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Archive for the ‘Anniversary’ Category

“When man hunts man!”

The Golden Age of Radio featured many programs that, despite their excellence, failed to attract a large listening audience.   There are any number of reasons to explain their lukewarm receptions—the most common being scheduling. If a network had difficulty deciding on a suitable timeslot, and moved a series around to different days and times, listeners would quickly become discouraged with the “hide-and-seek.”  An issue related to […]

“…that footloose and fancy-free young gentleman…”

In hindsight, the low ebb that marked Frank Sinatra’s show business career in the early 1950s should have been interpreted as a mere blip for the entertainer affectionately known as The Chairman of the Board.  From Sinatra’s perspective, however…it wasn’t looking good.  The “bobby-soxer” phenomenon that had propelled him to the top of the popular music […]

“The world doesn’t make any heroes outside of your stories.”

A collaboration between author Graham Greene (his only original screenplay), producer David O. Selznick, and movie director Carol Reed resulted in a true cinematic masterpiece: 1949’s The Third Man.  The film tells the tale of American pulp Westerns writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton), who is summoned to postwar Vienna at the behest of his old chum […]

“Two people who live together…and like it!”

Old-time radio author-historian Jim Cox describes My Favorite Husband as “a dress rehearsal for the main event” in his indispensable reference book The Great Radio Sitcoms.  “My Favorite Husband was like a pilot for a television series that has never ceased,” he writes.  “While the final production was better than its forerunner, every sitcom requires a rehearsal.”  The “final production” […]

“Somewhere along the line a murderer makes a mistake—it’s my job to find that mistake.”

“Philo Vance/Needs a kick in the pance” Ogden Nash once rhymed in a memorable couplet.  Nash’s editorial comment was addressing the one-time popularity of author S.S. Van Dine’s famed sleuth. After generating quite a following with the 1926 publication of the first Vance novel, The Benson Murder Case,  the character soon took a back seat to the hard-boiled detective fiction of the 1930s. (Raymond Chandler purportedly called Philo […]

Radio’s home folks

It’s difficult to describe the sublime joys of Vic and Sade—which premiered over NBC Blue on this date in 1932—to anyone unfamiliar with old-time radio.  Come to think of it, it’s not easy with people familiar with old-time radio, either.  It’s one of those programs you either immediately take to your bosom or don’t.  For most of its run, Vic and Sade spent […]

“Friendship, friendship…just a perfect blendship…”

The Golden Age of Radio was always welcoming to dizzy women who marched to the beat of a different drummer—Gracie Allen (with her “illogical logic”) and Jane Ace being two primary examples.  But both Gracie and Jane had stiff competition in the form of the medium’s favorite “dumb blonde,” Irma Peterson, the lovably dumb stenographer […]

“Champion of the people! Defender of truth! Guardian of our fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!”

During the Golden Age of Radio, it was standard practice for the comedians headlining the most popular programs to work 39 weeks out of the year (which is kind of fitting when you work Jack Benny into the equation) and then take a summer break in the interim.  Mr. District Attorney, one of the medium’s most […]