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Archive for the ‘Radio comedy’ Category

Happy Birthday, William Johnstone!

Old-time radio fans know that when Orson Welles made the decision to abandon his role as Lamont Cranston (aka The Shadow) and go on to better things (scaring the daylights out of listeners on Halloween, for example), actor William Llewellyn Johnstone was there to take his place as the “wealthy young man-about-town.” Johnstone, born in New […]

Happy Birthday, J. Carrol Naish!

At the beginning of each weekly broadcast of the radio sitcom Life with Luigi, the program’s announcer would introduce Luigi star J. Carrol Naish as “that celebrated actor.”  Truer words were never spoken; Naish’s lengthy show business career found him employed on stage, in movies, and on radio and TV.  J. Carrol was a master of dialects, and […]

Happy Birthday, William Bendix!

In movies, television—and especially on radio—actor William Bendix frequently played a typical blue-collar working stiff.  Take his most famous role, Chester A. Riley, of the successful radio/TV sitcom The Life of Riley; the titular hero was a Brooklyn, NY expatriate who moved with his family (wife, daughter, and son) to the milder climes of California where he worked as […]

Happy Birthday, Richard Kollmar!

From 1941 to 1949, Columbia Pictures entertained devoted moviegoers with a series of films based on a character created by author Jack Boyle in 1914.  The Boston Blackie franchise was comprised of fourteen B-movies that brilliantly mixed comedy and mystery.  They starred Academy Award nominee Chester Morris as Horatio “Boston Blackie” Black as a reformed safecracker/jewel thief who frequently […]

Happy Birthday, Irene Dunne!

Irene Dunne is acknowledged by many classic movie fans to be the greatest actress who never won an Academy Award.  It wasn’t for a lack of trying: she was nominated five times—for Cimarron (1931), Theodora Goes Wild (1936), The Awful Truth (1937—a peerless comic performance), Love Affair (1939), and I Remember Mama (1948)—but putting an Oscar on her fireplace mantle remained an elusive goal.  […]

A ventriloquist…on the radio?

On this date in 1936, The Royal Gelatin Hour’s Rudy Vallee introduced a very unusual guest: Why—people have been asking me for the last two days—why put a ventriloquist on the air?  The answer is, why not?  True, our ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen, is an unusual one—a sort of Noel Coward or perhaps Fred Allen among ventriloquists, a dexterous fellow […]

Happy Birthday, Peg Lynch!

The domestic comedy The Private Lives of Ethel and Albert had its official network radio premiere on May 29, 1944 over NBC Blue, but the idea for the program had been germinating in the mind of Peg Lynch for years…during her days of working at KATE in Albert Lea, Minnesota.  Ethel and Albert was a sitcom in the mold of such successes […]

Happy Birthday, Frank Graham!

In 1950, actor-announcer Frank Graham was at the peak of his radio career.  He was the star of Jeff Regan, Investigator—a detective series heard exclusively over CBS Radio on the West Coast. The series had originally starred future Dragnet cop Jack Webb when it premiered in 1948.  It was not an easy task to follow in Webb’s footsteps, but Graham was doing okay as […]