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.

Friday, November 30, 2007

November's End: The Way It Is, 30 November

Put it this way: It's only 25 days to Christmas. So relax. Listen. Crunch time is on the way . . .


1943: TEENY'S MISSING DOG---This'll be one time McGee (Jim Jordan) doesn't necessarily want to brain the usually pesty Teeny (Marian Jordan, who also plays Molly), when she practically begs him to help find the dog, on tonight's edition of Fibber McGee & Molly. (NBC.)

Mr. Meyerhoff: Possibly Bill Thompson. Doc: Arthur Q. Bryan. Alice Darling: Shirley Mitchell. Mr. Wellington: Lansing Sherman. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills and his Orchestra, the King's Men. Writer: Don Quinn.

1951: ARCHIE INHERITS HALF A RACEHORSE---Actually, Archie (Ed Gardner) buys in on a hot tip . . . from a weighing machine, on tonight's edition of Duffy's Tavern. (NBC.)

Eddie: Eddie Green. Finnegan: Charles Cantor. Miss Duffy: Gloria Erlanger. Writers: Ed Gardner

1952: SAM IS SICK---And the household may come apart bending over to keep him comfortable, while Sam (House Jameson) chafes over Alice's (Katherine Raht) overdone protectiveness, on tonight's edition of The Aldrich Family. (NBC.)

Henry: Bobby Ellis. Homer: Jack Ryan. Mary: Mary Rolfe. Announcer: Dick Dudley. Writer: Clifford Goldsmith.


1873---Frederic William Wile (commentator: Political Situation in Washington), La Porte, Indiana.
1894---David Ogden Stewart (humourist: Lux Radio Theater), Columbus, Ohio.
1913---John K.M. McCaffrey (newscaster: The Author Meets the Critics), Moscow, Idaho.
1914---Charles Hawtrey (comedian/actor: Just William), Hounslow, Middlesex, UK.
1915---Brownie McGhee (as Walter McGhee; blues singer/guitarist: New World A'Coming; This Is Jazz), Knoxville, Tennessee.
1919---Joe Cabbibo (sound: Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar; Tennessee Jed; Counterspy), unknown.
1920---Virginia Mayo (as Virginia Clara Jones; actress: Lux Radio Theater), St. Louis.
1923--Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (actor: Lux Radio Theater), New York City.
1926---Richard Crenna (actor: A Date With Judy; Our Miss Brooks), Los Angeles.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Voice: The Way It Was, 29 November

1927: THE VOICE---A Manhattan couple little suspects their newborn son will develop a mellifluous voice, a quick mind and wit, and a knack for phrasemaking enough to make him perhaps the greatest baseball announcer ever heard, once he's hired by Red Barber to join the Brooklyn Dodgers' broadcast team in 1950.

Almost sixty years later, he still presides over the Dodgers' telecasts in Los Angeles, simulcast on radio for the first three innings, and he still sustains a love affair with southern California and the country (he will be a longtime NBC national game-of-the-week and postseason voice) for his still-mellifluous voice, his continuing phrasemaking virtuosity, and his near-seamless transitions and parenthetical asides.

Eighty years young. The longest-serving voice with any major league baseball team. And, as if to secure his stature, a very recent Internet poll named him---not a player, not an executive, not a manager---as the face of the Dodgers, never mind the voice.

There is but one Vin Scully. But if you don't believe me, don't ask him. He still thinks he's a lucky guy who's just going to work every day.


1900: "THROW DOWN THOSE LITTLE OLD GUNS"---You can believe Mother and Father Sisk in Portland, Maine, have noclue their newborn daughter will grow up to become perhaps the single most notorious American to become an enemy broadcaster of World War II---after adopting the surname of her stepfather, studying music and drama in Dresden and teaching English at Berlin's Berlitz School of Languages, then hiring on as an announcer/actress with Radio Berlin.

At first, she will broadcast news and entertainment to English-speaking people in Europe. In due course, however, while stranded in Germany once the United States declares war, she will shift to propaganda broadcasting (with scripts written by others, but delivered in her seductive voice)---possibly under the influence of a German Foreign Service officer with whom she fell in love. Introducing herself as "Midge at the Mike," she will earn a more infamous nickname from the Allied forces against whom she broadcast: Axis Sally.

And, after her conviction for treason over a single example of her propaganda broadcasts---the infamous D-Day lead-in, "Vision of Invasion" (11 May 1944)---and parole after serving twelve years of her ten-to-thirty sentence, the now-former Axis Sally will finish her life more quietly than ended the lives of those against and on behalf of whom she propagandised. She will earn a college degree from Ohio Wesleyan in 1973, and she will even teach music to kindergarten students at one time.


1942: GOING AFTER ROMMEL; OR, THREE MEN IN A TANK---From Camp Young, Palm Springs: Three American tank troops (Jack Benny, Phil Harris, Don Wilson) make mincemeat of capturing the hidden Nazi general (Dennis Day)---and whatever remains of the northern African campaign, for that matter, on tonight's edition of The Grape-Nuts Flakes Program Starring Jack Benny. (NBC.)

Cast: Mary Livingstone, Dennis Day, Phil Harris, Eddie (Rochester) Anderson. Music: Phil Harris and his Orchestra, Dennis Day. Writers: George Balzar, Sam Perrin, Milt Josefsberg.

1945: THE SIMMONS CONSTRUCTION MURDER; OR, THE MAN WHO WAS SHOT ON THE 21st FLOOR---When a popular construction foreman, seemingly without enemies, is shot to death from above the top of the project, Faraday (Maurice Tarplin) suspects the victim's hospitalised wife, but bedridden Blackie (Richard Kollmar) suspects the next victim---another popular foreman, also killed by the same high-powered weapon---killed the first, on tonight's edition of Boston Blackie. (Blue Network, syndicated by Frederick Ziv Company.)

Mary: Jan Minor. Shorty: Tony Barrett. Additional cast: Unknown. Announcer: Larry Elliott. Writers: Kenny Lyons, Ralph Rosenberg.

1945: THE GAS STATION PROTECTION RACKET---After Lowry (Jack Petruzzi) gets punched out by a gas station bombing victim who's afraid to talk publicly, Britt (Al Hodge) has a daring idea---he steals the protection money the victim was going to pay his tormentors, in a bid to lure him to talk and the tormentors into a trap, on today's edition of The Green Hornet. (ABC; possible repeat of an earlier episode first aired over Mutual.)

Lenore Case: Lee Allman. Kato: Raymond Hayoshi. Axford: James Irwin. Writer: Fran Striker.

1947: THANKSGIVING WITH THE GILLISES---The Rileys and the Gillises planned for their friendly-rivalry families to share Thanksgiving---until both husbands invited the boss to dinner, to butter him up over a newly-vacant plant foreman's job, on tonight's edition of The Life of Riley. (NBC.)

Riley: William Bendix. Gillis: Possibly Sidney Tomack. Peg: Paula Winslowe. Babs: Sharon Douglas. Junior: Scotty Beckett. Additional cast: Unknown. Announcer: Ken Carpenter. Writers: Ruben Schipp, Ashmael Scott.


1895---Yakima Canutt (actor: Daredevils of Hollywood; Hollywood Rodeo), Colfax, Washington.
1905---Mario Braggiotti (composer/pianist: Fray and Braggiotti), Florence; Chester Erskine (director: Lux Radio Theater), Hudson, New York.
1906---Luis van Rooten (actor: County Seat; John's Other Wife; Nero Wolfe), Mexico City.
1913---Harry Bartell (actor: Nero Wolfe; The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes; Gunsmoke), New Orleans.
1917---Merle Travis (singer/guitarist: Hollywood Barn Dance), Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.
1921---Dagmar (as Virginia Egnor; actress/panelist: Stars on Parade; Says Who?), Huntington, West Virginia.
1926---Naomi Stevens (actress: One Man's Family; Brenthouse), Trenton, New Jersey.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Just Find Out What The Reward Is": The Way It Was, 28 November

1932: "BESIDES, THE RAILROAD WON'T ASK FOR ALIMONY"---Groucho Marx hits the old-time radio air for the first time in a series of his own, teaming with brother Chico in Beagle, Shyster, and Beagle, Attorneys at Law.

One of a series of weekly NBC Blue Network broadcasts under the rubric of Five Star Theater, sponsored by Standard Oil of New Jersey for Esso gasoline and Essolube motor oil, Beagle, Shyster, and Beagle stars Groucho as a wastrel attorney and Chico as his wastrel aide.

Written by Nat Perrin and Arthur Sheekman (who'd just done heavy doctoring on the film scripts for Monkey Business and Horse Feathers), the new show will combine choice adaptations of portions of the Marx Brothers' films, such as the famous musicians' sketch from Animal Crackers, with new material some of which ends up in the next Marx Brothers film, Duck Soup.

Thanks to the absence of humour of an actual attorney named Beagle, a litigation threat prompts a change in the show's name beginning with the fourth episode . . . to Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, Attorneys at Law.

Thanks most likely to an unfavourable time slot---Monday nights at 7:30 p.m., a time in which Fortune surveyed only forty percent of radio owners tuned in---Standard Oil, misinterpreting the whopping ratings Ed Wynn's Texaco Fire Chief program gets at 9 p.m. (when about 60 percent of radio owners tune in, says Fortune), chooses not to renew Flywheel after its first and only season, even though the show actually outrates The Shadow, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and Kate Smith.

Groucho, of course, will remember the cancellation in his own inimitable way in due course . . .

Company sales, as a result of our show, had risen precipitously. Profits doubled in that brief time, and Esso felt guilty taking the money. So Esso dropped us after twenty-six weeks. Those were the days of guilt-edged securities, which don't exist today.

---From The Secret Word is Groucho. (G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1976.)

I do recall writing the first episode with Arthur, Groucho, and Chico on the train coming East. Later the show would be done on the West Coast, so this was just the first of many train rides back and forth from Hollywood to New York . . .

We only had a couple of rehearsals for Flywheel on the day it was broadcast---everything was done live at the time---but Chico had trouble making even those. He'd always be late, and usually I'd have to stand in for him on the read-throughs. When he finally did show up, he'd be reading Ravelli's lines and Groucho would tell him to stop. "Deacon," he'd say to me---he always said I looked like a crooked deacon because of the steel-rimmed glasses I wore---"show him how the line should be read." My Italian accent was better than Chico's, you see. But Chico didn't care. All he really cared about was the horses and cards, especially bridge. He was a very undisciplined guy, but he negotiated all their deals, and he was the one who mingled with the movers and shakers . . .

I'm not really sure why Flywheel went off the air---maybe expectations were too high---but none of us really minded. For one thing, we had Duck Soup ready to go back in Hollywood, and for another, we all liked living in California very much indeed. So much for growing up in New York!

---Nat Perrin, to Michael Barson, for Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel: The Marx Brothers' Lost Radio Show. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1988.)

Exactly one complete episode of Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel---the final episode---will survive in a recording available to future old-time radio fans. As for the Marx Brothers on radio, Flywheel will prove the actual highlight in a checkered enough radio side of their careers . . . at least until Groucho acquiesces to producer John Guedel in the mid-1940s and decides a quiz show that's as much room to ad lib as an actual game might not be such a bad idea at that . . .


1917: WE KNOW A GUY . . . ---His parents have no clue that their newborn son will become a prime candidate, if one were choosing an old-time radio most valuable player---indeed, he'll be nicknamed Mr. Radio with far more justice than that by which Milton Berle will be nicknamed Mr. Television.

Comic (Archie Goodwin, The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show) and dramatic (Suspense, The Whistler, The Clock, The Adventures of Maisie, others) actor; director (Suspense, Broadway Is My Beat, others), and producer (numerous enough); one of the select about whom one can say without contradiction that he does everything, just about.

Happy 90th birthday to Elliott Lewis, wherever you are . . .

1925---Little does WSM know that the show debuting tonight as Barn Dance is destined for immortality under another name: Grand Ole Opry.

1960---Amidst the apparent and continuing phasing-away of classic radio as a nation once knew it, CBS secures its portion of the transition even further by expanding its hourly radio news coverage from five to ten minutes, just days after it lopped six radio soap operas and one radio Western from its regular programming schedule.

1944---The Allied advance following D-Day, which provokes hope in the Netherlands that they'll be liberated soon enough from Nazi occupation, doesn't arrive soon enough for Joop Brouwer de Koning: he becomes, at age 25, the youngest Dutch radio operator ever to be executed. The Dutch liberation will arrive just over five months later.


1948: GEORGE JESSEL TRIES TO SNEAK INTO THE ROXY---After Fred (Allen) and Portland (Hoffa) scope the Main Street (the former Allen's Alley) demimonde on whether radio comedy suffers monotony and malnourishment, Fred meets Jessel at Lindy's . . . and tags along when Jessel has to sneak into his own film's premiere, on tonight's edition of The Fred Allen Show. (NBC.)

Sergei Stroganoff: Kenny Delmar. Titus Moody: Parker Fenelly. Mrs. Nussbaum: Minerva Pious. Humphrey Titter: Alan Reed. Music: Al Goodman and His Orchestra, the Five DeMarco Sisters. Writers: Fred Allen, Robert Weiskopf, possibly Bob Schiller.

1948: MY SON, JOHN---A widowed father (Ernest Chappell, who also narrates), bereaved anew after his son was killed in World War II action, turns to an occultist who warns the quest could destroy him, on tonight's edition of Quiet, Please. (ABC.)

Writer: Wyllis Cooper.

1951: A DINNER PARTY; OR, PROFESSOR WARREN'S ROMANTIC FOLLY---The Halls (Ronald Colman, Benita Hume Colman) are surprised when breathless bachelor Professor Warren (Arthur Q. Bryan) wants to borrow their lace tablecloth for an unexpected dinner party---which he hopes will impress a woman (Sarah Selby) he met on a lecture tour, on tonight's edition of The Halls of Ivy. (NBC.)

Announcer: Ken Carpenter. Writers: Don Quinn, Barbara and Milton Merlin.


1894---Frank Black (conductor: The Jack Benny Program; NBC String Symphony; Cities Service Concert), Philadelphia.
1895---Jose Iturbi (pianist/conductor: The Bell Telephone Hour; Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra), Valencia, Spain.
1906---Helen Jepson (soprano: Kraft Music Hall; Show Boat), Titusville, Pennsylvania.
1909---Rose Bampton (mezzo soprano: The Palmolive Beauty Box Theater), Cleveland.
1925---Gloria Grahame (as Gloria Hallward; actress: Hollywood Star Playhouse), Los Angeles; Virginia Hewitt (actress: Space Patrol), Shreveport, Louisiana.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Had Gun, Stopped Traveling: The Way It Was, 27 November

1960---The fadeaway of classic old-time radio continues, sort of: two days after Black Friday, CBS cancels a program that was actually one of the only television hits to take up a radio presence after its television birth.

Have Gun, Will Travel stars radio veteran John Dehner (Escape, The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, Gunsmoke, Frontier Gentleman) in the Richard Boone role of Paladin, the gentlemanly, intellectual former soldier and knight-for-hire based out of late-19th Century San Francisco. The radio version is written by Ken Kobe, Marian Clark, and Les Crutchfield; co-stars include Ben Wright as Heyboy the bellhop and Virginia Gregg as Miss Wong.

Fashioned as Gunsmoke as a genuinely adult Western, Have Gun, Will Travel's television origin gives it something in common with the earlier 1950s situation comedy, My Little Margie.

The show's final radio episode involves a couple out to kill Paladin because the husband stands to inherit six figures from his late wife---Paladin's aunt---but, the attempt thwarted, Paladin is off to New England to settle his aunt's estate.

Two and a half years later, Richard Boone will come to believe the premise has more than run its course, and Have Gun, Will Travel will leave television as well.


1935: VOOPIE ON THE VOLGA; OR, THEY DRANK AND DRANK UNTIL THEY BORSCHT---"A fear-raising melodrama of darkest Russia," as Fred Allen describes the classic---and recently-exhumed---Mighty Allen Art Players sketch, surrounding which come the usual lacerations of the news, a quick plug for Allen's appearance in the Dick Powell film Thanks a Million, and a round of amateurs competing for prizes and a week's stand at the Roxy Theater, on tonight's edition of Town Hall Tonight. (NBC.)

With Portland Hoffa. The Mighty Allen Art Players: Jack Smart, Eileen Douglas, Minerva Pious, Lionel Stander. Announcer: Harry Von Zell. Music: Peter van Steeden and his Orchestra. Writers: Fred Allen, Harry Tugend.

1938: FLASH BENNY, FOOTBALL COACH; OR, HOLD THAT LINE---The gridiron becomes more like a flat iron, on tonight's edition of The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny. (NBC.)

Cast: Mary Livingstone, Eddie Anderson, Phil Harris, Kenny Baker. Announcer: Don Wilson. Music: Phil Harris and his Orchestra, Kenny Baker. Writers: Sam Perrin, George Balzar, Milt Josefsberg, John Tackaberry.

1945: FIBBER CHOPS DOWN THE OLD OAK TREE---And he (Jim Jordan) does it reluctantly, after a tree surgeon (possibly Jackson Beck) pronounces it a long-dead hunk of perpendicular firewood, on tonight's edition of Fibber McGee & Molly. (NBC.)

Molly: Marian Jordan. Doc Gamble: Arthur Q. Bryan. Mrs. Carstairs: Bea Benaderet. LaTrivia: Gale Gordon. Writers: Don Quinn, Phil Leslie.

1945: SADE'S PARADE OF INTERRUPTIONS---That'll teach Sade (Bernadine Flynn) to think of such heinous acts as cleaning the attic, on tonight's edition of Vic & Sade. (CBS.)

Vic: Art Van Harvey. Rush: Johnny Coons. Uncle Fletcher: Clarence Hartzell. Writer: Paul Rhymer.

1947: IS THERE A BABY IN THE HOUSE?---While the new neighbours moving into the building pique Liz's (Lucille Ball) curiosity, George (Richard Denning) is the designated supervisor for an orphan's group run by a major bank client, on tonight's edition of My Favourite Husband. (CBS; rebroadcast: Armed Forces Radio Service.)

Iris: Bea Benaderet. Atterbury: Gale Gordon. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.

1955: AMY'S GOOD DEED---Amy Slater (Virginia Gregg) hits town with a request that jolts Dillon (William Conrad)---she wants him to kill her, on tonight's edition of Gunsmoke. (CBS.)

Chester: Parley Baer. Doc: Howard McNear. Kitty: Georgia Ellis. Additional cast: John Dehner. Writer: John Meston.


1890---Gladys Rice (singer: Roxy's Gang; Lucky Strike Dance Orchestra; The Voice of Firestone), Philadelphia.
1893---Harry Foster Welch (actor: Shell Chateau), Annapolis, Maryland.
1897---Vera Allen (as Vera Klopman; actress: Hilltop House; Young Doctor Malone; Big Sister; Joyce Jordan, Girl Intern; Thanks for Tomorrow; Wendy Warren and the News), New York City.
1902---Jack Smart (a.k.a. J. Scott Smart; comedian/actor: Town Hall Tonight; Hour of Smiles; Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen; The Fat Man), Philadelphia.
1904---Florence Lake (actress: David Harum; Charlie and Jesse), Charleston, South Carolina.
1915---Ralph Bell (actor: Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator; This is Nora Drake), New York City.
1916---Chick Hearn (as Francis Dale Hearn; sportscaster: Pabst Blue Ribbon Bouts; play-by-play, Los Angeles Lakers basketball), Buda, Illinois.
1925---Marshall Thompson (actor: Free World Theater; Lux Radio Theater), Peoria, Illinois; Michael Tolan (a.k.a. Mickey Tolan; actor: The Green Hornet), Detroit; Ernie Wise (as Ernest Wiseman; comedian: The Morecambe and Wise Radio Show; Bandwagon), Leeds, UK.

Monday, November 26, 2007

"It Was Nice to Know So Many People": The Way It Was, 26 November

2003---Washington, D.C. radio legend Eddie Gallaher---he spent over half a century on the air of the nation's capital---dies at 89. From succeeding Arthur Godfrey at WTOP---after Godfrey moved his base to New York CBS---Gallaher became perhaps the capital's most influential disc jockey, with celebrities from Bob Hope to Jayne Mansfield and back making a point to sit for his interviews.

Famous for his sonorous baritone and his dry wit, Gallaher moved to WASH-FM in 1968, after WTOP switched to an all-talk format, and to WWDC-AM (ultimately a Clear Channel station, whose call letters eventually changed to WGAY) in 1982, staying there until his 2000 retirement.

His vision was failing him and Clear Channel . . . had hired helpers for him for the last couple of years of his career -
people that would read for him and help him with his program.

---Walt Starling, fellow Washington radio personality and a longtime friend, upon Gallaher's death.

This is no 'being forced to retire. I would say that, at 85, it's a good time to call it a day.

---Eddie Gallaher, to the Washington Post.

Gallaher was famous in Washington for his tag line, "It was nice to know so many people." And so many people in Washington and, perhaps, elsewhere, surely thought it was nice to know him.


1944: CLARENCE---Fools rush in, fools such as recently-discharged soldier Clarence Smith (Joseph Cotten), who's hired as an odd-jobs man in a rather dysfunctional---and insane---household, whose affairs entangle him, on tonight's edition of The Old Gold Comedy Theater. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Unknown. Host/director: Harold Lloyd. Annoucner: Bob Williams. Adapted from the screenplay by Grant Garrett and Seana Owen, based on the story by Booth Tarkington.

1946: THE THANKSGIVING SHOW---While other courageous suitors approach their prospective fathers-in-law confidently, amidst holiday spirits, Mel (Blanc) needs to throw a brilliant Thanksgiving party to get anywhere near Mr. Colby's (Joseph Kearns) good side, on tonight's edition of The Mel Blanc Show. (CBS.)

Betty: Mary Jane Croft. Cushing: Hans Conreid. Additional cast: Jerry Hausner, Earle Ross. Music: Victor Miller Orchestra, the Sports Men. Writer: Mac Benoff.

1950: WHERE THE ELITE MEET TO EAT?---For a third time Fred Allen and Tallulah Bankhead reprise one of the best-loved satires---"Mr. and Mrs. Breakfast Show," which they did twice on the old Fred Allen Show---from Allen's radio heyday; and, in due course, the evening's company is invited (or should that be hauled off) to Duffy's Tavern, by malaproprietor Archie himself (Ed Gardner), on tonight's edition of The Big Show. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Jack Carson, Mindy Carson, Lauritz Melchior, Ed Wynn, Meredith Willson. Announcer: Ed Herlihy. Music: Meredith Willson and his Orchestra, the Big Show Chorus. Writers: Goodman Ace, Frank Wilson, George Foster, Mort Greene, Selma Diamond.


1907---Francis Dee (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Los Angeles; Hot Lips Levine (as Henry Levine; trumpeter: Chamber Music of Lower Basin Street; Strictly From Dixie), London.
1910---Cyril Cusack (actor: Great Expectations), Durban, South Africa.
1912---Eric Sevareid (as Arnold Eric Sevareid; correspondent/commentator: Eric Sevareid and the News; CBS World News Today; CBS World News Roundup; CBS Radio Workshop), Velva, North Dakota.
1915---Earl Wild (pianist: NBC Symphony Orchestra), Pittsburgh.
1917---Adele Jergens (actress: Stand By For Crime), Brooklyn.
1933---Robert Goulet (singer/actor: Guard Session; Voices of Ameria), Lawrence, Massachussetts.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Black Friday: The Way It Was, 25 November

1960---In what will become known to old-time radio fans and historians alike as Black Friday, a once-groundbreaking comedy duo and six of radio's once-venerated soap operas air for the final time on CBS.

Long converted to a musical variety format, its heyday as a master serial comedy-drama seeming centuries old, Amos 'n' Andy---now known as The Amos 'n' Andy Music Hall---says farewell with creators/original writers/co-stars Freeman Gosden (Amos Jones) and Charles Correll (Andy Brown) ending the broadcast by speaking retrospectively about their phenomenon, right back to the day it was born in Chicago as Sam 'n' Henry

But saying goodbye on Black Friday, too, are

The Right to Happiness, a signature creation of soap pioneer Irna Phillips.

Young Doctor Malone, starring Sandy Becker (at the time beginning, also, his career as a titan of metropolitan New York children's programming) as the wise-beyond-his-years but concurrently star-crossed suburban physician.

The Second Mrs. Burton, whose title refers to a put-upon young wife against her meddling mother-in-law, with four actresses including one-time Life of Riley cast member Sharon Douglas playing the title role.

Whispering Streets, the youngest of the now-executed radio soaps.

The Romance of Helen Trent, one of the melodramatically treacly of the Frank and Anne Hummert creations, hooked around a costume designer (Julie Stevens, succeeding Virginia Clark since 1946) with an active enough love life even after age thirty, and an equally active shortfall when it came time to approach the altar.

Ma Perkins, created and long enough written by a Hummert discovery, former newspaper reporter Robert Hardy Andrews, and almost a twin (in terms of age, not characters: both were born in 1933) to Helen Trent; starring Virginia Payne as the redoubtable, widowed lumberyard owner, whose nurturing of her two daughters---and genteel demurral from serious romance---is equaled only by her becoming a whole town's maternal shepherd.

Of the four, it will be The Romance of Helen Trent and Ma Perkins which deliver the most memorable endings. Listeners are left to wonder whether Helen Trent is even alive---a balcony, on which Helen and her incumbent beau, politician John Cole, have discussed whether she'll wait until his senatorial campaign concludes to ponder marriage, collapses cacophonously . . . with Helen's longtime truest love, attorney Gilbert Whitney, calling to her, "Helen, it's Gil . . . Helen!"

With this broadcast, we bring to an end the present series of The Romance of Helen Trent.

---The final words to be heard as the soap signs off permanently.

Ma Perkins ends with a lot less calamity and a lot more heartfelt folksiness . . . from its star herself.

This is our 7,065th broadcast, and I want to thank you all for being so loyal all these years . . . If you write to me, I'll try to answer all your letters. Goodbye, and may God bless you.

---Virginia Payne, signing off as Ma Perkins for the final time. (The pause: she reads the show's credits between each part of her personal farewell.)

If Amos 'n' Andy's farewell seems anticlimactic (what they have become by 1960 is too much a shell of what they were at the height of their fame and influence), the abrupt farewell of the radio soaps---even as the radio soaps have been fading slowly for several years, and notwithstanding their flaws and cliches---secures the point that it is only a question, now, of how long it will take old-time radio's corpse to go from the autopsy table to the grave at long enough last.

The answer, of course, proves to be just shy of two full years . . .


1938: SERGEANT O'HALEY---Gale (Gordon) has a hard time recovering from Thanksgiving indigestion, and Jack (Haley) imagines himself of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police saving mountain goats from extinction, on tonight's edition of The Wonder Show with Jack Haley. (CBS.)

Cast: Lucille Ball, Arti Auerbach, Virginia Verill. Music: Ted Fioretto and his Orchestra. Writers: Unknown.

1942: THE BBC, TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT---The March of Trivia's weekly lowlights from the news hits the coming prohibition against Christmas telegrams, and musical star Gracie Fields helps Fred (Allen) kill two birds with one gun---imagining the British Broadcasting Company having a whack at a rising American quiz show, on tonight's edition of Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Portland Hoffa, Alan Reed, Minerva Pious, Parker Fennelly. Announcer: Arthur Godfrey. Music: Al Goodman and his Orchestra, Hi-Lo Jack and the Dame. Writers: Fred Allen, Bob Weiskopf, possibly Herman Wouk.

1943: FORMAL THANKSGIVING DINNER PARTY---Lou (Costello) invites Bud (Abbott) for a Thanksgiving dinner---at Bud's place, but Bud already has plans to host a Thanksgiving bash for an exclusive club, on tonight's edition of The Abbott & Costello Show. (NBC.)

Music: Freddie Rich and his Orchestra, Connie Haines. Writers: Parke Levy, Martin A. Ragaway, Pat Costello.

1956: TAIL TO THE WIND---A chicken coop is burned to the ground by a father-and-son team whose victim (Ralph Moody) is reluctant to give Dillon (William Conrad) details, on tonight's edition of Gunsmoke. (CBS.)

Chester: Parley Baer. Doc: Howard McNear. Kitty: Georgia Ellis. Additional cast: John Dehner, Helen Weed. Announcer: George Fenneman. Writer: Les Crutchfield.

1959: LAWRENCE FECHTENBERGER'S NEW RECRUIT---Still failing to reach Planet Polaris, "Lawrence Fechtenberger, Interstellar Officer Candidate" and crew break (in) a new recruit in the space academy lab, on today's edition of Bob & Ray Present the CBS Radio Network. (Tune in tomorrow . . . )

Writers: Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding.


1896---Virgil Thomson (composer: Columbia Workshop), Kansas City.
1899---Kay Strozzi (actress: I Love Linda Dale; Our Gal Sunday; Young Widder Brown; Young Doctor Malone; Lights Out), Swan's Point Plantation, Virginia.
1900---Helen Gahagan Douglas (actress: A Report to the Nation; Hollywood Fights Back), Boonton, New Jersey.
1904---Jessie Royce Landis (as Jessie Royce Medbury; actress: The House on Q Street), Chicago.
1904---Will Osborne (bandleader/singer: The Abbott & Costello Show), Toronto.
1916---Peg Lynch (as Margaret Frances Lynch; writer/actress: Ethel & Albert; The Couple Next Door), Lincoln, Nebraska.
1920---Ricardo Montalban (actor: Lux Radio Theater), Mexico City.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Three Hit The Air: The Way It Was, 24 November

1923---Radio Belgium goes on the air for the first time.

1925---KRO (Katholieke Radio Omroep), a radio station originating with the Catholic church but in due course becoming as much a non-religious programmer, premieres in the Netherlands.

1926---KVI-AM is born in Tacoma, Washington, moving to Seattle before decade's end and becoming in due course one of the first radio stations in the United States to adopt an all-conservative talk radio format.


1941: $100 FOR A BROKEN LEG---Adding insult to fake injury, Lum (Chester Lauck)---who faked a broken leg to get out of an unwanted date---gets peanuts in a settlement compared to what Squire (Norris Goff, who also plays Abner) took him for in a faith-healing scam, on today's edition of Lum & Abner. (CBS.)

Writers: Chester Lauck, Norris Goff, Jay Sommers.

1942: FIBBER GETTING IN CONDITION---Winter brings out the bad enough in McGee's (Jim Jordan) lack of good physical conditioning, but his attempts at diet and exercise may bring out the worse, on tonight's edition of Fibber McGee & Molly. (NBC.)

Molly/Teeny: Marian Jordan. Mrs. Uppington: Isabel Randolph. Wimpole: Bill Thompson. LaTrivia: Gale Gordon. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills and his Orchestra. Writer: Don Quinn.

1946: THE STORY OF JOHN LITTLEFIELD---He's a man (John McCormick) going to unusual lengths enough to change his identity, on tonight's edition of The Clock. (ABC.)

The Clock: Hart McGuire. Additional cast: Ken Maine, Frank Waters, Georgia Sterling. Writer: Lawrence Klee.

1947: IN MEMORY OF BERNADINE---A former soldier (Ernest Chappell, who also narrates) is haunted by the wife (Nancy Sheridan) he left behind and lost during the war, on tonight's edition of Quiet, Please. (Mutual.)

Harriet Foster: Melba Lewis. Writer: Wyllis Cooper.


1888---Cathleen Nesbitt (actress: Philco Radio Playhouse), Belfast.
1900---Ireene Wicker (The Singing Lady; actress/singer: The Road of Life; Today's Children), Quincy, Illinois.
1905---Harry Barris (singer, with the Rhythm Boys: Paul Whiteman Presents), New York City.
1906---Don McLaughlin (actor: Counterspy; The Road of Life), Webster, Iowa.
1910---Pegeen Fitzgerald (host: Fitzgeralds), Norcatur, Kansas.
1912---Garson Kanin (actor: Lux Radio Theater), Rochester, New York; Teddy Wilson (pianist, Benny Goodman orchestra and small groups: Let's Dance; Camel Caravan; Saturday Night Swing Club), Austin, Texas.
1913---Geraldine Fitzgerald (actress: Arthur Hopkins Presents; Ford Theater; Cavalcade of America), Dublin.
1927---Eileen Barton (singer: The Frank Sinatra Show; The Eileen Barton Show; MGM Musical Comedy Theater), Brooklyn.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Lo, The Queen Approacheth! The Way It Was, 23 November

1916---Little do Mother and Father Foote realise their newborn daughter, Harriet, will assume a mantle as the Queen of the Soaps at the ripe young age of twenty-eight---and under the stage name Julie Stevens---when she succeeds Virginia Clark in the title role of Frank and Anne Hummert's phenomenally popular, long-living The Romance of Helen Trent, on CBS.

[T]o the counterpoint of jangling commercials and top audience ratings, Helen Trent has threaded her perilous way toward true love for 15 minutes a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year for the past 23 years. In those 23 years The Romance of Helen Trent (Mon.-Fri. 12:30 p.m., CBS Radio) has glowed during 5,900 chapters lasting 88,508 roseate minutes, to demonstrate "what so many women long to prove—that because a woman is 35 or more, romance in life need not be over." Bringing this inspiring message of hope to almost 4,000,000 listeners over the facilities of 203 nation-spanning stations, Helen has developed into 1) the queen of soap operas; and 2) the ideal of the romantically minded U.S. housewife of a certain age.

Helen is a beautiful, poised, glamorous costume designer, aged 35 (no change in 23 years). She is a widow, but not even her scriptwriters know who her husband was, or what ever became of him. Helen never tells. She is invincibly pure, relentlessly humorless (because her fans want heartthrobs, not laughs). Once, seven years ago, she walked uninvited into the stateroom of a man she had just met on shipboard. Faithful listeners were scandalized. Helen is now allowed to wear tight skirts and low-cut gowns, but she neither smokes nor drinks. Helen's enemy, Gossip Columnist Daisy Parker, drinks a "martini on the rocks," always specifying, "and no olive"—thus conclusively demonstrating her low moral stature.

Over the years Helen has materialized in the voices of only two women, the current one belonging to pert, blonde Actress Julie Stevens, 39-year-old wife of a TV executive, who has suffered through Helen's daily tribulations for the past twelve years. Just now Actress Stevens is pregnant. Helen would never get herself in such an unromantic predicament. She has been engaged for 23 years to honest Gil Whitney (David Gothard), but fate keeps her from the altar. In this, fate has been aided by a series of villains of whom Kurt Bonine is merely the latest. Almost all of them are millionaires, and the effect Helen has on them is generally deadly. She drove Brett Chapman, millionaire ' rancher, to exile in South America. Dwight Swanson, oilman, piloted his plane into a crash and died. Kelcey Spencer, motion-picture tycoon, went off a cliff to his death. But Dick Waring, a madman, was sane only with Helen.

---From "Ageless Heroine," Time, 6 August 1956.

An experienced stage actress as well, Julie Stevens will play Helen Trent to the end of the soap's life, while also appearing in the television series Big Town (1951-52). After The Romance of Helen Trent (1933-60) ends its long and distinguished run, Stevens retires to Cape Cod, where she finishes raising her family and---among other activities, until her death in 1984---hosts a regional radio show featuring theater reviews and other subjects.


1945: FIVE SLEEPING BEAUTIES---Vic (Art Van Harvey), Sade (Bernadine Flynn), and Rush (Bill Idelson) have a pleasant evening's newspaper reading interrupted when Uncle Fletcher (Clarence Hartzell) announces his plan to sleep in the courthouse yard, on today's edition of Vic & Sade. (CBS.)

Writer: Paul Rhymer.

1947: PHIL SEES THE DOCTOR---Alice (Faye) wants overworked Phil (Harris) to see his doctor, who scares him into taking things easier, on tonight's edition of The Fitch Bandwagon. (NBC.)

Willie: Robert North. Little Alice: Jeanine Roos. Phyllis: Anne Whitfield. Remley: Elliott Lewis. Julius: Walter Tetley. Music: Walter Sharp, Phil Harris Orchestra. Announcer: Bill Forman. Writers: Ray Singer, Dick Chevillat. (Warning: Aborted ending.)

1949: THE SECRET WORD IS "SKY"---And those getting a crack at it---after Groucho Marx gets his cracks at them, of course---include the father of a bride and the mother of a groom (who aren't marrying each other); a butcher and a housewife; and, a bail bondsman and a process server, on tonight's edition of You Bet Your Life. (NBC.)

Announcer: George Fenneman. Music: Billy May and his Orchestra. Writers: Bernie Smith, Hy Freedman, Groucho Marx.

1951: ARCHIE OPENS A TEA ROOM---A wealthy widow catches Archie's (Ed Gardner) eye, enough that he tells her he's managing a tea room, on tonight's edition of Duffy's Tavern. (NBC.)

Eddie: Eddie Green. Finnegan: Charles Cantor. Miss Duffy: Gloria Erlanger. Writers: Ed Gardner, Larry Rhine, possibly Bob Schiller and Bob Weiskopf.

1952: CHLOE, THE GOLD DIGGER---Phil (Harris), Alice (Faye), and Elliott (Lewis) have to act fast---and Oscar-worthy---if they want to stop a fortune hunter (Phil: "It ain't gonna do her nooooooo good---I know, I been diggin' around for years") from marching Willie (Robert North) off to the preacher, on tonight's edition of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show. (NBC.)

Little Alice: Jeanine Roos. Phyllis: Anne Whitfield. Julius: Walter Tetley. Music: Walter Sharp, Phil Harris Orchestra. Announcer: Bill Forman. Writers: Ray Singer, Dick Chevillat.

1959: ONE FELLA'S FAMILY: HOMECOMING HOPE---From Book Cee Vee El Eye Eye, Chapter Em El Cee Vee Eye, page one; also, Wally Ballou visits a turkey farm, a chat with some of the audience young fry, and closing remarks as time evolves, on today's edition of Bob & Ray Present the CBS Radio Network. (We're thinking it over . . . )

Writers: Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding.


1887---Boris Karloff (as William Pratt; actor/host: Starring Boris Karloff; Creeps By Night; The Fred Allen Show; The Martin & Lewis Show), London.
1888---Al Bernard (singer: The Dutch Masters Minstrels; The Molle Merry Minstrels), New Orleans; Nana Bryant (actress: The Fabulous Dr. Tweedy), Cincinnati; Harpo Marx (as Arthur Marx; comedian---and, believe it or not, the first Marx Brother to speak on radio: Various guest spots), Yorkville, New York.
1894---Ken Christy (actor: Fibber McGee & Molly; The Great Gildersleeve), Pennsylvania.
1896---Ruth Ettig (singer: Music That Satisfies; The Oldsmobile Show; The Kellogg College Prom), David City, Nebraska.
1903---Victor Jory (actor: Matinee Theater; Crisis in War Town; Hallmark Playhouse), Dawson City, Yukon Territory.
1912---Tyree Glenn (trombonist/vibraphonist, with Duke Ellington and His Orchestra: Numerous radio broadcasts and specials), Corsicana, Texas; George O'Hanlon (actor: The George O'Hanlon Show; Me and Janie), Brooklyn.
1915---John Dehner (actor: Gunsmoke; Frontier Gentleman; Have Gun, Will Travel), Staten Island; Ellen Drew (actress: Lux Radio Theater; Screen Guild Theater; Suspense), Kansas City; Natalie Park Masters (actress: Candy Matson), San Francisco.
1917---John Newland (actor: NBC University Theater of the Air), Cincinnati.
1925---Jeffrey Hunter (as Henry Herman McKinnies, Jr.; actor: Lux Radio Theater), New Orleans.
1930---Bob Easton (actor: Family Theater), Milwaukee.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks, Overdue

If it isn't too late, I'd like only to wish everyone who happens by this little arterial (all eleven of you) a wondrous and fulfilling Thanksgiving, one that stirs as much of the profound reason we have to be thankful as anything else.

Even in despair, even in a time when you think nothing but the smothering of hardship embraces you, you have a gift called life, from a benevolent God who probably needs you as deeply as you need Him; and, no matter how completely the hardship blocks your sight toward the light at the proverbial tunnel's end, one way or the other you will reach the light, and it will embrace you, all over again.

And, if you are as wise as I hope one day to become myself, this time you will let the light stay about you, and not let the madnesses of this temporal world dim it once again to, perhaps, worse hardship than that which you just resolved.

Give thanks. And, please, accept mine, for making my days a little more bearable by being able to share old-time radio with you.


Herewith a small selection of personal favourite Thanksgiving-themed or Thanksgiving-contiguous radio vintage.

JACK'S THE TURKEY---The Jack Benny Program (NBC); original broadcast: 28 November 1937; cast: Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Kenny Baker, Don Wilson; music: Phil Harris and his Orchestra, Kenny Baker. Writers: John Tackaberry, George Balzer, Sam Perrin.

THANKSGIVING SHOW---Or, Gracie's the turkey, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show (NBC); original broadcast: 18 November 1940; cast: Senor Lee, Truman Bradley; music: Artie Shaw and His Orchestra; writers: Paul Henning, Keith Fowler, George Burns.

A SERVICEMAN FOR THANKSGIVING---The Great Gildersleeve (NBC); original broadcast: 16 November 1941; cast: Harold Peary, Earle Ross, Lurene Tuttle, Walter Tetley, Lillian Randolph, Richard LeGrande; writers: John Whedon, Sam Moore.

THE MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION---Lux Radio Theater (CBS); original broadcast: 13 November 1944; cast: Claudette Colbert, Don Ameche; host: Cecil B. DeMille.

EVERYONE AT ABNER'S FOR THANKSGIVING---Lum & Abner (CBS); original broadcast: 22 November 1945; cast/writers: Chester Lauck, Norris Goff.

LOTS OF GUESTS---The Pepsodent Show with Bob Hope (NBC); original broadcast: 18 November 1947; cast: Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor, Jim & Marian Jordan (Fibber McGee & Molly), Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll (Amos 'n' Andy), Walter Winchell; writers: Jack Douglas, Hal Bock, possibly Al Josefsberg, Larry Marks.

DOC'S PHEASANTS FOR DINNER---Fibber McGee & Molly; original broadcast: 23 November 1948 (NBC); cast: Jim & Marian Jordan, Arthur Q. Bryan, Bill Thompson, Isabel Randolph; music: Billy Mills and his Orchestra; writers: Don Quinn, Phil Leslie.

THANKSGIVING TURKEY---Our Miss Brooks (CBS); original broadcast: 19 November 1950; cast: Eve Arden, Jane Morgan, Gale Gordon, Jeff Chandler, Richard Crenna, Gloria McMillan, Leonard Smith; writer: Al Lewis.

ONE FELLA'S FAMILY: EVERYONE'S HOME FOR THANKSGIVING---From Book Cee Em Vee El Eye, Chapter Eye Ex, Page One, Bob & Ray Present The CBS Radio Network (if you gotta ask, we're not doing it right); original broadcast: 26 November 1959; writers: Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding.

Returning the Favour: The Way It Was, 22 November

1950: JACK BENNY VISITS---In spring 1948, recurring guests Ronald and Benita Hume Colman, playing his neighbours, provided the set-up on The Jack Benny Program for one of the single most hilarious moments in old-time radio history---triggered with the loaning of Colman's Oscar to mildly envious Benny, whom the couple tolerated with bemused weariness . . . and who was mugged while carrying the statuette home.

SFX: (Kitten mewing.)
JACK: (sort of muttering) Got away . . . would have made a wonderful A string.
SFX:(footsteps, JACK humming to himself)
STRANGER: Hey, buddy . . . buddy, got a match?
JACK: (slightly startled) Huh? . . . (pause) . . . Yes, I have one right---
STRANGER: (softly but sharply) Don't make a move, this is a stickup!
JACK: (startled): Wha---?
STRANGER: You heard me.
JACK: (anxiously) Mister, put down that gun!
STRANGER: (sharply) Shut up! Now, come on---your money, or your life . . . (pause, laughter, short pause) . . . Look, bud, I said your money, or your life---
JACK: (hollers) I'm thinking it over!

---From "The Stolen Oscar," The Jack Benny Program, 28 March 1948.

Over two and a half years later, Benny now affords the Colmans the chance to give him a little good-natured ribbing through the gently clever script, as a guest star on their own sophisticated comedy series.

Benny agrees to entertain at Ivy College's annual benefit, at Victoria Hall's (Benita Hume Colman) persuasion, amusing husband and Ivy president William Todhunter Hall (Ronald Colman)---who seems barely aware of Benny's existence at first---almost as much as the ersatz showbiz lingo and breakfast habits ("two boilermakers and a Benzedrine") of Benny's advance man.

But Ivy board of governors chairman Wellman (Herbert Butterfield) is anything but amused by a "radio buffoon" befouling the hallowed halls at all, never mine one trying his usual side profiting from the evening by way of bagging the concessions normally hosted by local businesses.

None of which prevents Benny from delivering his usual low-keyed drollery, at his own as often as anyone else's expense---including his neighbour Ronald Colman's!---on tonight's edition of The Halls of Ivy. (NBC; rebroadcast: Armed Forces Radio Service.)

Announcer: Ken Carpenter. Writer: Don Quinn.


1942: THE OTHER WOMAN---Olivia Martin (possibly Betty Lou Gerson) isn't the only one in her indifferent husband's life with an interest in obstructing his romance with a comely advertising colleague (possibly Lurene Tuttle), but she's the one planning an elaborately deadly resolution, on tonight's edition of The Whistler. (CBS.)

The Whistler: Joseph Kearns. Additional cast: Unknown. Writer: Possibly J. Donald Wilson.

1945: BLACKIE KIDNAPPED---A rival mob wants the jailed Johnson mob's missing bank haul . . . and hopes an anesthesiologist drugs Blackie (Richard Kollmar) into revealing the haul's location, which he learned from a jailed Johnson sister, on tonight's edition of Boston Blackie. (Blue Network.)

Shorty: Tony Barrett. Faraday: Maurice Tarplin. Mary: Jan Minor. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: Kenny Lyons, Ralph Rosenberg.

1946: CASANOVA MOORE---Jimmy (Durante) is held up making the show; the grand turkey is raffled and then some; Garry (Moore) and Suzanne (Ellis) mull the pending death of etiquette; and, Garry recalls the inventor of the kiss---his Uncle Cas, on tonight's edition of The Durante-Moore Show. (CBS.)

Announcer: Howard Petrie. Music: Ray Bargy and his Orchestra. Writers: Sid Zalinka, possibly Sid Reznick, Jack Robinson, Leo Solomon.

1953: FRED HERTZELL VISITS FROM KANSAS---Never say "If you're ever in New York, look me up" casually, even from gratitude, as Ben (Hume Cronyn) is reminded the hard way, thanks to an old acquaintance (Wendell Hall) who once helped Ben and Liz (Jessica Tandy) out of a nasty jam, and who's just telegrammed that he's coming to town . . . on Thanksgiving, on tonight's edition of The Marriage. (NBC.)

Pete: David Pfeffer. Emily: Denise Alexander. Announcer: Bob Denton. Writer: John McGifford.


1875---Elizabeth Patterson (actress: The Halls of Ivy), Savannah, Tennessee.
1899---Hoagy Carmichael (singer/composer: The Hoagy Carmichael Show), Bloomington, Indiana.
1904---Roland Winters (actor: My Best Girls; Highways in Melody; The Milton Berle Show), Boston.
1907---Howard Petrie (announcer: Abie's Irish Rose; Big Sister; The Camel Caravan; Blondie and Dagwood; The Ray Bolger Show; The Jimmy Durante Show; The Judy Canova Show), Beverly, Massachussetts.
1913---Benjamin Britten (composer: Columbia Workshop; An American in England), Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK.
1914---Frank Graham (actor: Lum & Abner; The Lion's Eye), Michigan.
1921---Rodney Dangerfield (as Jacob Cohen; comedian: Voices of Vista), Babylon, New York.
1924---Geraldine Page (actress: Arch Oboler's Plays), Kirksville, Missouri.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It Isn't Good Night, It's All But Goodbye: The Way It Was, 21 November

1959: ---This time, it is not good night, it's all but goodbye: Just over five months after he joins the station, Alan Freed is canned by WABC New York, for refusing to sign an affidavit stating he had never taken money in exchange for playing particular records on his popular radio show.

Freed himself announces his departure on the air. Coming as it does as a partial side effect of the quiz show scandal rocking television, the payola scandal will help destroy Freed's career as a radio big-timer.

A mere six months after he's fired by WABC, Freed will face the House Oversight Committee investigating the scandals; he will refuse to testify despite being granted immunity, and in short order he'll plead guilty to twenty-nine counts of commercial bribery, receiving a $300 fine and six months sentence (suspended).

Freed will end up destroying himself as he tries and fails to reclaim his once-glittering career, drinking heavily enough to contract uremia and die, penniless, in 1965, shortly after he is hit with tax evasion charges. At one point, in 1960, he will have a chance at reviving his big-time career, when Los Angeles KDAY hires him, but he will leave when the station refuses to sanction his promoting of the kind of live rock and roll spectaculars that helped swell his name in New York---or the kind that got him fired from WINS, a Boston show that ended in a riot and with charges lodges (though eventually dropped).

It bears repeating: Freed's ethics would be questioned often enough. (Like many in the day, he claimed songwriting credits as possible promotional payoffs; he was also accused of underpaying talent who appeared in his famous rock and roll spectacular shows and tours before the payola scandals.) But no one could or would really question his rock and roll heart.


1943: A ROYAL VISIT---An old college mate of Gildersleeve's (Harold Peary), whose son visited a year ago, is now married to a countess---and they plan a Summerfield visit that ramps up the ongoing household cleaning and repainting into overdrive, on tonight's edition of The Great Gildersleeve. (NBC; rebroadcast: Armed Forces Radio Service.)

Marjorie: Lurene Tuttle. Leroy: Walter Tetley. Hooker: Earle Ross. Birdie: Lillian Randolph. Leila: Shirley Mitchell. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: Sam Moore, John Whedon.

1948: DIAMOND IN THE SKY---William Martin's (possibly Frank Lovejoy) invitation to a Parisian adventure has Suzy (Sylvia Picker) skeptical, and Dan (Alan Ladd) learns soon enough how right she is---he's needed to help retrieve a pricey diamond with only too much interest elsewhere, on tonight's edition of Box 13. (Mutual.)

Kling: Edmund MacDonald. Additional cast: Alan Reed, Luis Van Rooten, John Beal, Lurene Tuttle. Writer: Russell Hughes.

1948: THE MODEL TEACHER---Connie (Eve Arden) hopes a magazine interviewing her as a model teacher makes Boynton (Jeff Chandler) take notice . . . until he notices the predatory editor (Mary Jane Croft) doing the interview instead, on tonight's edition of Our Miss Brooks. (CBS.)

Mrs. Davis: Jane Morgan. Walter: Richard Crenna. Harriet: Gloria McMillan. Conklin: Gale Gordon. Writer: Al Lewis.

1948: ONE FOR THE BOOK---A twelve-year-old snafu continues, to the consternation of the science fiction obsessed Air Force major (Ernest Chappell, who also narrates) who was there as an Army Air Corps sergeant when it began in the first place, on tonight's edition of Quiet, Please. (ABC.)

Sergeant: Dan Sutter. Colonel: Melva Lewis. Doctor: Sal Vickerson. General: Floyd Butler. Writer: Wyllis Cooper.

1951: THINGS TO BE THANKFUL FOR---One of them isn't the high price of turkey; another isn't such a husband as grumpy Willy Lump Lump (Red Skelton), on tonight's edition of The Red Skelton Show. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Lurene Tuttle, Pat McGee, Dick Ryan. Music: David Rose and his Orchestra, the Smith Twins. Announcer: Rod O'Connor. Writers: Edna Skelton, Jack Douglas, possibly Ben Freedman and Johnny Murray.


1882---Alfred White (actor: Abie's Irish Rose), unknown.
1905---Ted Ray (comedian: Ray's a Laugh), Wigan, Lancastershire, UK.
1908---Mary Young Taylor (commentator: The Martha Deane Show), Star Lake, New York.
1912---Eleanor Powell (singer/dancer: The Flying Red Horse Tavern), Springfield, Massachussetts.
1919---Steve Brodie (actor: Mike Mallory), El Dorado, Kansas.
1920---Ralph Meeker (actor: Crime Does Not Pay), Minneapolis.
1921---Vivian Blaine (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Newark.
1927---Joseph Campanella (actor: Zero Hour), New York City.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Yoo-hoo! Is anybody?" The Way It Was, 20 November

1929: A PLACE IN EVERY HEART, A FINGER IN EVERY PIE---One of old-time radio's most important and enduring series launches on NBC today. Known at birth as The Rise of the Goldbergs, the creation of writer/co-star/director Gertrude Berg, one of the first women to create and sustain such broad impact on a broadcast series, will move to CBS in 1936 and be known from then on as, simply, The Goldbergs.

Like Amos 'n' Andy, The Goldbergs is a serial comedy with understated dramatic elements---and a bold enough subtext of generational conflict, between immigrant Jewish parents and their Americanising children, first in an urban and later a suburban setting---enough to cause many to think the show as much of a soap opera as a comedy.

[The Goldbergs] differed from most of the other 'soaps' in that its leading characters lived through relatively normal situations. Even though it was the story of a poor Jewish family in New York, it had identification for a wide segment of listeners.

---Frank Buxton and Tim Owen, from The Big Broadcast, 1920-1950. (New York: Flame/Avon, 1971.)

Undeniably the most beloved ethnic radio show after Amos 'n' Andy was The Goldbergs, a creation of writer-actress Gertrude Berg . . . [it] was about cultural assimilation and the desire to make it in America. It was a new kind of program---a radio "mixed marriage" that wedded soap opera to the situation comedy, creating the first "dramedy."

. . . Molly Goldberg was a bridge between generations. While she still spoke with an inflection and respected her parents' ways, she had modern ideas and an American sensibility and, to be sure, two American-born kids. What gave the show its humour, appeal, and tension was the pull between old and new, tradition and change . . .

The clash between old and new was more poignantly felt on The Goldbergs . . . because in the 1940s memories of repressive European regimes cast a shadow on American life. Consider how Molly meekly but overpolitely asks a mounted policeman directions in Central Park: "Mr. Policeman, officer of the law, Your Honour, could you be so kindly if you would to inform me of the location of where is Fourteenth Street?" Berg noted in her memoirs, "Molly's reaction is the relief of many immigrants at not only having found their way but also of not being arrested for asking a simple question" . . .

Much of what radio had been, its heart and spirit, was The Goldbergs.

---Gerald Nachman, in "No WASPs Need Apply," from Raised on Radio. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998.)

And, like Amos 'n' Andy, the show becomes popular enough that fan mail is addressed to the show's characters equal to the performers who play them---though a notably exception will be the flood of mail reaching Gertrude Berg when she misses two weeks ill.

Which may perpetuate the impression that The Goldbergs was at least as much soap opera as comedy, an impression taken somewhat to heart by no less than James Thurber, while researching and writing his landmark New Yorker series, "Soapland," in 1948-49.

Mrs. Berg, a New York woman who did some of her early writing in Chicago, was one of the first of the pioneers to come up with a popular and durable soap opera . . . [it] began as a nighttime show twenty years ago and and took to the daytime air several years later. It ran until 1945, when Procter & Gamble, who had had it since 1937, dropped it. This incredibly long and loving saga of Molly Goldberg, her family, and her friends had become such an important part of Gertrude Berg's life that she was lost and bewildered when the serial ended its run. She herself had played Molly Goldberg and had come to identify herself completely with the character. For sixteen years, she had been known to her intimates as Molly. She found it impossible to give up the Goldbergs, and two years ago she set about putting them on stage. In Me and Molly, the old family reached Broadway last February, with Mrs. Berg in the leading role. She demonstrated, even to those critics who saw no art or significance in her play, why her beloved family had lasted for nearly two decades on the air. Mrs. Berg, as author and actress, had transferred to the stage the simplicity, honesty, and warm belief in common humanity that had distinguished her serial, for all its faults . . . [and] won the applause, however mild, of gentlemen who up to that point had probably said of The Goldbergs no more than "Shut that damn thing off before I throw it out the window." Clarence L. Menser, later chief of program production for NBC in Chicago, likes to feel that he had an influence on the early scripts of The Goldbergs, but Mrs. Berg wrote them herself and the serial bore the lusty stamp of her own vitality.

---James Thurber, in "O Pioneers!" from "Soapland," The New Yorker; republished in The Beast in Me and Other Animals. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1949.)

And it began with sketches a teenage Berg wrote to amuse guests at her family's Catskills resort, around a character named Maltke Talnitzky whom Berg would develop into Molly Goldberg.

Gradually Maltke began to turn into a woman from an extreme caricature. She became more human when I gave her a new husband, one who wasn't so much trouble and was a little more helpful. I made her younger, about thirty-five or forty, and I gave her two children, a boy and a girl more than a little like my own two. Her name changed, too, Maltke became Molly. And Talnitzky was no longer suitable. It was too much, it was trying too hard. I changed the name to Goldberg because it sounded right. After awhile Molly Goldberg began to sound euphonious and so I kept it.

---Gertrude Berg, from Molly and Me. (1961.)

The show will also shed its few sterotypes gradually over the years, though Molly's malaprops---nicknamed Mollyprops---will prove at least as memorable as those of Jane Ace: "Enter, whoever"; "If it's nobody, I'll call back"; "Give me a swallow the glass"; "It's late, Jake, and time to expire"; and, "We're at the crossroads and the parting of the ways" will be a few of the most memorable.

And, like Easy Aces or Vic and Sade, The Goldbergs will make quietly clever dialogue and not bellicose banter its comic hallmark. Colgate-Palmolive-Peet will pick the show up after Procter & Gamble drops it, and The Goldbergs will remain on radio until 1950.


1938: BLAMING THE VICTIMS---Ironically and sadly enough, as The Goldbergs finishes its tenth year on the air as one of radio's most popular shows, Father Charles E. Coughlin in his weekly radio broadcast blames Kristallnacht, a fornight earlier, in which Jewish properties were vandalised and burned and Jews around Nazi Germany were attacked and killed, on . . . the victims.

The reaction includes Coughlin's two major New York outlets (WINS and WMCA) cancelling his program, and begins the scrutiny---including from within his own Roman Catholic church (the Vatican itself, it turns out later, is among those who want him silenced)---that leads at last to the ultimatum the Radio Priest will receive from his direct superior, the archbishop of Detroit, in 1942: give up broadcasting, or give up the priesthood. Coughlin will choose the former, remaining the pastor of the Shrine of the Little Flower---which he built himself---until his retirement in 1966.


1941: A MISERABLE OBJECT OF PUBLIC RIDICULE; OR, RUSH IS HUMILIATED ON THANKSGIVING---Vic (Art Van Harvey) and Sade (Bernadine Flynn), enjoying a quiet evening of dreamy gazing and reading, are alarmed when Rush (Bill Idelson) is ready to paste one on Blazer Scott's nose over revealing . . . the dinner utensils Sade leaves for him at each meal, on today's edition of Vic & Sade. (NBC.)

Annoucer: Ed Herlihy. Writer: Paul Rhymer.

1942: SMELLY CLARK, THE BARBER---Rush (Bill Idelson) may be taking a big risk letting his buddy give him a haircut, on today's edition of Vic & Sade. (NBC.)

Announcer: Ed Herlihy. Writer: Paul Rhymer.

1947: LOVER BOY---A self-doubting playboy (Ken Wayne) who still manages to fleece his lovers now has more than he can handle, a sexy drive-in waitress (Wynne Nelson) who only seems numb from the neck up . . . and whose steady boyfriend resembles him almost exactly, on tonight's edition of The Clock. (ABC.)

The Clock: Hart McGuire. Additional cast: Moyer Redmond, John Urich, Brian James. Writer: Lawrence Klee.

1949: THE PARTY LINE---Nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the telephone, on which a party line's incessant gossip may block Connie (Eve Arden) from hooking up with the district official who may promote her to department head, on tonight's edition of Our Miss Brooks. (CBS.)

Mrs. Davis: Jane Morgan. Conklin: Gale Gordon. Walter: Richard Crenna. Boynton: Jeff Chandler. Writer: Al Lewis.

1949: THE TALENTED CHILDREN'S SCREEN TEST---After watching the girls in their first school play, a studio scout wants Phyllis (Anne Whitfield) for a film, Little Alice (Jeanine Roos) handles it the typical Harris manner---withering sarcasm---and Alice (Faye) blanches at what it might do to both girls, on tonight's edition of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show. (NBC.)

Willie: Robert North. Remley: Elliott Lewis. Mrs. Miller: Lois Forman. Julius: Walter Tetley. Announcer: Bill Forman. Music: Walter Sharp, Phil Harris, Alice Faye. Writers: Ray Singer, Dick Chevillat.

1955: DUTCH GEORGE---A hustling horse thief (John Dehner) with an apparent knack for evading jury convictions puzzles Matt (William Conrad), who once knew him as a legitimate enough businessman, on tonight's edition of Gunsmoke. (CBS.)

Kitty: Georgia Ellis. Chester: Parley Baer. Additional cast: Vic Perrin, Jim Hunter. Writer: John Dunkel. (Advisory: Flawed tape recording.)


1890---Robert Armstrong (actor: Lux Radio Theater), Saginaw, Michigan.
1891---Reginald Denny (actor: Cavalcade of America; Screen Guild Theater; Texaco Star Theater), Richmond, Surrey, UK.
1907---Fran Allison (actress/singer: The Breakfast Club; National Barn Dance; Uncle Ezra), La Porte City, Iowa.
1908---Alistair Cooke (historian/host: Transatlantic Quiz; Letter to America; Stage and Screen), Manchester, UK.
1916---Judy Canova (as Juliette Canova; comedienne/singer: Paul Whiteman's Musical Varieties; The Charlie McCarthy Show; The Abbott and Costello Show; Texaco Star Theater Starring Fred Allen; The Judy Canova Show), Stark, Florida.
1919---Evelyn Keyes (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Port Arthur, Texas.
1920---Gene Tierney (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Brooklyn.
1921---Phyllis Thaxter (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Portland, Maine.
1926---Kaye Ballard (as Catherine Gloria Balotta; actress: Stars for Defence; Bud's Bandwagon), Cleveland.


RONNIE BURNS---The handsome adopted son of longtime vaudeville and radio comedians George Burns and Gracie Allen, who played himself---as a withering dramatic student who looked down upon his parents' mere comedy---on the couple's television show of the 1950s; died 14 November of cancer at his Pacific Palisades, California home.

During his run on his parents' show, Burns and his adopted sister, Sandy (playing an unrelated student), performed a memorable impression of their parents, in a story that involved the pair as fellow students putting on a vaudeville-style show to raise money for their dramatic school. Gracie, as the show's host, followed the kids' perfomance by cracking, "The boy was produced by Burns and Allen."

Burns' most familiar television appearance otherwise was in an episode of The Honeymooners, in which he played the jivey boyfriend of a neighbour whose enthusiasm sets Alice longing for the younger days when she and Ralph hit the whirl of dances, roller skating, and the like.

He also made appearances in television shows such as The Jack Benny Program, Playhouse 90, Bachelor Father, The Deputy, and his own short-lived Happy (1960, in which he played the young father of a talking baby), but by 1965---after spending time co-producing his father's short-lived Wendy and Me series---Burns tired of the spotlight and retired from show business, spending the rest of his life involved with racing boats, real estate, and eventually helping manage memorabilia distribution for his parents.

Burns is survived by his second wife, Janice; three sons from his first marriage; and, his sister, Sandy, who acted only sporadically before marrying, raising a family, and becoming a teacher.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Talking Turkey: The Way It Is, 19 November

Well, it looks as though the day after your correspondent's birthday has something in common with the birthday itself: In terms of events that were to change the proverbial course of old-time radio, it seems 19 November is as much of a turkey as 18 November. That is only too appropriate with Thanksgiving three days away and a couple of genuine turkeys hitting the airwaves gobbling today and tonight.

We've just fired the writer who composed that setup line. He'll never gobble at this table again.


1942: KNIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOUR---Live from Sixth Ferrying Group, Air Transport Command, Long Beach, California: Bud (Abbott) urges Lou (Costello) to hurry up and hire their next leading lady, whom he thinks will be guest star Merle Oberon, on tonight's edition of The Abbott & Costello Show. (NBC.)

Botsford/Bugs Bunny: Mel Blanc. Pierre: Possibly Bert Gordon. Announcer: Ken Niles. Music: Lee Stevens and his Orchestra, the Camel Five, Connie Haines. Writers: Martin A. Ragaway, possibly Parke Levy, possibly Pat Costello.

1944: TURKEY HUNT---Inspired somewhat by Babs' (Peggy Conklin) high school play, Riley (William Bendix) can't wait to bring in a Thanksgiving turkey he hunted himself---but the family can't believe the turkey accepted the challenge to hunt the turkey in the first place, on tonight's edition of The Life of Riley. (ABC.)

Peg: Paula Winslowe. Junior: Scotty Beckett. Annoucner: Ken Niles. Writers: Ruben Ship, Ashmead Scott, Alan Lipscott.

1944: VIVACIOUS LADY---Adapted from the 1938 Ginger Rogers/James Stewart vehicle: While visiting New York to retrieve a wayward cousin, a youthful professor (Lee Bowman) falls in love with and marries a nightclub singer (Linda Darnell)---who makes it difficult if not impossible for her husband to break it to his tyrannical father, on tonight's edition of The Old Gold Comedy Theater. (NBC.)

Keith Morgan: Jack Edwards, Jr. Host/director: Harold Lloyd. Adapted from the 1938 screenplay by P.J. Wolfson.

1950: THANKSGIVING TURKEY---The problem is that nobody knows just who the turkey is, when the mixups begin after Connie (Eve Arden) sets out to avoid a Thanksgiving alone, on tonight's edition of Our Miss Brooks. (CBS.)

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

1959: WALLY BALLOU ON THE COMING WORLD'S FAIR---Our intrepid reporter ("He's mandatory listening for all employees at Pompous Pith Helmet Works") scopes the planning for the eventual 1964 New York World's Fair, including emblem designer David L. McCelligan. Meanwhile, Arthur Shrank reports from WJIM Lansing, and Ray's caught off guard when Bob asks if he's found the music for Great Come and Get It Day, among other doings and undoings on today's edition of Bob & Ray Present the CBS Radio Network. (Trick question . . . )

Writers: Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding.


1863---Billy Sunday (evangelist: The Back Home Hour), Ames, Iowa.
1864---George Barbier (actor: Song of the Islands), Philadelphia.
1889---Clifton Webb (as Webb Parmelee Hollenbeck; actor: Lux Radio Theater), Indianapolis.
1897---Bud Green (lyricist: Great Moments in Music), Austria.
1901---Charles Webster (actor: Life Can Be Beautiful; Backstage Wife), United Kingdom.
1905---Eleanor Audley (actress: Father Knows Best), New York City; Tommy Dorsey (trombonist/bandleader: The Jack Pearl Program; Fame and Fortune; The Tommy Dorsey Show; G.I. Jive), Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.
1919---George Fenneman (announcer: You Bet Your Life; Dragnet; actor: I'll Fly Anything), Peking (Beijing); Alan Young (comedian: The Jimmy Durante Show; The Alan Young Show), North Shields, Northcumberland, U.K.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Big Deal: The Way It Was, 18 November

1955---Neither the lady who birthed him nor the parents aligned to adopt him from the crib suspect that the butterball of a newborn boy will grow up to become . . . your humble old-time radio chronicler, among other things none so great and none so simple.

He does find it humbling in his way to share a birthday with a few music titans (Paderewski, Eugene Ormandy, the first half of Gilbert and Sullivan, Johnny Mercer, Hank Ballard). On the other hand, he'd love to know if his birthday is the same date, 748 years previous, on which William Tell shot the Red Delicious off his son's scalp.

And, he is precisely thirty years younger than Mickey Mouse, if you accept the New York premiere of Steamboat Willie as Mickey Mouse's legitimate birth, though he's been trying to cut the Mickey Mouse out of his life for long enough.

Since your chronicler has become many things, earth-shattering not being among them, on another day mostly bereft of genuinely world-beating old-time radio doings or undoings, perhaps the best way to celebrate is to just make right for the . . .


1940: THANKSGIVING SHOW---All things considered, you can probably wonder just how to have a Thanksgiving when the hostess (Gracie Allen) could be accused of being the turkey, on tonight's edition of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Senor Lee, Truman Bradley. Music: Artie Shaw and His Orchestra. Writers: Paul Henning, Keith Fowler, George Burns.

1945: MARGARET O'BRIEN---McCarthy lures (Edgar) Bergen into the McCarthy Book Nook, Mortimer mulls hypnotism, and McCarthy lures Margaret O'Brien into his version of The Courtship of Miles Standish, on tonight's edition of The Charlie McCarthy Show. (NBC.)

Cast: Anita Gordon, Pat Patrick. Music: Ray Noble and His Orchestra. Writers: Possibly Roland McLane, Royal Foster, Joe Connelly, Bob Mosher.

1945: RENTING A ROOM---The Alley demimonde discusses a pending clothing shortage, and Fred (Allen)---needing a new apartment---ends up renting a temporary room . . . from Boris Karloff, on tonight's edition of The Fred Allen Show. (NBC.)

Portland: Portland Hoffa. Claghorn: Kenny Delmar. Moody: Parker Fenelly. Mrs. Nussbaum/The Head Down the Hall: Minerva Pious. Openshaw: Alan Reed. Music: Al Goodman and His Orchestra, the Five DeMarco Sisters. Writers: Fred Allen, Bob Weiskopf, Nat Hiken.


1860---Jan Ignace Paderewski (pianist: Paderewski's Eightieth Birthday Tribute), Kurilovka, Poland.
1899---Eugene Ormandy (conductor, mostly with the Philadelphia Orchestra: Roxy's Gang; The Philadelphia Orchestra), Budapest, Hungary.
11/18/1899 -- Eugene Ormandy -- d. 3-12-1985
1900---Don Quinn (creator/writer: Fibber McGee & Molly; The Halls of Ivy), Grand Rapids, Michigan.
1908---Imogene Coca (comedienne: The Big Show), Philadelphia.
1909---Johnny Mercer (singer/songwriter: Camel Caravan; Johnny Mercer's Music Shop; The Dinah Shore Show), Savannah, Georgia.
1912---Arthur Peterson (actor: The Guiding Light; The World's Great Novels), Mandan, Maryland.
1926---Dorothy Collins (singer: Your Hit Parade), Windsor, Ontario.
1945---Glenn Walken (actor: The Guiding Light), Queens.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Nothing Earthshattering . . . So Relax: The Way It Is, 17 November

Knowing of no law, written or fluid, that mandates every last day on the calendar to bear historic significance, well, sometimes all you can do is just sit back, relax, pop a cold one open, and enjoy . . .


1945: A LETTER FROM CACTUS JUNCTION---Cousin Belle's letter from back home perks Judy (Canova) into hunting football tickets: her old boyfriend, freshly discharged from the Army, has resumed his football career and is coming Judy's way, on tonight's edition of The Judy Canova Show. (NBC.)

Pedro: Mel Blanc. Aunt Aggie: Verna Felton. Geranium: Ruby Dandridge. Botsford: Joseph Kearns. Music: Pokey Case and His Orchestra, the Sports Men. Writers: Fred Fox, Henry Hoople.

1950: MR. BRADLEY'S DAMAGED HEART---Bradley's (Wills Herbert) collapse after a typically overworking day has Kildare (Lew Ayres) and Gillespie (Lionel Barrymore) hoping it's only a warning sign that he'll heed in the middle of a major job, on tonight's edition of Dr. Kildare. (Syndicated.)

Additional cast: Virginia Gregg, Georgia Ellis, Vic Perrin. Writer: Les Crutchfield.

1953: DUCK HUNTING IS SUCCESSFUL---McGee (Jim Jordan), Doc (Arthur Q. Bryan), and Herb (Parley Baer) can't wait to hit the lake shooting, assuming there are no large predators out and about, on today's edition of Fibber McGee & Molly. (NBC.)

Warden: Jess Kirkpatrick. Writer: Phil Leslie.

1953: A HEPCAT KILLS THE CANARY---His first music gig in years lures Rocky (Frank Sinatra) into a jam that threatens to become his swan song, on tonight's edition of Rocky Fortune. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Jack Kruschen, Gene Tatum, Tom Holland, Frank Gershel, Barney Phillips. Writer: George Lefferts.


1898---Quin Ryan (announcer/actor: Quin Ryan Reports; Uncle Quin; Uncle Quin's Scalawags), unknown.
1901---Ted Husing (announcer/sportscaster: Sportslants; March of Time; Radio Reader's Digest), The Bronx.
1905---Mischa Auer (actor: Mischa the Magnificent), St. Petersburg, Russia; Josef Marais (singer: African Trek; The Meredith Willson Show), Sir Lowey's Pass, South Africa.
1907---L. Sprague de Camp (writer: X Minus One; Future Tense), New York City.
1911---Jack Lescoulie (announcer/host: Grouch Club; Meet the Champions), Sacramento, California.
1916---Frank Maxwell (actor: Col. Humphrey Slack), The Bronx.
1918---Paul Crabtree (actor: Claudia and David), Pulaski, Virginia.
1925---Rock Hudson (as Roy Harold Scherer, Jr.; actor: Lux Radio Theater), Winnetka, Illinois.
1937---Peter Cook (actor: Paul Temple, Detective), Devonshire, UK.