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.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Non-Commercial Commercial: The Way It Is, 9 January

1922---Born as experimental station 8ZAE, and once one of America's first radio stations to take requests of a sort (the requests came from dealers who wanted to demonstrate new wireless sets, allowing the station to broadcast recordings), KQV, Pittsburgh receives its commercial licence from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

However, because vice president of development G. Brown Hill believes radio should not become a commercial enterprise, the station will air advertisement free until 1925. Within a decade of that shift, the station---which remains on air today, in an all-news format---will become an NBC Blue Network affiliate.


1958---One of the last new series to get a try in what we now call the old-time radio era auditions today on CBS: Frontier Gentleman.

The audition episode, "The Remittance Man," features Ben Wright as title character J.B. Kendall, but the permanent role will go to veteran old-time radio character actor (including and especially Gunsmoke) John Dehner.

Herewith, an Englishman's account of life and death in the West. As a reporter for the London Times, he writes his colorful and unusual accounts. But as a man with a gun, he lives and becomes a part of the violent years in the new territories. Now, starring John Dehner, this is the story of J. B. Kendall, Frontier Gentleman.

---The show's usual introduction.

Written and directed by Anthony Ellis---who sketches Kendall's travels through the American West for London Times stories, during which travels Kendall crosses paths (and, periodically, pistols) with the like of Jesse James, Calamity Jane, and Wild Bill Hickok, among others---the show's premise probably sounds more interesting than the execution. Frontier Gentleman will last only until 16 November 1958.

The cast is filled out with Harry Bartell, Lawrence Dobkin, Virginia Gregg, Stacy Harris, Johnny Jacobs, Joseph Kearns, Jack Kruschen, Jack Moyles, Jeanette Nolan, Vic Perrin and Barney Phillips---most of whom, like Dehner, comprise a kind of Gunsmoke alumni association, with Bartell, Dobkin, Kearns, and Perrin all having featured on the earlier, classic Western.

Bartell has also been heard on The Charlotte Greenwood Show (comedy-variety); Dobkin, on Ellery Queen (he was the second actor to play the title role) and One Man's Family (on which Gregg and Perrin also appeared); and, Kearns, on The Jimmy Durante Show, The Judy Canova Show, The Mel Blanc Show, Suspense, and The Whistler, to name a few within his volume of radio credits.

When Frontier Gentleman begins, Kearns is on the threshold of gaining broad television face recognition: he will play cranky Mr. Wilson in the television version of Hank Ketcham's syndicated newspaper cartoon, Dennis the Menace. Upon his death, Kearns will be succeeded (sort of) by another radio veteran of long and distinguished service---Gale Gordon, who will play Mr. Wilson's brother for Dennis the Menace's final season.


AMOS 'N' ANDY: ANDY LEARNS TO WORK THE HOTEL DESK (NBC, 1933)---But our hero (Charles Correll) learns there's a little more to it than meets the eyeball, once buddy Amos (Freeman Gosden) continues coaching him on the wherefores and potential pitfalls. Writers: Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll.

FIBBER McGEE & MOLLY: GILDERSLEEVE'S SUIT (NBC, 1940)---The McGees (Jim and Marian Jordan) received tickets to the Gone With The Wind premiere anonymously, but Fibber splits the back of his good suit---and thinks he can borrow Gildersleeve's (Harold Peary) when he sees it drying in the breeze. The Old-Timer: Bill Thompson. Mrs. Uppington: Isabel Randolph. Teeny: Marian Jordan. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, Jimmy Shields. Writer: Don Quinn.

CLARA, LU, & EM: THE HARVEST HOP (NBC Blue, 1942)---Lu (Isabel Carothers) comes to Em's (Helen King) house just in time to hear the latter on the phone, rounding up the harvest hop and perhaps planting a few romantic seeds. Clara: Louise Starkey. Writers: Unknown.

BOX 13: THE PROFESSOR AND THE PUZZLE (MUTUAL< 1949)---The former (possibly Frank Lovejoy) wants Holliday (Alan Ladd) to help solve the latter; namely, why his fiancee changed her mind about their engagement after her uncle's suicide. Suzy: Sylvia Picker. Kling: Edmund MacDonald. Writer: Russell Hughes.


1898---Dame Gracie Fields (comedienne/singer: The Gracie Fields Victory Show; The Gracie Fields Show; Texaco Star Theater; Duffy's Tavern), Rochdale, Lancashire, UK.
1909---Patrick Peyton (The Rosary Priest; pastor/preacher: Family Theater), Carracastle, Ireland.
1914---Gypsy Rose Lee (as Rose Louise Hovick; stripper/dancer/personality/actress: The Adventures of Ellery Queen; What Makes You Tick?), Seattle.
1915---Fernando Lamas (as Fernando Álvaro Lamas y de Santos; actor: Lux Radio Theater), Buenos Aires.


Blogger 1Letterman said...

Just found your blog.

And I thank you kindly. It rocks.

9:14 AM  
Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

1letterman---I'm delighted you found it! And I'm also glad to welcome aboard anyone who likes Keb Mo, Junior Wells (big props to the Cobra/Chief recordings!), and Dr. John (gris-gris, gumbo . . . yeah! yeah!) . . . ---Jeff

8:22 PM  
Anonymous John Larson said...

Are you aware of JJ's Newspaper Radio Logs? This can be of even more help in the channel surfing department. I discovered a Fred Allen show that was broadcast today in 1949.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Jeff Kallman said...

John---Until you mentioned it I actually had no knowledge of it. But this is an impeccable resource! (I was aware, by the way, of the Fred Allen show to which you refer, but since I'm known as a Fred Allen nut, shameless, that is, I sometimes catch myself toning down on hanging up the Allen shows just so people won't think it's the Fred Allen Surf with a few cookies thrown in on the side . . . )---Jeff

4:19 PM  

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