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Archive for the ‘Birthday’ Category

Happy Birthday, Jim Backus!

He was an actor who did it all: stage, television, movies…and for us fans of the aural medium, plenty of old-time radio.  James Gilmore Backus arrived in Cleveland, OH on this date in 1913, and for most of his show business career was identified as a consummate comedic character actor…though he could, on occasion, show […]

Happy Birthday, Alonzo Deen Cole!

Before radio audiences eagerly anticipated each week the memorably unsettling sound of a creaking door (on Inner Sanctum Mysteries) or an ominous gong signaling that they should dim the lights (Lights Out), they had to tune into The Witch’s Tale for the proper raising of goosebumps.  Tale was the true granddaddy of radio horror, premiering over New York’s WOR on May […]

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Durante!

From the 1920s and onward, James Francis Durante—born in Manhattan on this date in 1893—was the entertainer who advised audiences that they have to start off each day with a song.  Durante’s large proboscis earned him the nickname “Schnozzola,” and he became known for singing jazz/ragtime-influenced songs in his trademark gravelly voice while wearing a battered […]

Happy Birthday, Irving Brecher!

The only scriptwriter to receive sole credit on two of the Marx Brothers’ classic feature film comedies was Irving Brecher, born in the Bronx on this date in 1914.  An impressive achievement, to be sure…though it should be noted that those two romps—At the Circus (1939) and Go West (1940)—rank toward the bottom of the Brothers’ oeuvre where […]

Happy Birthday, Father Patrick Peyton!

“The family that prays together stays together.”  It’s a sentiment that we’re all very much familiar with, even if the program that popularized that phrase—Family Theater—may not be as well-known.  Hosted by a rotation of big-name Hollywood stars (notably Loretta Young), the Mutual series was the brainchild of Father Patrick Peyton, C.S.C.—born on this date in […]

Happy Birthday, Dana Andrews!

Author Carl Rollyson’s 2012 biography of actor Dana Andrews—born Carver Dana Andrews on this date in 1909—is titled Hollywood Enigma.  For many folks in the motion picture industry, including producers Samuel Goldwyn and Darryl F. Zanuck, Andrews was just that.  Rollyson notes that “his heroes seemed conflicted” and that “they were holding back something, as […]

Happy Birthday, Sydney Greenstreet!

Despite appearances in only two dozen films in an eight-year time span, Sydney Hughes Greenstreet—born on this date in 1879—remains one of the motion picture industry’s best-remembered character actors.  Greenstreet was fortunate to make an indelible impression in so many movie classics:  Signor Ferrari, the owner of The Blue Parrot nightclub in 1942’s legendary Casablanca (Sydney has only to […]

Happy Birthday, Brace Beemer!

On April 8, 1941, an actor named Earle Graser was killed in an automobile accident.  A tragic event to be sure, but what compounded this tragedy was that Graser had a devoted fan following as the voice of The Lone Ranger.  This popular radio western adventure series had been broadcasting from the WXYZ Detroit studios […]