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.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Birth of Mirth: The Way It Was, 31 May

1894: IT ISN'T THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, KIDDIES---Let the man's own recall speak for itself.

On May 31, 1894, the population of Cambridge, Massachussetts was increased by one. On that day a son was born to James Henry Sullivan and his wife Cecilia Herlihy of that city. In Irish homes in those days there was no idle talk about the stork. When babies arrived in Cambridge they were expected. Poor mothers, who could not afford the luxury of a hospital bed, had their babies at home. On the appointed day, a relative or a friendly neighbour came in to take over the housework. Then the doctor drove up in his buggy, hitched his horse, and hurried into the house with his little black bag. Some hours later, looking a mite disheveled, the doctor walked slowly out the front door and drove away in his buggy; a tiny cry was heard from within the confines of the house. A baby had been born. That was all there was to it.

On May 31, then, this performance was given; the result was John Florence Sullivan.

---John Florence Sullivan, recalling his birth, to open his second memoir, Much Ado About Me. (Boston: Atlantic Little, Brown, 1956.)

Of course, you and I and the world know him better as Fred Allen.


1942: TESTIMONIAL DINNER FOR JUDGE HOOKER---A grateful Gildersleeve (Harold Peary) wants to give Hooker (Earle Ross) a testimonial for his anniversary as a judge, after Hooker gave him an inner tube to fix his flat. Now, if only the judge can shake off a racketeers' trial and an unexpected re-election campaign twist, on tonight's edition of The Great Gildersleeve. (NBC.)

1945: DOUBLE FEATURE---Two short dramas, "Ostrich In My Bed" (cast: Wally Meyer, Mary Jane Croft) and "Report to My Relatives" (cast: Bruce Meyer) highlight tonight's edition of Arch Oboler's Plays. (Mutual.)

Writer/director: Arch Oboler.


1893---Albert Mitchell (host: The Answer Man), Elsberry, Missouri.
1898---Norman Vincent Peale (preacher: The Art of Living), Bowersville, Ohio.
1900---Hugh Studebaker (actor: Captain Midnight; Fibber McGee & Molly), Ridgeville, Tennessee.
1901---Alfredo Antonini (conductor: La Rosa Concerts; Treasure Hour of Song), Alessandra, Italy; Joe Kelly (host: National Barn Dance; The Quiz Kids), Crawfordsville, Indiana.
1903---Blanche Stewart (actress: The Bob Hope Show), Pennsylvania.
1904---Clifton Utley (newscaster: University of Chicago Round Table; Comments By Clifton Utley), Chicago.
1908---Don Ameche (as Dominic Felix Ameche; singer/actor/comedian: Jack Armstrong; Lux Radio Theater; Drene Time; The Bickersons), Kenosha, Wisconsin.
1931---Barbara Whiting (actress: Junior Miss; Meet Corliss Archer), Los Angeles.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Lo, The King Approacheth: The Way It Was, 30 May

1909---David and Dora Goodman, loving Jewish immigrants from Hungary, little realise the destiny of their ninth child, Benjamin David, when he arrives today in Chicago.

As in, a few years' woodshedding, false starts, studio and stage pit gigs, unwanted stops, and the like, following an impoverished boyhood that managed to include a musical education regardless.

As in, old-time radio helping graduate him from rumour to legend, when he hits Los Angeles toward the end of a dispiriting tour, and gets a big surprise, thanks to his New York-based radio turns on NBC's Let's Dance---the broadcasts, heard three hours earlier out West, have built him a readymade audience that explodes one night at the Palomar Ballroom when, as if to say the hell with it, he ditches his tour repertoire of stock charts and throws his real book of swingers and stompers at the crowd.

He will also bring jazz to, arguably, the largest audience in the history of the art; perform legendarily at Carnegie Hall; discover such giants of the art as Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Teddy Wilson, Charlie Christian, Mel Lewis, Eddie Sauter, and Peggy Lee; and, become a regular fixture on classic radio at least through the mid-1940s, until a series of illnesses forces him to scale back his musical activities somewhat, even as the era he helped ignite likewise scales back under other pressures . . .


1947: COLLEGE CHUM---Old college prankster Snodgrass Selby (Frank Nelson) interrupts Bill's (Harry Von Zell) reverie about the office rent with a couple of prank calls from the Moosehead Bar and Grille . . . but then Bill brings Snodgrass home for more mayhem, on tonight's edition of The Smiths of Hollywood. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Brenda Marshall, Jan Ford, Arthur Treacher. Writers: Bob Krasnow, Jr., Dick Nasserman.


1891---Ben Bernie (The Old Maestro; bandleader: Musical Mock Trial), Bayonne, New Jersey.
1892---Raymond Clapper (news commentator sponsored by White Owl; killed during World War II), LaCygne, Kansas.
1896---Whispering Jack Smith (singer: The Whispering Jack Smith Show), The Bronx.
1899---Ruth Perrott (actress: Vic & Sade; Meet Me At Parky's), unknown.
1902---Stepin Fetchit (as Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry; actor/comedian: Hollywood Hotel), Key West, Florida.
1906---Norris Goff (actor/writer: Lum & Abner), Cove, Arkansas.
1908---Mel Blanc (The Man of a Thousand Voices; comedian/voice artist: The Judy Canova Show; The Fred Allen Show; The Jack Benny Program; The Mel Blanc Show), San Francisco.
1911---Douglas Fowley (actor: Hollywood Hotel), New York City.
1915---Frank Blair (newscaster: America Looks Ahead; announcer for Fulton Lewis, Jr.), Yemasse, South Carolina.
1917---Peter Leeds (actor: Rogue's Gallery; The Bob Hope Show; The Stan Freberg Show), Bayonne.
1923---Jimmy Lydon (actor: Young Love), Harrington Park, New Jersey.
1936---Keir Dullea (actor: The CBS Radio Mystery Theater), Cleveland.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"we killed charlie chan . . . and the lawyers or mrs. biggers hopped on us good": The Way It Was, 29 May

1941: SHOULD HE UNSOLVE THE MURDER, THEN?---Amidst semi-frequent correspondence with Hollywood film publicist Jack Mulcahy---who often steered him guest stars, as well as publicising one or two of his very few films (one of which was Sally, Irene, and Mary, a film that also featured Alice Faye and her then-husband Tony Martin)---Fred Allen takes one of his customary none-too-genteel pokes at a gossip or two and a busybody or two, the latter of whom sought to sue Mr. Allen over one of his vintage One Long Pan spoofs.

may 29th

dear jack . . .

received your letter this a.m. i saw the quote in the reporter. personally, i don't care about it. the only bad thing is the gravity that is accorded the bunk in gossip columns by most of the people out there. to call the last picture a turkey might upset mark sandrich, y. frank and mr. b.

the pallbearer lines and the impersonal stuff i don't care who prints but matters that can be misconstrued by some of the touchy chaps in your profession can lead to a lot of bother and lead to hard feelings as you know how things finally get magnified in certain circles.

i have never met that west coast columnist named stein. he had the audacity to print that portland and i were living in a flophouse, or something, while we were in hollywood. i never even bother to correct anything those finks write for to pay any attention to anything they say or quote only gives importance to their semi-libelous trivia.

in the future i shall be more careful what i write. if those yucks have to fill their columns they can scurry around and find items the hard way.

we had some trouble with the earl derr biggers estate but it has died down. we killed charlie chan on a program a couple of months ago and the lawyers or mrs. biggers hopped on us good. we have been plugging all of darryl's pictures when we get a chance and i guess the office didn't check on the charlie chan reference. the name didn't mean anything to us. we could have used any name but being 20th-minded i put in chan and started the whole mess. legally, they have no claims and some day someone will go into court with one of these shakedown cases and after one decision has been handed down all of the jerk nuisance letters, etc. will be stopped at the source.

you have my permission to tell stein what we think of him.

sincerely . . .


---Fred Allen, published posthumously in fred allen's letters. (Joe McCarthy, editor; New York: Doubleday & Company, 1965.)


1940: SWEEPING INTO OFFICE---Broadcasting from Treasure Island at the San Francisco World's Fair, George (Burns) thinks Gracie (Allen) will be a shoe-in for the White House if they can get a powerful Bay Area wheel behind her campaign---assuming he can shut her up about the man's sensitivity about his red beard, on tonight's edition of The Hinds Honey & Almond Cream Program Starring Burns & Allen. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Frank Parker, Truman Bradley. Music: Ray Noble & His Orchestra. Writers: George Burns, Paul Henning.

1949: GETTING JERRY'S GOAT---Dean (Martin) thinks Jerry (Lewis) will shake off a broken romance by seeing Henry Fonda on stage in Mr. Roberts, but when Jerry's inspired to serious acting Fonda comes up with a role for him, on tonight's edition of The Martin & Lewis Show. (NBC.)

Music: Dick Stabile and His Orchestra. Writers: Ray Allen, Dick McKnight.

1949: THE TREASURE OF HANG LEE---An anonymous request to buy a particular jade after rejecting two other pieces in a Chinatown gift shop promises "a lot of money" and a lot of interest to Holliday (Alan Ladd), but the ancient jade's tip toward a reputed treasure may tip him and the shopkeeper toward murder, on tonight's edition of Box 13. (Mutual.)

Suzy: Sylvia Packer. Kling: Edmund MacDonald. Additional cast: Possibly Luis van Rooten, Lurene Tuttle, Alan Reed, Frank Lovejoy. Writer: Russell Hughes.


1892---Mario Chamlee (singer: Tony and Gus; Arco Birthday Party; Swift Garden Party), Los Angeles.
1894---Beatrice Lillie (comedienne: The Beatrice Lillie Show; The Fred Allen Show; The Big Show), Toronto.
1897---F. Hugh Herbert (writer: Meet Corliss Archer; Lux Radio Theater), Vienna; Erich Wolfgang Korngold (composer: Contemporary Composers' Concerts; The Railroad Hour), Brno, Czechoslovakia.
1903---Bob Hope (as Leslie Townes Hope; comedian: The Quick and the Dead; The Pepsodent Show; The Bob Hope Show; Command Performance; Mail Call; The Big Show), Eltham, U.K.
1909---Mary Jane Higby (actress: When a Girl Marries; This is Nora Drake), St. Louis; Dick Stabile (bandleader: The Martin & Lewis Show), Newark.
1911---Vivi Janiss (actress: Aunt Mary), Nebraska.
1913---Iris Adrian (actress: The Abbott & Costello Show), Los Angeles.
1914---Stacy Keach, Sr. (producer/director: Tales of the Texas Rangers), Chicago.
1918---Herb Shriner (comedian: The Camel Comedy Caravan; Herb Shriner Time), Toledo.
1924---Bob Corley (actor: Beulah), Macon, Georgia.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Calling Dr. Schenkel: The Way It Was, 28 May

1962---As it becomes a mere matter of time before the patient known as old-time radio received the last rites, quietly genial Chris Schenkel---whose broadcasting career began in radio, at Purdue University's WBAA, while he was a pre-medical student---brings a weekly sports report to CBS radio . . . three years before ABC hires him away as a play-by-play jack-of-all-trades who becomes famous, especially, as the almost eternal anchor and commentator for the network's coverage of the Professional Bowlers' Association.


1935: LUM RETURNS---Even Lum (Chester Lauck) has to get over the fact that nobody really wanted to see his statue unveiled, and Abner (Norris Goff) is relieved to learn he's returned alive---and Grandpap (also Chester Lauck) is relieved to be able to tell the boys to quit dragging the mill pond, after all, on today's edition of Lum & Abner. (NBC.)

Writers: Chester Lauck, Norris Goff.

1947: THE MORGAN VACATION TRAVEL BUREAU---The public service of making vacation planning---"when people try to find some quaint little place where they can live beyond their means"---a little more simple isn't exactly that simple, all things considered, on tonight's edition of The Henry Morgan Show. (ABC.)

Additional cast: Arnold Stang, Florence Halop. Music: Bernie Green and His Orchestra. Writers: Henry Morgan, Joe Stein, Aaron Ruben, Carroll Moore Jr.

1949: IN THE HOUSE WHERE I WAS BORN---Repeating an episode of 24 May 1948, a man (Ernest Chappell, who narrates) who returns to his childhood home annually is haunted enough by his memories to make a fateful decision about his annual visits, on tonight's edition of Quiet, Please. (ABC.)

Additional cast: Betty Wragge, Cecil Roy, Lotte Stavisky, J. Pat O'Malley. Writer/director: Wyllis Cooper.


1899---Richard Lane (actor: Boston Blackie), Rice Lake, Wisconsin.
1902---Little Jack Little (bandleader/singer: The Little Jack Little Show), London.
1906---Phil (The Singing Cop) Regan (singer: The Burns & Allen Show), Brooklyn.
1912---Violet Dunn (actress: The O'Neills), unknown; Tom Scott (singer/composer: The American School of the Air; The Golden Gate Quartet Sings), unknown.
1918---Johnny Wayne (comedian: The Army Show; The March of Time), Toronto.
1922---Scott McCay (actor: Barry Cameron), Pleasantville, Iowa.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

From Town Hall Tonight to the Caine and Beyond: The Way It Was, 27 May

1915---What a battle-fatigued, near-paranoiac minesweeper commander has in common with a battle-tested old-time radio satirist is born in New York City today.

For five years following his graduation from Columbia University, until his entry into World War II, Herman Wouk will join Arnold Auerbach as the prime assistants in helping Fred Allen compose the scripts of his weekly satirical splendor. He will also make a friend for life in Allen, even after he became one of America's most respected men of letters, Pulitzer Prize-winning and otherwise.

dear herman---

sorry it has taken me so long to write and tell you how much portland and i enjoyed the caine mutiny.

since i gave up my program it seems my days have no pattern. my brother has been back in the hospital and between trips to boston and a few guest dates here i never seem to get anything done.

i think your book is excellent. the chapters describing the storm at sea and the court martial are really wonderful. the queeg character is a perfect portrait of a weakling rampant and the love story is sustained well.

it just occurred to me that since you are no longer in my employ i have a nerve turning critic at this late date . . .

---Fred Allen, letter to Herman Wouk, dated 3 May 1951, as republished in Joe McCarthy (ed.), fred allen's letters. (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1965.)


1957: LET'S ROCK, CANADA---Toronto's CHUM (the neon sign atop the station's headquarters becomes nearly if not equally as famous) becomes Canada's first top forty radio station, a life that will see its surveys become Canada's most influential, not to mention becoming Canada's first station to play both Elvis Presley and the Beatles and the station future rock and roll icon Neil Young would credit with teaching him what really went in in contemporary music when he listened as a boy before migrating to the U.S.


1935: LUM HAS DISAPPEARED---That's all Abner (Norris Goff), Dick Huddleston (Goff) and Grandpap (Chester Lauck, who also plays Lum) need after the statue unveiling fiasco, with Dick assuring Abner the mill pond's the last place Lum might have disappeared---while frowning on Lum's wanting to erect a statue to himself in the first place---on today's edition of Lum & Abner. (NBC.)

Writers: Chester Lauck, Norris Goff.

1947: THE FRENCH INTERIOR DECORATOR---Mel (Blanc, who also plays Zookie) balks when Betty (Mary Jane Croft) asks him to ask her father (Earle Ross) to approve their marriage, but when he offers to repaint the old man's supermarket on the house it may prove to be a coat of another colour, on tonight's edition of The Mel Blanc Show. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Hans Conreid, Joseph Kearns. Music: Victor Mills and His Orchestra. Writer: Mack Benoff.


1904---Marlin Hurt (actor: Fibber McGee & Molly, Beulah), Du Quoin, Illinois.
1911---Vincent Price (actor: The Saint; Lux Radio Theater; The Price of Fear), St. Louis.
1919---Ray Montgomery (actor: Dear John), unknown.
1921---Redd Stewart (lyricist: Pee Wee King and His Golden West Cowboys), Ashland City, Tennessee.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Farewell, Mr. Morse: The Way It Was, 26 May

26 MAY 1993---The man who sought respite from his ordinarily megahigh old-time radio dramas by creating the most popular radio serial ever to originate from San Francisco, in storyline and in broadcast origin, dies today at age 91.

Chronicling the affluent and mostly upright Barbours of San Francisco, Carleton Morse's One Man's Family was born in 1932 at NBC's Sutter Street studios in the Bay City and broke a radio soap pattern, airing weekly until 1950 and then converting to a daily fifteen-minute serial format.

Louisiana-born Morse was already the number one radio dramatist on the West Coast---his creations included The Witch of Endor, The City of the Dead, Captain Post, Crime Specialist, The Game Called Murder, Dead Men Prowl, and a quartet of programs based on San Francisco police files. Then, he tired of the murder and mayhem and developed a simple but effective family drama.

After the First World War, there was a beginning of a deterioration of the family, of parent-child relationships. I had been brought up with very strict, conventional home life, and it rather appalled me to see what was going on.

---Carleton Morse, to an interviewer.

Written mostly by Morse, with One Man's Family co-star Michael Raffetto (Paul Barbour) and Harlan Ware later in the show's run, One Man's Family in due course earned the ultimate compliment, when mad-lib comedians Bob & Ray developed a running satire of the soap known as "One Fella's Family," right down to satirising the show's trademark episode introductions ("Book See El See, Chapter Vee Eye Ex Eye Eye Ex Vee").

Morse---who once bound his One Man's Family scripts into leatherback bindings---also created another rather enduring old-time radio drama. Perhaps you've heard of that one, too: I Love a Mystery.


1937: UNTIL DEAD---The night before final summations to the jury, an accused wife killer asks his attorney to get him a knife---to use against the man he claims committed the crime, on tonight's edition of Lights Out. (NBC.)

Cast: Unknown. Writer: Arch Oboler.


1884---Charles Winninger (actor: Uncle Charlie's Tent Show), Athens, Wisconsin.
1886---Al Jolson (as Asa Yoelson; singer/actor: Shell Chateau; Kraft Music Hall), Srednick, Lithuania.
1887---Paul Lukas (actor: The Quick and the Dead; The Big Show), Budapest.
1893---Edward MacHugh (singer: Gospel Singer), Dundee, Scotland.
1895---Norma Talmadge (actress: Thirty Minutes in Hollywood), Jersey City.
1907---John Wayne (as Marion Robert Morrison; actor: Three Sheets to the Wind), Winterset, Iowa.
1908---Robert Morley (actor: U.S. Steel Hour), Semley, U.K.
1911---Ben Alexander (actor: Dragnet; The Great Gildersleeve), Goldfield, Nevada.
1914---Ziggy Elman (as Harry Aaron Finkelman; trumpeter, with Benny Goodman and His Orchestra: Let's Dance; Camel Caravan; Swing School), Philadelphia.
1915---Sam Edwards (actor: One Man's Family; Meet Corliss Archer), Macon, Georgia; Martin Stone (producer: The Author Meets the Critics), unknown.
1918---John Dahl (actor: Cavalcade of America; Voice of the Army), New York City.
1920---Peggy Lee (as Norma Deloris Egstrom; singer: The Jimmy Durante Show; The Chesterfield Supper Club; The Peggy Lee Show), Jamestown, North Dakota.
1931---Chet Norris (actor: Tomorrow Calling; The Cisco Kid; ABC Radio Workshop), Manhattan Beach, New York.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"I--I've Just Heard The Most Dreadful Thing": The Way It Was, 25 May

1943: SORRY, WRONG NUMBER---The original, one-woman tour de force (except for a very brief appearance by a police sergeant), that provides one of old-time radio drama's signature moments, enough so that it will be repeated seven times (its final such airing will be in 1960) before its parent series expires at last, premieres tonight.

[It] was an inspired use of radio to tell a story . . . a scary pas de deux between Moorehead and sound man Berne Surrey. When transferred to film . . . the earplay fell flat.

---Gerald Nachman, in "Radio Noir---Cops and Grave Robbers," from Raised on Radio. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998.)

Bedridden Leona (Agnes Moorehead), whose husband is missing, panicks when she overhears a murder plot---hers---on the telephone . . . and can't convince anyone else she heard it, in a performance that will make Moorehead (already a respected radio presence) all but an overnight star, and lead to its adaptation for a classic 1948 film with Barbara Stanwyck as Leona, and it all begins on tonight's edition of Suspense. (CBS.)

Sgt. Martin: Unknown. Music: Lud Gluskin. Writer: Lucille Fletcher.

Agnes Moorehead, already a co-star of Lionel Barrymore's gentle Mayor of the Town series, will go on to appear more often on Suspense than any other performer, making thirty-two performances on the long-running program.


1892---Bennett Cerf (narrator: Biography in Sound), New York City.
1907---Barbara Luddy (actress: The Road of Life; The Woman in White), Helena, Montana.
1908---Linda Watkins (actress: Amanda of Honeymoon Hill; Big Guy; The Fat Man), Boston.
1913---Richard Dimbley (first known BBC radio reporter), Richmond-on-Thames.
1916---Kenin O'Morrison (actor: Charlie Wild, Private Detective), St. Louis; Ginny Simms (singer/actress: The Ginny Simms Show; Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge), San Antonio.
1917---Steve Cochran (actor: Voice of the Army; Unexpected; Screen Director's Playhouse), Eureka, California.
1918---Henry Calvin (actor: Big Guy), Dallas.
1919---Lindsey Nelson (sportscaster: Monitor Preview; Biography in Sound; original team leader, New York Mets baseball), Campbellsville, Tennessee.
1921---Kitty Kallen (singer: Kitty Kallen Calling; Harry James and His Music Makers), Philadelphia.
1925---Jeanne Crain (actress: Lux Radio Theater; Hallmark Playhouse), Barstow, California.
1929---Beverly Sills (as Belle Miriam Silverman; soprano: Major Bowes' Capitol Family/Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour), Brooklyn.


1949: ED WYNN NARRATES ARCHIE'S OPERA---And it's even money who'll be less the same, the veteran comedian or opera, on tonight's edition of Duffy's Tavern. (NBC.)

Archie: Ed Gardner. Eddie: Eddie Green. Finnegan: Charles Cantor. Miss Duffy: Possibly Sandra Gould. Writers: Ed Gardner, possibly Larry Rhine, possibly Bob Schindler.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Encouragement in Exile: The Way It Was, 24 May

1940---Exiled to England amidst the Nazi swarm of Europe, Dutch Queen Wilhelmina---who had been persuaded to hold off her intended abdication a few years earlier---speaks to her beseiged people over the BBC, a Radio Orange broadcast that becomes her weekly word of encouragement to her people throughout the war, until she is able to return to her homeland in 1945.


1950: BOXING OR MEDICINE?---Victoria (Benita Hume Colman) is astonished when Hall (Ronald Colman) favours a medical student---with hands as good in boxing gloves as in healing---pursuing a career in the ring to finance his eventual medical career, on tonight's edition of The Halls of Ivy. (NBC.)

Merriweather: Willard Waterman. Wellman: Herb Butterfield. Additional cast: Unknown. Writer: Don Quinn.

1952: BEN THOMPSON'S SALOON---Telling a small boy his father was the second Dodge killing in two months prods Matt (William Conrad) toward a saloon the man left alive---with three thousand dollars in poker winnings, on tonight's edition of Gunsmoke. (CBS.)

Chester: Parley Baer. Doc: Howard McNear. Additional cast: Georgia Ellis, Hy Averback, Jack Kruschen, Richard Fields, Ann Morrison, Herb Ellis. Writer: Herb Purdum.

1960: RETRIEVING THE INVENTION---Lawrence Fechtenberger and Buzz review the invention they've stolen from the thieving clutches of Axebottom: a device to conquer the earth by making people laugh, on today's edition of Bob & Ray Present the CBS Radio Network. (Gee, we dunno . . . )

Writers: Two guys brought to you by chocolate cookies with cream in the middle.


1878---Harry Emerson Fosdick (preacher: National Vespers), Buffalo, New York.
1883---Elsa Maxwell (socialite/pitchwoman: Suspense; Texaco Star Theater), Keokuk, Iowa.
1902---Wilbur Hatch (bandleader/conductor: Screen Guild Theater; Gateway to Hollywood; My Favourite Husband; Our Miss Brooks), Mokena, Illinois.
1907---Bill Bouchey (actor: Captain Midnight), Michigan.
1909---Howard Snyder (writer: The Jack Benny Program; Lum & Abner; That's My Pop), unknown.
1911---Lilli Palmer (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Posen, Germany.
1912---Rachel Carley (singer: Manhattan Merry-Go-Round), Brussels.
1916---Tony Barrett (actor: This Life is Mine; Pepper Young's Family), New York City.
1924---Theodore Bikel (singer/actor: Eternal Light; The CBS Radio Mystery Theater), Vienna.
1932---Elaine Malbin (singer: Serenade to America; Saturday Night with Elaine Malbin), New York City.

Friday, May 23, 2008

. . . and Listening: The Way It Is, 23 May

Old-time radio history's hiatus continues apace. And, so does the listening pleasure . . .


1943: FRED'S BIOGRAPHY---That's what George Jessel would like to try filming, assuming they can avoid complications, after the Alley demimonde mulls National Poetry Week, on tonight's edition of Texaco Star Theater Starring Fred Allen. (CBS.)

Co-stars: Portland Hoffa, Jimmy Wallington. John Doe: John Brown. Mrs. Nussbaum: Minerva Pious. Socrates Mulligan: Charles Cantor. Falstaff Openshaw: Alan Reed. Music: Al Goodman and His Orchestra, Hi-Lo Jack and the Dame. Writers: Fred Allen, possibly Nat Hiken, possibly Harry Turgend.

1960: ONE FELLA'S FAMILY---THE FIGURE PROBLEM---From Book Ex, Chapter Ex Ex, Page Two, where the family's standing by the radio ready to commence . . . their contribution to today's quiet mayhem on Bob & Ray Present the CBS Radio Network. (If you gotta ask, we're not doing it right.)

Writers: Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding.


1882---James Gleason (actor: Jimmy Gleason's Diner), New York City.
1883---Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (actor/commentator: KHJ Los Angeles 1921), Denver.
1890---Herbert Marshall (actor: The Man Called X; Lux Radio Theater; Old Gold Comedy Theater), London.
1898---Frank McHugh (actor: Phone Again Finnegan), Homestead, Pennsylvania.
1910---Scatman Crothers (as Benjamin Crothers; jazz singer/comedian, early radio), Terre Haute, Indiana; Artie Shaw (as Arthur Arshawsky; clarinetist/bandleader: Melody and Madness; The Burns & Allen Show), New York City.
1912---Marius Goring (actor: The Scarlet Pimpernel), Newport, Isle of Wight; John Payne (actor: Hollywood Star Preview; Lux Radio Theater), Roanoke, Virginia.
1919---Betty Garrett (actress/singer: Savings Bond Show; Guest Star; Showtime), St. Joseph, Missouri.
1921---Helen O'Connell (singer, with Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra: Kraft Music Hall; The Fitch Bandwagon), Lima, Ohio.
1928---Rosemary Clooney (singer: The Rosemary Clooney Show), Maysville, Kentucky.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Just Keep Listening . . . : The Way It Is, 22 May

I know, I know . . . it gets kind of wearying to see nothing much happening in old-time radio history for days on end. But you could do a lot worse than just sitting back to listen . . .


1932: THE OCEAN CRUISE---In which our intrepid scramblers of law and disorder find themselves stowing away aboard a cruise ship, tucked aboard a lifeboat, stuck for an idea for getting ashore without getting bastinadoes by ship officers, and don't ask what the hell they were doing on board in the first place, on tonight's edition of Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, Attorneys at Law. (NBC Blue.)

Waldorf T. Flywheel: Groucho Marx. Emmanuel Ravelli: Chico Marx. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: Nat Perrin, Arthur Sheekman, George Oppenheimer and Tom McKnight.

1949: DEATH IS NO JOKE---An invitation to a country home from its owner's correspondent sounds harmless and simple to Holliday (Alan Ladd) . . . until he misses death by a hair when his brakes are cut, on tonight's edition of Box 13. (Mutual.)

Suzy: Sylvia Packer. Kling: Edmund MacDonald. Additional cast: Possibly Alan Reed, Frank Lovejoy, Luis van Rooten, Lurene Tuttle. Writer: Russell Hughes.

1949: PEANUTS, THE GREAT DANE---He belongs to friends of Mrs. Davis (Jane Morgan) who are going on a needed vacation, but guess who's going to need a vacation from their vacation once Peanuts---who begins by killing the evening's leg of lamb---gets through with her, on tonight's edition of Our Miss Brooks. (CBS.)

Connie: Eve Arden. Mrs. Evans: Mary Jane Croft. Walter: Richard Crenna. Stretch: Leonard Smith. Conklin: Gale Gordon. Harriet: Gloria McMillan. Boynton: Jeff Chandler. Writer: Al Lewis.


1879---Alla Nazimova (actress: I'm an American; Toward the Century of the Common Man), Yalta.
1891---Parks Johnson (host/interviewer: Vox Pox), Sheffield, Alabama.
1903---Ward Wilson (actor/announcer: The Aldrich Family; The Phil Baker Show), Trenton, New Jersey.
1906---Harry Ritz (comedian, with the Ritz Brothers: Hollywood Hotel), Newark.
1907---Lord Laurence Olivier (actor: Biography in Sound; Document A/777>; Hour of Mystery), Dorking, U.K.
1910---Johnny Olsen (announcer: Ladies, Be Seated; Get Rich Quick; host: Second Chance), Windom, Minnesota.
1934---Peter Nero (pianist: Voices of Vista), New York City.
1938---Susan Strasberg (actress: The Marriage), New York City.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oldest West of Ole' Miss: The Way It Was, 21 May

1921---The oldest of old-time radio stations west of the Mississippi---Greeley, Colorado's KFKA---receives its licence.

In 2008, KFKA will be the flagship for University of Northern Colorado sports and carry the Denver Broncos of the National Football League to the region.


1950: THE RARE BLACK ORCHID---It's what Conklin (Gale Gordon) wants Connie (Eve Arden) to protect as a surprise for his wife (Paula Winslowe)---which probably seems akin to asking a mongoose to protect a cobra so far as Conklin's concerned, on tonight's edition of Our Miss Brooks. (CBS.)

Mrs. Davis: Jane Morgan. Boynton: Jeff Chandler. Walter: Richard Crenna. Harriet: Gloria McMillan. Stretch: Leonard Smith. Writer: Al Lewis.

1950: DRIVER'S LICENCE RENEWAL---Bad enough: Alice (Faye) plowing a police car while trying to back hers in, en route taking her first driver's licence exam. Worse: Phil (Harris) learning the hard way he can't renew his own licence on his actual or alleged fame and charm alone, on tonight's edition of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show. (NBC.)

Remley: Elliott Lewis. Julius: Walter Tetley. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: Ray Singer, Dick Chevillat.


1901---Horace Heidt (bandleader: Horace Heidt Brigadiers; Pot o' Gold; Treasure Chest), Alameda, California.
1904---Robert Montgomery (actor: Doctor Fights; Suspense; This is War); Fats Waller (as Thomas Waller; pianist/composer: Columbia Variety Hour; Saturday Night Swing Club), New York City.
1912---Lucille Manners (vocalist: The Cities Service Concert), Newark.
1915---Cathleen Cordell (actress: The Second Mrs. Burton; Valiant Lady), Brooklyn.
1917---Raymond Burr (actor: Fort Laramie; Dragnet), New Westminster, British Columbia; Dennis Day (singer/comedian: The Jack Benny Program; A Day in the Life of Dennis Day), Bronx, New York.
1918---Jeanne Bates (actress: One Man's Family; Gunsmoke), Berkeley, California.
1923---Rick Jason (actor: Sears Radio Theatre), New York City.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Plenty Good Enough for Listening: The Way It Is, 20 May

Well, it appears 20 May isn't much for old-time radio history, but it's plenty good enough for old-time radio listening . . .


1929: THE TAXI COMPANY GETS COMPETITION---It's coming from Earl Dixon (possibly Charles Correll, who also plays Andy), opening up the new Easy Ridin' Taxicab Company right across the street from the Fresh Aire Taxi Company, and promising his business will help the boys' business---which Andy translates to mean putting them out of business, on tonight's edition of Amos 'n' Andy. (NBC.)

Amos: Freeman Gosden. Writers: Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll.

1946: BOY MEETS GIRL---In an adaptation of the 1938 film, a pregnant waitress (Ann Sothern) at a struggling film studio inspires two lazy screenwriters (Chester Morris, Lee Tracy) to make the baby the star, on tonight's edition of The Old Gold Comedy Theater. (NBC.)

Adapted from the Spewack/Spewack screenplay. Host/director: Harold Lloyd.

1948: LEAVING NEW YORK---You might think freewheeling, irreverent, cantankerous Henry Morgan a bit of a mismatch for Al Jolson, even with Oscar Levant among the evening's cast (and joining the needling in a charming parody of Morgan's second banana Arnold Stang, among other things), but we'll let you listen yourself to tonight's edition of Kraft Music Hall. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Don Wilson. Music: Lou Pring and his Orchestra and Chorus. Writers: Unknown.
1956: GOLD---There's a fever on a wagon train . . . and a warning from Red Cloud, neither of which necessarily relaxes Quince (Raymond Burr), on tonight's edition of Fort Laramie. (CBS.)

Goerss: Vic Perrin. Daggett: Jack Moyles. Additional cast: Parley Baer, Harry Bartell, Sam Edwards, Virginia Gregg, Howard McNear, Ralph Moody, Clayton Post. Announcer: Dan Cubberly. Music: Amerigo Moreno. Writer: Kathleen Hite.


1899---Virginia Sale (actress: Those We Love), Urbana, Illinois.
1899---Stan Lomax (sportscaster: Evening Journal Sports), Pittsburgh.
1906---Lyda Roberti (actress/singer: numerous radio appearances), Warsaw.
1908---James Stewart (actor: Lux Radio Theater; We Hold These Truths), Pennsylvania.
1909---Jerry Hausner (actor: Silver Theater; Lum & Abner), Cleveland.
1911---Vet Boswell (singer, with the Boswell Sisters: The Boswell Sisters; The Woodbury Soap Show), Birmingham, Alabama.
1920---George Gobel (comedian/actor: Tom Mix; National Barn Dance), Chicago.
1936---Anthony Zerbe (actor: Earplay), Long Beach, California.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thanks for the Memorabilia

A none-too-small boatload of Bob Hope's memorabilia---including scripts (presumably, from his old-time radio years as well as film and television), props, costume items, and even a money clip from Jack Benny---will be auctioned come October, according to daughter Linda Hope.

Nearly 800 items of Hope history, from foolishness to fine art, will be sold to fans and dealers alike at a mid-October charity auction in Los Angeles commissioned by the family of the famed comedian, who died in 2003 at age 100. The auction will be televised live and online by the Auction Network, allowing viewers worldwide to participate in real time.

"Dad was a pack rat," daughter Linda Hope told The Associated Press. "He loved to collect things. Even when he wasn't conscious of collecting, people would give him things. They would be brought home, listed, photographed and placed in storage. There are 11,000 items in his memorabilia collection."

Now keeper of the family flame, Linda Hope, 68, made the first public announcement of the Bob Hope Estate Auction on a recent sunny morning at the comedian's longtime compound in North Hollywood---7 acres of mansion, office building, swimming pool, greenery and short-hole golf course. A selection of the items to be auctioned were spread atop two large tables.

"A lot of the things will go to the Library of Congress," Linda explained in a lounge where her father gave many an interview over lunch, including to this reporter. "Most of the paper goods will be going there, scripts and photographs and other things that Dad donated before he died. The Library isn't interested in three-dimensional items."

The sale, which will benefit charities and causes that were important to Hope, is being organized by Darren Julien, president of Julien's Auctions, who has arranged sales for Cher, Barbra Streisand, Ozzy Osbourne and other celebrities. He's now staging a benefit auction May 31 in New York for Music Rising, co-founded by The Edge of U2.

Hope's widow, Dolores, was recovering from a fall and not in attendance at the unveiling. Yet at 98, going on 99, she still keeps a close eye on the family business. "Mother agreed that (the auction) would be the thing to do and we got an agreement from the Library of Congress," Linda said.

"We decided that after giving important gifts to museums, there was still a lot of wonderful stuff that people could enjoy," Linda Hope said.

---Bob Thomas, Associated Press.

Old-time radio fans, of course, can have what's most important about Bob Hope any old time they choose it . . .

The Beginning of Goodbye: The Way It Was, 19 May

1960---He may well have coined the term "rock and roll" and was often considered its father; his signature signoff was, "This is not goodbye, it's just good night." And innumerable commentators fretted about the music corrupting the day's youth---but now they must think they should have worried about it corrupting its promoters.

Payola---payments to guarantee certain records getting played--- isn't exactly an uncommon practise by the time Alan Freed and eight other disc jockeys are accused of accepting payola, after the U.S. House Oversight Committee has spent a year examining whether such payoffs (gifts, cash, both) really existed, the House committee reputedly having been prodded by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP).

. . . Though a number of deejays and program directors were caught in the scandal, the committee decide to focus on Freed. Freed's broadcasts alliances quickly deserted him. In 1959, WABC in New York asked him to sign a statement confirming that he had never accepted payola. Freed refused "on principle" to sign and was fired.

Freed was the only deejay subpoenaed by the Oversight Committee and refused to testify despite being given immunity. Trial began December, 1962 and ended with Freed pleading guilty to 29 counts of commercial bribery. Though he only received a $300 fine and 6 months suspended sentence his career would be over.

Forced to leave New York Freed worked briefly at KDAY (owned by the same company that owned WINS) in 1960, in Los Angeles, but when management refused to let him promote live rock & roll shows Freed left the station and returned to Manhattan to emcee a live twist revue. When the twist craze cooled he hooked on as a disc jockey at WQAM (Miami, FL). Realizing that his dream of returning to New York radio was just that, Freed's drinking increased. The Miami job lasted only two months.

By 1964, Freed will be indicted for income tax evasion, by which time he is hospitalised with uremia, the penalty for the heavy drinking into which he fell following his original troubles, and he will die penniless in January 1965.

His ethics would be questioned often enough. Like many in the day, he claimed songwriting credits as possible promotional payoffs; he was also accused of underpaying talent who appeared in his famous rock and roll spectacular shows and tours before the payola scandals. But no one could or would really question Alan Freed's rock and roll heart.


1929: SUSPECTING THE KINGFISH IS EMBEZZLING---Andy (Charles Correll) has precisely such a suspicion after he noticed how particularly well the Kingfish's wife has been dressing lately . . . and, after the Kingfish handed him a new---and possible illegally written---lodge bylaw, on tonight's edition of Amos 'n' Andy. (NBC.)

Amos: Freeman Gosden. Writers: Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll.

1941: MODEL WIFE---Dick Powell and Joan Blondell---whose marriage in real life was in trouble when they made the sleeper film hit---reprise their roles as a couple whose marriage is kept secret from her boss, who frowns on working married women . . . and happens to have his own thing for her, provoking trouble enough between husband and wife, on tonight's edition of Lux Radio Theater. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Fred MacKaye. Host: Cecil B. DeMille. Adapted from the screenplay by Leigh Jason.

1942: GOING TO BE RICH---While fuming as usual over the monthly stack of bills ("With all the restrictions on rubber, I don't dare write any more checks"), McGee (Jim Jordan) stumbles over a newspaper headline he thinks is going to make him rich, on tonight's edition of Fibber McGee & Molly. (NBC.)

Molly/Teeny: Marian Jordan. The Old-Timer/Wimpole: Bill Thompson. Mrs. Uppington: Isabel Randolph. LaTrivia: Gale Gordon. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King's Men. Writer: Don Quinn.

1942: THE EDWARDS AND EDWARDS PUBLISHING COMPANY---Surrendering ideas about becoming a famed writer, Lum (Chester Lauck) shifts his dream to publishing, "where the real money is," and hangs up a sign to lure aspiring writers to his imprint, on today's edition of Lum & Abner. (CBS.)

Abner: Norris Goff. Writers: Chester Lauck, Norris Goff.


1870---Wright Kramer (actor: Showboat), Somerville, Massachussetts.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Well, Sir, Miss Bankhead . . . ": The Way It Was, 18 May

1902---He will grow up to become The Music Man, thanks to the musical hit of the same name; and, he will verify the unsinkability of The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

First, however, he will become known for several musical contributions to old-time radio---including Burns & Allen's Maxwell House Coffee Time (on which he also pries romantic hints from his hosts); his own summer replacement for Fibber McGee & Molly in the early 1940s; and, his musical direction and comic punctuations ("Well, sir, Miss Bankhead . . . ") for The Big Show.

And, in due course, he will provide an unwitting punch line for the Beatles, when Paul McCartney---during the televised 1963 Royal Variety Performance--- introduces their partially bossa nova-inspired version of The Music Man's "Till There Was You" as having been recorded previously by "our favourite American group, Sophie Tucker," well aware that the ample Ms. Tucker performed earlier on the evening's bill.

Before he can achieve those achievements, however, he needs to be born in the first place---as Meredith Willson is, today, in Mason City, Iowa.


1943: THE ABC MURDERS---And they're not exactly as simple as A-B-C, either, kiddies (or, as N-B-C or C-B-S, for that matter), not when it comes to a mild-mannered traveler (Charles Laughton) with those very initials who may be suspected of at least some involvement in a round of particularly savage---and alphabetically arranged---killings. Neither in the Agatha Christie original, nor on tonight's adaptation for Suspense. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Elsa Lanchester, Branwell Fletcher. Adapted for radio by Robert Talman and William Spier.

1945: ARCHIE'S RAISE---That would be the raise he does get, as opposed to the raise he'd like to get, on tonight's edition of Duffy's Tavern. (CBS.)

Archie: Ed Gardner. Eddie: Eddie Green. Finnegan: Charles Cantor. Miss Duffy: Possibly Florence Halop. Writers: Ed Gardner, Abe Burrows, possibly Larry Gelbart.


1892---Ezio Pinza (operatic tenor: The Telephone Hour; Ezio Pinza's Children's Show; Stagestruck; The Big Show), Rome.
1897---Frank Capra (director: Gulf Screen Theater; NBC Theater; Lux Radio Theater), Bisacquino, Sicily.
1900---Raymond Paige (conductor: Hollywood Hotel; Musical Americana; Stage Door Canteen), Wausau, Wisconsin.
1904---Fred Shields (actor: Tarzan), Kansas City.
1907---Sir Clifford Curzon (pianist: March of Dimes), London.
1908---Ted Malone (commentator: Between the Bookends; Pilgrimage of Poetry), Colorado Springs.
1912---Perry Como (as Pierino Ronald Como; singer: The Chesterfield Supper Club; The Perry Como Program), Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
1922---Bill Macy (as Wolf Marvin Gabler; actor: Earplay), Revere, Massachussetts; Kai Winding (jazz trombonist: One Night Stand; Jubilee), Aarhus, Denmark.
1924---Jack Whitaker (disc jockey/sportscaster: Jack the Bachelor; Sports Shorts), Philadelphia.
1931---Robert Morse (actor: The CBS Radio Mystery Theater), Newton, Iowa.
1936---Joel Kupperman (panelist: The Quiz Kids), Chicago.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

"Sometimes Good, Sometimes Ragged, Always Real": The Way It Was, 17 May

1938---And speaking of Clifton Fadiman, the old-time radio show that will make him a household name---with a panel of known experts who just so happen to be rather witty in their own right, including erudite journalists John F. Kieran and Franklin P. Adams, trying to answer brain-benders submitted by listeners themselves---premieres today on NBC's Blue Network: Information, Please.

The show, a sort of Algonquin Round Table of the air . . . was thought up by Dan Golenpaul, hmself a pretty bright guy who put on lectures and public-service programs and devised the first broadcasting magazine called, yes, The Magazine of the Air . . . Golenpaul's idea for Information, Please came out of his frustrations at listening to MCs give contestants a hard time for blowing answers. He once explained, "A bit sadistic, I thought. I wish I had these quizmasters and so-called experts in front of me. I'd like to ask them some questions. They're probably not much brighter than the average person."

---Gerald Nachman, from "Minds Over Matter," in Raised on Radio. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998.)

The show will make a star, too, out of pianist Oscar Levant, whose withering wit will give his music career a bump and make him a personality in his own right. Guest panelists for the always-revolving fourth chair will include Gracie Allen (laugh if you must but the lady was no dope), Harpo Marx (you guessed it: he answered with his famous taxi horn), Fred Allen (a frequent guest panelist), Deems Taylor (musician and music critic), Grantland Rice (sportswriting legend), Russell Crouse (playwright), and even baseball legends Red Barber, Lefty Gomez, and Larry MacPhail.

[A] quiz show turned into a four-man conversation, sometimes good, sometimes ragged, always real. I was well aware that my own talents were as nothing compared with those of Frank Adams, Oscar Levant, or John Kieran. But I was also well aware that I was so placed as to be able to do one thing better than they could do it themselves. That one thing was to prod them into being Adams, Levant, and Kieran.

---Clifton Fadiman.

It was generally more fun when the answer was wrong, especially if the culprit tried to wriggle out of it. An uproarious error or a brilliant bit of irrelevance was rated far above any dull delivery of truth.

---John Kieran, from his memoirs.

One of Information, Please's unsung heroes: a Brooklyn high school teacher upon whom Golenpaul calls for factual and referential assistance, a teacher who believes what the show comese to exude behind the witty repartee: "that Brahms, Jefferson, Shelley, and baseball could and indeed should fascinate equally"---as his far more famous son would recall years later.

The teacher is Gordon Kahn, who will die a year after Information, Please's radio demise. But his son grows up to become a respected sportswriter and, in time, the man who may have done the most to graduate the Brooklyn Dodgers from memory to mythology: Roger Kahn, author of The Boys of Summer.


1948: GEM OF PUREST RAY---Mass murderer Dr. Moraitas (Ernest Chappell, who also narrates) stuns police with the subterranean conspiracy theory that underwrites his motive, on tonight's edition of Quiet, Please. (Mutual.)

Additional cast: Morton Lawrence, Terita Bauer, Ed McSaley. Writer/director: Wyllis Cooper.

1950: COLLEGE BOUND---As final examinations bring an odd calm to the campus, Vicki (Benita Hume Colman) longs for a summer vacation she thinks Hall (Ronald Colman) has earned but he fears he can't quite afford, while the campus plots a surprise for Abel Kanter (Sam Hearn), on tonight's edition of The Halls of Ivy. (NBC.)

Mike Kanter: Sam Edwards. Writers: Don Quinn, Nat Wolfe.


1890---Philip James (composer/conductor: Bamberger Little Symphony; Wellsprings of Music), Jersey City.
1902---Fausto Cleva (conductor: NBC Symphony Orchestra; Metropolitan Opera Auditions), Trieste, Italy.
1903---Artie Auerbach (actor: The Jack Benny Program), New York City.
1905---John Patrick (writer: Theater Guild On the Air), Louisville.
1906---Carl McIntire (evangelist: Twentieth Century Reformation Hour), Ypsilanti, Michigan.
1907---Horace McMahon (actor: Crime Does Not Pay), South Norwalk, Connecticut.
1911---Maureen O'Sullivan (actress: Dreft Star Playhouse; Family Theater), Boyle, Ireland.
1920---Harriet Van Horne (critic/actress: The Adventures of Ellery Queen), Syracuse, New York.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Gildersleeve Spin: The Way It Was, 16 May

1941: THE JOHNSON WAX PROGRAM WITH . . . THROCKMORTON P. GILDERSLEEVE---That is precisely the way Harlow Wilcox announces it, to kick off the audition program for old-time radio's founding spinoff show.

The show: Stentorian Gildersleeve (Harold Peary, in the role he has made a hit on Fibber McGee & Molly) bids a slightly pompous farewell to his girdle-making company employees before boarding a train from Wistful Vista to Summerfield, where he's the unexpected designated executor for his late brother- and sister-in-law's estate . . . and, the equally-unexpected designated guardian to their precocious two children---assuming a local family court judge who's his equal for ornery can be reversed when he demands a large cash bond, in a battle of wits between the barely-armed. (NBC.)

Evelyn Forrester: Lurene Tuttle. (The character will be re-named Marjorie when the show is picked up as a regular series.) Leroy Forrester: Walter Tetley. Judge Hooker: Earle Ross. Writer: Leonard Levinson.

And, with a slight nip and tuck in the original script, this is the basic episode under which The Great Gildersleeve will premiere as a regular series come August, under the regular sponsorship of the Kraft Cheese Company, and become an old-time radio mainstay for nearly sixteen years.


1925: THE HORSY SET IS ON THE AIR---At least, those members who happened to be three years old and in the Churchill Downs starting gates for the Kentucky Derby, which is broadcast over a radio network for the first time, based from Louisville's WHAS.


1943: CHILE---The Alley demimonde addresses raising chickens during a meat-rationing period, and a freshly-rising solo singer has to be convinced to sing a newly-written song ("Every schnook I meet thinks he's a songwriter!"), possibly before he'll be allowed to sing "She's Funny That Way"---a singer named Sinatra, on tonight's edition of Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Portland Hoffa, John Brown, Charles Cantor, Minerva Pious, Alan Reed, Jimmy Wallington. Music: Al Goodman and His Orchestra, Hi-Lo Jack and the Dame. Writers: Fred Allen, Harry Tugend, Nat Hiken.


1882---Mary Gordon (actress: Those We Love; Sherlock Holmes), Glasgow, Scotland.
1905---Henry Fonda (actor: Eyes Aloft; Romance; Suspense; Family Theater), Grand Island, Nebraska.
1909---Margaret Sullavan (actress: Electric Theater; Hollywood Playhouse; Lux Radio Theater), Norfolk, Virginia.
1912---Studs Terkel (as Louis Terkel; journalist/occasional actor: Desintation Freedom; Ma Perkins), Bronx, New York.
1913---Woody Herman (as Woodrow Charles Herman, clarinetist/bandleader: The Wildroot Show), Milwaukee.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"You See More in You": The Way It Was, 15 May

1904: A PEOPLE'S INTELLECTUAL---Editor for Simon & Schuster, literary critic and decade-long editor of The New Yorker's book section, accessible by just about anyone thanks to his gentle wit, his lack of pretension, and the manner in which he will display both, as the long-running host of perhaps old-time radio's most genuinely intelligent quiz program, Information Please . . . on which the highbrow and the high laughs were equally at home. (Not for nothing will the show's guest panelists include the like of Fred Allen, Groucho Marx, Jack Haley, and baseball legend/clown Lefty Gomez, to say nothing of regulars John Kieran and Franklin P. Adams.)

Happy 104th birthday to the man who said . . .

When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before, you see more in you than there was before.

---Clifton Fadiman, whose other radio hosting credits include Conversation and The RCA Magic Key.


1938: MURDER IN THE LIBRARY---It isn't exactly Col. Mustard with the lead pipe, kiddies---but it's a parodic melodrama, and with this bunch you can just take it from there, happily, on tonight's edition of The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Mary Livingstone, Kenny Baker, Don Wilson. Music: Phil Harris and His Orchestra. Writers: George Balzer, Milt Josefsberg, Sam Perrin.

1940: RAH-RAH IN OMAHA---George (Burns) and Gracie (Allen) and her presidential campaign arrive at Omaha's Exarbin Coliseum in advance of the Surprise Party convention, on tonight's edition of The Hinds Honey & Almond Cream Show with George Burns and Gracie Allen. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Truman Bradley, Bubbles Kelly. Music: Ray Noble and the Union Pacific Band, Frank Parker. Writers: George Burns, William Burns, Sid Dorfman, Paul Henning.

1947: THE CASE OF THE NO-ACCOUNT SWINDLE---A future generation would call its electronic variants identity theft: former department store manager Slip Sales (possibly John Griggs), later imprisoned for embezzlement, is running a racket that's crippling other such stores in town---charging others for goods and using several girls, one of whom he's had killed for blowing the whistle, to steal their information at other stores and parties, on today's edition of Dick Tracy. (ABC.)

Tracy: Matt Crowley or Barry Thomson. Patton: Walter Kinsella. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: John Wray, Everett S. Crosby.

1949: FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH---"I don't need any special day to be unlucky," laments Connie (Eve Arden)---whose Friday the Thirteenth made mere "unlucky" resemble a mere spilled drink, on tonight's edition of Our Miss Brooks. (CBS.)

Mrs. Davis: Jane Morgan. Walter: Richard Crenna. Stretch: Leonard Stern. Conklin: Gale Gordon. Boynton: Jeff Chandler. Harriet: Gloria McMillan. Writer: Al Lewis.

1949: THE LITTLE MORNING---Hitchhiking Francis Scott (Ernest Chappell, who also narrates), grateful for a pre-dawn lift, tells his driver about seeing his fiancee again . . . a year to the day after she died in a hill fire that destroyed all adjacent homes, on tonight's edition of Quiet, Please. (ABC.)

Writer/director: Wyllis Cooper.


1890---Menasha Skulnik (actor: The Goldbergs; Abie's Irish Rose), Warsaw.
1905---Joseph Cotten (actor: The Private Files of Matthew Bell; Mercury Theater On the Air), Petersburg, Virginia.
1909---James Mason (actor: The James & Pamela Mason Show; Studio One; The Fred Allen Show), Huddersfield, U.K.
1910---Constance Cummings (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Seattle.
1916---Bill Williams (actor: Eternal Light; Screen Guild Theater; Lux Radio Theater), Brooklyn.
1918---Eddy Arnold (The Tennessee Plowboy; singer: Checkerboard Square; The Eddy Arnold Show), Henderson, Tennessee; Joseph Wiseman (actor: Crime Does Not Pay), Montreal.
1923---Doris Dowling (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Detroit.
1936---Anna Maria Alberghetti (singer: Here's to Veterans), Pesano, Italy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Here's to You---So Long": The Way It Was, 14 May

1976---An old-time radio mainstay, Lowell Thomas and the News, featuring the world-girdling broadcaster for forty-six years on radio, is delivered for the final time, fifteen months after the death of Thomas's first wife.

Perhaps characteristically, Thomas alters his trademark sign-off by removing just two words and saying, simply, "Here's to you---so long."

His memoir, Good Evening, Everybody, is also published in 1976. He will also have an impact on radio beyond his lifetime, when his 1954 investment (with business manager Frank Smith) in Albany, New York UHF television stations and radio stations grows into the giant that will buy ABC in 1986: Capital Cities.

Thomas will marry a second time in 1977 and die in 1981, the author of thousands of classic radio news reports and analyses and numerous books, including a second memoir, So Long Until Tomorrow, a year after he signs off for the final time.


2006: FAREWELL, HONEY DREAMER---One-time old-time radio singer (with the Honey Dreamers), but known best as the third and final Clarabell on television's Howdy Doody, Lew Anderson dies at age 86 of complications from prostate cancer at his Hawthorne, New York home.


1941: SAMMY FACES SYLVIA---And everyone's just a little bit apprehensive when the would-have been couple square off after Sammy (Alfred Ryder)'s return upon discovering Sylvia's (Zena Provendie) lies, on today's edition of The Goldbergs. (CBS.)

Molly: Gertrude Berg. Jake: John R. Waters. Rosalie: Roslyn Siber. Writer/director: Gertrude Berg.

14 MAY 1946: CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK---It isn't Amos 'n' Andy, kiddies---it's an apparent check-kiting scheme hitting the Sentinel itself, after Reid (Bob Hall) discovers forged checks written on the Sentinel payroll accounts, on today's edition of The Green Hornet. (ABC.)

Miss Case: Lee Allman. Axford: Gil Shea. Kato: Rollon Parker. Writer: Fran Striker.


1885---Otto Klemperer (conductor: The George Gershwin Memorial Program), Breslau, Germany.
1890---Carlton Brickert (actor: The Story of Mary Marlin; Thurston the Magician; announcer: Lum & Abner), Martinsville, Indiana.
1898---Zutty Singleton (drummer: Radio Almanac; Just Jazz; BBC Jazz Session), Bunkie, Louisiana.
1905---Herb Morrison (news reporter, and the man whose spot report of the Hindenburg disaster remains internationally famous; also: Call to Arms; The Good Ole Days of Radio), unknown.
1910---B.S. Pully (comedian: Command Performance; Mail Call), Newark, New Jersey; Paul Sutton (actor: Challenge of the Yukon), Albuquerque, New Mexico.
1919---Liberace (as Wladziu Valentino Liberace; pianist/vocalist: Stars for Defence), West Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
1925---Patrice Munsel (singer: Prudential Family Hour; The Voice of Firestone; The Big Show), Spokane, Washington.
1926---Eric Morecambe (comedian, longtime partner of Ernie Wise: The Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise Radio Show), Lancashire, U.K.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Celebrating, Pressing On: The Way It Was, 13 May

1945: CELEBRATING IN EUROPE, PRESSING ON IN THE PACIFIC---Robert Trout anchors a report addressing the continuing celebrations of the end of the war in Europe, progress in the war in the Pacific, and rumours that former S.S. commander-in-chief Heinrich Himmler had been seized, on this edition of World News Today. (CBS.)

BLOOPER ALERT---Listen for Davis's mangle of Britain and Italy . . .


1940: AHEAD OF SCHEDULE---Day Four of the Nazi invasion of the so-called low countries---including Belgium (taking the apparent hardest hits to this point) and the Netherlands, whose troops continue fighting along two key rivers---seems well ahead of Hitler's planned schedule, though what proves an actual bid to capture Dutch Queen Wilhelmina doesn't go as hoped for the Nazis, on tonight's edition of Elmer Davis and the News. (CBS.)

1941: JANE SMASHES THE CAR---With two marital separations---the Aces (Goodman and Jane Ace) and the young Neffs (Ethel Blume, Alfred Ryder)---both tied to Betty's leaving Carl (Alfred Ryder) over their baby's name, and with Jane trying to make profits by buying and selling her own furniture at auction, Ace borrows Carl's car to go back to the house, Jane has to back Betty's car out before she can take Ace's car to the Neff apartment, and they end up a smash hit on tonight's edition of Easy Aces. (CBS.)

Marge: Mary Hunter. Writer: Goodman Ace.


1902---David Broekman (conductor: Mobil Magazine; Texaco Star Theater), Leiden, Netherlands.
1907---Dame Daphne du Maurier (writer: Campbell's Playhouse; Matinee Theater; Romance; Escape), London.
1909---Ken Darby (singer/conductor, with the King's Men: Fibber McGee & Molly), Hebron, Nebraska.
1912---Helen Craig (actress: Crime Does Not Pay), San Antonio, Texas.
1914---Joe Louis (heavyweight boxing champion: The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour; Freedom's People; The Fred Allen Show), Lafayette, Alabama.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Same Lack of Subject, Continued: The Way It Was, 12 May

Not that 12 Mays are any better than 11 Mays for old-time radio history. So what can you do but relax and just listen . . . ?


1946: CAIRO---The Alley demimonde ponder Coney Island, and sleepless Fred (Allen)---driven to a night's sleep in a theatrical hotel, after being kept awake by Oscar Levant's "Cannibal Symphony"---ends up puzzled when guest Sydney Greenstreet, whose room adjoins his, has come all the way to New York to commit suicide, on tonight's edition of The Fred Allen Show. (Original broadcast: NBC; rebroadcast: Armed Forces Radio Service.)

Claghorn: Kenny Delmar. Titus: Parker Fenelly. Mrs. Nussbaum: Minerva Pious. Falstaff: Alan Reed. Music: Al Goodman Orchestra, the Five DeMarco Sisters. (Note: This AFRS rebroadcast splices Tommy Dorsey's hit recording of Sy Oliver's "Well, Git It!" near the beginning of the broadcast, just after Kenny Delmar's opening, ending just before Fred Allen's opening routine.) Writers: Fred Allen, Nat Hiken, possibly Larry Marks.

1948: EARLY GOLF---Assuming Ethel (Peg Lynch) can wake him at all, that's why Albert (Alan Bunce) wanted to get up early in the first place, until half a sleepless night, anyway, on tonight's edition of Ethel & Albert. (ABC.)

Suzy: Madeleine Pierce. Aunt Eva: Margaret Hamilton. Writer: Peg Lynch.


1892---John Barclay (singer/actor: Palmolive Beauty Box Theater; The Guiding Light), Blethlingly, Surrey, U.K.
1894---Leora Thatcher (actress: The Right to Happiness), Logan Utah.
1901---Whitey Ford* (as Benjamin Francis Ford; comedian, "The Duke of Paducah": Grand Ole Opry; Plantation Party), De Soto, Missouri; Scrappy Lambert (as Harold Lambert; singer, The Smith Brothers: Trade and Mark; Town Hall Tonight), New Brunswick.
1902---Philip Wylie (writer: This is War; The Sportsman's Club; Tomorrow; Lux Radio Theater), Beverly, Massachussetts.
1907---Katharine Hepburn (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Hartford, Connecticut.
1910---Gordon Jenkins (conductor/arranger/composer: Everythign for the Boys; The Bob Burns Show), Webster Groves, Missouri.
1914---Howard K. Smith (news reporter/anchor/commentator: CBS World News Today; CBS World News Roundup; Howard K. Smith News), Ferriday, Louisiana.
1924---Tony Hancock (comedian: Hancock's Half Hour), Birmingham, U.K.
1927---Suzanne Dalbert (actress: Command Performance; George Fisher Interviews the Stars), Paris.

*---Not to be confused with baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford, born in 1928 as Edward Charles Ford in Astoria, Queens, New York City.---JK.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Takeout: The Way It Was, 11 May

That's the trouble with the 11 Mays of the world. There's nothing happening on them. Not in terms of old-time radio history, really, unless you count . . .


1941: COME ON, GANG, LET'S TAKE THIS OUT---Lena Horne, Erskine Butterfield, and a none-too-little dip into the blues highlight tonight's edition of Cats and Jammers. (Mutual.)


1892---Dame Margaret Rutherford (actress: The Wisdom of Miss Marple; Theater Guild On the Air), London.
1899---Forrest Lewis (actor: The Great Gildersleeve; Vic & Sade), Knightstown, Indiana.
1907---Kent Taylor (actor: Hollywood Hotel), Nashua, Iowa.
1911---Phil Silvers (as Philip Silver; comedian/actor: Screen Guild Theater; Suspense), Brooklyn; Doodles Weaver (as Winstead Sheffield Weaver; comedian: The Spike Jones Show), Los Angeles.
1912---Foster Brooks (announcer/comedian: Melody, Incorporated; The Foster Brooks Show), Louisville.
1930---Marilyn King (singer, with the King Sisters: Horace Heidt and His Brigadiers; Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge), Salt Lake City.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

"You Can Get Beaten Up and Not Even Feel It": The Way It Was, 10 May

1940---It may not be her first, but it will hold up as one of her best old-time radio appearances: film legend Marlene Dietrich ponders some "fatherly" career advice---including how less often she'll get clobbered on the air than on the screen ("Come into radio . . . In radio, there is no violence or rough stuff . . . you can get beaten up and kicked around in radio and not even feel it") from a certain ad-libbing satirist who shoos his boy tenor and his second bananette to one side ("This is a moment I want to share with me") to savour the interlude alone.

That'll teach him.

Dietrich wrings a laugh at said advisor's expense, when he tries to convince her to play in the radio soap Brave Betty Birnbaum. But she joins seriously enough with said advisor and the Texaco Workshop Players (nee the Mighty Allen Art Players) in a Yukon satire, "The Courting of Nasty and Nell."

Additional highlights include a ribbing of Jack Benny's earlier program; a "March of Trivia" review of sugar rationing; and, Fordham University undergraduate Donald Regan, voted most talented undergraduate by his campus peers in a sponsor's promotion

All of which you'll hear on tonight's edition of Texaco Star Theater Starring Fred Allen. (CBS.)

Cast: Kenny Baker, Portland Hoffa, Minerva Pious, Alan Reed, Jimmy Wallington. Music: Al Goodman and His Orchestra. Writers: Fred Allen, Roland Fibbee, Nat Hiken, Herman Wouk.


1945: HOLIDAY---A couple (Norman Field, Bea Benaderet) don't want their children to suspect their family cruise is more than just a vacation, despite the father's anxiety over the Chinese production project that's the real impetus behind the journey, on tonight's edition of Arch Oboler's Plays. (Mutual.)

Additional cast: Bill Christy, Rhoda Williams, Lou Merrill, Irene Tedrow, Joseph Granby, Mary Jane Croft, Raymond Severn, Bruce Elliott. Writer/director: Arch Oboler.

1948: THERE ARE SHADOWS HERE---A man (Ernest Chappell, who also narrates) can't remember the name or look of a woman seeking him at his regular bar, and with good enough reason---no one sees her, except in shadow, on tonight's edition of Quiet, Please. (Mutual.)

Esther: Aline Sparrow. Paddy: Ed Lattimer. The Unnamed Writer: Sid Cassell. Frankie: Frank Thomas. Writer/director: Wyllis Cooper.


1888---Max Steiner (composer: Lux Radio Theater), Vienna.
1894---Frank Knight (actor/announcer: Arabesque; Literary Digest), St. John's, Newfoundland; Dmitri Tiomkin (composer/conductor: Last Man Out; 1947 March of Dimes Campaign), St. Petersburg, Russia.
1899---Fred Astaire (actor/dancer: The Fred Astaire Show), Omaha, Nebraska; Lois Holmes (actress: The Second Mrs. Burton), Galion, Ohio.
1909---Maybelle Carter (singer/guitarist/autoharpist, with the Carter Family: Grand Ole Opry), Nickelsville, Virginia.
1911---Lee Sullivan (singer: Serenade to America), New York City.
1914---Charles McGraw (actor: A Man Called X; Dragnet; Suspense), New York City.
1917---Margo (as María Marguerita Guadalupe Boldao y Castilla O'Donnell; actress: Suspense; Free Company), Mexico City.
1917---Nancy Walker (actress: Mail Call), Philadelphia.
1922---Mary Small (singer: Little Miss Bab-O's Surprise Party), Baltimore.

Friday, May 09, 2008

"They Saw The Results . . . ": The Way It Was, 9 May

1945---Returning to Berlin after three years' absence (on the order of Hitler's government), CBS News correspondent Howard K. Smith---one of the legendary "Murrow's Boys"---accompanies top Allied air commanders (including Army Air Force legend Carl Spaatz) and delivers a jarring report, for the Combined American Networks, on the manner in which Hitler's war finally invited the devastation of Berlin itself.

And, perhaps not to be outdone, Thomas Cadett of the BBC describes what remains of Hitler's Berlin bunker---not to mention what remains of, at least, Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's longtime propaganda minister, who actually served as chancellor of Germany . . . for a single day.


1941: ED AND LEAH REFUSE TO TELL---Ed and Leah await a visit from Molly (Gertrude Berg), who's bent on getting to the truth of why Sammy (Alfred Ryder) disappeared rather than marry Sylvia (Zina Provendie), Sammy tells Jake (John R. Waters) about the lies from Sylvia---including the one involving Ed---that really drove him away, on today's edition of The Goldbergs. (CBS.)

Writer/director: Gertrude Berg.

1944: GEORGE'S DOOR-TO-DOOR RADIO CAMPAIGN---Running for the city council has its pratfalls, as George (Burns) won't learn if Gracie (Allen) can help it---she's determined to bump up his ratings after a neighbourhood poll doesn't, and she hears Ray Milland won't vote for George's opponent, on tonight's edition of The Burns & Allen Show. (CBS; rebroadcast: Armed Forces Radio Network.)

The Happy Postman: Mel Blanc. Additional cast: Elvia Allman, Jimmy Cash, Hans Conreid, Lawrence Nash. Announcer: Bill Goodwin. Music: Felix Mills Orchestra. Writers: George Burns, Paul Henning, possibly Hal Kanter.

1944: MEN'S FASHION LECTURE---"You remember Theda Bara? Well, uh, Menjou was a fashion plate when she was still a dish." Also sprach Archie (Ed Gardner) to Duffy on the blower, before guest Adolphe Menjou makes a valiant attempt to deliver a men's fashion lecture to the local gendarmerie . . . written by Archie, of all people ("Da well dressed man must watch out how he garbs himself, 'cause he is always judges by his garbiage"), on tonight's edition of Duffy's Tavern. (CBS.)

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

1948: BREAK THE CONTESTANT---After lamenting a week for the apple and a mere day for the mother, suggesting reasons there should be a Be Kind to Humans Week, and gauging the Alley's satisfaction with the year's Pulitzer Prizes, here comes another gleeful barb in the craw of the metastasising meatheaded quiz show presence, on tonight's edition of The Fred Allen Show. (NBC.)

With Portland Hoffa. Guest star: Don (The Breakfast Club) McNeil. Sen. Claghorn: Kenny Delmar. Titus Moody: Parker Fennelly. Mrs. Nussbaum: Minerva Pious. Ajax Cassidy: Peter Donald. Writers: Fred Allen, Harry Bailey, possibly Nat Hiken, Bob Weiskopf.

1960: THE MURDER OF THE MISSING EAVESDROPPER---Such is the case to be solved by "Mr. Trace, Keener Than Most Persons," among other cheerful insanities on today's edition of Bob & Ray Present the CBS Radio Network. (Three guesses.)

Writers: Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding.


1887---William P. adams (actor: Collier's Hour; Let's Pretend), Tiffin, Ohio.
1895---Richard Barthelmass (actor: Lux Radio Theater), New York City.
1901---Fuzzy Knight (as John Forrest Knight; actor: Screen Guild Theater), Fairmont, West Virginia.
1911---Harry Simeone* (arranger/chorale leader: The Fred Waring Show; Columbia Presents Corwin), Newark, New Jersey.
1914---Hank Snow (singer: Grand Ole Opry), Liverpool, Nova Scotia.
1918---Mike Wallace (as Myron Leon Wallace; announcer: The Crime Files of Lamond; The Green Hornet; The Spike Jones Show), Brookline, Massachussetts.
1919---Eddie Manson (harmonica player: They Shall Be Heard), unknown.
1923---Byron Kane (as Byron Kaplan; actor: Gunsmoke; Broadway Is My Beat; Escape), Vermont.
1930---Joan Sims (as Irene Joan Marion Sims; actress: 'Round the Horne; Stop Messing About), Laindon, Essex, U.K.
1936---Glenda Jackson (actress: Stevie; panelist: Quote . . . Unquote), Cheshire, U.K.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Another Shadow Looms: The Way It Was, 8 May

1939---The Shadow of Fu Manchu, serialising three of the famous novels and featuring a cast that includes Gale Gordon, Hanley Stafford (Baby Snooks), and Gerald Mohr, premieres for a 156-episode run on NBC.


1945: SOLEMN GLORY---Now it's clear, officially and unequivocably, to pull the corks and let the party begin for V-E Day. Just so long as it isn't forgotten that there's still business coming in in the Pacific, that is . . .

"PEACE IN EUROPE . . . PEACE IN EUROPE . . . "---One of the classic old-time radio broadcasts: mild-mannered Mutual Broadcasting System commentator Gabriel Heatter, whose usual sign-on ("Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, there's good news tonight") took a new meaning entirely even if he doesn't use it, for once, as he ruminates on the moment the German surrender became final and official.

"THIS IS A SOLEMN BUT GLORIOUS HOUR"---So says President Truman, while cautioning against the complete celebration until the Pacific war is won, in an otherwise joyous announcement delivered to Congress and carried live.

"TODAY WE GIVE THANKS"---So begins King George VI in an address to the U.K., originating from the BBC and carried on NBC.

REMEMBER . . . ---For those who died fighting the war, from Field Marshal Montgomery.

THE U.K. CELEBRATES---Winston Churchill does, too.

"AN ATMOSPHERE OF CALM THANKSGIVING"---So said NBC News, Washington, opening this V-E Day special broadcast that includes comments from Fleet Admiral William E. Leahy; Gen. of the Army George C. Marshall, the Army's chief of staff; Fleet Admiral Ernest J. King, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Fleet; Gen. of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, commander-in-chief of the Allied Expeditionary Force; Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and Pacific Ocean areas; Gen. of the Army H.H. (Hap) Arnold, commander-in-chief, Army Air Force; and, Gen. of the Army Douglas MacArthur, commander-in-chief, U.S. Army Pacific forces.

THE HEARTY PARTIES---The BBC listens in on the revelry . . .


1940: AUNT CLARA'S KANGAROO---The trip to the Surprise Party convention will have to wait at least long enough to retrieve the train tickets---because the Surprise Party's Presidential candidate (Gracie Allen) gave the tickets to a stranger who wanted to be at the broadcast . . . not to mention assuring George (Burns) will tend Aunt Clara, on tonight's edition of The Hinds Honey & Almond Cream Program with Burns & Allen. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Frank Parker, Truman Bradley. Music: Ray Noble and His Orchestra. Writers: George Burns, William Burns, Sid Dorfman, Paul Henning.

1948: JUDY INTERVIEWS LANCELOT BUCKINGHAM---And to think it was supposed to begin with Buckingham interviewing Judy (Canova), on tonight's edition of The Judy Canova Show. (NBC.)

Pedro: Mel Blanc. Geranium: Ruby Dandridge. Additional cast: Hans Conreid, Gale Gordon, Joseph Kearns, Jess Kirkpatrick. Music: Charles Dann and His Orchestra, the Sports Men. Writers: Fred Fox, Henry Hooper, John Ward.

1948: BABY FOOD---Last week, they handed me a rather distasteful assignment at the advertising agency where I work: they asked me to prepare an advertising campaign for a brand-new baby food that was due to come out on the market. They sent me a sample of the stuff. It looked like strained moss. And I'm sure no self-respecting baby in his right mind would ever walk into a restaurant and order this stuff.

So drawls (Goodman) Ace, on whose doorstep even a self-respecting baby might get himself left, the day Ace plans to bring a new baby food's maker home for a softening-up dinner, on tonight's edition of mr. ace and JANE. (CBS.)

Jane: Jane Ace. Norris: Eric Dressler. Sally: Florence Robinson. Agnes: Beatrice Karns. Fischer: John Driggs. The Ga-Ga Baby (you're not seeing things): Madeline Gibbs. Ken: Ken Roberts. Writer: Goodman Ace.

1949: MYSTERY SHOW (a.k.a. PETER LORRE)---To please a potential new sponsor, Dean (Martin) and Jerry (Lewis) agree to try a mystery show---which seems impossible until they spot guest Peter Lorre's theatrical opening and decide to try talking him into it, assuming they can get past his secretary, on tonight's edition of The Martin & Lewis Show. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Paul McMichael, Roger Price, Ed Herlihy. Music: Dick Stabile and His Orchestra. Writers: Ray Allen, Dick McKnight, Roger Price, Jim Whitney.

1949: MOTHER'S DAY PRESENT---Phil (Harris) balks at buying Alice (Faye) a mink for Mother's Day . . . until the six words guaranteed to send things from bad to worse---and jail---come from Remley (Elliott Lewis), on tonight's edition of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show. (NBC.)

Little Alice: Jeanine Roos. Phyllis: Anne Whitfield. Julius: Walter Tetley. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: Ray Singer, Dick Chevillat.

1949: THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STARS---A man (Ernest Chappell, who narrates) and his museum worker companion (Jane White), seeking gold and silver in the well of the sky, see only a soldier's skeleton when they find it at last---but she hears oddly alluring music through a deep, ancient hole, on tonight's edition of Quiet, Please. (ABC.)

Steve: Mark Forbes. Writer/director: Wyllis Cooper.


1895---Fulton J. Sheen (bishop: The Catholic Hour), El Paso, Illinois.
1899---Arthur Q. Bryan (actor: Fibber McGee & Molly; The Great Gildersleeve), Brooklyn.
1901---Katherine Raht (actress: The Aldrich Family; Against the Storm), Chattanooga, Tennessee.
1910---Mary Lou Williams (jazz pianist/composer: The Mildred Bailey Show; Andy Kirk and his Clouds of Joy), Atlanta.
1913---Sid James (comedian: Hancock's Half Hour), Newcastle, South Africa.
1915---John Archer (actor: The Shadow; Gateway to Hollywood), Lincoln, Nebraska.
1919---Lex Barker (actor: MGM Theater of the Air), Rye, New York.
1926---Don Rickles (yes, that Don Rickles; announcer: NBC University Theater of the Air---believe it . . . or not), New York City.
1940---Ricky Nelson (as Eric Hilliard Nelson; actor/singer: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet), Teaneck, New Jersey.