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.

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.


Blogger Harry Heuser said...

Not sure which date is right for Canutt, whose Daredevils I dug up for the occasion. You're the source to trust, though, in all things OTR.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

Harry---I checked several sources including the Internet Movie Database, all of which list him as born 29 November. But I appreciate deeply the vote of trust!---Jeff

8:05 PM  
Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

Oopsie---I meant to say 1895! ;)

8:07 PM  
Blogger Gene Bach said...

I HATE the Dodgers...but I love Vin Scully. He's got to be the best announcer I have ever heard.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

Gene---I hate the Yankees, but I'd listen to their games in childhood just to listen to Red Barber, Vin Scully's former boss and mentor. The Ole Redhead (who thought nothing but well of his protege) was as much worth even the Yankees as, to you, Mr. Scully is worth the Dodgers.---Jeff

10:26 PM  

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