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Archive for the ‘Radio variety’ Category

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 […]

Let’s have another cup of coffee…

No less an authority than TV Guide declared Father Knows Best to be “the quintessentially comforting 50s sitcom.”  A generation of dedicated couch potatoes never missed a weekly visit with the Anderson family—comprised of wise patriarch Jim (Robert Young), nurturing mother Margaret (Jane Wyatt), and the three Anderson offspring: Betty (Elinor Donahue), Jim, Jr., a.k.a. “Bud” (Billy Gray), and […]

Happy Birthday, Lou Krugman!

It seems odd that an actor who claimed to have emoted on over 10,000 radio broadcasts and provided voiceovers for 700 commercials doesn’t even rate an entry at Wikipedia…it’s a crime against the acting profession, not to put too fine a point on it.  Allow us to assuage your outrage by paying proper tribute to a character […]

Happy Birthday, Milton Berle!

At the height of his phenomenal fame on television as the star of The Texaco Star Theatre, Milton Berle was the target of a hilarious barb from fellow comedian Joe E. Lewis: “Milton Berle is responsible for the sale of more television sets than any other performer…I know I sold mine and my brother sold his.”  (Lewis had conceived the […]

Happy Birthday, Ona Munson!

The effort to cast the motion picture adaptation of Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel Gone with the Wind is almost as epic as the content itself.  For the role of madam Belle Watling, producer David O. Selznick considered such actresses as Tallulah Bankhead and Billie Dove…and even at one point during pre-production (though many have surmised this was […]