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Archive for the ‘Radio comedy’ Category

Happy Birthday, Paula Winslowe!

The untimely death of “platinum blonde” Jean Harlow at the age of 26 was devastating news to moviegoers…but since the motion picture business is a business, MGM (Harlow’s employer) soldiered on by completing Jean’s final movie, Saratoga (1937), with Jean’s body double, Mary Dees.  Filming Dees from behind could go a long way towards covering […]

Happy Birthday, Claire Trevor!

On March 24, 1949, actress Claire Trevor—born in Brooklyn, NY on this date in 1910—received one of the highest honors a performer can obtain from their peers in the motion picture industry: an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.  The role for which Trevor garnered her Oscar was that of Gaye Dawn in the film Key […]

Happy Birthday, Jim Backus!

He was an actor who did it all: stage, television, movies…and for us fans of the aural medium, plenty of old-time radio.  James Gilmore Backus arrived in Cleveland, OH on this date in 1913, and for most of his show business career was identified as a consummate comedic character actor…though he could, on occasion, show […]

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Durante!

From the 1920s and onward, James Francis Durante—born in Manhattan on this date in 1893—was the entertainer who advised audiences that they have to start off each day with a song.  Durante’s large proboscis earned him the nickname “Schnozzola,” and he became known for singing jazz/ragtime-influenced songs in his trademark gravelly voice while wearing a battered […]

Happy Birthday, Irving Brecher!

The only scriptwriter to receive sole credit on two of the Marx Brothers’ classic feature film comedies was Irving Brecher, born in the Bronx on this date in 1914.  An impressive achievement, to be sure…though it should be noted that those two romps—At the Circus (1939) and Go West (1940)—rank toward the bottom of the Brothers’ oeuvre where […]

“There’s nothing like a quiet, pleasant dinner at home…”

On this date in 1957, listeners who had not completely abandoned radio for television received a nice surprise when the Piper family—better known as The Couple Next Door—put down stakes in the neighborhood for a three-year run over CBS Radio.  Couple was a quarter-hour domestic sitcom—but it didn’t have to resort to gimmicks like opening […]

Happy Birthday, Howard Duff!

Have you ever wondered why a lot of the announcers from the AFRS versions of your radio favorites sound like Howard Duff?  The answer to this is devastatingly simple: it is Howard Duff!  The actor entered the U.S. Army Air Corps as World War II got underway and, after a brief stint in the infantry, […]

Review: Partners in Time (1946)

In 1937, Chester Lauck and Norris Goff began to express interest in bringing the characters from their popular radio show, Lum and Abner, to the big screen.  Talent agent Jack William Votion, a Hollywood veteran, also thought “the fellers from the hills” could make an easy transition to motion pictures…but in his conversations with the […]