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.

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.


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