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, December 13, 2007

Two Kings and a Jack: The Way It Was, 13 December

1942: TWO BIG ONES FOR BENNY---It's not that he's been avoided by the big ones in seasons past, but even this Jack (Benny, of course) must have been humbled to bag himself two kings---of acting understatement (Gary Cooper) and swing (Benny Goodman)---for one broadcast, as he's done here.

In a program going live from New York City, to an audience strictly of men on leave from the armed forces, clarinet virtuoso and jazz titan Benny Goodman is guest conductor and soloist, beginning a stand switching off every other week through 10 January 1943 with Abe Lyman, while Phil Harris, presumably, is on a leave of absence of his own.

Goodman himself banters early with Benny ("Phil Harris, Benny Goodman, Abe Lyman, I haven't gotten one bandleader who can read English!") and Don Wilson, where Goodman needles Wilson about his opening Grape Nuts commercial spot during the Goodman band's rendition of "Hallelujah"; takes one for the team from Mary Livingstone ("He's better than the band you wanted to hire---Sammy Slotnick and his Staten Island Hawaiians"); gives sympatico support to Dennis Day's take of "I Had the Craziest Dream"; and, swings through a later spot of his own.

Meanwhile, it's Benny and Cooper out on the town, with the hitch being that Cooper didn't think about calling dates in advance because none of the girls he knows likes Benny. Aside from which, the two men seem to have very different ideas of nights on the town, anyway.

That's tonight's edition of The Grape-Nuts Flakes Program Starring Jack Benny. (NBC.)

Rochester: Eddie Anderson. Falstaff Openshaw (in a surprise guest appearance): Alan Reed. Writers: George Balzar, Milt Josefsberg, Sam Perrin.


1950: RAYMOND AND GLORIA---Cousin Raymond (Eddie Firestone) has a crush---on Gloria (Gloria Holiday), whom he wants to take to the local dance, to Harold (Peary) and Mother's (Jane Morgan) amusement, on tonight's edition of The Harold Peary Show. (CBS.)

Doc: Joseph Kearns. Additional cast: Mary Jane Croft, Parley Baer. Announcer: Bob Lamond. Music: Jack Meekin Orchestra, Harold Peary. Writers: Gene Stone, Jack Robinson.

1959: THE SUDDEN WEALTH MATTER---Dash to the South Dakota snow is the last thing on Dollar's (Bob Bailey) mind, until he learns from Pat (Lawrence Dobkin) that farmers there and three other states are cashing policies fast to invest in a stock pyramid scheme for fast-hoped Christmas cash, on tonight's edition of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Horace Lewis, Julius Mathews, Edgar Beria, Russell Thorson. Writer: Jack Johnstone.


1887---Alvin York (military hero, World War I: We, the People; What Are We Fighting For?), Pall Mall, Tennessee.
1890---Marc Connelly (writer: Free Company; Security Workshop; Lux Radio Theater), McKeesport, Pennsylvania.
1897---Drew Pearson (commentator: Listen, America; Drew Pearson Comments), Evanston, Illinois.
1905---Jay Jostyn (actor: The Life of Mary Sothern; Mr. District Attorney), Milwaukee.
1910---Van Heflin (actor: Betty and Bob; The Adventures of Philip Marlow), Walter, Oklahoma; Lillian Roth (singer: Pleasant Sunday Afternoon), Boston.
1913---Jimmy Carroll (singer: Pot o'Gold), New York City.
1914---Larry Parks (actor: Kraft Music Hall; Faith for Tomorrow; Guest Star), Olathe, Kansas.
1915---Mark Stevens (actor: This is Hollywood; Cavalcade of America; Suspense), Cleveland.
1917---David Street (actor/singer: Music Depreciation), Los Angeles.
1920---Don Taylor (actor: Indiana School of the Sky; Family Theater; Hollywood Star Preview), Freeport, Pennsylvania.
1926---Carl Erskine (pitcher, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers: Baseball: An Action History), Anderson, Indiana.


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