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.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"My God, It's Dark in Here!": The Way It Was, 14 November

1921: ARIAS ON THE AIR---Chicago broadcasting launches auspiciously enough, when KYW (now a Philadelphia station) launches its broadcast life with selections from Madame Butterfly and arias from soprano Edith Mason.

But the first words or phrases ever to be heard on Chicago old-time radio will come from Chicago Grand Opera Association director and soprano extraordinaire Mary Garden---and they won't have a thing to do with the evening's repertoire.

Asked to introduce the musicians on this inaugural broadcast, while testing the KYW transmitter that will deliver the music from the Auditorium Theater, Garden finds it difficult to see in a studio illuminated by a single light bulb. "My God," Garden purrs, "it's dark in here!"


1922: THE BEEB IS ON THE AIR---Almost a month after its formal creation, the British Broadcasting Corporation hits the air running when it launches 2L0, its domestic radio service based in London, with a summary of the news of the day.

Over the rest of the 1920s, BBC programming will come to include a daily religious service, a show from Gramophone Records, afternoon performances by the in-house BBC Dance Orchestra, The Children's Hour at 5.15 pm, and documentary and variety programming, among other offerings.


1937: THE STEVE AND CHARLOTTE STORY---An ambitious local poet hopes to divorce her unwilling husband, until he seems to fall for an attractive accident victim he escorted from Christian's (Jean Hersholt)'s office, on today's edition of Dr. Christian. (CBS.)

Nurse Price: Lurene Tuttle. Additional cast: Unknown. Writer: Ruth Adams Knight.

1939: LET'S PLAY POST OFFICE---Or, barring that, let's play with a postmaster general---U.S. Postmaster General James Farley, joining the panel on tonight's edition of Information, Please. (Blue Network.)

Panelists: Franklin P. Adams, John F. Kieran, Oscar Levant. Host: Clifton Fadiman.

1948: DAMSEL IN DISTRESS---The friend (Lurene Tuttle) of a teenager (Betty Lou Gerson) threatened with extortion contacts Holliday (Alan Ladd) instead of the police to shield her parents, on tonight's edition of Box 13. (Mutual.)

Suzy: Sylvia Picker. Kling: Edmund MacDonald. Additional cast: Alan Reed, Frank Lovejoy. Writer: Russell Hughes.

1948: THE EVENING AND THE MORNING---A condemned man (Ernest Chappell, who also narrates) who's confessed to killing the woman he loves---the widow of his best friend, no less---reveals the surreal reason why he committed the crime, on tonight's edition of Quiet, Please. (ABC.)

Alice: Bess Johnson. Thorpe: Martin Lawrence. Writer: Wyllis Cooper.

1948: NIGHTMARE---Police chase bank embezzler Philip Adams (Joseph Kearns) into a heavily foliaged maze of estates, into one of which he slips, badly injured, to be surprised in more ways than one, on tonight's edition of The Whistler. (CBS.)

Hilda Wyatt: Eve McVeigh. The Whistler: Marvin Miller. Writers: Robert Eisenbach, Jackson Gillis.


1901---Morton Downey (The Irish Thrush; singer: The Morton Downey Show; Songs By Morton Downey), Wallingford, Connecticut.
<1904---Art Hodes (jazz pianist: Eddie Condon's Jazz Concert; This is Jazz), Nikoliev, Russia; Dick Powell (actor: Richard Diamond, Private Detective; Rogue's Gallery), Mountain View, Arkansas.
1905---Budd Hulick (Wilber Hulick; comedian: Stoopnagle and Budd; Meet Mr. Meek), Asbury Park, New Jersey.
1906---Mercer McLeod (actor: Second Husband), unknown.
1910---Rosemary DeCamp (actress: Dr. Christian), Prescott, Arizona Territory.
1914---Court Benson (announcer/narrator: Tennessee Jed), Vancouver, British Columbia; Ken Carson (singer: A Day in the Life of Dennis Day; Our Miss Brooks [the Luster Creme "Dream Girl" jingle]), Colgate, Oklahoma; Haila Stoddard (actress: Big Sister), Great Falls, Missouri.
1915---Martha Tilton (jazz singer: Fibber McGee and Molly; Meet Me at Parky's; The Curt Massey-Martha Tilton Program; Let's Dance), Corpus Christi, Texas.
1916---Sherwood Schwartz (writer: The Bob Hope Show; The Great Gildersleeve), Passaic, New Jersey.
1919---Veronica Lake (as Constance Frances Marie Ockelman; actress: Exploring the Unknown; Request Performance; The Abbott & Costello Show), Brooklyn.
1920---Johnny Desmond (singer: I Sustain the Wings; The Philip Morris Frolics; Songs for Sale), Detroit.
1924---Phyllis Avery (actress: Meet Mr. McNutley), New York City.


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