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, December 12, 2008

Adam, Eve, and Infamy: The Way It Was, 12 December

1937---In one of old-time radio's most legendarily infamous hours, Mae West and Don Ameche perform "Adam & Eve"---written, by horror and suspense master Arch Oboler, of all people.

The reaction is enough horror, particularly over a concurrent segment of ribaldry between West and Charlie McCarthy, that an uproar provokes NBC into barring West from its air---even in name only---for almost two decades. But the real problem may have been in the timing: if the show airs on a night other than a Sunday night, the racy Biblical parody and the West-McCarthy ribaldry in the same hour might not provoke more than a guiltily knowing laugh.

Of course, seventy years plus later it will seem tame enough that one can imagine Howard Stern denouncing it as classic American sexual repression . . .

Determine for yourself, with tonight's edition of The Chase and Sanborn Hour. (NBC.)

Additional cast: Edgar Bergen, Nelson Eddy, Dorothy Lamour. Music: Robert Armbruster Orchestra. Announcer: Ken Niles. Additional writers: Alan Smith, possibly Carroll Carroll.


1896: HERE 'TIS---Toynbee Hall in London receives a taste of the future when Guglielmo Marconi demonstrates radio publicly for the first known time.

The demonstration occurs not long after Marconi's cousin Henry Jameson-Davis arranges his introduction to British Post Office engineer in chief Nyilliam Preece. A subsequent success follows on Salisbury Plain; within a year, Marconi will obtain a patent and found the Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company---which will launch the world's first radio factory a year following that in Chelmsford.

1901: ATLANTIC CROSSING---Three years after he launches the world's first radio factory, Marconi picks up the first radio signal known to cross the Atlantic, near St. John's, Newfoundland.

1957: ELVIS? BAH! HUMBUG!---Without denying how controversial Elvis Presley happens to be, this one must seem a little extreme even to many of those who think the world as we know it is about to come crashing down thanks to the Hillbilly Cat.

KEX, Portland, Oregon, cans disc jockey Al Priddy for playing Presley's rendition of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas": the station had banned the Pelvis's version of Der Bingle's holiday perennial.

It's almost enough to make you wonder what would be Priddy's fate had he played the rendition cut almost as memorably, in 1953, complete with the "yi-yi-yi" kicking off the second verse, by Clyde McPhatter and the original Drifters.


LUM & ABNER: LOCKET IN THE LOAF (CBS, 1941)---So it was discovered in bakemeister Lum's (Chester Lauck) latest confectionery invention. Abner/Grandpappy: Norris Goff. Writers: Chester Lauck, Norris Goff.

FIBBER McGEE & MOLLY: QUIZ SHOW SMOKES FOR FOLKS (NBC, 1944)---First, our man McGee (Jim Jordan) kvetches about a mistake on his bank statement, never mind that the bank made the mistake in his favour, which figures; then, he prepares to go on a radio quiz, with Teeny (Marion Jordan, also Molly), of all people, testing him before air time. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King's Men. Alice: Shirley Mitchell. Doc: Arthur Q. Bryan. Beulah: Marlin Hurt. Writers: Don Quinn, Phil Leslie.

THE BOB HOPE SHOW: FROM THE LONG BEACH VETERANS' HOSPITAL (NBC; ARMED FORCES RADIO AND TELEVISION NETWORK REBROADCAST, 1950)---A Christmas show from the aforesaid facility brings the patients actress Claudette Colbert and singer Margaret Whiting (with whom Hope sings "Silver Bells"), while their host plows through a few of his pile of Christmas cards and tries to get out of the Christmas doghouse with his wife, who wants a mink coat and not what he got her last year---the minks still attached. Additional cast: Unknown. Announcer: Bill Goodwin. Music: Les Brown and His Band of Renown. Writers: Unknown.


1893---Edward G. Robinson (actor: Lux Radio Theater; Big Town; The Big Show), Bucharest.
1898---Noreen Gammill (actress: The Bill Goodwin Show; The Opie Cates Show), Missouri.
1902---Helen Menken (actress: Second Husband), New York City.
1908---Hank Ladd (actor: The Phil Baker Show), Chicago.
1909---Karen Morley (actress: War Town; Lux Radio Theater), Ottumwa, Iowa.
1913---Winston Burdett (newscaster/commentator: CBS World News Today; CBS World News Roundup), Buffalo, New York.
1915---Frank Sinatra (The Chairman of the Board; singer/actor: Your Hit Parade; Songs By Sinatra; The Frank Sinatra Show; Texaxo Star Theater with Fred Allen; Rocky Fortune), Hoboken, New Jersey.
1918---Joe Williams (blues/jazz singer, with Count Basie and His Orchestra: Stars for Defense), Codele, Georgia.
1923---Bob Barker (host: The Bob Barker Show), Darrington, Washington.


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