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Archive for the ‘Radio variety’ Category

Happy Birthday, Frank Graham!

In 1950, actor-announcer Frank Graham was at the peak of his radio career.  He was the star of Jeff Regan, Investigator—a detective series heard exclusively over CBS Radio on the West Coast. The series had originally starred future Dragnet cop Jack Webb when it premiered in 1948.  It was not an easy task to follow in Webb’s footsteps, but Graham was doing okay as […]

Happy Birthday, Art Carney!

No one could have possibly seen it coming.  On the night of April 8, 1975, as the live telecast of the 47th Academy Awards was calling it a wrap for the evening, the Best Actor Oscar was handed out to a real “dark horse” in the race.  The winner wasn’t Al Pacino—who would appear to […]

Happy Birthday, Dale Evans!

On January 14, 1953, TV’s This is Your Life paid tribute to “The King of the Cowboys”—none other than Roy Rogers himself.  Host Ralph Edwards presided over some predictably teary-eyed moments during the half-hour broadcast, including a touching reunion with Roy and his parents, his three sisters, and the musical group known as The Sons of the […]

Happy Birthday, Joan Banks!

In 1949, at the height of the success of radio’s My Friend Irma, actress Cathy Lewis—who originated the character of roommate Jane Stacy on the popular sitcom—was forced to briefly hand over the role of Jane while she recuperated from illness.  Filling in for Cathy as sidekick to the lovably ditzy Irma Peterson (Marie Wilson) was Joan Banks, a […]

Happy Birthday, Jean Vander Pyl!

Universal Pictures brought a live-action version of the classic TV cartoon series The Flintstones to the big screen in 1994, and had the novel idea of casting Jean Vander Pyl (the actress who voiced Wilma Flintstone on the original show) in a small role. (Vander Pyl was the only surviving cast member of the Flintstones starring quartet, which also included Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, and Bea Benaderet).  Portraying […]

Happy Birthday, Groucho Marx!

If comedian Groucho Marx—born Julius Henry Marx in New York City on this date in 1890—had achieved his childhood ambition of becoming a doctor…well, the world would know a little less laughter.  Fortunately for audiences who enjoyed the quick, insulting wit of the premier funnyman in movies, radio, and TV, Julius was “persuaded” to go […]

“Laugh a while/Let a song/Be your style…”

Though he had firmly established his persona as a flashy, hard-drinking playboy with an eye for exquisite female pulchritude on The Jack Benny Program, bandleader Phil Harris would find himself “domesticated” in 1941 after marrying singer-actress Alice Faye.  His home life with Faye started to work its way into the Benny broadcasts. For example, the episode from April 11, 1943 […]

“C’mon folks, these are the jokes!”

Mention “Milton Berle” to any baby boomer and chances are they’ll immediately think of the frenzied mirthmaker who entertained audiences Tuesday nights, in the newly inaugurated Golden Age of Television, as host of The Texaco Star Theatre.  Berle, once accurately described by Gerald Nachman in Raised on Radio as “the manic comic who won’t shut up until you laugh,” became such […]