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Archive for the ‘Radio sci-fi’ Category

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 […]

Happy Birthday, Staats Cotsworth!

A newspaper man once referred to actor Staats Cotsworth—born in Oak Park, Illinois on this date in 1908—as “the Clark Gable of radio.”  It was one of several nicknames Cotsworth would acquire during his long career in the aural medium — the most fitting being “the busiest actor in radio,” because Staats had emoted before a microphone […]

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, Bernard Lenrow!

When the popular radio crime anthology known as The Mollé Mystery Theatre premiered over NBC in the fall of 1943, the host of that series—”annotator” Geoffrey Barnes—was portrayed by an actor named Roc Rogers.  Barnes, who described himself as “the connoisseur of mysteries” (eat your heart out, Thomas Hyland!), served as the audience’s introduction to dramatized tales […]

Happy Birthday, Lou Merrill!

An item in the September 25, 1939 edition of The Van Nuys News trumpets the motion picture debut of actor Louis Merrill—born in Winnipeg, Canada on this date in 1912.  The blurb is a little hyperbolic; Lou had previously appeared (uncredited) in the 1938 cliffhanger serial Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars. In addition, his voice had been heard as the […]

“Want to get away from it all? We offer you…Escape!

Seventy-years ago today, in 1947, the CBS Radio Network decided to complement its celebrated “outstanding theatre of thrills” with an anthology “designed to free you from the four walls of today with a half-hour of high adventure.”  That’s the fundamental difference between Suspense and Escape (the latter celebrating its 70th anniversary).  Suspense concentrated on tales of crime and mystery, with the protagonist of each tale placed in […]

“From the far horizons of the unknown…”

NBC Radio’s dramatic anthology Dimension X—which was inspired by a renewed interest in science-fiction following the release of Universal-International’s Destination Moon in 1950—was the most successful of the sci-fi radio dramas. (Others that premiered that same year include Mutual’s Two-Thousand Plus and CBS’ Beyond Tomorrow.) Its run on the airwaves was nevertheless brief, and the program bowed out on September 29, 1951.  Sixty-two years ago on this […]

Happy Birthday, Les Damon!

Lester Joseph Damon—born in Providence, RI on this date in 1908—was memorably described by my Radio Spirits colleague Elizabeth McLeod as “the prototype of the radio actor on the go.”  From his earliest acting experience in stock companies during the 1930s to his busy radio gigs from the 1940s and onward, Les Damon never allowed […]