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, May 19, 2009

Modeling? The Way It Was, 19 May

When they made the sleeper film hit upon which tonight's drama is based, the real-life marriage of future Richard Diamond, Private Detective star Dick Powell and Joan Blondell (the sexy, wisecracking, Depression-era goldigger image in many a Warner Brothers film, and the sister of future I Love a Mystery co-star Gloria Blondell) was in trouble enough, though it would take until 1944 before the couple divorced at last.

Troubled or no, the couple here reprise their film roles as a couple whose marriage is kept secret from her boss, who frowns on working married women . . . and just so happens to have his own thing for her, which provokes trouble enough between husband and wife.

Additional cast: Fred MacKaye. Host: Cecil B. DeMille. Adapted from the screenplay by Leigh Jason.


1960: THE DAY THE MUSIC CRIED---He coined the term and was often considered its father; his signature signoff was, "This is not goodbye, it's just good night." But while innumerable commentators fretted about rock and roll corrupting the youth of the day, they now may think they should have worried more about it corrupting its promoters.

Alan Freed and eight other disc jockeys are accused of accepting payola---payments to guarantee certain records getting played---after the U.S. House Oversight Committee has spent a year examining whether such payoffs (gifts, cash, both) really existed, the House committee reputedly having been prodded by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP).

. . . Though a number of deejays and program directors were caught in the scandal, the committee decide to focus on Freed. Freed's broadcasts alliances quickly deserted him. In 1959, WABC in New York asked him to sign a statement confirming that he had never accepted payola. Freed refused "on principle" to sign and was fired.

Freed was the only deejay subpoenaed by the Oversight Committee and refused to testify despite being given immunity. Trial began December, 1962 and ended with Freed pleading guilty to 29 counts of commercial bribery. Though he only received a $300 fine and 6 months suspended sentence his career would be over.

Forced to leave New York Freed worked briefly at KDAY (owned by the same company that owned WINS) in 1960, in Los Angeles, but when management refused to let him promote live rock & roll shows Freed left the station and returned to Manhattan to emcee a live twist revue. When the twist craze cooled he hooked on as a disc jockey at WQAM (Miami, FL). Realizing that his dream of returning to New York radio was just that, Freed's drinking increased. The Miami job lasted only two months.

By 1964, he will be indicted for income tax evasion, by which time he is hospitalised with uremia, the penalty for the heavy drinking into which he fell following his original troubles, and he will die penniless in January 1965.

His ethics would be questioned often enough. (Like many in the day, he claimed songwriting credits as possible promotional payoffs; he was also accused of underpaying talent who appeared in his famous rock and roll spectacular shows and tours before the payola scandals.) But no one could or would really question Alan Freed's rock and roll heart.


AMOS 'N' ANDY: SUSPECTING THE KINGFISH IS EMBEZZLING (NBC, 1929)---Andy (Charles Correll) has precisely such a suspicion, after noticing the Kingfish's wife has been dressing particularly well of late . . . and, after the Kingfish (Freeman Gosden, who also plays Amos) handed him a new---and possible illegally written---lodge bylaw. Writers: Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll.

THE GOLDBERGS: SAMMY AND SYLVIA TALK (CBS, 1941)---Even as his family packs to return home, Sammy (Alfred Ryder)---who's admitted a sense of obligation to Sylvia (Zina Provendie) even if he doesn't love her---has Molly (Gertrude Berg) worried that he'll change his mind; Molly tries to understand Sylvia's action and hears something she may not want to hear when Sylvia faces her down defiantly, which upsets Rosalie (Roslyn Siber) and provokes a dressing down in turn from Jake (John R. Waters); and, Sylvia tries to convince Sammy she acted as she did for him. Announcer: Clayton (Bud) Collyer. Writer/director: Gertrude Berg.


1870---Wright Kramer (actor: Showboat), Somerville, Massachussetts.


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