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.
---broadcastellan.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Better Red-Headed than Dead-Headed? The Way It Was, 13 June


On a Sunday drive around the San Fernando Valley, Rogue (Dick Powell) calls on a friend with a property in the area and discovers him dead . . . right before he's knocked out cold himself.

Additional cast: Unknown. Writer: Ray Bufham.

AIRWAVES . . .

1897: MAKE A JOYOUS BROADCAST NOISE UNTO THE LORD---Reuben Larson, the eventual co-founder (with Clarence Jones of the Salvation Army) of the World Radio Missionary Fellowship, is born. Based in Opa Locka, Florida since 1969, the fellowship will make its first broadcast (under the call letters HCJB, still in use today) 12 December 1931.

1946: FAREWELL, MAJOR---Edward Bowes, whose weekly amateur talent show becomes perhaps the best-remembered old-time radio show of its kind, dies at home in Rumson, New Jersey---72 years to the day after he was born in San Francisco.

The show continues with Bowes's talent coordinator, Ted Mack, as its host, and it will be Mack who shepherds the show to television nineteen months after Bowes's death. The show remains Major Bowes's Original Amateur Hour until 1951, when it will drop Bowes's name from the title, a year before leaving radio at last but remaining a television fixture for nearly two decades more, as Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour as of 1955.

Despite the formal title of the show, it was actually an hourlong program only once in its long broadcasting life, on ABC television from March 1956 through June 1957.

But for all that it's remembered, only a very few performers who ever appeared on the show went on to become major stars, including jazz-pop titan Frank Sinatra; opera stars Lily Pons, Robert Merrill, and Beverly Sills; comedian Jack Carter; and, pop star turned jazz stylist Teresa Brewer.

CHANNEL SURFING . . .

LUM & ABNER: SQUIRE SPREADS RUMOURS ABOUT THE MATINEE (NBC, 1935)---All in a day's dirty work, if it involves discrediting our heroes' film venture beyond merely opening a rival movie house. Lum/Grandpappy: Chester Lauck. Abner/Squire: Norris Goff. Writers: Chester Lauck, Norris Goff.

VIC & SADE: A PORCH COLLAPSES (NBC, 1939)---It happened on Center Street and Rotten Davis---who blasted in and out of the Gook house earlier in search of his old suitcase---takes the blame, in the translation of buddy Rush (Bill Idelson). Sade: Bernadine Flynn. Vic: Art Van Harvey. Announcer: Ralph Edwards. Writer: Paul Rhymer.

SUSPENSE: TOO MANY SMITHS (CBS, 1946)---A janitor (Hume Cronyn) finding a memo with the name of a toothpaste contest winner from Boston ponders a piece of the $25,000 pot but finds a deadly surprise when he hunts the winner. Additional cast: Unknown. Writer: Unknown.

PREMIERING TODAY . . .

1873---Jean Adair (actress: Radio Guild; Theater Guild on the Air), Hamilton, Ontario.
1890---Elmer Davis (news reporter/commentator, CBS, U.S. Office of War Information, NBC: Elmer Davis and the News), Aurora, Indiana.
1892---Basil Rathbone (actor: Sherlock Holmes; Scotland Yard's Inspector Burke), Johannesburg.
1894---Mark Van Doren (poet: NBC University Theater; Invitation to Learning), Hope, Illinois.
1900---Ian Hunter (actor: Hollywood Hotel), Kenilworth, South Africa.
1903---Jack Fulton (singer: Paul Whiteman's Painters Show), Philipsburg, Pennsylvania.
1913---Bob Bailey (actor: Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar; Let George Do It), Toledo, Ohio; Ralph Edwards (announcer/host: Vic & Sade; Truth or Consequences), Merino, Colorado.
1916---Mary Wickes (actress: Meet Corliss Archer; Lorenzo Jones), St. Louis.
1920---Ben Johnson (actor: Francis Burke for Attorney General), Pawnee, Oklahoma.