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.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Smoke the Bagpipes: The Way It Was, 24 February

That would be the one featuring Arthur Treacher, whom Fred Allen is pumping as Britain's first bona-fide hillbilly star.

As if to prove good things coming to those who wait, however, the master ad-libber and peerless satirist, who has suffered neither fools nor giveaway shows gladly, takes one of his best pokes at the surging radio trend, zapping the seeming nonsensibility of some prizes and the implicit absurdity of others, before sauntering to The Alley to discuss hobbies: home movies for Senator Claghorn (Kenny Delmar); putty saving and deer end mounting for Titus Moody (Parker Fennelly); and, cooking for Mrs. Nussbaum (Minerva Pious)---"I'm throwing in two horseshoe crabs for luck!"

With Portland Hoffa, Alan Reed. Music: Al Goodman Orchestra, the Five DeMarco Sisters. Writers: Fred Allen, Nat Hiken, Bob Weiskopf.

(Bonus material: The AFRS recording of the show edits out the commercials but fills in the time with an extra selection of the harmony-rich DeMarco Sisters, whom arranger-composer Gordon Jenkins recommended to the Allen staff after hearing the five siblings in the elevator of his office building---and, the story has gone, was so impressed he re-ran the elevator its full length so the quintet could sing another song for him. At their absolute best, the DeMarco Sisters were a match for the Andrews Sisters aesthetically, if not commercially.)


LUX RADIO THEATER: THE WHOLE TOWN'S TALKING (CBS, 1941)---Though they're announced as their famed radio comedy selves, Jim and Marian Jordan (Fibber McGee and Molly, of course) have a romp remaking the Edward G. Robinson/Jean Arthur farce about a straight arrow whose life turns inside out when he oversleeps, loses his job, and . . . is mistaken for a killer (Paul Guilfoyle) who steals his special police pass, moving about inducing even more chaos. Host: Cecil B. DeMille. Adapted from W.R. Burnett's story, "Jail Breaker"; and, a screenplay by Robert Riskin and Jo Swirling.

LUM & ABNER: LUM AN AIR RAID WARDEN (CBS, 1942)---It might be something to break the monotony of Lum (Chester Lauck) fearing he might wreck Diogenes Smith's confidence in him as circulation manager for the war preparedness pamphlets---and his own chances for a prize as Pine Ridge's model citizen. Co-star/co-writer: Norris Goff.

INFORMATION, PLEASE: THE WALSH GIRL (NBC, 1944)---Elizabeth Janeway, new to the best-seller lists with her first novel, The Walsh Girls (and the wife of Roosevelt Administration economic advisor Eliot "Calamity" Janeway), joins composer/critic (and frequent radio guest) Deems Taylor as the guest panelists lined up with regulars John F. Kieran and Franklin P. Adams. Host: Clifton Fadiman.

THE HALLS OF IVY: EDDIE GRAY---DID HE STEAL? (NBC, 1950)---Hall (Ronald Colman) won't suffer visiting the sins of a father upon a son, when his gossipy barber (Earle Ross) accuses a popular student (Gil Stratton, Jr.) with a budding magic act of making things and money disappear . . . on evidence no stronger than the boy's being the son of a highly visible public enemy. Victoria: Benita Hume Colman. Additional cast: Gloria Gordon, Ben Wright. Announcer: Ken Carpenter. Writers: Nat Wolfe, Don Quinn.

THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM: BUYING A NEW CAR (CBS, 1952)---That would be Jack (Benny), who sees a circular advertising "liberal trade-in allowances" and decides that's a good reason to unload the old Maxwell before its final phat-phat-bang! (Mary Livingstone: "What are you gonna get---an Essex or a Stutz?") Additional cast: Eddie Anderson, Dennis Day, Phil Harris, Mary Livingstone, Don Wilson. Writers: George Balzer, Milt Josefsberg, Sam Perrin, John Tackaberry.


1876---Victor Moore ("The Lothario of the Lumbago Set"; comedian: The Jimmy Durante Show), Hammonton, New Jersey.
1890---Marjorie Main (actress: Columbia Presents Corwin), Acton, Indiana.
1914---Zachary Scott (actor: Suspense, Encore Theatre, U.S. Steel Hour, Screen Guild Theatre), Austin, Texas.
1919---Betty Marsden (actress: Beyond Our Ken, 'Round the Horne), Liverpool, U.K.
1921---Abe Vigoda (actor: CBS Was There/You Are There), New York City.
1924---Steven Hill (actor: Treasury Salute, Up For Parole), Seattle.


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