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, February 01, 2008

A Character Passes: The Way It Was, 1 February

1994---Olan Soule---a character actor whose slight, nebbishly wiry appearance belied a booming voice heard in numerous old-time radio soap operas and dramas---dies of lung cancer at 83 in Los Angeles.

Soule performed in such soaps as Bachelor's Children; such adventures as Captain Midnight; and, such dramas as First Nighter, before going on to a distinguished television and film career. He was be the only performer to appear on the radio and television versions of Captain Midnight; his other television credits included Dragnet, I Love Lucy, The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, The Monkees, Batman, Little House on the Prairie, and Dallas.

Soule's film credits included The Towering Inferno, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Days of Wine and Roses, and The Apple Dumpling Gang.


1941: BIG DEAL---Glenn Miller, known for orienting his schedule otherwise around his regular fifteen-minute radio program, The Chesterfield Show, signs what is the most lucrative recording deal to date with RCA Victor: the bandleader's new deal guarantees him $750 per side/song.

Although Miller will become legend for his large volume of chart-topping hits, at the time he signs the new RCA deal a label mate continues holding the number one position on Billboard's Best Sellers in Stores survey: Artie Shaw and his Orchestra, whose "Frenesi" will hold that posiiton for three more weeks, until Miller's own "Song of the Volga Boatmen" knocks it out of that spot---for a single week.

Miller will not reach the number one spot on that survey again until 29 November, when he knocks Freddy Martin and his Orchestra's "Piano Concerto in B Flat" out of the top spot with the record that hogs number one for the rest of the year: "Chattanooga Choo-Choo."

Miller will have the second most number one hits on 1941's Best Sellers in Stores chart, with two, but that's way behind Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra's five. ("Amapoli," "My Sister and I," "Maria Elena," "Green Eyes," and "Blue Champagne.") Artie Shaw, Freddy Martin, and Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra will each have one record at the top of that chart, though Shaw will spend the second-most amount of time at the top behind Dorsey.


1944: THE BLESSED EVENT---George (Burns) is slightly crestfallen when Gracie (Allen) announces the blessed event---a cleaning woman (possibly Elvia Allman) who's worked for several stars and has a yap to match but "can't talk while I'm workin'," on tonight's edition of The Burns & Allen Show. (CBS.)

Special guest: William Powell. Additional cast: Jimmy Cash, Hans Conreid, Bill Goodwin, Lawrence Nash. Music: Felix Mills Orchestra. Writers: Paul Henning, George Burns.

1944: FINNEGAN TO MARRY BILLIE BURKE---Or so the poor fellow (Charles Cantor) dreams regarding the guest star ("Just imagine one of them Sinatra fans grown up!"), while flat-broke Archie (Ed Gardner) haggles for yet another nonexistent raise ("There's one guy, Eddie, if he can't take it wit him I guarantee he don't go!"), on tonight's edition of Duffy's Tavern. (Blue Network; rebroadcast: Armed Forces Radio Service.)

Eddie: Eddie Green. Miss Duffy: Florence Robinson. Writers: Ed Gardner, Abe Burrows, Larry Marks.

1949: POOR SUBSTITUTES FOR A PRISON---A year later, several families on The Daily Sentinel's list of poor families to help around the holidays have become unexpectedly well-to-do---and Britt (Jack McCarthy), Casey (Lee Allman), and Axford (Gilbert Shea) suspect something a little more than gumption got them there . . . especially with the husbands/fathers in prison as confessed criminals when the windfalls land, on today's edition of The Green Hornet. (ABC.)

Kato: Mickey Tolan. Writer: Fran Striker.

1954: FIBBER'S BANK STATEMENT---It shows him (Jim Jordan) short $15, which makes him just a little short tempered---until he gets an unexpected surprise: a visitor whose wallet he recovered on a bus six years earlier, on today's edition of Fibber McGee & Molly. (NBC.)

Molly: Marian Jordan. Doc: Arthur Q. Bryan. Wimpole: Bill Thompson. Writer: Phil Leslie. (Warning: Poor audio quality.)


1895---John Ford (director: Screen Director's Playhouse), Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
1901---Clark Gable (as William Clark Gable; actor: So Proudly We Hail, Silver Theater), Cadiz, Ohio.
1904---S.J. Perelman (humourist: Information Please, The Railroad Hour), New York City.
1906---"The Incomparable" Hildegarde (so Walter Winchell designated her; born Hildegarde Loretta Sell; singer/pianist/hostess, Beat the Band, The Raleigh Room), Adell, Wisconsin.
1922---Renata Tebaldi (Metropolitan Opera soprano: The Bell Telephone Hour), Pesaro, Italy; Miriam Wolfe (actress: The Witch's Hour), Brooklyn.
1926---Stuart Whitman (actor: We Hold These Truths), San Francisco.


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