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, May 18, 2009

Not So Simple as ABC: The Way It Was, 18 May

And they're not exactly as simple as A-B-C (or N-B-C, or C-B-S), either, kiddies . . . not when it comes to a mild-mannered traveler (Charles Laughton), with those very initials, who may be suspected of at least some involvement in a round of particularly savage---and alphabetically arranged---killings; neither in the Agatha Christie original, nor tonight's adaptation.

Additional cast: Elsa Lanchester, Branwell Fletcher. Adapted for radio by Robert Talman and William Spier.


1902: "WELL, SIR, MISS BANKHEAD . . . "---He will grow up to become The Music Man, thanks to the musical hit of the same name . . . but first, he will become known for several old-time radio contributions, including Burns & Allen's Maxwell House Coffee Time (on which he also pries romantic hints from his hosts); his own summer replacement for Fibber McGee & Molly in the early 1940s; and, his two-year term as musical director for The Big Show, where he will become as familiar for his replies to Dame Tallulah ("Well, sir, Miss Bankhead . . . ") as for his exuberant orchestra and chorus.

Even before those achievements, however, he needs to be born in the first place---as Meredith Willson is, today, in Mason City, Iowa.


FIBBER McGEE & MOLLY: FIBBER STEALS A CAR (NBC, 1943)---Not exactly, of course, but you wouldn't know it from anxious McGee (Jim Jordan), who blasts home in a panic after he takes Mrs. Uppington (Isabel Randolph) up on an old endearment, borrows her car to hustle for a timely cigar store contest entry . . . and discovers to his horror that the car was missing when he came back for it. Molly/Teeny: Marian Jordan. The Old-Timer/Police Captain: Bill Thompson. Himself: Harlow Wilcox (announcer). Doc: Arthur Q. Bryan. Additional cast: Unknown. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King's Men. Writer: Don Quinn.

DUFFY'S TAVERN: ARCHIE'S RAISE (CBS, 1945)---That would be the raise Archie (Ed Gardner) does get, as opposed to the raise he'd like to get. Eddie: Eddie Green. Finnegan: Charles Cantor. Miss Duffy: Possibly Florence Halop. Writers: Ed Gardner, Abe Burrows, possibly Larry Gelbart.


1892---Ezio Pinza (operatic tenor: The Telephone Hour; Ezio Pinza's Children's Show; Stagestruck; The Big Show), Rome.
1897---Frank Capra (director: Gulf Screen Theater; NBC Theater; Lux Radio Theater), Bisacquino, Sicily.
1900---Raymond Paige (conductor: Hollywood Hotel; Musical Americana; Stage Door Canteen), Wausau, Wisconsin.
1904---Fred Shields (actor: Tarzan), Kansas City.
1907---Sir Clifford Curzon (pianist: March of Dimes), London.
1908---Ted Malone (commentator: Between the Bookends; Pilgrimage of Poetry), Colorado Springs.
1912---Perry Como (as Pierino Ronald Como; singer: The Chesterfield Supper Club; The Perry Como Program), Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
1922---Bill Macy (as Wolf Marvin Gabler; actor: Earplay), Revere, Massachussetts; Kai Winding (jazz trombonist: One Night Stand; Jubilee), Aarhus, Denmark.
1924---Jack Whitaker (disc jockey/sportscaster: Jack the Bachelor; Sports Shorts), Philadelphia.
1931---Robert Morse (actor: The CBS Radio Mystery Theater), Newton, Iowa.
1936---Joel Kupperman (panelist: The Quiz Kids), Chicago.


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