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Archive for the ‘Radio crime’ Category

Happy Birthday, Jay Novello!

Radio actors learned practically from their introduction to the medium that their fortunes were set if their talents included a mastery of dialects.  Take Jay Novello, who was born in Chicago on this date in 1904.  Because he was the child of Italian immigrants, Novello was already fluent in that tongue before he took up English […]

Happy Birthday, Barbara Eiler!

You’re familiar with the old cliché: a young girl leaves her hometown and heads for Hollywood, determined to become an actress…nay, not just an actress—a star!  All that needs to be done is to hang around a drugstore’s soda fountain drinking chocolate malteds until some talent scout wanders in, notices our future star at the counter, and […]

“Somewhere along the line a murderer makes a mistake—it’s my job to find that mistake.”

“Philo Vance/Needs a kick in the pance” Ogden Nash once rhymed in a memorable couplet.  Nash’s editorial comment was addressing the one-time popularity of author S.S. Van Dine’s famed sleuth. After generating quite a following with the 1926 publication of the first Vance novel, The Benson Murder Case,  the character soon took a back seat to the hard-boiled detective fiction of the 1930s. (Raymond Chandler purportedly called Philo […]

Happy Birthday, Francis “Dink” Trout!

In the Golden Age of Radio, actors were often called upon to play “meek” individuals—or whatever nickname you prefer: wimp, nebbish, milquetoast, etc.  The gold standard for these portrayals might be Bill Thompson, who even utilized “wimp” in the name of his famous creation “Wallace Wimple.”  But the go-to thespian continually called upon to play any number […]

Happy Birthday, Don Diamond!

The actor born Donald Alan Diamond in Brooklyn, NY on this date in 1921 was in real life a rather nondescript individual…but that is precisely the quality you want when you’ve decided you want to be a character actor.  Diamond’s knack for dialects—Spanish ones in particular—kept him busy in radio during the 1940s, and with the […]

Happy Birthday, Betty Lou Gerson!

George Allen took over as director of the West Coast radio mystery anthology The Whistler beginning in the mid-40s, and one of the hallmarks of his tenure with the program was building a stock company that was facetiously referred to as “Whistler’s children.”  He tailored the casting of many of radio’s finest performers to the needs of […]

“Champion of the people! Defender of truth! Guardian of our fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!”

During the Golden Age of Radio, it was standard practice for the comedians headlining the most popular programs to work 39 weeks out of the year (which is kind of fitting when you work Jack Benny into the equation) and then take a summer break in the interim.  Mr. District Attorney, one of the medium’s most […]

Happy Birthday, Fran Carlon!

Actress Fran Carlon—born in Indianapolis, Indiana on this date in 1913—was married to actor-announcer Casey Allen for many years. The couple even occasionally worked together on radio programs like Radio City Playhouse and Theatre Five.  On the day of their nuptials, another couple drove Fran and Casey to a secluded spot outside of North Tarrytown (the burg in which the […]