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Archive for the ‘Birthday’ Category

Happy Birthday, Chester Lauck!

On April 26, 1936, the small Arkansas town of Waters officially changed its name to Pine Ridge.  It wasn’t because they were on the lam from the law or ducking creditors, however—the inspiration came from the popular radio comedy serial Lum and Abner. The fictional hamlet on that show was based on Waters…so the town decided to make […]

Happy Birthday, Bennett Kilpack!

During his long-running stint as the titular sleuth on Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons, actor Bennett Kilpack—born William Bennett Kilpack on this date in 1883 in Long Melford, Suffolk in the United Kingdom—was so well identified as the “kindly old investigator” that much of his fan mail from loyal listeners was addressed simply to his character’s name.  […]

Happy Birthday, Portland Hoffa!

It pains me to have to say this…but I have heard from many an old-time radio devotee that Portland Hoffa—born on this date in 1905—is an acquired taste.  Her trademark high-pitched voice as husband Fred Allen’s favorite stooge (Portland jokingly referred to herself as a “wooge”) on his long-running radio program has been known to […]

Happy Birthday, Danny Kaye!

The date was June 9, 1986 and the borough of Brooklyn was awash with the celebrative gaiety of its Back to Brooklyn Day Festival.  The individual chosen to be the festival’s “King” was a native son born on this date in 1911 — and if there was a worthier candidate than David Daniel Kaminsky, the committee that […]

Happy Birthday, Jeanette Nolan!

Actress Jeanette Nolan—born in Los Angeles on this date in 1911—met future husband John McIntire while working on a West Coast radio program in the 1930s.  John was the announcer for a show on which Jeanette was appearing, and as she told Radio Life in 1945: “Right then, I thought he should be acting as well as […]

Happy Birthday, Van Heflin!

“Louis B. Mayer once looked at me and said, ‘You will never get the girl at the end,’” recalled actor Van Heflin once in an interview.  “So I worked on my acting.”  The man born Emmett Evan Heflin, Jr. in Walters, Oklahoma on this date in 1908 (some sources report 1910) always boasted, “I’ve never played […]

Happy Birthday, Agnes Moorehead!

In my days of higher education—where it was joked that I had spent so much time in college, ivy had started to grow up my leg—I was a member of Armstrong State College’s quiz bowl team.  I vividly remember my first tournament, in which we squared off against a most formidable squad from Georgia Tech; […]

Happy Birthday, Rex Stout!

He became famous for creating Nero Wolfe—a character memorably described by  an author at The Thrilling Detective Website as a “{m}assively overweight, a cranky, agoraphobic and sedentary gourmet who virtually never leaves his Manhattan brownstone.”  But Rex Todhunter Stout—born in Noblesville, Indiana on this date in 1886—wouldn’t introduce fans to the corpulent sleuth until he was in his […]