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.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

An Improper Foundation: The Way It Was, 11 March

Just what Wistful Vista's biggest little tall teller (Jim Jordan) and his better half (Marian Jordan, who also plays Teeny) don't need: half the neighbourhood, if not the town, quarantined for measles in their humble abode . . . including Gildersleeve (Harold Peary), whose unseen wife is running things at his girdle factory in his absence (Gildersleeve: "Oh, what do women know about girdles?" McGee: "Plenty, if they got the proper foundation . . . and background") and who isn't the only one getting more than just a little cabin-feverish.

Mrs. Uppington: Isabel Randolph. The Old-Timer: Bill Thompson. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King's Men. Writer: Don Quinn.


1944: DEATH OF A COMMENTATOR---Historian and journalist Hendrik Willem van Loon, who has often appeared as an old-time radio commentator, dies today.

He was the first recipient of the world's first known literary prize for service benefitting children, the Newbery Medal, in 1922, for his book The Story of Mankind. (Honourable mentions that first year went to Charles Hawes, for The Great Quest; Bernard Marshall for. Cedric the Forester; William Bowen, for The Old Tobacco Shop; Padraic Colum, for The Golden Fleece; and, Cornelia Meigs, for The Windy Hill.)

van Loon was also the author of The Rise of the Dutch Kingdom, 1795-1813 and several other books, many of which examined inventions, arts, and architecture but some of which examined such historical figures as Bach, Simon Bolivar, and Thomas Jefferson.

In 1938, van Loon published a rejoinder to Hitler's Mein Kampf, a volume he called Our Battle: Being One Man's Answer to "My Battle".


THE OLD GOLD COMEDY THEATER: THE MAGNIFICENT DOPE (NBC, 1945)---William Gargan, Janet Blair, and Tom Drake step in for Henry Fonda, Lynn Bari, and Don Ameche, in this adaptation of the 1942 farce about a failed success school owner's contest to find America's biggest failure---who turns out too content with his idle life, threatening to teach others the new failure philosophy, and blissfully unaware that the comely student he loves is engaged to the proprietor. Host/director: Harold Lloyd. Adapted from the George Seaton screenplay, based on a story by Joseph Schrank.

THE BIG SHOW: A MOST GHASTLY EXPERIENCE (NBC, 1951)---Well, that's what Tallulah Bankhead calls putting together the week's show, after she "very helpfully" suggested they'd brought in too many singers for it---including jazz's original Mr. Smooth, Billy Eckstine ("I can sing better than she can, whoever she is"), pop stylist Evelyn Knight, and The Ol' Schnozzola, when they had a certain alleged singer already hosting the extravagazna. Additional cast: Bob Burns, Celeste Holm, Cliff Hall, Smith and Dale. Announcer: Ed Herlihy. Music: Meredith ("Yes, sir, Miss Bankhead?") Willson and the Big Show Orchestra and Chorus. Writers: Goodman Ace, Selma Diamond, George Foster, Mort Greene, Frank Wilson.


1898---Dorothy Gish (actress: Texaco Star Playhouse, Lux Radio Theater), Massillon, Ohio.
1900---Andy Sannella (bandleader: Campbell Soup Orchestra, Gillette Community Sing), Brooklyn.
1907---Jessie Matthews (actress: The Dales), London.
1909---Ramona (as Estrild Ramona Myers; singer/pianist: Twenty Fingers of Sweetness; Kraft Music Hall; Paul Whiteman's Musical Varieties [on which she replaced jazz legend Mildred Bailey]; ABC Piano Playhouse), Lockland, Ohio; Karl Tunberg (writer: Lux Radio Theater), Spokane.


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