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 29, 2008

"Time Now for Spry's Double Feature Treat of the Day": The Way It Was, 29 January

1937---Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories, also known as just Aunt Jenny or Aunt Jenny and Spry (the shortening which sponsors the show), premieres on CBS.

The fifteen-minute series is something of a hybrid, melding a semi-serial soap opera-style program of stories with the title hostess's cooking hints and recipes. By 1939, it will be the concluding wedge of a CBS morning hour that includes three other soaps, Mary Lee Taylor, Brenda Curtis, and the redoubtable Big Sister . . . and popular enough that it bumps sales of Spry shortening to levels competitive enough to Crisco, the rival against whom Lever Brothers (which planned the show as far back as 1936) sent the product.

The installment of Aunt Jenny's Real-Life Stories that appears in the 21 September 1939 broadcasting day that survives from Washington WJSV is one of two known surviving editions of the show. The other, a soapy story about a woman who breaks an engagement over a lie about her father's death ("Marriage of Convenience"), airs 6 May 1946.

Edith Spencer plays Aunt Jenny on the air and in print promotions for the show, with Dan Seymour as annoucer Danny and Henry Boyd providing the whistling of Aunt Jenny's trademark canary. (In due course, however, Agnes Young will assume the title role.) A number of old-time radio legends appear on the show throughout its life, including Alfred Ryder (known also as Alfred Corn, who also plays Sammy on The Goldbergs and Carl Neff on Easy Aces), Helen Shields (Sylvia in Amanda of Honeymoon Hill), Ed MacDonald (Tommy Hughes, Big Town), and Nancy Kelly (The March of Time; and, as Dorothy, the 1933 NBC version of The Wizard of Oz).

Aunt Jenny's Real-Life Stories will air until 1956.


1951: PLAY BALL!---Baseball signs a six-year deal for television and radio rights for a then-formidable $6 million.

1956: CASE FILES---Indictment, based on the case files of former New York assistant district attorney, playwright, and novelist Eleazar Lipsky, premieres on CBS to enjoy a three-year old-time radio life. At least three episodes of the show will survive for future old-time radio collectors.


1944: THE CITY OF THE DEAD---In the first serial in the series, San Francisco investigators Bart Friday and Skip Turner (Elliott Lewis, David Ellis) continue helping their fathers---the mayor and the town's most prominent doctor---fight a continuing grave-robbing epidemic, on tonight's edition of Adventures by Morse. (Syndicated.)

Additional cast: Russell Thorson; unknown. Writer: Carlton E. Morse (also renowned as the creator-writer of One Man's Family).

1945: "WE JUST GOT A LITTLE MIXED UP THERE"---Announcer Jack Scanlan may confuse the opening two numbers, but there'll be no confusing the driving swing of Count Basie and his men, from the Blue Room of New York City's Hotel Lincoln, on tonight's edition of Mutual Coast to Coast. (Mutual.)

Highlights: "Together," "Just After Awhile," "On the Upbeat," "One O'Clock Jump"; soloists: Jimmy Rushing (vocal), Earle Warren (tenor saxophone, vocal), Count Basie (piano), Lester Young (tenor saxophone).

1951: BOOK 82, CHAPTER 21---The new Harper and Barbour real estate partnership's experiencing growing pains, with Harper (Marvin Miller) questioning Clifford's (Barton Yarborough) drive until Henry (J. Anthony Smythe)---whom Harper's thinking of selling his half the business---cautions Harper not to mistake Clifford's casual style for business listlessness, while Clifford has misgivings about a successful deal, on tonight's edition of One Man's Family. (NBC.)

Writer: Carlton E. Morse.


1874---Owen Gibson (writer, The Gibson Family, Pulitzer Prize Plays), Portland, Maine.
1880---W.C. Fields (William Claude Dukenfield; comedian-actor: frequent guest, The Chase and Sanborn Hour/The Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy Show), Philadelphia.
1902---Florence Rinard (panelist: Twenty Questions), unknown.
1915---Victor Mature (actor: Hollywood Star Playhouse), Louisville, Kentucky.
1916---Bill Lawrence (reporter: ABC), Lincoln, Nebraska.
1917---Lloyd Perryman (singer: The Sons of the Pioneers, The Roy Rogers Show), Ruth, Arkansas; John Raitt (actor-singer: MGM Musical Comedy Theater), Santa Ana, California.
1918---John Forsythe (actor: NBC Star Playhouse), Penns Grove, New Jersey.
1923---Paddy Chayevsky (writer: Theater Guild On the Air), Bronx, New York; Martin Ragaway (writer: The Abbott and Costello Show, The Milton Berle Show), unknown.


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