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 18, 2009

Ugga-Ugga-Two-Timer: The Way It Was, 18 March

If nothing else, spring turns a young man's fancy about 720 degrees if he's not too careful, which Mel (Blanc) isn't, after Betty (Mary Jane Croft) coos about their would-be-forthcoming June wedding, her father (Joseph Kearns) celebrates only the savings once she moves out of his house, and her man-crazy cousin from New York (Elvia Allman) cores Mel's apple practically upon arrival.

Additional cast: Hans Conreid. Announcer: Bud Easton. Music: Victor Miller Orchestra, the Sports Men. Writer: Mac Benoff.


1922: WATCHING BUICKS TRAVEL---Under the ownership of Buick dealer C.C. Coddington, who will promote it as well as his dealership with "Watch Buicks Travel," WBT---formerly experimental 4XD---hits the Charlotte, North Carolina air in earnest for the first time.

Seven years later, Coddington will sell the station to a two-year-old network known as the Columbia Broadcasting System, before which time such old-time radio legends as Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll (performing a forerunner to Amos 'n' Andy) and Russ Hodges (in due course the radio voice of the New York/San Francisco Giants) will have worked there.

WBT and CBS will resume their relationship after the station spends time affiliated to NBC and Mutual, continuing the renewal well into the first decade of the 21st Century, by which time WBT---once a fount for sports, music, and soap operas---is well established as a talk radio station.

1945: IN THE SHADOW OF THE TRAVELER---The Sealed Book---an old-time radio murder mystery anthology written by Bob Arthur and David Cogan, narrated by Philip Clarke, and directed by Jock MacGregor, premieres on Mutual's New York flagship, WOR.

The show is named a summer replacement for The Shadow. But in translation it appears more to aspire toward replacing The Mysterious Traveler or The Strange Dr. Weird, according to Sparta Old Time Radio: writer Kogan, who had written for both programs, will show a tendency toward using actual Mysterious Traveler scripts, with only the casts changing. Perhaps that is a prime reason why the Sunday night offering will last only through September 1945.

1940: SOAP OR SPIRIT?---Intended as a serial interpretation of Biblical stories, Light of the World---premiering on NBC---may be remembered in due course as much as a proper soap opera as a Biblical dramatisation.

In major part, the image may be inspired by the several soap opera performers who comprise the show's primary cast, beginning with narrator Bret Morrison---whose credits include Arnold Grimm's Daughter and The Guiding Light as well as a long enough tenure in the title role of The Shadow. (Morrison, in fairness, will also show roles in standard dramas and even a situation comedy or two on his final resume.)

Light of the World's regular cast also includes Sanford Bickart (Amanda of Honeymoon Hill), Chester Stratton (Amanda of Honeymoon Hill, Big Sister), and Humphrey Davis (Life Can Be Beautiful)---all established soap opera performers in their own right. Not to mention that its many guest performers will include Ma Perkins herself, Virginia Payne.


FIBBER McGEE & MOLLY: FIBBER GETS HIS DRAFT NOTICE (NBC, 1941)---For the wrong war, yet, which almost figures. Molly/Teeny: Marian Jordan. Gildersleeve: Harold Peary. Mrs. Uppington: Isabel Randolph. The Old-Timer: Bill Thompson. Himself: Harlow Wilcox (announcer). Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King's Men. Writer: Don Quinn.

VIC & SADE: MISS KELLER TO JOIN THE THIMBLE CLUB (NBC, 1941)---At least, Uncle Fletcher (Clarence Hartzell, stepping in as main adult male lead during Art Van Harvey's [Vic] recuperation from a heart attack) wonders whether Sade (Bernadine Flynn) will extend her the invitation. Rush: Bill Idelson. Writer: Paul Rhymer.


1886---Edward Everett Horton (actor/host: Shell Chateau, Kraft Music Hall), Brooklyn.
1893---George Olsen (bandleader: Royal Gelatin Revue), Portland, Oregon.
1905---Robert Donat (actor: Justice, Monte Carlo, Reader of Poetry, U.S. Steel Hour), Manchester, U.K.
1911---Smiley Burnette (comedian: The Smiley Burnette Show, Hollywood Hotel), Summum, Illinois; Audrey Marsh (actress: Harve and Esther), New York City.
1912---Art Gilmore (announcer: Amos 'n' Andy, Dr. Christian), Tacoma, Washington.
1914---Ben Gage (actor: Modern Cinderella), Chicago.
1916---Jody Gilbert (actress: Life with Luigi), Fort Worth, Texas.
1926---Peter Graves (actor: Arthur Hopkins Presents), Minneapolis.


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