One Good Plug Deserves Another . . .
Standing athwart nostalgia, yelling "Art!" . . .
She never played the comedian offstage---she didn't need to be the funniest person in the room, unlike so many comics, who find it difficult to get off. She went out, got the laughs, and went back to her ranch in the [San Fernando] Valley. She was just a wonderfully unselfish actress, and was just so up all the time; she made you feel good to be around her.---Richard Crenna (Walter Denton), to Gerald Nachman, in "Valued Families," from Raised on Radio. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998.)
Godfrey's hold on his audience was that he was, or pretended to be, the average Joe, unimpressed with the glitter of showbiz or with politicians and all the other highfalutin pretensions that he ridiculed in his quasi-hayseed manner. In fact, he hung out with celebrities and made sure you knew he was on a first-name basis with politicians. Nonetheless, listeners felt he was one of them . . . but as his stature grew he became as pompous as the people he kidded.---Gerald Nachman.
The heroes of Young Doctor Malone, Big Sister, and Young Widder Brown are doctors, and medical men flit in and out of all other serials. The predominance of doctors may be accounted for by the fact that radio surveys have frequently disclosed that the practise of medicine is at the top of the list of professions popular with the American housewife.. . . Dr. Jerry Malone, by the way, won my True Christian Martyr Award for 1947 by being tried for murder and confined to a wheelchair at the same time. In March of this year, the poor fellow came full Soapland circle by suffering an attack of amnesia.---James Thurber, in "Soapland: Ivorytown, Rinsoville, Anacinville, and Crisco Corners," The New Yorker, 1948; republished in The Beast in Me and Other Animals: A New Collection of Pieces and Drawings About Human Beings and Less Alarming Creatures. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1948.)
One Man's Family is dedicated to the mothers and fathers of the younger generation, and to their bewildering offspring.---From the show's usual introduction, followed by episode introductions by book and chapter.
If you walk from Point A to Point B and then you have to return, you should walk the same amount of steps. Most directors simply wouldn't allow it. They would say, 'Turn around and walk back,' and you'd go two steps and that's it, they're into the script again. And you couldn't convince them it was important to return the same amount of steps. Norm MacDonald, if you had a particular distance to walk, gave you the time to walk back again. Once in a great while we'd cheat if we were hurting for time, but most of the time he gave us all the time we needed.---Ray Kemper, to Leonard Maltin, The Great American Broadcast. (New York: Dutton, 1997.When Marshal Dillon went out on the plains, you didn't need a narrator to know what was happening. You heard the faraway prairie wind and the dry squeak of Matt's pants against saddle leather . . . When Matt opened his jail cell door, you heard every key drop on the ring. When he walked the streets of Dodge, his spurs rang with a dull clink-clink, missing occasionally, and the hollow boardwalk echoed back as the nails creaked. Buckboards passed, and you heard them behind the dialogue, along with muted shouts of kids playing in an alley, and from the next block the inevitable dog was barking.---John Dunning, from Tune In Yesterday. (New York: Prentice Hall, 1976.)
In radio, I think the show was more authentic. The original characters were more extreme. They've mellowed with age---maybe they mellowed too much. They didn't used to be quite so warm. Kitty was more of a madam, Doc was more of an abortionist, and Matt smoked big black cigars, drank rye whiskey, and very often a man rode into town who could shoot faster and straighter than Matt Dillon.---Norman MacDonnell, comparing the radio and television versions of Gunsmoke, as cited by Gerald Nachman, in Raised on Radio. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998.)
It was in practically every respect a perfectly wonderful show---witty, tuneful, surprisingly sophisticated and brilliantly put together . . . one of the fastest and funniest ninety minutes in my memory.---John Crosby, The New York Herald-Tribune.If radio was to go out with a bang, there was nobody who gave audiences a better bang than Tallulah Bankhead, but it was the wrong sort of explosion. Running scared, radio was trying to turn itself into TV, not that anything would have helped. TV then was far worse---ragged, raw, and stumbling---but it was something that radio could never be again: novel.The Big Show was not just more grand than most radio shows---it was also more witty, smoothly produced, smart, and ambitious, with an interesting juxtaposition of guests, but it wasn't significantly different. It was just a more lavish, inflated revival of radio's earliest form---the variety showcase; you could almost hear the sequins . . . It was all fairly sophisticated, but nothing could pry audiences from their expensive new glass boxes, and nothing could induce NBC to keep the lavish show on as a partly sustaining enterprise forever.---Gerald Nachman, from "We're A Little Late, Folks, So Good Night," in Raised on Radio. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998.)---[The Big Show was] good enough to make one wish he could have seen it.---Jack Gould, The New York Times.
Some of us recall, years ago, listening to a Mets game when WFAN ambushed listeners with an Imus In The Morning promo, a clip from the show that asked whether Mother Teresa is a legitimate candidate for sainthood or "a no-good bitch."Hilarious stuff.Some of us also recall when [New York WNBC-TV] sports anchor Len Berman resigned his gig at WFAN after a short and failing run.Imus could've called Berman "Lenny the Bum" or "Lenny the Quitter." Instead he referred to him as "Lenny the Jew."Might that have provided a clue as to which way his instincts---and his marvelous sense of humor---run?So where was everyone back then?And now, because his act could no longer be indulged, Imus was so desperate . . . that he answered to Al Sharpton, a man with zero credibility.---Phil Mushnick, Post columnist, from "This Is An Ugly, Old Story."There's no excusing Imus' recent ridiculous remark, but there's something not kosher in America when one guy gets a Grammy and one gets fired for the same line.The Matt Lauers and Al Rokers of this world live by the cue-card and die by the cue-card; Imus is a rare bird, indeed---he works without a net. When you work without a net as long as Imus has, sometimes you make mistakes.Take heart, Imus. You're merely joining a long and legendary laundry list of individuals who were summarily sacrificed in the name of society's sanctimonious soul: Socrates, Jesus, Galileo, Joan of Arc, Mozart and Mark Twain, who was decried as a racist until the day he died for using the N-word rather prolifically in Huckleberry Finn.---Kinky Friedman, a singer and author who moonlighted recently as a Texas gubernatorial candidate, from "Cowards Kick Away Another Piece of America's Soul."
[D]espite his own fight for free speech, he was happy Imus lost his job. [He] went on to explain he felt this way because he once witnessed Imus refer to an African American secretary at WNBC as the n-word, and therefore thought his remark about the Rutgers basketball team wasn’t a joke at all . . . [H]e thought one of the reasons MSNBC fired Imus from his television simulcast was because of its poor ratings, and proceeded to play a clip of one of Imus’ coworkers, Keith Olbermann, discussing how Imus made people cry on a weekly basis because of his behind-the-scenes remarks to women and minorities. Upon hearing that, [he] noted critics could say anything they wanted about his show, but that they wouldn’t be able to find any of his coworkers who could put down how he treated them off the air.---Thomas Panasci and Jason Kaplan, from the abstract of Monday's edition of The Howard Stern Show.
No twosome was more perfectly attuned to middle-class 1930s sensibilities . . . The show, which seamlessly blended vaudeville high-jinks with radio's cozier atmospherics, came along at the right time---a home remedy for a shaken, insecure, Depression-era America that needed reassuring that its values were still intact, alive and well at 79 Wistful Vista.---Gerald Nachman, in "Nesting Instincts," from Raised on Radio. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998.)
As I remember, the call letters WLS were not definitely selected until that afternoon (of April 12th). Much consideration had been given to other call letters, among them, WBBX, WJR and WES.---George C. Biggar, WLS farm/market director and eventual program director.