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Archive for the ‘Classic television’ Category

Happy Birthday, Charles Farrell!

Unless you’re like me and have turned all of your extracurricular activity hours over to watching endless episodes of TV reruns, the name of actor Charles Farrell might not be an immediately familiar one.  Fellow couch potatoes know him as father to wacky Gale Storm on the situation comedy My Little Margie, while movie audiences from the Jazz Age/Depression Era […]

“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 […]

Happy Birthday, Barbara Eiler!

You’re familiar with the old cliché: a young girl leaves her hometown and heads for Hollywood, determined to become an actress…nay, not just an actress—a star!  All that needs to be done is to hang around a drugstore’s soda fountain drinking chocolate malteds until some talent scout wanders in, notices our future star at the counter, and […]

“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” […]

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 […]

Happy Birthday, Don Diamond!

The actor born Donald Alan Diamond in Brooklyn, NY on this date in 1921 was in real life a rather nondescript individual…but that is precisely the quality you want when you’ve decided you want to be a character actor.  Diamond’s knack for dialects—Spanish ones in particular—kept him busy in radio during the 1940s, and with the […]

Happy Birthday, Betty Lou Gerson!

George Allen took over as director of the West Coast radio mystery anthology The Whistler beginning in the mid-40s, and one of the hallmarks of his tenure with the program was building a stock company that was facetiously referred to as “Whistler’s children.”  He tailored the casting of many of radio’s finest performers to the needs of […]

“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 […]