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Archive for the ‘Serials’ Category

Happy Birthday, Tommy Cook!

One night in 1941, child actor Tommy Cook was determined to see the Republic cliffhanger serial Jungle Girl.  You see, he had a part in that motion picture as a native boy, Kimbu, so he stealthily sneaked out of the house and down to the neighborhood theatre…where he presented himself to the manager.  Cook didn’t have the […]

“Howdee, Straight Shooters! Howdee!”

The man born Thomas Hezikiah Mix in Mix Run, Pennsylvania in 1880 became a Western legend during the 20th century…and he did it using the same good old fashioned skill as Buffalo Bill Cody: salesmanship!  Tom Mix would be recognized as a genuine cowboy and soldier of fortune — even though some of his exploits were a bit exaggerated. […]

Happy Birthday, Jeanne Bates!

Character great Jeanne Bates—born in Berkeley, California on this date in 1918—started her show business career as a billboard and magazine model (while attending San Mateo Junior College)…but it wasn’t long before she discovered a flair for performing in front of a radio microphone.  Jeanne got her start in the aural medium by acting in daytime […]

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’ […]

“He hunts the biggest of all game! Public enemies who try to destroy our America!”

In the annals of radio broadcasting, Detroit, Michigan’s WXYZ was a truly remarkable station. It would introduce one of the medium’s larger-than-life heroes (and a genuine pop culture icon) in The Lone Ranger in 1933. Ten years later, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon (described by more than a few as “The Lone Ranger on ice”) […]

Happy Birthday, Wyllis Cooper!

Radio writer and playwright Arch Oboler once had these words of praise for the man he would eventually replace as the mind behind the mayhem that fueled the horror series Lights Out: “Radio drama (as distinguished from theatre plays boiled down to kilocycle size) began at midnight, in the middle thirties, on one of the […]

”The only national program that brings you authentic police case histories…”

Radio’s resident “crime buster” was inarguably director-producer-writer Philips H. Lord, who gravitated to creating crime-themed programs. Perhaps the fate met by his first success over the airwaves, a folksy drama entitled Seth Parker, pushed him in that direction. That series became the victim of a publicity stunt gone awry (involving a schooner that wound up […]

Happy Birthday, Shirley Mitchell!

With the celebration of her ninety-fourth birthday today, actress Shirley Mitchell is the last surviving recurring cast member of I Love Lucy.  Couch potatoes remember Shirley as Lucy Ricardo’s pal Marion Strong, the women’s club colleague whose distinctive laugh prompted Lucy (in the episode “Lucy Tells the Truth”) to offer up the verbal smackdown: “Stop […]