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Archive for the ‘Radio sci-fi’ Category

Happy Birthday, Joan Alexander!

In 1938, aspiring actress Joan Alexander found herself in Vienna after a lengthy tour of major cities in North America, Latin America, and Europe while studying her craft. The former model was under the tutelage of renowned director-acting coach Benno Schneider, which necessitated her frequent flier miles, yet her decision to return to America was heavily influenced […]

Happy Birthday, Lawson Zerbe!

In her 1968 autobiography Tune in Tomorrow: Or, How I Found the Right to Happiness with Our Gal Sunday, Stella Dallas, John’s Other Wife, and Other Sudsy Radio Serials, daytime drama doyenne Mary Jane Higby relates an amusing anecdote about one of her fellow radio thesps—Lawson A. Zerbe, born on this date in 1914. It seems that […]

Happy Birthday, Berry Kroeger!

Berry Kroeger’s initial show business ambition was to become a concert pianist.  Kroeger didn’t lack for talent, you understand—but being painfully shy and terrified of performing threatened to sideline his promising career.  To improve his stage presence, Barry’s music teacher suggested he take a dramatic lesson or two and what started out as the means […]

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, Billy Idelson!

When Vic and Sade writer-creator Paul Rhymer decided to add a third character to his program in July of 1932, he had only one phone call to make.  You see, that third addition was going to be for “Rush Meadows”—the son of one of Sadie’s old school friends who gave Rush up for adoption to the Gooks since she was unable to […]

Happy Birthday, Luis Van Rooten!

Actor Luis Van Rooten received a unique compliment on his thespic talents after his performance as a psychiatrist on ABC’s Exploring the Unknown in 1946.  On the broadcast, Van Rooten’s character was treating an amnesia victim using hypnosis…and shortly after the program concluded, a woman telephoned him with a request. Her husband had been listening so intently to Luis’ performance that he had fallen into […]

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, 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 […]