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Archive for the ‘Radio mystery’ Category

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, 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, 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, Jack Johnstone!

A September 24, 1938 edition of Radio Guide describes a “radio first” executed by actress Alice Frost and Jack Johnstone, the writer-producer of the popular Johnny Presents.  The blurb describes how the program had just gotten underway when Frost ran up to the microphone yelling “But I want to ask a question, Dr. Carrington!”  “The audience sat spellbound, […]

Happy Birthday, Frances Robinson!

“Danger’s my stock-in-trade,” observed George Valentine weekly on the popular Mutual crime drama Let George Do It.  For actress Frances Robinson, who played George’s loyal gal Friday, Claire “Brooksie” Brooks, her stock-in-trade was playing girlfriends and secretaries (and in some cases both) on radio.  From Perry Mason to Murder and Mr. Malone, Robinson supplemented a busy movie career with […]

Happy Birthday, Sir John Gielgud!

Sir John Gielgud made his cinematic debut in a 1924 silent film, Who is the Man?  Yet the celebrated actor, born in South Kensington, London on this date in 1904, really didn’t commit to a movie career until he had reached his sixties, with memorable turns in such films as Becket (1964), The Loved One (1965), and Murder on the Orient Express (1974).  […]

“…the official broadcast from the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation…”

Author Frederick Lewis Collins’ book The FBI in Peace and War became such a huge best seller in 1943 that a radio adaptation premiered the following fall. The series was created by Louis Pelletier and directed-produced by Max Marcin, who was also bringing audiences Crime Doctor every week.  You’d think that such a series—which was heard over CBS from 1944 to 1958—would […]

Happy Birthday, Maurice Tarplin!

A 1946 issue of Radio Mirror noted that “practically everyone connected with the Boston Blackie show is a former athlete.” Radio Mirror was not publishing “fake news”: the show’s star, Richard Kollmar, was a member of the tennis team while attending Tusculum College (Tennessee) and later, at Yale, became an outstanding water polo player.  (I’ll spare you the old joke about […]