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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I Hear a Symphony: The Way It Was, 13 November

1937: "WITH THE MOST LIBERAL TERMS . . . "---Radio Corporation of America mastermind David Sarnoff sanctions the creation of a symphony orchestra for Arturo Toscanini, the NBC Symphony. Beginning with its Christmas performance premiere, the maestro and the orchestra will make nearly unparalleled music, in old-time radio broadcasts and on recordings---until his retirement in 1954, after which (to the maestro's reported distress), the NBC Symphony will be disbanded.

David Sarnoff, the president of RCA who had first proposed the “radio music box” in 1916 so that listeners might enjoy “concerts, lectures, music, recitals,” felt that the medium was failing to do this. By 1937, RCA had recovered enough from the effects of the Depression for it to make a dramatic commitment to cultural programming. With the most liberal terms Sarnoff hired Arturo Toscanini to create an entire orchestra and conduct it. On Christmas night, 1937, the NBC orchestra gave its first performance—--Vivaldi’s Concerto Grosso in D Minor—--in an entirely refurbished studio in the RCA Building. “The National Broadcasting Company is an American business organization. It has employees and stockholders. It serves their interests best when it serves the public best.” That Christmas night, and whenever the NBC orchestra played over the next 17 years, he was right.

---Tom Lewis, from "A Godlike Presence: The Impact of Radio on the 1920s and 1930s," Organization of American Historians Magazine of History, Spring 1992.


1946: THE MEAT SHORTAGE---Tugwell (Dave Willock) isn't the only one complaining about yet another day's spaghetti for lunch, on tonight's edition of The Jack Carson Show. (CBS.)

Treacher: Arthur Treacher. Miss Ryan: Irene Ryan. Norma Jean: Norma Jean Nillson. Announcer: Del Sharbutt. Music: Freddy Martin and His Orchestra. Writers: Henry Taylor, Leonard L. Levinson, Jack Rose.

1947: EDDIE; OR, EXCLUSIVE STORY---Consequences dire enough when an exhausted newspaperman (Joe DeSantos) falls for a woman (Alice Frost) he's assigned to cover---after she was acquitted of murder but while she carries circulation value to his editors---on tonight's edition of The Clock. (ABC.)

Additional cast: Wendy Clayfair, John Mellion. The Clock: Hart McGuire. Writer: Lawrence Klee.

1947: RIA BOUCHINSKI---A man found dead in a theater cellar was seeking a popular ventriloquist (Joseph Kearns), whose dummy (Lurene Tuttle) proves only too much more than she seems, on tonight's edition of Suspense. (CBS.)

Det. Provich: Wally Maier. Narrator: Armana Figet. Writer: Ray Bradbury.

1948: LEARNING TO DRIVE---All Liz (Lucille Ball) has to hear is that an old flame of George's (Richard Denning) is coming to town in a fancy new imported car and that does it: she wants to drive something beside her husband crazy, as she did the last time he tried to teach her to drive, on tonight's edition of My Favourite Husband. (CBS.)

Iris: Bea Benadaret. Additional cast: John Eastad, Ruth Perrott, Frank Nelson, Herb Vigran. Writers: Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Pugh, Jess Oppenheimer.

1954: THE WRONG MAN---A man (John Dehner) who kills an outlaw learns the hard way he didn't kill his intended target, on tonight's edition of Gunsmoke. (CBS.)

Dillon: William Conrad. Doc: Howard McNear. Kitty: Georgia Ellis. Chester: Parley Baer. Additional cast: Vivi Janis, Vic Perrin, Warren Dobkin. Writer: John Meston.


1903---Conrad Thibault (singer: Show Boat; The Packard Hour; Manhattan Merry-Go-Round), Northbridge, Massachussetts.
1913---Helen Mack (producer/director: Beulah; The Affairs of Mary Scotland), Rock Island, Illinois; Alexander Scourby (actor: Young Widder Brown; Against the Storm; The Eternal Light; The Open Door; The Right to Happiness; The Second Mrs. Burton), Brooklyn.
1917---Robert Sterling (actor: Michael Shayne), Newcastle, Pennsylvania.


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