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Archive for the ‘Radio variety’ Category

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, Earle Ross!

As a boy, actor Earle Ross had been gifted with a beautiful soprano voice—one that he put to good use singing in the boys’ choir at his local church. (His parents wanted him to become a minister.)  One day, Earle reached for a high note…and his voice cracked.  For several days, he was unable to speak; when his voice […]

Happy Birthday, Sammy Kaye!

It was at a Cleveland, Ohio venue known as The Cabin Club where Sammy Kaye—born Samuel Zamocay, Jr on this date in 1910—would acquire the slogan that would make him and his orchestra famous.  The Cabin Club’s master of ceremonies liked to give Sammy and his musical aggregation a nice rhyming welcome: “Music in the […]

Happy Birthday, Harlow Wilcox!

If real life were like an old-time radio comedy program—and my gosh, don’t you think it should be?—I can’t think of any other individual that I would want to handle the announcing chores from week to week…and to feel free to literally enter my house and plug the sponsor’s wares with all the enthusiasm they could muster.  I’m referring, of course, […]

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, Chester Lauck!

On April 26, 1936, the small Arkansas town of Waters officially changed its name to Pine Ridge.  It wasn’t because they were on the lam from the law or ducking creditors, however—the inspiration came from the popular radio comedy serial Lum and Abner. The fictional hamlet on that show was based on Waters…so the town decided to make […]

Happy Birthday, Portland Hoffa!

It pains me to have to say this…but I have heard from many an old-time radio devotee that Portland Hoffa—born on this date in 1905—is an acquired taste.  Her trademark high-pitched voice as husband Fred Allen’s favorite stooge (Portland jokingly referred to herself as a “wooge”) on his long-running radio program has been known to […]

Happy Birthday, Danny Kaye!

The date was June 9, 1986 and the borough of Brooklyn was awash with the celebrative gaiety of its Back to Brooklyn Day Festival.  The individual chosen to be the festival’s “King” was a native son born on this date in 1911 — and if there was a worthier candidate than David Daniel Kaminsky, the committee that […]