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, December 03, 2008

"Berlin---was a kind of orchestrated hell": The Way It Was, 3 December

1943: "A TERRIBLE SYMPHONY OF LIGHT AND FLAME"---He has already alarmed his CBS superiors with habits such as mounting the rooftops to report the London blitz, or joining bombing runs over Europe to report them eyewitness, to the point where some at the network believe he has a kind of death wish. Call it daring or call it foolhardiness, the trait enables Edward R. Murrow to deliver one of the most famed, and most gripping reports of his career.

There he is, the morning after he's flown aboard a night-flying Lancaster bomber known as D-Dog, delivering a report toward the end of which he interjects a slightly jarring aside, before returning to wrap up what he has seen and heard on D-Dog's run during the Allied bombardment of Berlin.

There were four reporters on this operation. Two of them didn't come back. Two friends of mine. Norman Stockton, of Australian Associated Newspapers, and Lowell Bennett, an American representing International News Service. There is something of a tradition amongst reporters that those who are prevented by circumstances from filing their stories will be covered by their colleagues. This has been my effort to do so.

In the aircraft in which I flew, the men who flew and fought it poured into my ears their comments on fighters, flak, and flares in the same tones they would have used in reporting a host of daffodils. I have no doubt that Bennett and Stockton would have given you a better report of last night's activities.

The good news is that Bennett---all 23 years old of him, whom Time will disclose drew his assignment to D-Dog's mission by way of a coin flip, reporting back to all three major American press associations of the time---will survive the raid. The sad news is that Stockton---a native New Zealander, whose home paper was the Sydney Sun---will not. I have no doubt that either man would have told you they couldn't possibly top Murrow's report, as though anyone could.


1940: WALKING THE TALK---The skinny: For several years, she listened to rival Louella Parsons on the air and convinced herself she could do it just as well or even better, if only given the chance.

Sunkist Growers finally take her up on her confidence, or challenge if you prefer, and allows her to put their money where her big mouth is. And, after having done scattered guest shots for the like of Rudy Vallee's Fleischmann Hour and other, established old-time radio shows, Hedda Hopper launches her own fifteen-minute gab-and-gossip go.


THE GULF SCREEN GUILD THEATER: ACCENT ON YOUTH (CBS, 1939)---Herbert Marshall reprises his 1935 film role as a middle-aged playwright whose son (John Mac Brown) falls for his secretary (Gertrude Lawrence, in the Sylvia Sidney film role)---who's fallen in love with him. Host/director: Roger Miles. Music: Oscar Bradley and the Gulf Orchestra. Adapted from the screenplay by Claude Binyon and Herbert Fields, based on the play by Samuel Raphaelson.

THE OLD GOLD COMEDY THEATER: TAKE A LETTER, DARLING (NBC, 1944)---Susan Hayward takes Rosalind Russell's 1942 film role of an ad executive who hires a male secretary (John Hodiak) to ward off pesky suitors . . . until she sees him in a new light, once he's being pursued by the pretty sister of one such pest. Additional cast: Unknown. Host/director: Harold Lloyd. Announcer: Bob Williams. Music: Carl Hoff. Adapted from the screenplay by Claude Binyon, based on the story by George Beck.

VIC & SADE: A SLOW, DULL, TIRESOME EVENING (CBS, 1945)---That's what Sade (Bernadine Flynn) thinks, relaxing on the davenport with Vic (Art Van Harvey), right after dinner, before Rush (Bill Idelson) begins reading aloud to their mild annoyance. Writer: Paul Rhymer.

THE BIG SHOW: "I CALLED A CERTAIN PARTY, AND THEY CALLED A CERTAIN PARTY" (NBC, 1950)---The first appearance on the show of First Daughter and alleged music star Margaret Truman demonstrates her true metier might be light comedy, if you think about it, after hearing her introductory banter with hostess Tallulah Bankhead, and her second-third-of-the-show banter with comedians Joan Davis and Phil Silvers. Meanwhile, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. re-enacts a jarring scene from his film, State Secrets; film and country music legends the Sons of the Pioneers perform; Meredith Willson gives an American premiere to a new French hit, "The Violins Amuse Themselves"; and, the singular Fred Allen offers to bring Truman to her own radio show. Additional cast: Mindy Carson, Robert Merrill. Music director: Meredith Willson, conducting the Big Show Orchestra and Chorus. Writers: Goodman Ace, Selma Diamond, George Foster, Mort Greene, Fred Allen.

BOB & RAY PRESENT THE CBS RADIO NETWORK: "ONE FELLA'S FAMILY---THE SMELL OF MALT" (THINK HARD . . ., 1959)---From Book Vee Eye, Chapter Eye Vee, Pages Eleven, Twelve, and Eighteen. Writers: Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding.


1873---Atwater Kent (inventor/manufacturer, the Atwater Kent radio), Burlington, Vermont.
1899---Ferdinand Munier (actor: The Count of Monte Cristo), San Diego.
1902---Bill Slater (host: Uncle Jim's Question Bee; Twenty Questions; The Dunninger Show), Parkersburg, West Virginia.
1907---Connee Boswell (singer, with the Boswell Sisters: Kraft Music Hall; Chesterfield Supper Club), New Orleans.
1908---Anna Sten (actress: March of Time; Stage Door Canteen), Kiev, Ukraine.
1916---Whitfield Connor (actor: When a Girl Marries), Rahthdowney, Ireland.
1930---Andy Williams (singer: The Bing Crosby Show), Wall Lake, Iowa.
1944---Malcolm Broderick (actor: The Marriage), New York City.


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