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, March 07, 2008

His Hundredth Anniversary---Sort of: The Way It Was, 7 March

1943---We emphasise "sort of": it is Fred Allen's one hundredth broadcast for Texaco.

That provokes mirth from the master himself and wife Portland Hoffa ("When you started in radio, Superman was just a Boy Scout"); a "March of Trivia" news segment ignoring the Oscars in favour of its own awards to those contributing nothing to film in 1942; a chat with singer-comedienne Judy Canova ("I'm glad to be back, Fred---it says here . . . "); and, a sketch of what might be if Hollywood finds itself making hillbilly films alone with the yodeling Canova (whose usual schtick on her own hit comedy set her up as a hillbilly manchaser of a sort) as the biggest star of the trend, on tonight's edition of Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen. (CBS; rebroadcast: Armed Forces Radio Service.)

Additional cast: Kenny Baker, Wynn Murray, Minerva Pious, Alan Reed. Music: Hi-Lo Jack and the Dame, Al Goodman Orchestra. Announcer: Jimmy Wallington. Writers: Fred Allen, Nat Hiken, Bob Weiskopf.


1933: THE RUNAWAY SOAP PRINCESS---CBS steps into the daytime serial suds for the first time, premiering Marie, the Little French Princess, with Ruth Yorke in the title role and James Meighan as Richard. Additional cast will include Allyn Joslyn, Alma Kruger, and Porter Hall, with Andre Baruch as the show's announcer.

The show may become remembered best, if at all, as the creation of Himan Brown, who produced and directed the show, which followed a princess from a fictitious country who ran away to live as a common young woman. Brown's future, however, includes a trademark that will prove many things, sudsy not among them: he will create, produce, and direct The Inner Sanctum Mysteries and, in a respected attempt to resurrect old-time radio drama, The CBS Radio Mystery Theater of 1974-1982.

Those, and not sudsy serials, will be the major reason why Brown will be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1990.

Ruth Yorke, for her part, will roll up a rather thick resume as a radio soap actress, her credits including the title role in Jane Arden as well as roles in Aunt Jenny, Amanda of Honeymoon Hill (as Olive Cortleigh), John's Other Wife (as Yvonne Claire), Life Can Be Beautiful (as Marybelle Owens), Little Italy (as Mrs. Marino), and Mother of Mine (as Helen). She will also appear in the adventure series, Eno Crime Club.


1935: ABNER SWAPS WITH SNAKE HOGAN---With Abner (Norris Goff) doing boffo business over his swap policy---accepting whatever the customer has for store goods, from his half of the Jot 'em Down Store---Lum (Chester Lauck) and Dick Huddleston (also Goff) are first amused and then alarmed over the net results, especially when Snake has a proposition, on today's edition of Lum & Abner. (.)

Writers: Chester Lauck, Norris Goff.

1938: POPPY---W.C. Fields reprises his 1936 film role as a carnival hustler whose hustling is balanced with his devotion to his daughter (Ann Shirley, in the Rochelle Hudson film role), on tonight's edition of Lux Radio Theater. (CBS.)

Billy Farnsworth: John Payne. Whiffen: Skeets Gallagher. Host: Cecil B. DeMille. From the play by Dorothy Donnelly; adapted from the screenplay by Virginia Van Upp.

1944: ARCHIE'S TAXES---The barkeep (Ed Gardner) takes on the daunting task of figuring his taxes with Col. Stoopnagle (F. Chase Taylor) due to return for a visit, on tonight's edition of Duffy's Tavern. (Blue Network; rebroadcast: Armed Forces Radio Service.)

Eddie: Eddie Green. Finnegan: Charles Cantor. Miss Duffy: Florence Halop. Writers: Ed Gardner, Abe Burrows.

1944: HANK GUTSTOP'S PROPOSITION---He wants Uncle Fletcher (Clarence Hartzell) to fake being a crook at the hotel, the better to help Hank convince his bosses that they still need a hotel detective who's thrown more longtime residents than crooks out of the establishment, on today's edition of Vic & Sade. (NBC.)

Sade: Bernadine Flynn. Writer: Paul Rhymer.


1913---Smokey Montgomery (musician: Columbia Country Caravan), Rinard, Iowa.
1929---Marion Marlowe (singer: Arthur Godfrey Time), St. Louis.
1937---Rhoda Williams (actress: Father Knows Best), Birmingham, Alabama.


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