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 09, 2007

"Dear God---Thanks": The Way It Was, 9 November

1886: THIS SWEET, SAD FIRE CHIEF---Mother and Dad Leopold little suspect that the son who arrives today, Isaiah Edwin Leopold, will bolt home for the bright lights and the big laughs as a teenager . . . rejecting the successful family hatmaking business, turning his middle name into his stage name the better to spare the family the suspected indignity of having a comedian for a relation.

And in due course he would move from vaudeville to spare no old-time radio audience the giddy, foolish persona he develops into one of the medium's first superstar comedy presences, especially as The Fire Chief in the 1930s.

He wasn't really a comedian at all.

He was a clown. An old-fashioned baggy-pants clown.

And, indeed, a sad clown at that.

His career---and for that matter, his personal life---were filled with ups and downs. For decades, he battled crushing personal depression---and yet, he endured. For nearly sixty-four years, Ed Wynn was a professional entertainer, dedicated to the simple pursuit of laughter. Even when he himself had little to laugh about.

. . . In his last years, Wynn finally seemed to have found the peace of mind, the security, that had eluded him for so long---as can been seen from the plaque on his niche at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.

It's a simple inscription---but one which says much about this sweet, sad man.

"Dear God -- Thanks."


1941: LEO DUROCHER---Jack (Benny) is excited about making a new film and his pals---including Brooklyn Dodgers manager Leo Durocher---seem even more excited for a chance to needle him about it, on tonight's edition of The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny. (NBC.)

Cast: Mary Livingstone, Eddie (Rochester) Anderson, Dennis Day, Phil Harris. Announcer: Don Wilson. Music: Phil Harris and his Orchestra, Dennis Day. Writers: Sam Perrin, Milt Josefsberg, George Balzer, John Tackaberry.

1945: EDDIE QUITS---Hearing Eddie (Green) plans to quit for a better gig across the street, Archie (Ed Gardner) blows it negotiating with him . . . and has to hire a new waiter (former world light heavyweight champion Slapsie Maxie Rosenbloom in a guest role) who proves only slightly less competent even in this flea trap, on tonight's edition of Duffy's Tavern. (CBS.)

Finnegan: Charles Cantor. Miss Duffy: Gloria Erlanger. Writers: Ed Gardner, Abe Burrows, Larry Marks, possibly Larry Gelbart.

1948: LUIGI FINDS A STOLEN DIAMOND RING---Pasquale's (Alan Reed) weekly nagging to get him to marry his daugher Rosa (Judy Gilbert) is nothing for Luigi this time---not when he finds what proves a hot rock in front of the antique shop, on tonight's edition of Life With Luigi. (CBS.)

Miss Spaulding: Mary Shipp. Jimmy: Gil Stratton. Announcer: Bob Lamond. Writers: Hy Kraft, Arthur Stander, Mac Benoff, Lou Derman.

1959: THE BOB & RAY GOURMET CLUB, NEWLY REFURBISHED---And serving up a singular buffet of singular buffonery from a dance act, a crowd of notable Larrys, and a sandwich giveaway, on today's edition of Bob & Ray Present the CBS Radio Network. (Gee, I dunno . . . )

Writers: Bob Elliot, Ray Goulding.


1883---Edna Mae Oliver (actress: The Remarkable Miss Tuttle), Malden, Massachussetts.
1895---George D. Hay (The Solemn Judge; host: National Barn Dance; Grand Ole Opry), Attica, Indiana.
1899---Mezz Mezzrow (as Milton Mesirow; jazz clarinetist/saxophonist: BBC Jazz Session; For Your Approval; Americana), Chicago.
1909---Kay Thompson (as Catherine L. Fink; singer: The Fred Waring Show; Your Hit Parade; Tune-Up Time), St. Louis.
1913---Hedy Lamarr (as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler; actress: Lux Radio Theater), Vienna.
1922---Dorothy Dandridge (actress: Beulah), Cleveland.


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