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.

Monday, February 23, 2009

So Pale, So Cold: The Way It Was, 23 February

Pop and film musical star Rosemary Clooney as a starry-eyed thrillseeker who begins questioning her choice of love interest, when it catches her in the middle (and, mortal danger) between a bootlegger (William Conrad) and his overambitious executioner (Anthony Barrett) in a 1920s speakeasy. Clooney herself is heard singing the classic blues that lends this story its name, hinting at her distant future, years after the hit records stopped coming, as a respected jazz interpreter.

Additional cast: Billy Halop, Joseph Kearns, Clayton Post, Vivi Janiss, Sheff Mencken. Music: Lucien Morowick. Writers: Morton Fine, David Friedkin.


1910: CREDIT OR BLAME IT ON PHILADELPHIA---It is the first known radio contest.

1927: SPEAKING OF CALVIN COOLIDGE . . .Said President, who will become known as the Radio President for his easy way with the comparatively young medium, signs into law the 1927 Radio Act, formally creating the Federal Radio Commission---the forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission.


FIRESIDE CHAT: "DON'T SLOW OUR EFFORT" (ALL NETWORKS, 1942)---With the United States at war around the anniversary of George Washington, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asks Americans not to allow "our effort" to be slowed by "sniping at each other," thus retorting none too subtly against critics questioning both the reality of the New Deal and the actuality of the war.

For eight years, General Washington and his Continental Army were faced continually with formidable odds and recurring defeats. Supplies and equipment were lacking. In a sense, every winter was a Valley Forge. Throughout the thirteen states there existed fifth columnists and selfish men, jealous men, fearful men, who proclaimed that Washington's cause was hopeless, and that he should ask for a negotiated peace.

Comprehending and embracing radio to a greater extent than perhaps any American politician of his era (Calvin Coolidge was merely the first President to appreciate the medium's potential), Roosevelt introduced the Fireside Chats during his first year in office, when he went on the air 12 March 1933 at the height of the Depression-seeded bank crisis.

Whether they concur or demur from his pronouncements or stated plans, whenever he states them, Roosevelt's listeners respond broadly enough that the Fireside Chats have been a longtime, semi-regular feature of his presidency. The final Fireside Chat, concurrent to the opening of the fifth War Drive, will broadcast 12 June 1944 . . . six days after D-Day will launch. (The night before D-Day, Roosevelt's Fireside Chat will celebrate the liberation of Rome from Axis control.)

The Fireside Chats---four in 1933, 1942, and 1943; two each in 1934, 1937 (in one of which Roosevelt discussed his controversial and rightly doomed plan to pack the Supreme Court), 1938, 1940, 1941, and 1944; and, one each in 1935, 1936, and 1939---have been, are, and will be broadcast live at 10 p.m., Eastern standard/daylight/war time, the late hour allowing Roosevelt to transcend the time difference and reach West Coast families.

DIARY OF FATE: GIVE HIM THE SIMPLE LIFE (SYNDICATED, 1948)---A benign, content family business treasurer heretofore content in his work takes a course toward murder, after his uncle and cousin rebuff his partnership bid and his avaricious wife gives him an ultimatum. Cast: Unknown. Writer/director/producer: Larry Finley.

DUFFY'S TAVERN: ARCHIE WANTS TO PATENT ELECTRICITY (NBC, 1949)---The only problem old-time radio's favourite downtown tavern malaproprietor (Ed Gardner) has, however, is being merely a few decades late and about five dollars short---as in, the five dollars he owes the electric company. Finnegan: Charles Cantor. Miss Duffy: Sandra Gould. Eddie: Eddie Green. Clancy: Alan Reed. Writers: Ed Gardner, Larry Gelbart, Larry Marks, Manny Sachs.


1883---Victor Fleming (director: Gulf Screen Theatre), Pasadena, California
1899---Norman Taurog (director: Biography in Sound, Bud's Bandwagon), Chicago.
1904---William L. Shirer (reporter/analyst, CBS European News, CBS World News Roundup, William L. Shirer: News and Comment), Chicago.
1909---Anthony Ross (actor: Broadway Is My Beat), New York City.
1913---Jon Hall (actor: Texaco Star Theater, Screen Guild Theater), Fresno, California.
1935---Gerrianne Raphael (actress Let's Pretend), New York City.


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