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.

Friday, May 15, 2009

An Unquenched Flame: The Way It Was, 15 May

Grateful for a pre-dawn lift, hitchhiking animator Francis Scott (Ernest Chappell, who also narrates) tells his driver about seeing his fiancee again and singing Las Mananitas to her, as they'd promised for each other's birthdays . . . a year to the day after the woman (Betty Reilly), a cel painter for the same animation studio, died in a hill fire that destroyed all adjacent homes.

Writer/director: Wyllis Cooper.


1904: "YOU SEE MORE IN YOU"---Editor for Simon & Schuster, literary critic and decade-long editor of The New Yorker's book section, accessible by just about anyone thanks to his gentle wit, his lack of pretension, and the manner in which he will display both, as the long-running host of perhaps old-time radio's most genuinely intelligent quiz program, Information Please . . . on which the highbrow and the high laughs were equally at home. (Not for nothing will the show's guest panelists include the like of Fred Allen, Gracie Allen, Groucho Marx, Jack Haley, and baseball legend/clown Lefty Gomez, to say nothing of regulars John Kieran and Franklin P. Adams.)

Happy 105th birthday to the man who said . . .

When you reread a classic, you do not see more in the book than you did before, you see more in you than there was before.

---Clifton Fadiman, whose other radio hosting credits include Conversation and The RCA Magic Key.


THE JELL-O PROGRAM STARRING JACK BENNY: MURDER IN THE LIBRARY (NBC, 1938)---It isn't exactly Col. Mustard with the lead pipe, kiddies---but it's a parodic melodrama, and with this bunch you can just take it from there, happily. Cast: Mary Livingstone, Kenny Baker, Phil Harris, Don Wilson. Music: Phil Harris and His Orchestra. Writers: George Balzer, Milt Josefsberg, Sam Perrin.

THE HINDS HONEY & ALMOND CREAM SHOW WITH GEORGE BURNS AND GRACIE ALLEN: RAH-RAH IN OMAHA (CBS, 1940)---George (Burns) and Gracie (Allen) and her presidential campaign arrive at Omaha's Exarbin Coliseum in advance of the Surprise Party convention. Additional cast: Truman Bradley, Bubbles Kelly. Music: Ray Noble and the Union Pacific Band, Frank Parker. Writers: George Burns, William Burns, Sid Dorfman, Paul Henning.

OUR MISS BROOKS: FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH (CBS, 1949)---"I don't need any special day to be unlucky," laments Connie (Eve Arden)---whose Friday the Thirteenth made mere "unlucky" resemble a mere spilled drink. Mrs. Davis: Jane Morgan. Walter: Richard Crenna. Stretch: Leonard Stern. Conklin: Gale Gordon. Boynton: Jeff Chandler. Harriet: Gloria McMillan. Writer: Al Lewis.


1890---Menasha Skulnik (actor: The Goldbergs; Abie's Irish Rose), Warsaw.
1905---Joseph Cotten (actor: The Private Files of Matthew Bell; Mercury Theater On the Air), Petersburg, Virginia.
1909---James Mason (actor: The James & Pamela Mason Show; Studio One; The Fred Allen Show), Huddersfield, U.K.
1910---Constance Cummings (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Seattle.
1916---Bill Williams (actor: Eternal Light; Screen Guild Theater; Lux Radio Theater), Brooklyn.
1918---Eddy Arnold (The Tennessee Plowboy; singer: Checkerboard Square; The Eddy Arnold Show; The Big Show), Henderson, Tennessee; Joseph Wiseman (actor: Crime Does Not Pay), Montreal.
1923---Doris Dowling (actress: Lux Radio Theater), Detroit.
1936---Anna Maria Alberghetti (singer: Here's to Veterans), Pesano, Italy.


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