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.

Monday, April 28, 2008

To the Mothers, Fathers, and Bewildering Offspring: The Way It Was, 28 April

28 APRIL 1932---Carlton Morse's One Man's Family premieres on NBC in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle, joining the full NBC western network within three weeks and the nationwide network offerings by May 1933.

The first soap opera to originate from San Francisco---in both its scenic setting and its broadcast home---One Man's Family will hit the network with a condensed retrospective between May 1933-January 1934, in a bid to catch up the country with the Barbours' full story, according to The Big Broadcast: 1920-1950.

One Man's Family is dedicated to the mothers and fathers of the younger generation, and to their bewildering offspring.

---From the show's usual introduction, followed by episode introductions by book and chapter.

Contrary to standard soap practise of the day, One Man's Family is a half-hour, weekly offering, converting to daily fifteen-minute offerings only by 5 June 1950, remaining in that format until it leaves the air 8 May 1959. It will be the longest-running radio soap in American history, with J. Anthony Smythe playing patriarch Henry Barbour for the show's entire life and Marvin Miller playing twenty individual roles on the show, more than any other cast member.

Set in San Francisco's Seacliff area, the soap is written by creator Morse with Harlan Ware and Michael Raffetto. (Raffetto also plays eldest son Paul Barbour from inception through 1955.) Henry's wife, Fanny, will be played by Minetta Ellen from the show's inception through 1955.

Other significant cast will include numerous old-time radio stalwarts---including Bill Idelson (Vic & Sade), Janet Waldo (Meet Corliss Archer), Frank Porvo, Herb Butterfield (The Halls of Ivy), Eddie Firestone, Jr. (That Brewster Boy), Anne Whitfield (The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show), Sharon Douglas (The Life of Riley), Mary Jane Croft (Our Miss Brooks, not to mention the second Mrs. Elliott Lewis), Virginia Gregg (Dragnet), Page Gilman, Francis X. Yarborough (Dragnet), Ken Peters, Vic Perrin (Gunsmoke), Jay Novello (I Love a Mystery), Norman Fields, and Conrad Binyon (The Life of Riley).

One Man's Family will receive the supreme compliment by the late 1950s, when freewheeling comic improvisors Bob & Ray will satirise it in a periodic series they'll call One Fella's Family, continuing the satire even after the actual soap itself leaves the air.


1946: THE RACING FORM TRIAL---Don't bet on how Fred (Allen) and guest Bert Lahr got run into this rail, on tonight's edition of The Fred Allen Show. (NBC.)

With Portland Hoffa. Claghorn: Kenny Delmar. Titus: Parker Fennelly. Mrs. Nussbaum: Minerva Pious. Falstaff: Alan Reed. Announcer: Kenny Delmar. Music: Al Goodman Orchestra, the Five DeMarco Sisters. Writers: Fred Allen, Nat Hiken, possibly Bob Weiskopf.

1950: SOMETHING FOR NOTHING---In northern California, a woman leaps desperately from a car about to jump a cliff, giving a drifter (William Conrad) driving the other way a blackmail opening after he witnesses the incident, on tonight's edition of Escape. (CBS.)

Cast: Unknown. Writers: Les Crutchfield, John Dunkel, from a novel by H.V. Dixon.

1950: THE SCOFIELD PRIZE---Merriweather (Willard Waterman) learns the hard way just how wrong he has it when he can't wait to tell Hall (Ronald Colman) he's won a prestigious literary prize---for a book Hall wasn't even sure his publisher would accept, on tonight's edition of The Halls of Ivy. (NBC.)

Victoria: Benita Hume Colman. Alice: Bea Benaderet. Wellman: Herbert Butterfield. Announcer: Ken Carpenter. Writer: Don Quinn.


1874---Sidney Toler (actor: It's Time to Smile), Warrensburg, Missour.
1878---Lionel Barrymore (actor: Numerous radio productions of A Christmas Carol, usually as Scrooge; Dr. Kildare, Mayor of the Town, Our Hour of National Sorrow), Philadelphia.
1896---Edith Evanson (actress: Myrt & Marge), Tacoma, Washington.
1908---Micharl Fitzmaurice (actor: The Adventures of Superman, Stella Dallas), Chicago.
1929---Carolyn Jones (as Carolyn Sue Baker; actress: Dragnet, Survivors), Amarillo, Texas.


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