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Archive for the ‘Radio comedy’ Category

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 […]

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 […]

Happy Birthday, Danny Kaye!

The date was June 9, 1986 and the borough of Brooklyn was awash with the celebrative gaiety of its Back to Brooklyn Day Festival.  The individual chosen to be the festival’s “King” was a native son born on this date in 1911 — and if there was a worthier candidate than David Daniel Kaminsky, the committee that […]

“…we love the Halls of Ivy/That surround us here today…”

From the moment writer Don Quinn first met vaudevillian Jim Jordan at the studios of Chicago’s WENR in the early 1930s, the success of the two men in the burgeoning medium of radio was assured. Don would contribute scripts to Jim and wife Marian’s programs The Farmer Rush Hour and Smackout.  Quinn’s association with the Jordans would continue when The Johnson Wax […]

Happy Birthday, Jeanette Nolan!

Actress Jeanette Nolan—born in Los Angeles on this date in 1911—met future husband John McIntire while working on a West Coast radio program in the 1930s.  John was the announcer for a show on which Jeanette was appearing, and as she told Radio Life in 1945: “Right then, I thought he should be acting as well as […]

Happy Birthday, Van Heflin!

“Louis B. Mayer once looked at me and said, ‘You will never get the girl at the end,’” recalled actor Van Heflin once in an interview.  “So I worked on my acting.”  The man born Emmett Evan Heflin, Jr. in Walters, Oklahoma on this date in 1908 (some sources report 1910) always boasted, “I’ve never played […]

Happy Birthday, Agnes Moorehead!

In my days of higher education—where it was joked that I had spent so much time in college, ivy had started to grow up my leg—I was a member of Armstrong State College’s quiz bowl team.  I vividly remember my first tournament, in which we squared off against a most formidable squad from Georgia Tech; […]