alabama.
1903---Ward Wilson (actor/announcer: The Aldrich Family; The Phil Baker Show), Trenton, New Jersey.
1906---Harry Ritz (comedian, with the Ritz Brothers: Hollywood Hotel), Newark.
1907---Lord Laurence Olivier (actor: Biography in Sound; Document A/777>; Hour of Mystery), Dorking, U.K.
1910---Johnny Olsen (announcer: Ladies, Be Seated; Get Rich Quick; host: Second Chance), Windom, Minnesota.
1934---Peter Nero (pianist: Voices of Vista), New York City.
1938---Susan Strasberg (actress: The Marriage), New York City.

23 MAY

1882---James Gleason (actor: Jimmy Gleason's Diner), New York City.
1883---Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (actor/commentator: KHJ Los Angeles 1921), Denver.
1890---Herbert Marshall (actor: The Man Called X; Lux Radio Theater; Old Gold Comedy Theater), London.
1898---Frank McHugh (actor: Phone Again Finnegan), Homestead, Pennsylvania.
1910---Scatman Crothers (as Benjamin Crothers; jazz singer/comedian, early radio), Terre Haute, Indiana; Artie Shaw (as Arthur Arshawsky; clarinetist/bandleader: Melody and Madness; The Burns & Allen Show), New York City.
1912---Marius Goring (actor: The Scarlet Pimpernel), Newport, Isle of Wight; John Payne (actor: Hollywood Star Preview; Lux Radio Theater), Roanoke, Virginia.
1919---Betty Garrett (actress/singer: Savings Bond Show; Guest Star; Showtime), St. Joseph, Missouri.
1921---Helen O'Connell (singer, with Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra: Kraft Music Hall; The Fitch Bandwagon), Lima, Ohio.
1928---Rosemary Clooney (singer: The Rosemary Clooney Show), Maysville, Kentucky.

24 MAY

1878---Harry Emerson Fosdick (preacher: National Vespers), Buffalo, New York.
1883---Elsa Maxwell (socialite/pitchwoman: Suspense; Texaco Star Theater), Keokuk, Iowa.
1902---Wilbur Hatch (bandleader/conductor: Screen Guild Theater; Gateway to Hollywood; My Favourite Husband; Our Miss Brooks), Mokena, Illinois.
1907---Bill Bouchey (actor: Captain Midnight), Michigan.
1909---Howard Snyder (writer: The Jack Benny Program; Lum & Abner; That's My Pop), unknown.
1911---Lilli Palmer (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Posen, Germany.
1912---Rachel Carley (singer: Manhattan Merry-Go-Round), Brussels.
1916---Tony Barrett (actor: This Life is Mine; Pepper Young's Family), New York City.
1924---Theodore Bikel (singer/actor: Eternal Light; The CBS Radio Mystery Theater), Vienna.
1932---Elaine Malbin (singer: Serenade to America; Saturday Night with Elaine Malbin), New York City.

25 MAY

1892---Bennett Cerf (narrator: Biography in Sound), New York City.
1907---Barbara Luddy (actress: The Road of Life; The Woman in White), Helena, Montana.
1908---Linda Watkins (actress: Amanda of Honeymoon Hill; Big Guy; The Fat Man), Boston.
1913---Richard Dimbley (first known BBC radio reporter), Richmond-on-Thames.
1916---Kenin O'Morrison (actor: Charlie Wild, Private Detective), St. Louis; Ginny Simms (singer/actress: The Ginny Simms Show; Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge), San Antonio.
1917---Steve Cochran (actor: Voice of the Army; Unexpected; Screen Director's Playhouse), Eureka, California.
1918---Henry Calvin (actor: Big Guy), Dallas.
1919---Lindsey Nelson (sportscaster: Monitor Preview; Biography in Sound; original team leader, New York Mets baseball), Campbellsville, Tennessee.
1921---Kitty Kallen (singer: Kitty Kallen Calling; Harry James and His Music Makers), Philadelphia.
1925---Jeanne Crain (actress: Lux Radio Theater; Hallmark Playhouse), Barstow, California.
1929---Beverly Sills (as Belle Miriam Silverman; soprano: Major Bowes' Capitol Family/Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour), Brooklyn.

26 MAY

1884---Charles Winninger (actor: Uncle Charlie's Tent Show), Athens, Wisconsin.
1886---Al Jolson (as Asa Yoelson; singer/actor: Shell Chateau; Kraft Music Hall), Srednick, Lithuania.
1887---Paul Lukas (actor: The Quick and the Dead; The Big Show), Budapest.
1893---Edward MacHugh (singer: Gospel Singer), Dundee, Scotland.
1895---Norma Talmadge (actress: Thirty Minutes in Hollywood), Jersey City.
1907---John Wayne (as Marion Robert Morrison; actor: Three Sheets to the Wind), Winterset, Iowa.
1908---Robert Morley (actor: U.S. Steel Hour), Semley, U.K.
1911---Ben Alexander (actor: Dragnet; The Great Gildersleeve), Goldfield, Nevada.
1914---Ziggy Elman (as Harry Aaron Finkelman; trumpeter, with Benny Goodman and His Orchestra: Let's Dance; Camel Caravan; Swing School), Philadelphia.
1915---Sam Edwards (actor: One Man's Family; Meet Corliss Archer), Macon, Georgia; Martin Stone (producer: The Author Meets the Critics), unknown.
1918---John Dahl (actor: Cavalcade of America; Voice of the Army), New York City.
1920---Peggy Lee (as Norma Deloris Egstrom; singer: The Jimmy Durante Show; The Chesterfield Supper Club; The Peggy Lee Show), Jamestown, North Dakota.
1931---Chet Norris (actor: Tomorrow Calling; The Cisco Kid; ABC Radio Workshop), Manhattan Beach, New York.

4 Comments:

Blogger The Great Gildersleeve said...

Hi Jeff,
Think I'm right in saying that Sorry Wrong Number was returned to approx 5 times during the Suspense series and that every one of those was a new version rather than a repeat of a previously recorded programme(I assume on transcription disc)

The making of programmes for the East and West Coast is quite interesting( I think I have heard some Escape episodes where the same story does sound slightly different)being live I assume the actors had to do their broadcast to suit New York and then wait around to do it all again for L.A.

The technology that came in on the back of Bing Crosby's radio programme that allowed editing and recording so the same show could be heard anywhere, anytime made things much easier for broadcasters and performers alike. Though I quite like the idea of a live show and things possibly going wrong.

And in one episode of Sorry Wrong Number(perhaps it's the original)the actor who played the killer fluffs his line at the end of the programme and says it too soon almost spoiling the conclusion. One can imagine the conversation once the mike's were closed.

6:41 AM  
Blogger The Great Gildersleeve said...

I should add(I just thought of this)the opposite is true in that a production in New York would mean waiting until the early hours of the morning to hit the peak listening time on the West Coast.

6:44 AM  
Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

Gildy---If I'm not mistaken, the fluff you speak of may have occurred during the West Coast take on the original episode. I think if you hunt carefully enough you may find a few vintage programs in East and West Coast versions, Jack Benny and Fred Allen among them, though not too many to my knowledge . . .

Note: Among the "Sorry, Wrong Number" remakes was a Lux Radio Theater version in which Barbara Stanwyck re-created her film role . . . --- Jeff

8:20 AM  
Blogger Palm Springs Savant said...

Jeff- Great post! WOW. I just posted my list of favorite female singers today, last saturday was my post on top male crooners. Interested in your perspective. Stop by and say hi sometime.

www.rickrockhill.blogspot.com

9:39 AM  

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