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.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Paladin's Last Ride: The Way It Was, 27 November

1960---Old-time radio's fadeaway continues, sort of: two days after Black Friday, CBS cancels a show that was one of an extremely few television hits to take up a radio presence after its birth on the tube.

Starring radio veteran John Dehner (Escape, The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, Gunsmoke, Frontier Gentleman) as Paladin, the gentlemanly, intellectual former soldier and knight-for-hire based out of late-19th century San Francisco, Have Gun, Will Travel, which premiered on radio two years earlier, is written for radio by Ken Kobe, Marian Clark, and Les Crutchfield. Co-stars include Ben Wright (Heyboy) and Virginia Gregg (Miss Wong).

Like Gunsmoke, Have Gun, Will Travel is fashioned as a genuinely adult Western. But the show has something in common, too, with the like of What's My Line, My Little Margie, and Space Patrol---all were born first on television.

The show's final radio episode involves a couple out to kill Paladin because the husband stands to inherit six figures from his late wife---Paladin's aunt---but, the attempt thwarted, Paladin is off to New England to settle his aunt's estate.

Two and a half years later, Richard Boone---whose portrayal of Paladin on television has made him a star---will come to believe the premise has more than run its course, and Have Gun, Will Travel will leave television as well.


TOWN HALL TONIGHT: VOOPIE ON THE VOLGA; OR, THEY DRANK AND DRANK UNTIL THEY BORSCHT (NBC, 1935)---"A fear-raising melodrama of darkest Russia," as Fred Allen describes the classic---and recently-exhumed---Mighty Allen Art Players sketch, surrounding which come the usual lacerations of the news, a quick plug for Allen's appearance in the Dick Powell film Thanks a Million, and a round of amateurs competing for prizes and a week's stand at the Roxy Theater. With Portland Hoffa. The Mighty Allen Art Players: Jack Smart, Eileen Douglas, Minerva Pious, Lionel Stander. Announcer: Harry Von Zell. Music: Peter van Steeden and his Orchestra. Writers: Fred Allen, Harry Tugend.

THE JELL-O PROGRAM STARRING JACK BENNY: FLASH BENNY, FOOTBALL COACH; OR, HOLD THAT LINE (NBC, 1938)---The gridiron becomes more like a flat iron. Cast: Mary Livingstone, Eddie Anderson, Phil Harris, Kenny Baker. Announcer: Don Wilson. Music: Phil Harris and his Orchestra, Kenny Baker. Writers: Sam Perrin, George Balzar, Milt Josefsberg, John Tackaberry.

FIBBER McGEE & MOLLY: FIBBER CHOPS DOWN THE OLD OAK TREE (NBC, 1945)---And he (Jim Jordan) does it reluctantly, after a tree surgeon (possibly Jackson Beck) pronounces it a long-dead hunk of perpendicular firewood. Molly: Marian Jordan. Doc Gamble: Arthur Q. Bryan. Mrs. Carstairs: Bea Benaderet. LaTrivia: Gale Gordon. Writers: Don Quinn, Phil Leslie.

VIC & SADE: SADE'S PARADE OF INTERRUPTIONS (CBS, 1945)---That'll teach Sade (Bernadine Flynn) to think of such heinous acts as cleaning the attic. Vic: Art Van Harvey. Rush: Johnny Coons. Uncle Fletcher: Clarence Hartzell. Writer: Paul Rhymer.

MY FAVOURITE HUSBAND: IS THERE A BABY IN THE HOUSE? (CBS; rebroadcast: Armed Forces Radio Service, 1947)---While the new neighbours moving into the building pique Liz's (Lucille Ball) curiosity, George (Richard Denning) is the designated supervisor for an orphan's group run by a major bank client. Iris: Bea Benaderet. Atterbury: Gale Gordon. Additional cast: Unknown. Writers: Jess Oppenheimer, Madelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll, Jr.

GUNSMOKE: AMY'S GOOD DEED (CBS, 1955)---It's one thing knowing a lot of people are just looking to get killed, but Dillon (William Conrad) gets a real jolt when Amy Slater (Virginia Gregg) hits town asking him to kill her. Chester: Parley Baer. Doc: Howard McNear. Kitty: Georgia Ellis. Additional cast: John Dehner. Writer: John Meston.


1890---Gladys Rice (singer: Roxy's Gang; Lucky Strike Dance Orchestra; The Voice of Firestone), Philadelphia.
1893---Harry Foster Welch (actor: Shell Chateau), Annapolis, Maryland.
1897---Vera Allen (as Vera Klopman; actress: Hilltop House; Young Doctor Malone; Big Sister; Joyce Jordan, Girl Intern; Thanks for Tomorrow; Wendy Warren and the News), New York City.
1902---Jack Smart (a.k.a. J. Scott Smart; comedian/actor: Town Hall Tonight; Hour of Smiles; Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen; The Fat Man), Philadelphia.
1904---Florence Lake (actress: David Harum; Charlie and Jesse), Charleston, South Carolina.
1915---Ralph Bell (actor: Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator; This is Nora Drake), New York City.
1916---Chick Hearn (as Francis Dale Hearn; sportscaster: Pabst Blue Ribbon Bouts; play-by-play, Los Angeles Lakers basketball), Buda, Illinois.
1925---Marshall Thompson (actor: Free World Theater; Lux Radio Theater), Peoria, Illinois; Michael Tolan (a.k.a. Mickey Tolan; actor: The Green Hornet), Detroit; Ernie Wise (as Ernest Wiseman; comedian: The Morecambe and Wise Radio Show; Bandwagon), Leeds, UK.


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