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Archive for the ‘Radio western’ Category

Happy Birthday, Paul Frees!

“Paul Frees is EVERYWHERE!”  A cartoonist of my acquaintance adopted that statement as both a personal mantra and a tribute to the man born Solomon Hersh Frees in Chicago on this date in 1920.  For a time during the 50s/60s/70s, it was nigh impossible to sit through a movie or TV episode without hearing Frees’ […]

Happy Birthday, Howard Culver!

In the summer of 1949, with CBS working on the idea for what would eventually become Gunsmoke, an audition was recorded (“Mark Dillon Goes to Gouge Eye”) that starred Howard Brasfield Culver—born in Larimer County, Colorado on this date in 1918—as Dodge City’s resolute lawman.  (The name of the character was later changed to Matt Dillon, of course.)  Howard Culver […]

Happy Birthday, Ben Alexander!

With the death of Barton Yarborough in December of 1951, Jack Webb was anxious to find a replacement for the actor who had portrayed Ben Romero to his Joe Friday on the radio and television versions of his hit police procedural Dragnet.  Webb relied on several actors in the interim, including Barney Philips and Herb […]

“…and that’s with a U.S. Marshal and the smell of…Gunsmoke!”

“If I had known it would last this long, I would never have created the darn thing.”  So observed John Meston, the writer who—along with director-producer Norman Macdonnell—can claim responsibility for breathing life into the Western series that premiered over CBS Radio on this date sixty-five years ago: Gunsmoke.  There’s no getting around it: Gunsmoke […]

Happy Birthday, Fred Foy!

Old-time radio historian Jim Harmon minced no words in his book Radio Mystery and Adventure and Its Appearances in Film, Television and Other Media: “He was the announcer, perhaps the greatest announcer-narrator in the history of radio drama.  He pronounced words like no one ever had—‘SIL-ver,’ ‘hiss-TOR-ee.’  But hearing him, you realized everybody else had […]

Happy Birthday, Paula Winslowe!

The untimely death of “platinum blonde” Jean Harlow at the age of 26 was devastating news to moviegoers…but since the motion picture business is a business, MGM (Harlow’s employer) soldiered on by completing Jean’s final movie, Saratoga (1937), with Jean’s body double, Mary Dees.  Filming Dees from behind could go a long way towards covering […]

Happy Birthday, Brace Beemer!

On April 8, 1941, an actor named Earle Graser was killed in an automobile accident.  A tragic event to be sure, but what compounded this tragedy was that Graser had a devoted fan following as the voice of The Lone Ranger.  This popular radio western adventure series had been broadcasting from the WXYZ Detroit studios […]

“San Francisco, 1875…the Carlton Hotel…headquarters of the man called…Paladin!”

By the beginning of the 1950s, television had started to make major inroads as the preferred home entertainment source for household families…leaving radio to play the unenviable role of middle child.  The small screen was a most ungrateful sibling when you consider that most of its content originated from the aural medium; comedians like Jack […]