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Archive for the ‘Classic television’ Category

Happy Birthday, Sammy Kaye!

It was at a Cleveland, Ohio venue known as The Cabin Club where Sammy Kaye—born Samuel Zamocay, Jr on this date in 1910—would acquire the slogan that would make him and his orchestra famous.  The Cabin Club’s master of ceremonies liked to give Sammy and his musical aggregation a nice rhyming welcome: “Music in the […]

Happy Birthday, Harlow Wilcox!

If real life were like an old-time radio comedy program—and my gosh, don’t you think it should be?—I can’t think of any other individual that I would want to handle the announcing chores from week to week…and to feel free to literally enter my house and plug the sponsor’s wares with all the enthusiasm they could muster.  I’m referring, of course, […]

Happy Birthday, Edgar Barrier!

Life in motion pictures was never easy for actor Edgar Barrier.  It wasn’t that the work was difficult—it’s that whenever Edgar appeared in a movie, it was even money that he wouldn’t make it to the closing credits.  “He has experienced horrible deaths by suicide, stabbing, fire, gunshot wounds,” noted Radio Life in 1945.  Radio was a little […]

Happy Birthday, Staats Cotsworth!

A newspaper man once referred to actor Staats Cotsworth—born in Oak Park, Illinois on this date in 1908—as “the Clark Gable of radio.”  It was one of several nicknames Cotsworth would acquire during his long career in the aural medium — the most fitting being “the busiest actor in radio,” because Staats had emoted before a microphone […]

Happy Birthday, Joseph Kearns!

In the 1950s, with technological strides being embraced by the dying medium of radio, the Columbia Broadcasting System started using Hammond electric organs for “fill music” on their broadcast programs.  The Hammond was smaller and far less expensive, and it would allow CBS to rid itself of a colossal Wurlitzer theatrical organ the network already had on […]

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 […]

“The Green Hornet strikes again!”

Though most people remember veteran newsman Mike Wallace from his long-running stint on the television investigative news program 60 Minutes (from 1968 to 2008), old-time radio fans know that Wallace—often using his real name of “Myron”—served as an announcer on such programs as  Curtain Time, A Life in Your Hands, and Spotlight Revue (the variety show starring Spike Jones and His […]

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 […]