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Archive for the ‘Anniversary’ Category

“Welcome to the mysterious circle of the Inner Sanctum…”

Established in 1924 by Richard L. Simon (father of singer-songwriter Carly Simon) and M. Lincoln “Max” Schuster as a vehicle to sell crossword puzzle books, the company known as Simon & Schuster (still in existence today, by the way) quickly established itself as a leader in the publishing field with innovations in mass-marketing and distribution.  Additionally, they […]

A ventriloquist…on the radio?

On this date in 1936, The Royal Gelatin Hour’s Rudy Vallee introduced a very unusual guest: Why—people have been asking me for the last two days—why put a ventriloquist on the air?  The answer is, why not?  True, our ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen, is an unusual one—a sort of Noel Coward or perhaps Fred Allen among ventriloquists, a dexterous fellow […]

“Personal notice: danger’s my stock-in-trade…”

While attempting to make a name for himself as an actor in motion pictures, Bob Bailey did a little freelancing in radio.  Though under contract to 20th Century-Fox, he discovered that he enjoyed performing in the aural medium.  “If you know how to handle your voice in radio,” Bailey once observed of the craft, “it’s almost impossible to destroy an illusion.”  That […]

“Laugh a while/Let a song/Be your style…”

Though he had firmly established his persona as a flashy, hard-drinking playboy with an eye for exquisite female pulchritude on The Jack Benny Program, bandleader Phil Harris would find himself “domesticated” in 1941 after marrying singer-actress Alice Faye.  His home life with Faye started to work its way into the Benny broadcasts. For example, the episode from April 11, 1943 […]

“Atsa funny thing—when I’m-a say it, itsa come out different…”

Describing himself at one time as “a reformed introvert,’ writer Cy Howard decided to get into radio after quitting a $70-a-week position as a salesman in Chicago.  He had a taste of success in that arena, working briefly as a scribe for Jack Benny, and upon being hired by CBS as a staff writer contributed […]

“C’mon folks, these are the jokes!”

Mention “Milton Berle” to any baby boomer and chances are they’ll immediately think of the frenzied mirthmaker who entertained audiences Tuesday nights, in the newly inaugurated Golden Age of Television, as host of The Texaco Star Theatre.  Berle, once accurately described by Gerald Nachman in Raised on Radio as “the manic comic who won’t shut up until you laugh,” became such […]

“What a character!”

In addition to Jim and Marian Jordan’s star turns as Fibber McGee and Molly on The Johnson Wax Program in the 1930s, the couple was aided and abetted on the popular comedy show by a talented cast of supporting players.  These included Hugh Studebaker (as handyman Silly Watson), Isabel Randolph (the snooty Abigail Uppington), Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet…and especially Bill […]

Let’s have another cup of coffee…

No less an authority than TV Guide declared Father Knows Best to be “the quintessentially comforting 50s sitcom.”  A generation of dedicated couch potatoes never missed a weekly visit with the Anderson family—comprised of wise patriarch Jim (Robert Young), nurturing mother Margaret (Jane Wyatt), and the three Anderson offspring: Betty (Elinor Donahue), Jim, Jr., a.k.a. “Bud” (Billy Gray), and […]