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Archive for the ‘Radio comedy’ Category

Happy Birthday, Mae West!

It’s a textbook example of how a mediocre movie can be redeemed by the appearance of a personality whose mere presence dominates the motion picture screen.  In an otherwise dreary 1932 film entitled Night After Night (starring George Raft and Constance Cummings), a character named Maudie Triplett rings the doorbell of the speakeasy run by Joe Anton […]

Happy Birthday, Verna Felton!

It’s a bit of a stretch, but try to imagine Verna Felton—the actress who appeared on Jack Benny’s radio/TV show as Dennis Day’s mother and later as “Hilda Crocker” on December Bride—as “Baby Felton.”  That’s the handle Verna went by in her stage days. She began her show business career as a child performer in vaudeville, and in […]

Happy Birthday, Bill Thompson!

When he was five years old, actor Bill Thompson lost his voice campaigning around the country selling Liberty bonds (America had just entered World War I).  Now, if you’ve ever listened to a broadcast of Fibber McGee & Molly or watched a Droopy cartoon, you know that Thompson’s voice eventually returned…but it took two years of throat […]

Happy Birthday, Tommy Cook!

One night in 1941, child actor Tommy Cook was determined to see the Republic cliffhanger serial Jungle Girl.  You see, he had a part in that motion picture as a native boy, Kimbu, so he stealthily sneaked out of the house and down to the neighborhood theatre…where he presented himself to the manager.  Cook didn’t have the […]

Happy Birthday, Ed Gardner!

It was on a short-lived radio series entitled This is New York that comedian Ed Gardner found his creative muse…playing a pugnacious New Yorker who answered to “Archie.”  Gardner was the show’s producer, and he’d be the first to admit that he was no actor—the only problem was, he wasn’t able to find a suitable thespian to play the role.  […]

Happy Birthday, Clayton “Bud” Collyer!

“I never try to force people into impossible situations on the shows,” observed Clayton “Bud” Collyer to Radio Mirror in June of 1953.  One of those “shows” Bud was referencing was TV’s Break the Bank, once described by Mirror as “the highest-paying quiz program in the world.”  Bank had been a radio mainstay since 1945, but its peak of popularity occurred when […]

Happy Birthday, Joseph Julian!

At the time I borrowed Joseph Julian’s This Was Radio from my hometown public library as a kid, I wasn’t all that familiar with the distinguished actor born Joseph Shapiro in St. Marys, Pennsylvania on this date in 1911.  Granted, most of the radio performers with whom I was familiar were those associated with larger-than-life characters—like Brace […]

Happy Birthday, Herbert Marshall!

The man born Herbert Brough Falcon Marshall on this date in 1890 is revered by classic movie mavens as one of the premiere leading men in motion pictures in the 1930s and 1940s.  Marshall graced so many classics, among them Trouble in Paradise (1932), Foreign Correspondent (1940), The Letter (1940), The Little Foxes (1941), and Duel in the Sun (1946).  What movie fans may not […]