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.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Red and the Blue: The Way It Was, 1 January

1927: CALL TO COLOUR---The National Broadcasting Company launches its multiple-network strategy, creating NBC Red (entertainment) and NBC Blue (mostly non-sponsored, more "serious" programming), the colours believed to come based upon the pins the company's engineers used to designate affiliates of the two NBC flagships, WEAF New York (red pins) and WJZ New Jersey (blue pins).


1926: ROSES ON THE AIR---Twenty-four years after its premiere launches the tradition of New Year's Day college football bowl games, the Rose Bowl goes on the air for the first time, with an NBC audience listening to the University of Alabama defeat the University of Washington, 20-19.

1953:---Sometimes considered old-time radio's first couple (though the employers of one half of the couple, Phil Harris and Alice Faye, might well have pondered a challenge to that consideration), Elliott and Cathy Lewis launch the radio drama On Stage on CBS.

The couple co-star in the series while Elliott Lewis produces and directs. The casts they assemble for each episode will include such radio veterans as Howard McNear, Alan Reed, Hal March, Herbert Butterfield, Joseph Kearns, Parley Baer, William Conrad, Peggy Webber, Jeanette Nolan, and Mary Jane Croft.

The episode of 7 May 1953 will prove particularly telling for the short-lived drama: the story, "Happy Anniversary Album," is written and produced as the Lewis's tribute to each other on their tenth wedding anniversary. But four years afer On Stage ends its year-long radio life, the Lewis marriage will end a sixteen-year life.


1941: THE AMAZING DEATH OF MRS. PUTNAM---An hysterical woman telephones police as she's about to be murdered---but her niece tells officers her aunt died well enough before they received the call, on tonight's edition of The Inner Sanctum Mysteries. (NBC Blue.)

Cast: Unknown. Host: Raymond Edward Johnson. Writer: Himan Brown.

1953: THE COUNT BAGS THE BIRD---Count Basie's still-newly-reconstituted aggregation---considered the aesthetic equal of his classic early 1940s outfit, even if the style shifts to more precise rhythm and arranging, though never compromising the signature accents and the punctuative Basie keyboard---spends New Year's Day swinging New York's signature jazz club, on tonight's Remote from Birdland. (NBC.)

1958: A PHONE CALL TO MEXICO CITY---The Arbuckles (Peg Lynch, Alan Bunce) review their New Year's Eve revelry, but the poor husband gets a shock when a call he put through at three a.m. finally connects, on today's edition of The Couple Next Door. (CBS.)

Aunt Effie: Margaret Hamilton. Betsy: Madelyn Pierce. Announcer: Roger Foster. Writer: Peg Lynch.


1889---Charles Bickford (actor: Radio Hall of Fame), Cambridge, Massachussetts.
1897---Walter Greaza (actor: Columbia Workshop; Suspense), St. Paul.
1900---Xavier Cugat (The King of the Rhumba; bandleader: Camel Caravan; The Big Show), Triona, Spain.
1908---Bob Russell (singer/composer: Name That Tune), unknown.
1909---Dana Andrews (actor: I Was a Communist for the FBI), Collins, Mississippi.
1911---Hank Greenberg (Hall of Fame baseball player: We the People; Philco Radio Time), New York City.
1916---Earl Wrightson (singer: Highways in Melody; Getting the Most Out of Life), Baltimore.
1917---Ted Cott (host: So You Think You Know Music?; Music You Want), Poughkeepsie, New York.
1919---Carole Landis (actress: Warner Bros. Academy Award; Command Performance), Fairchild, Wisconsin.
1929---Terry Moore (actress: The Smiths of Hollywood), Los Angeles.
1938---Norma Jean Nilsson (actress: Blondie and Dagwood; Father Knows Best), Hollywood.


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