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Archive for the ‘Classic television’ Category

Happy Birthday, Lionel Stander!

Lionel Stander, the character actor best remembered by fans as chief-cook-and-bottle-washer Max on the TV detective drama Hart to Hart, also had a lengthy radio career—notably playing “stooge” to Fred Allen on The Hour of Smiles and Town Hall Tonight in the 1930s.  Stander—born in The Bronx on this date in 1908—used his trademark gravelly voice and skill with dialects […]

Happy Birthday, Jane Morgan!

She possessed one of the most distinctive voices heard over the radio airwaves—but you might be surprised to learn that the woman born Jennie Morgan on this date in 1880 had a rather highbrow show business career during her early years of performing.  Jane Morgan made her name as a violinist and classical singer on stage and […]

Happy Birthday, Lillian Randolph!

When actress-singer Lillian Randolph—born on this date in 1898—got word of auditions for The Great Gildersleeve, she was working on a film soundtrack with a vocal group at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  Lillian stole away from the session on her lunch break and sped off to the NBC studios. Upon entering the building she tripped and literally slid up to the microphone.  […]

“Well…that’s My Little Margie…”

The studio of legendary movie producer Hal Roach was known in the industry as the “Lot of Fun.” He quickly learned that his many years of producing quality two-reel comedy shorts in the silent and sound eras put him in good stead when the time came to creating content for television.  Roach launched his first successful boob tube effort […]

Happy Birthday, Luis Van Rooten!

Actor Luis Van Rooten received a unique compliment on his thespic talents after his performance as a psychiatrist on ABC’s Exploring the Unknown in 1946.  On the broadcast, Van Rooten’s character was treating an amnesia victim using hypnosis…and shortly after the program concluded, a woman telephoned him with a request. Her husband had been listening so intently to Luis’ performance that he had fallen into […]

Happy Birthday, Judy Canova!

There’s a reason why Judy Canova was frequently referred to as “The Ozark Nightingale” and “The Jenny Lind of the Ozarks.”  Judy was blessed with an incredible singing voice, and at one point in her professional career she had serious aspirations to become an opera singer.  Fate had other plans for Ms. Canova, however. The woman born […]

Happy Birthday, Eleanor Audley!

The epitaph on the headstone adorning the final resting place of actress Eleanor Audley reads: “A Kind Friend to All.”  And while it’s undeniably true that Audley—born Eleanor Zellman on this date in NYC in 1905—was held in the highest regard by her thespic peers, it’s a marked contrast from the roles for which fans […]

Happy Birthday, Helen Mack!

In 1949, RKO re-released She (1935)—a motion picture based on the series of H. Rider Haggard novels and starring Randolph Scott and Helen Gahagan (as the title character).  She, a science fiction-themed film that the studio had hoped would enjoy the same success as the earlier King Kong (1933), lost money in its original run…but the re-release proved a bit […]