Wednesday, December 7, 2011

One year ago today

It was a year ago today that the OTR Buffet began. I know I haven't been posting much lately but that's really because I am tapped out of news to post. The Buffet has taken just about all the news there is out there and has posted it. Really, the only things left to post are from the 1930's and it's of stuff I doubt few listen to.

You can find a variety of articles here on almost any OTR subject. I hope you will take advantage of it.

I remain busy with my Vic and Sade blogs and when that's done, I hope to do something similar with another series. I think it's safe to say when The Crazy World of Vic and Sade is done, there won't be anything close to it on the internet (I think it's safe to already say that.)

I still welcome your comments and I still respond if thre is something I need/can respond to. I will add things when I see them. Thanks for a wonderful year at the Buffet!

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Surprised audience: D'oh! Beulah's a man!

In the episode before Beulah (Marlin Hurt) became a regular on Fibber McGee and Molly in 1944, listen to the delayed reaction to the audience as they figure out that maid/cook Beulah is played by a man!

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Random fun moment

There are so many fun moments from Vic and Sade. I thought I'd share one with you Vic and Sade haters :)

This is edited...

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why NBC didn't compete with CBS to sign stars in '49

Consider the Jack Benny Show lasted until 1955.  Amos 'n' Andy changed formats a bit and lasted until the late 1950's.  Burns and Allen lasted until 1950.  All of these shows also went to television and so did most of the other shows and stars that went to CBS (Edgar Bergen and Harold Peary just to name two.)

By 1950, radio was all but dead anyway, as television took over the heartbeat of America anyway. 

But it's safe to say the Benny show made a lot of money during that time compared to other shows on the air and these "old people" probably did quite well for themselves at CBS.

Until JBenny moved to CBS Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show belonged to JBenny?

Re-thinking Broadway is My Beat

Back in February, I did a review of Broadway is My Beat.

This is a show I did not really like then and haven't really since I was 10 years old, when I first started listening to OTR during the 1970's revival.

Until last week, I really hadn't listened to it at all since I did the review; I figured this just "isn't the show for me."

But a funny thing happened as I started listening to it again last week.  And you know what?  I don't hate it anymore.  While it's not my favorite show, it's so different that it's hard not to enjoy it a little.

It's done so well.  The writing, while very different from anything out there, lends itself to the slightest hint of noir.  I actually feel the show would be much more enjoyable without (what I feel) are the silly, needless soliloquies but avoiding them would be like avoiding Ransom Sherman on the Fibber McGee and Molly show; it may not be the best part but it's part of the show.

The show's nowhere in my Top 50 at the moment but after almost two weeks of listening, I'm wondering why I disliked the show so much.

I'll keep you informed.

Your comments about the show are welcomed.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Surprise! Who wrote the theme to 'The Shadow?'

Here's something a lot of you will find very interesting... This from Bill Stern's Sports Newsreel, May 20, 1949:

Ida Lupino

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Digby "Digger" O'Dell (John Brown) talks about John Brown

How's this for a weird conversation?

Life of Riley's John Brown (Digby O'Dell) talks about John Brown - but no, not that John Brown! And no, not that other John Brown either!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A look at my updated Top 20 OTR list

20  Nightbeat - A show I've been listening to since childhood; I recently uncovered 8 shows I hadn't heard before.

19  Frontier Gentleman - Always a favorite; I have been spacing these out over time and still have 11 shows to go before I am finished.   I like this show so much that I am careful to only listen about twice a month or so.

18  Damon Runyon Theatre - A show that always satisfies.   The stories are wonderful.

17  Halls of Ivy - I appreciate this show more and more as time goes on.  It's no means my favorite but there are deep meanings here.

16  New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - I happen to like both Basil Rathbone and Tom Conway and am happy to hear either play Holmes.  There isn't a bad show in either bunch.

15  Black Museum - Here's another show that I am careful how much I listen to because it's too good to lose.  I might listen bi-weekly.  Tremendous crime drama.

14  Great Gildersleeve - Not too far from finishing my second run through the show.  It never gets boring.

13  You Bet Your Life - Unless you've heard the shows, you just never know what's coming next.  Always funny, even after repeated listenings.

12  Information Please - Trivia is never boring to me.   The panel on the show is not only classy but funny.

11  Dragnet - I haven't found an episode yet that wasn't a gem.

10  Fibber McGee and Molly - I will be listening to Fibber and Molly until the day I die, I suppose.

9  Suspense - A show which keeps climbing my charts as there are very few shows in the series that I don't like.  If you haven't checked out the OTRR's recent release, you should as the shows sound FANTASTIC!   They really did a super job on them.

8  Baby Snooks - Snooks is always funny!

7  Words at War - War anthology series keeps climbing my list; this show is very unappreciated... this is one of the best series I have found.

6  I Was a Communist for the FBI - Another show that I haven't gotten all the way through yet; taking my time with it and enjoying each episode.

5  21st Precinct - This show keeps climbing my list - not only because it's good but I recently found about 50 shows I didn't have before.  Superb drama, very well acted.

4  Six Shooter - I recently finished the series and it was a joy the whole way through; looking forward to another listen through the series soon.

3  Adventures of Superman - I'll grant you, some of the story arcs are not great but there's so many to begin with that you can't go wrong.  Superman on radio isn't just for kids!

2  Gunsmoke - Still working my way through the series; haven't found a thing not to like about a matter of fact, it gets better and better.

1  Vic and Sade - I'll let my 3 blogs dedicated to this series speak for me.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The infamous Gunsmoke sex sound file

A long time ago, I told you people there was a sound file of Gunsmoke's Matt Dillon and Kitty "having sex."

Well, I finally found it. Be forewarned, it's graphic. Not really THAT graphic but graphic enough for me to warn you so you won't come complaining to me in case you are offended...


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Can OTR make you cry?

Here's part of an episode of Truth or Consequences, with Ralph Edwards as the host. It's a Christmas episode and a good majority of the show is spent on a teenaged veteran who has just returned stateside after being paralyzed from the neck down.

The clip lasts 19 minutes but if you have never heard it before, I implore you to listen to this as this is something special. It may even make you cry.


Johnny Dollar using Fort Laramie Theme

I've already shown you Yours Truly Johnny Dollar using the Six Shooter Theme song.

Here's the show using the Fort Laramie Theme. (The YTJD sequence will be followed by the Fort Laramie Theme.)


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Radio's Revenge!

The super cool folks at Radio's Revenge recorded a very nice promo piece for the OTR Buffet.  Have a listen!

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Hodge-podging about "Squad Cars" and other things

Thanks to, I have been introduced to Squad Cars, a South African series that came out in the mid-1960's.

I haven't listened to that many episodes so I'm not reviewing the show but I do want to tell you it's Dragneteque combined with that British feel (yes, I know South Africa is nowhere near the United Kingdom.)

If you like police drama on radio, this is a series I'm pretty sure you will enjoy.   The accents are not hard to understand.

Later, after I have listened to more episodes, I will try and write a review.

Meanwhile, there literally is nothing much going on that I can post.  A lot of my time is spent with my three Vic and Sade blogs (you non-Vic and Sade fans probably only know of the one but there are actually three of them now!)

This stems from the fact that I am a tremendous fan of the series and I suppose I will never understand why you people who do not listen to Vic and Sade haven't given it a better try.

I honestly am looking for things to post but I am just not finding much.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Interview with Barry about 'The Adventures of Superman'

I'm very happy to have my friend Barry join me at the OTR Buffet today to talk about one of my favorite radio series, The Adventures of Superman.

Barry runs the very interesting Mr. Blog's Tepid Ride blog, which covers all kinds of nostaligic things.  His love for comics and old-time radio, of course, lends itself to the enjoyment of the Superman radio serial.

OTR BUFFET: Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into OTR.

Barry: It’s all my parent’s fault. My Dad listened to OTR when he was young and sometimes just fooling around he’d snicker this evil kind of laugh and he’d say things like “The Shadow Knows!” Of course when I was a kid I had no idea what he was talking about but it sounded cool and it stuck with me. I had a lot of trouble falling asleep when I was young and Mom would put on the radio to bore me to sleep, usually the all-news station. This was the 1970’s and one night just flipping around the dial I found the CBS Radio Mystery Theater and I was hooked. I told Dad about this great show I found where they told stories on the radio and he told me all about the shows he grew up with. This was long before the internet and somewhere along the line I found a catalogue where I could order cassettes of old shows and that was it. I was hooked.

I remember waking up early one Saturday morning and Dad was fixing an old transistor radio in the kitchen. It was playing NPR’s Star Wars, every episode back to back. I helped him fix the radio and then I took it wherever I went the rest of the day. I didn’t want to miss a second. That showed me that radio drama was still relevant even if it wasn’t popular anymore.

I was a teacher for ten years, high school English in Brooklyn New York. One thing that was clear was that my students had no real conception of what the world was like outside of their interests. I know that describes almost everyone you know but these were kids who couldn’t imagine a world where their grandparents didn’t grow up with cell phones. I took it upon myself to work things into the curriculum that might never have been exposed to or given a second thought. If I was connecting a movie to a book and I had a choice of something modern or old and black and white, I picked the old and black and white. When we did a unit on drama or playwriting we’d not only read Lucille Fletcher’s Sorry, Wrong Number, we’d listen to Suspense’s version with Agnes Moorehead. I firmly believe that audio shows and OTR involve the mind in ways that the constant images and sounds of today do not.

OTR BUFFET: Tell me how you got into The Adventures of Superman (TAoS) radio series.

Barry: That was a straight leap from the comics. Superman has been published non-stop since 1938 and with all the movies, TV shows, cartoons, and serials I devoured it wasn’t long before my interest in OTR and my interest in Superman collided. In fact, one of my favorite comics came out in 1981, World’s Finest #271. Besides having a great George Perez cover, it claimed to present the secret origin of the Superman-Batman team. The interesting thing about that issue is that it attempts to tie in the old radio stories to the comic book canon. It even features Atom Man. I’ve still got that issue, all beat up and worn.

Probably around that time I had found some obscure college station playing OTR and one night they were going to play the first episode of The Adventures of Superman, which I never heard but I just had to listen to. The problem was my family was going out to dinner with some friends. I had this great watch that had a radio built in (hey, it was the eighties) and I spent the evening listening to the show through a pair of clunky headphones plugged into my tiny watch. I looked pretty silly, and my parents weren’t too happy with me, but I heard the show.

I guess in retrospect that was my version of Jimmy Olsen’s signal watch!

OTR BUFFET: Why are we as adults hooked on TAoS?

Barry: It is more than just nostalgia; I believe it is because the show is well-written and fun, pure and simple. I know that you can say that about shows from Jack Benny to The Great Gildersleeve to Archie Andrews, but there is a reason that the character of Superman has endured. The story of Superman is a classic American immigrant tale, and who doesn’t dream of being the hero who saves the day, gets the girl, and is humble enough to fly off before his picture can be taken?

The Adventures of Superman hits all the right notes. Nostalgia, escapism, patriotism, fantasy, and fun, and all appropriate for the whole family. The show comes from a time when Superman wasn’t afraid to stand for the American Way. In today’s comics and films Superman is sometimes a conflicted character, but the radio show’s Superman knew right from wrong and wasn’t afraid to say so. It’s a shame that so many of the episodes are lost.

OTR BUFFET: The first 2 years of Superman are much different than the remaining years. The first 2 years are dark, serious and not as jovial. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Barry: It is not only good, but necessary. Of course this is all in retrospect, but those adventures set up who Superman is, what he can do, and sets him in “reality.” To swipe a line from the movies, if you listen to those shows “you will believe a man can fly.” Once you believe Superman and buy into that world, you can go along with anything, including sillier and lighthearted stories. I am a big fan of that era of the show and I love the serial format the series had for most of the run.

The Adventures of Superman always had a variety of menaces, from crooked politicians to aliens. It was a great feat that the program could do a series of shows about space men, then gangsters, then Kryptonite, and then Nazi’s and still be the same show week in and week out. The early years built that believability and you bought into it and went for the ride with whatever came along into the next arc. There was never a point when you’d say “this is just silly.” You’ve already suspended your disbelief for a man from space who flies around in a cape, was a dinosaur too far-fetched?

OTR BUFFET: What's your opinion of Bud Collyer as Superman/Clark Kent?

Barry: With no disrespect to anyone else’s favorite actor, Bud Collyer was the definitive Superman. Period. In any visual medium, the joke was always why can’t Lois see that Superman is just Clark without his glasses? No matter how much Christopher Reeve slouched or looked nerdy (and I think Christopher Reeve did an amazing job in that role) you could still look at him and see Superman’s face.

The magic of radio is that you decide in your imagination what people look like. Bud Collyer did such an amazing job of not only changing the tone of his voice but his entire vocal range and intonations that you visualize Superman completely differently than you do Clark Kent. It would not have worked if they had different actors for Clark and Superman. Despite the differences, it was still recognizably the same voice and you believed that it was the same man, which of course it was, but you saw each character very differently in your mind. No other actor ever got the separation between the two as perfectly as Bud Collyer. And of course he just had that powerful, deep, heroic Superman voice.

OTR BUFFET: What's your opinion of announcer and bit part player Jackson Beck?

Barry: He is very much responsible for the show’s popularity and the fact that it endures today. Like theme songs, announcers set the tone and feel of a show. They were usually the only ones to directly talk to the listeners, during the commercials, so they had a chance to bond with the audience. Jackson Beck was just great. Not only did he have a great voice, he knew how to use it. Who doesn’t love the way he growls “The Adventures of Superman!”? While he may not have written that intro, that whole opening narration is still the way Superman is known to millions of people. And thanks to him, I want a collection of Kellogg’s Pep buttons.

OTR BUFFET: Do you like Batman and Robin in the radio series or are they "in the way?"

Barry: It was a lot of fun when Batman and Robin were on the show. Even in the comics back then it was a big deal when characters crossed over, not like it is today with huge events every other month. I can only imagine the thrill it must have been when a young boy unconscious in a rowboat turned out to be Robin. The problem was that while the writers had taken great pains to create their version of Superman over the years it seemed like they had no idea how to write Batman. They didn’t have the luxury of developing him. So while they had gone to great lengths to make Superman and Clark Kent distinct, it was never clear who did or didn’t know that Batman was Bruce Wayne. At one time Batman said that the police had his fingerprints on file. Goodbye secret identity! And of course there is the little fact that Batman wore gloves. And while Batman and Superman knew each other’s identities, and Superman knew Robin’s, it was never clear if Robin knew Superman’s.

Then there was the time Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson changed into Batman and Robin in the back of a police car while an officer in the front seat was driving them home. Some master detective! Batman and Robin didn’t fare nearly as well as Superman did in the transition to radio.

OTR BUFFET: Do you have a "favorite enemy" in the radio series?

Barry: Probably Der Teuful, the cliché mad Nazi scientist. He was a part of many of the best stories and he was the force behind Atom Man, likely the most famous Superman radio villain. Der Teuful was an over the top evil genius. He created atomic ray guns, stole Kryptonite from other villains, and planned to take over the world. He’d give Lex Luthor a run for his money. And his voice?  He just sounded evil.

Apart from Der Teuful, the show managed to make even normal gangsters or smugglers a challenge. The smugglers of Lighthouse Point or The Wolf were as much of a challenge to Superman as Atom Man in their own way.

OTR BUFFET: What are a few of your favorite story arcs in the series?

Barry: I love the early era where Superman still tried to hide his existence. He somehow managed to save Lois from fires and other assorted perils yet no one had a clue that there was a superhero around. Clark would usually make up an excuse- totally unbelievable- about how he accidentally knocked over a convenient bucket of water and put out the fire, or a passing motorist rescued Lois while she was unconscious and no one ever quite bought it.

Superman wasn’t yet as powerful as he’d later become and things he’d normally do without effort, like stopping a train, wore him out and caused him to exert himself. He was still super but not the Superman we’d come to know later.

And I have to credit the show’s writers. It is impossible to simply say that the Atom Man vs. Superman arc is my favorite without recognizing all the stories that came before and directly influenced it. You have to go back to the Black Widow arc where she was auctioning off pieces of Kryptonite and Der Teuful stole them for his plan to create an Atom Man, and then back a few more stories before that to see all the plot lines that culminated in the Atom Man arc. In how many shows, especially ones that get mislabeled as juvenile shows, can you see that level of writing?

A lot of people confuse all-ages or family friendly for juvenile or kid’s programing. Superman is not simply kid’s programming, even though some arcs were unabashedly aimed at children.

OTR BUFFET: If you could change one thing about the show, what would it be?

Barry: I would change the final years of the show. They dropped the serial format and became a standard ½ hour show. It was too formulaic. Clark would investigate a mystery, he or Lois would get into a jam, and Superman would show up and save the day. You could more or less tell when Clark would change into Superman just by looking at the clock. When the show was a serial it was less predictable. Stories went as many parts as needed, and Superman might not even appear at all in a particular episode. The ½ hour format took away some of the magic.

 OTR BUFFET: Thanks so much for your time in doing this interview!

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Monday, October 31, 2011

Haunted Houses a popular OTR comedy theme

 Ozzie and Harriet encountered a haunted house (481031 Haunted House.)

Riley and Halloween Haunted House (Halloween Haunted House.)

The Great Gildersleeve did the same (490420 The Haunted House.)

Father Knows Best (Halloween Blues.)

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Superman radio angered Nazis?

Busted - Radio singer a 5th columnist?

Pinza listed in GoldIndex.

Lone Ranger "Victory Corps"

Previously unknown? - 'Letters to My Son'

Unlisted in OTR Encyclopedia (Mutual)

Cab Calloway's 'Quizzicale'

The show lasted July 6- October 5, 1941

Coming this week...

Okay, so the World Series is over.  I'm back to work here.

Although, I spent a good deal of time searching for stuff yesterday and all I found were those 2 Hopalong Cassidy ads.

Anyway, I am looking.  And I should have some interviews coming back to me this week as I have 4 news ones out there.  So hopefully, those will get back to me and I can post them.

I have a few other ideas brewing as well. 

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Funniest moment ever on 'Information Please?'

Information Please was known by some as being a stuffy, stuck-up show with a bunch of over-educated snoots.  Really, nothing farther could be the case.

Yes, the questions were sometimes very hard but sometimes the questions weren't that at all.

At any rate, Deems Taylor, who many would call the "4th regular" on the show (as he was on often but not as much as the "regulars") had an answer few would expect on this show.  I'm going to post the full clip of the question and answers.  Taylor's response is farther at the end of the clip but it's very unexpected - especially for this show:

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Suspense theme comparisons

Fellow Tweeter Peter Church, who did an interview on this blog not too long ago) presented some terrific ideas about how the Supense radio theme sounded like 1970's pop band Chicago's "Color My World" and also, the "Vertigo Theme" (theme song to the motion picture, "Vertigo.")

The Suspense theme was probably written in 1942 by Bernard Herrmann.  The Vertigo Theme was also written by Hermann.  They are the most similar as both use the same 6 note arpeggio and both are in a minor key.  "Color My World" uses the 6 same notes at the beginning but is in a major key, giving it a bit of a different feel.

Here they are. Judge for yourself.

Suspense Theme:

Vertigo Theme:

Vertigo Theme REVERSED (edit:)

Color My World:

Monday, October 17, 2011

You can't unhear it: Gabby and Shorty argue economics

Amos 'n' Andy's Shorty the barber and Gabby the lawyer are at it again, this time arguing economics:


Friday, October 14, 2011

Casebook of Gregory Hood promo

Heard at the end of a Sherlock Holmes episode is this unique promo featuring Gale Gordon (and Nigel Bruce) as Dr. Watson introduces Gregory Hood as a summer replacement:


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Taking time out (hopefully) for a World Series win

As many of you know, I love baseball. And it looks for all of the world, my favorite team since childhood is about to make it to the World Series for the second year in a row. I'm pretty interested in them right now so, unless they lose the next 3 games they play, they'll be in the Series...and I'd like to take some time off to see what happens. So for the next 10 days or so, don't expect much activity here. If something falls into my lap, I'll probably post it but I plan on taking some time off to watch the Fall Classic. ©Jimbo 2010/2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

CBS Radio Mystery Theatre photos!

Guest Sarah Cole answers all sorts of OTR questions

I first "met" Sarah Cole via Twitter.  I instinctively knew she was someone who appreciated old-time radio and someone from whom I would benefit from "following" on Twitter.   Turns out I was correct.

I'm very happy to have her join me in this interview.   I'll be  you will agree as she explores many various topics dealing with old-time radio.

OTR BUFFET: I'm not going to ask your age but can you tell me how you first got involved in listening to what we now call, "old time radio?"

Sarah Cole: My parents, who were educators, grew up during the Depression, and had many fond associations with dramatic radio broadcasts.  In the early 1970s, that venerable powerhouse of the airwaves WGN was broadcasting some short programs of "old time radio" – though the oldest of the programs was barely in its thirties: hardly "old!" – and my family enjoyed them. Later, we bought a number of LPs of the programs, which were just coming out in that format.  Finally, in the mid-1980s, we discovered, on one of the local stations, the weekly broadcasts of Radio Hall of Famer Chuck Schaden, which featured four hours of those wonderful programs, along with commentary from him, his guests, and his constant friend and aide, the lovely Ken Alexander – Oops!  Just make that Ken Alexander!

From then on, I've been hooked, and an amateur collector of those radio programs.

It occurs to me, though, that my inclination toward audio drama started even earlier.  Back before Disney began selling video recordings of its animated features, they sold albums of the films' songs, connected with narration.  I think I wore out three Cinderellas, and at least one Finocchio.  My brother and I just loved them.  (In fact, as far as Cinderella goes, I think I preferred the album to the film!)  The point is that I don't recall a time when we DIDN'T have non-visual, audio drama available.  So, in a way, a fondness for audio drama was my destiny.

OTR BUFFET: Which real character on Vic and Sade is the most-interesting to you and why? And out of all of the unheard characters, which one do you think is the most intriguing and why?

Sarah Cole: (You may laugh, but when I first read the question, I thought you meant which of the actors interested me the most.  That question is harder to answer than the one you are asking: all of the original cast members have surprising twists to their personal and professional lives.  Of the actors, I suppose Billy Idleson interested me the most, because of his dramatic intelligence, and his later career in broadcast writing and performing.)  As far as the main characters go, it will probably come as no surprise that Rush Gook is the one I look forward to the most.  His striving for the respect due the adult he was becoming, his idealistic whimsey in the ways he would try to do it, yet his patience with the status quo is very funny, yet very touching.  In one episode, the young man is in a rage at the neighbor boy, who has passed the word among his friends that Rush eats with a baby knife and fork.  As it turns out, Rush DOES eat with baby silverware, because that's what Sade has always put by his plate, and he didn't want to make a fuss about it.  His struggle is the struggle we all face, or that remind us of what our children are confronting.

As for the unheard characters: pick any of Uncle Fletcher's acquaintances.  There's a collection of intriguing people!  The funny thing is that the listener DOES know the unheard characters pretty well, after hearing a few of the broadcasts.  Well, Rooster and Rotten Davis are an interesting pair.  The episode in which a two-story porch falls off a house, and Rotten pretends he tore down the house himself, is strikingly funny, because of the pair's whimsical response to a public nuisance.  Rush's Sunday School teacher, who is beefy enough to take the place of a whole road crew, intrigues me, too.

And one does wonder about anyone named Robert and Slobert Hink!

OTR BUFFET: In 2001 I was fortunate enough to be able to read every Damon Runyon story. I feel that the Damon Runyon Theater is one the most-overlooked shows in old-time radio. Have you read Damon Runyon and would you tell me your feelings about the show?

Sarah Cole: I have read many Damon Runyon stories, and just love them!  They describe a magnificent, barbaric world, in plain sight, yet virtually unrecognized by the civilized world whose space it shares.  The (then) modern adventures are told with a cool directness that force the readers to exercise their imagination to fill in details, and, in doing so, brings them into the stories.  Then, when the stories end with a surprise, the readers are knocked free of that fantasy world, yet, because of the splendid shock, not likely to forget that place.

The radio version of the stories are reasonably faithful to Runyon's text.  They lack the narrative's directness, which is to be expected when in a drama with multiple characters, but "Broadway" the narrator's stilted grammar and dispassionate observations, help restore the feel of the written stories.

They aren't all happy, but they're memorable.  A couple of my favorite episodes are "Lillian" and "A Neat Strip." Oddly enough, one of my favorite Damon Runyon radio plays WASN'T on The Damon Runyon Theater.  One Christmas, the series The Whistler dramatized the story "Three Wise Guys."  John Brown appeared as the narrating character in that episode, and, later, created the role of "Broadway." While I don't know for sure, I suspect that episode was the inspiration for The Damon Runyon Theater.

OTR BUFFET: Until I found the joys of Vic and Sade, The Six Shooter was easily my favorite show. It's different than any Western on radio (even the so-called 'Kiddie Westerns')
because the show almost always tries to be non-violent. It's even less violent than Frontier Gentleman! Tell me your feelings about the show?

Sarah Cole: I have enjoyed both The Six Shooter and Frontier Gentleman (though, for whatever reason, find myself preferring Have Gun, Will Travel).  The Six Shooter, like Gunsmoke, was a "new" Western, in the vein of High Noon.  It didn't glamorize violence, though it didn't flee it, either. It wasn't above humor, such as the episode in which Britt Ponset is forced to be judge in a preserve-making contest between two sisters, which has divided their town.  (His approach to this problem was inspired!)  But the neuroses of the settlers does get a little wearing, so, although a Six Shooter episode or two every so often is always rewarding, a marathon can prove tiresome.

OTR BUFFET: Imagine you were the producer of The Six Shooter and Jimmy Stewart was unable to play the part. You have an unlimited budget and everyone but Stewart is available to you. Who would you cast as The Six Shooter?

Sarah Cole: One of the interesting things about the Six Shooter was that, though the scripts had been written for Stewart, and he was the main draw for listeners, the stories themselves don't rely on any of Stewart's vocal or personal characteristics.  Any actor, whose voice was not particularly distinctive and could sound uncluttered, and whose manner was reassuring , could play that part.  It doesn't require a big name.  Everett Sloan or Ben Wright might give interesting performances.

OTR BUFFET: I haven't listened to much of Henry Morgan, but anyone who knows you from Twitter knows you are a big Henry Morgan Show fan. Tell us what you like about the show and what we are missing?

Sarah Cole: (Between us, I'm not THAT big a Henry Morgan fan, but I do enjoy his radio performances; even the one on Suspense – a real hair-raiser!)  I was once told that I have a tendency to look at things sideways: to look at things in a way no one else does.  Henry Morgan's humor is that way.  In his first broadcast, he featured a demonstration of how a BBC broadcaster unfamiliar with the game might describe a baseball game, and a visit to modern New York as if it were an archaeological expedition.

Another episode made fun of Readers Digest, people who read Readers Digest, the contents of the magazine, the types of features that were condensed, the politics of Georgia, Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado, and the whole process of condensation itself!  Henry Morgan didn't let convention and social protocols get in the way of pointing out often uncomfortable truth.  But because the truth was presented in a funny way, the listener need not take offense.  As W.S. Gilbert said through the inimitable Jack Point, "When they're offered to the world in merry guise, Unpleasant truths are swallowed with a will; For he who'd make his fellow creatures wise Should always gild the philosophic pill!"  (The Yeomen of the Guard) Some of Morgan's inspiration may have been bitter, but his humor was always golden.

OTR BUFFET: Where do rank Henry Morgan as far as old-time radio comedians?

Sarah Cole: I don't know.  As a humorist of his time, he may not rank high.  As a comedian and satirist, period, I'd say he was in the top fifty of the 20th century.

OTR BUFFET: Do you think Jack Benny is special because he's Jack Benny or because he had great casts?

Sarah Cole: Jack Benny's program was special because Jack had wonderful comic sense, and some of the most insightful writers available.  He could have been just as funny with a different cast, though it would have funny in different ways.  What made the Benny program funny was how well the characters were able to fit with each other, and because their material suited them so perfectly.  It is theoretically possible to have done the same with a different cast, but it would have led to a differently-situated program. 

OTR BUFFET: Can you tell me why the jack Benny Show is so special to you?

Sarah Cole: At the end of 1945, the program held a contest: "Why I Can't Stand Jack Benny." (A very funny sequence, by the way).  In fifty words or less, contestants had to state why they couldn't stand Jack.  The winning entry was probably the most deserving winner to any contest of this nature I have ever seen.  I have to agree with winner Carroll P. Craig, who wrote: He fills the air with boasts and brags, and obsolete obnoxious gags. The way he plays his violin is music's most obnoxious sin. His cowardice alone, indeed, is matched by his obnoxious greed, And all the things that he portrays show up my own obnoxious ways.

OTR BUFFET: Everyone seems to like Fibber McGee and Molly. Tell me why they are so special to you?

Sarah Cole: The combination of crazy comedy, witty patter, clever music, exaggerated but familiar neighborhood characters, and genuine domestic affection is what made Fibber McGee and Molly the beloved program it is.  It, and The Halls of Ivy are the two most romantic radio programs ever written.  Anyone in a durable intimate relationship will tell you that love isn't adventure and wild passion: it's having your life partner get sick, and being able to clean up after him or her with a smile.  As Molly responds when Fibber expresses surprise that she doesn't tell him everything she thinks, it's because she HASN'T always told him what she thought that they are still married.

OTR BUFFET: Arch Oboler was famous for his horror stories but there was another side of Arch Oboler that was prolific in anti-war and pacifist stories and also strange and humorous fantasy. What do you think of when you think of Arch Oboler?

Sarah Cole: Arch Oboler was the best radio writer the United States ever produced.  Carlton E. Morse and Norman Corwin are fine WRITERS – they write well in multiple genres – but Oboler's greatest skill was in writing in innovative ways for audio drama.  His script "This Lonely Heart," about the relationship between Tchaikovsky and his patroness, is the finest one I've ever read.

It's odd you should describe him as a pacifist writer.  His pre-war, and World War II dramas are exposés of fascism in general, and Nazism in particular.  I believe the play is This Precious Freedom (in ), about a man who comes back from a camping trip to find the United States taken over by the Nazis.  It is brilliant, and terrifying.  Another fine play, set in postwar Europe, features an American family going to one of the military cemeteries to being their son home (I think it might be "V Day").  Oboler was not a saber-rattler, but he clearly loved liberty, and understood that there are things, liberty in particular, worth dying for.

OTR BUFFET: When I first tried listening to the Halls of Ivy, I really didn't like it. Then a friend prodded me into listening again (months later) and I found that Halls of Ivy was a very special show that had a deep, rich meaning - probably a far deeper meaning than any show I had ever come across. I love the show now. What are your feelings on the show?

Sarah Cole: The Halls of Ivy is what you get when you mix Goodbye, Mr. Chips with Fibber McGee and Molly.  Don Quinn, one of the writers for Fibber McGee, wrote, then later oversaw, the scripts. The stories use the witty wordplay and distinctive characters of Fibber McGee (though, in this case, the characters are not so exaggerated), to explore the significance of issues that arise among young adults; and to showcase another genuinely affectionate couple (President Hall and Victoria Cromwell-Hall/Ronald Colman and Benito Hume-Colman).  Its topics range from the humorous (getting out of a board meeting) to the serious (students afraid of the Draft), but they are approached in a gentle, straightforward, yet non-threatening way.  It also used dramatic techniques that only work in audio drama, and integrated them beautifully: flashbacks of President Hall's earlier life were used regularly to explain or illuminate the situation the Halls currently faced.  It is the finest comic-drama program of the Golden Age of Radio.

OTR BUFFET: Who do you think are the 5 most important old-time radio figures and why?

Sarah Cole: That question will take a lot of thinking, partly because the important people aren't going to be the 3 [most] famous people.  They would be the people who enabled radio drama to become great, and I don't know (or remember) enough about the history of radio to know who they are.  Some of the names I think of at this moment are the head of WXYZ, who enabled The Green Hornet, The Lone Ranger, and The Challenge of the Yukon to be produced, Charles Atlas, who oversaw all the work that was done at WGN, General Sarnoff, who understood the progress of broadcasting; and others like them.

Two of the most important were Ed Wynn, who introduced the live audience, and Bing Crosby who normalized pre-recorded programming.

OTR BUFFET: What are your 5 most favorite shows? Which show brings you the most pleasure?

Sarah Cole: A lot depends on how I feel at the time I'm asked, but, at the moment, my favorites are: Jack Benny, The Halls of Ivy,  Fred Allen, Vic and Sade and it surprises me to say it, but I think the fifth is Bob and Ray.

The Halls of Ivy is the most satisfying "listen", Jack Benny makes me laugh the most, Fred Allen is the cleverest program, and Vic and Sade and Bob and Ray share a genial absurdity that is refreshing and reassuring.  If you ask me again sometime, I may have a different answer; but, at the moment, these are my favorites.

OTR BUFFET: In 20 years, will people still be listening to old time radio?

Sarah Cole: I'm not sure whether they will or not, though it won't be because they aren't listening to narrated art.  Podcasts, audiobooks, and recorded speech are more popular now than ever, because people are too busy or impatient to read a lot of text.  One problem with vintage radio is the topicality: some of the jokes about events and personalities that were important at that moment are lost on modern listeners.

On the other hand, those references are part of what make the broadcasts valuable.  About a year ago, heard someone complaining how we don't know what it was like to live through World War II.  We DO know what it was like, because we can hear how the characters in radio serials and series "made do" in those days.  We also have the "non-fiction" programs of advice and such, which give more details about what daily life involved.  Vintage radio is a time capsule: it brings into the present the lives of the past.   To appreciate it as such requires research; but enough of the material speaks to the general human condition that listeners can still enjoy most of it, even without completely understanding the context.

OTR BUFFET: Sarah, I could easily ask you 10 more questions but I don't want to burden you and take up all of your time. Would you join me in the near-future again for another interview?

Sarah Cole: Certainly!  It's always delightful to talk about vintage radio!  Thank you for the opportunity!

OTR BUFFET: Thanks for answering my questions. I really had fun coming up with things to ask you!

Sarah Cole: My pleasure.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Can't find anything right now :(

I'm in a lull as far as finding news goes.

That's not to say that I won't find sometime soon, I probably will.  But I'm at a point where all of my current sources seemed to be dried up, at least concerning things I think you might like to read.

Hopefully, as it seems to always happen, I will find something that will open up a whole new world of things I can post.

If I can't find anything soon, I'll write some more stuff.  I also have at least one other interview I will probably post tomorrow (a varied interview about all kinds of OTR subjects with the very-well informed, Sarah Cole.)  And I hope to have some more interviews completed by the end of the week, so at least there's that.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New blog

My enthusiasm for OTR (and again in this case again, Vic and Sade) has provided the impetus of a new site, this time dealing with fictional plots of Vic and Sade.

The show is missing about 2600 episodes and there are some things that happened that either have no beginning, middle or conclusion.

This is where the blog comes in. In this new blog, called, "Imagined Plots of Vic and Sade" I try to answer some questions I have found in the series plus I have some fun and explore possible scenarios that could have taken place.

If you aren't a Vic and Sade fan, you may not care about it.  All I can say to you is there are like 20 blogs I provide about OTR and feel free to consume whatever you want to consume. 

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sven Thorson (Mayor of the Town)

Reverend Robert Neily answers questions about his OTR habits and memories

Reverend Neily and I have conversed quite a number of times over the past month or so.  As you will see, he is a fan from way back, is an avid collector of OTR books and magazines and still has lots of his childhood promotional memorabilia.

There aren't many collectors and fans left from the earlier days of Golden Age of Radio, so I feel quite privileged that he would take the time to answer these questions and share his memories.

OTR BUFFET: Can you give us a little background on how you were first introduced to OTR?

REV. ROBERT NEILY: I've been a pastor for for nearly fifty years and an OTR hobbyist even longer. I'm now in my mid-70's, so was introduced to OTR in real time. We had only one radio in our home, often tuned to shows such as Don McNeill's Breakfast Club, Tom Breneman's Breakfast in Hollywood, Jack Benny, Bergen and McCarthy, Baby Snooks, Truth or Consequences or People Are Funny. As a boy I spent many daytime hours in my grandmother's kitchen where the two of us listened to THE SOAPS!!! With WWII restrictions on travel, those soap towns of Elmwood, Beechwood, Hartville, Simpsonville and Rushville Center became more real to me than the communities in my home state. I was more familiar with Ma Perkins, Lorenzo Jones, Stella Dallas, Just Plain Bill, Young Widder Brown and Front Page Farrell, and the members of Pepper Young's Family and One Man's Family than with my own relatives! Grandma had TWO radios in her small flat, so I had her living room floor model all to myself for my favorite afternoon heroes - Hop, Terry, Dick, Chick, Superman, Midnight, Armstrong and Mix. In 1946 my grandmother began giving me 25¢ each month to buy “us” Radio Mirror so I could “see” my radio friends! So I guess I could say I had my start in collecting OTR 65 years ago! … But it was between November 25, 1960 when Ma Perkins, The Right to Happiness, Young Dr. Malone and The Second Mrs. Burton ended and September 30, 1962 when Suspense and Johnny Dollar left the air I became a serious collector. I hit the used book stores throughout California and bought up all their old radio magazines (usually for only a nickel or a dime apiece!) accumulating more than 200 in the process. In 1962 Jim Harmon and I began our friendship of nearly fifty years. Neither of us had many recordings at that time, only fond memories. I lived in San Jose, Jim in Los Angeles. We corresponded, exchanged occasional tapes, traded premiums, attended a few Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters events together, and I contributed a few of my cartoons and an article on soaps operas to his Radio Hero fanzine. Jim was a gentle and generous man who kindly acknowledged me as his soap opera advisor in each edition of The Great Radio Heroes. Jim, along with Richard Gulla (an announcer and actor in Chicago during OTR's last days) and Roger Rittner (writer, producer, director of multiple series on NPR and other venues) provided the bulk of my early OTR recordings. A parishioner, Bernice Berwin (Mrs. Brooks Berlin) who played Hazel Barbour on One Man's Family for 27 years, introduced me to Carleton E. Morse who loaned me several tapes of I Love A Mystery. And while doing some on-air work at a San Jose radio station (Religion in the News, Sunday mornings at 6 a.m.!!!), I discovered some old transcription discs (Alan Prescott the Wife Saver, The Mark of the Eagle, Night Cap Yarns, MGM Theatre of the Air: Lee Bowman and Colleen Gray in “I Love You Again” with Howard Dietz as Host, an RCA recording of Sam 'n' Henry and a 1934 promo record for Harold Teen). The station engineer transferred these to tape for me (thus providing me with more trading material). In 1999 I became acquainted with Ted Davenport of Radio Memories who converted my many deteriorating reels of tape to cassettes and CD's. Ted also filled in some of the “holes” in my collection and provided me with long runs of several favorite shows. Certainly none of us back in the '60's would have believed that SO MUCH OTR would be at our fingertips fifty years later on something called the Internet! Bud Collyer (Clark Kent/Superman) died in 1969, but in a letter to me in 1963 he wrote: “Sometime ago, I realized to my horror that I didn't possess one single recording of the old Superman series. I began inquiring around and to date have not found anyone who has one.” Wouldn't he be amazed at all the Superman episodes now in existence and readily available to any and all who care to listen!

OTR BUFFET: What are some shows you liked when you first found radio and what you like and listen to now?

REV. ROBERT NEILY: Early on I was thrilled to hear ANY old-time favorite, regardless of genre. But now with so many listening choices available, I lean toward series with long runs: Dragnet, The Saint, The Six Shooter, Harris and Faye, Benny, Fibber and Molly, Gildersleeve, Nightbeat, Broadway Is My Beat, Frank Merriwell, Let George Do It, Johnny Dollar, Nick Carter, Nero Wolfe, The Shadow – and even an occasional soap: Perry Mason, Ma Perkins, Young Widder Brown, One Man's Family, or Backstage Wife.

OTR BUFFET: How many hours of OTR would you say you listen to a week?

REV. ROBERT NEILY: On average, 8-10 hours, usually in my car. I don't listen on the Internet unless I'm doing some research on a particular show or shows.

OTR BUFFET: Do you have a favorite show(s) and who are your favorite actors and actresses?

REV. ROBERT NEILY: I still enjoy my boyhood favorites, especially Tom Mix, The Lone Ranger and I Love A Mystery, and never tire of listening to Jack Benny, Fibber and Molly, Gunsmoke or Johnny Dollar (with O'Brien, Bailey or Kramer as Dollar). Among my favorite actors and actresses are those with very interesting (or easily identifiable) voices, such as Peggy Webber, Lesley Woods, Mercedes McCambridge, Lurene Tuttle, June Foray, Shirley Mitchell, Eleanor Audley, Gale Gordon, Bob Dryden, Harry Bartell, Frank Lovejoy, Santos Ortega, Sheldon Leonard, Ed Maxx, John Gibson – and Charles “Chuck” Webster (a special favorite of mine who's often confused with another radio actor named Charles Webster!) Throughout the early '40's, Chuck was heard almost daily on one or more of Detroit's WXYZ trio of shows. Later he moved to New York where he was Tom Bryson on Backstage Wife, Paul Drake on Perry Mason, and heard on other shows such as The Mysterious Traveler, Gangbusters, Cloak and Dagger and Squad Room. His voice is very distinctive.) So many of these names could “play” their voices like a fine musical instrument!

OTR BUFFET: What is your favorite genre of radio and why?

REV. ROBERT NEILY: While I prefer listening to detectives, mysteries and comedies (not necessarily in that order), I still have a special fondness for any and all soap operas and kid shows because they remind me of all the pleasurable hours spent with my grandmother who spoiled me rotten, and my grandfather who helped me eat boxes of Ralston (Hot, Instant, and Shredded) and drank all the Ovaltine (which I couldn't stand!) so I could send off box tops, labels or inner seals for rings and badges and code-o-graphs. (When my grandmother died in 1972 and I flew East to officiate at her funeral I found she had saved a shoe box full of my radio premiums, PEP comic pins, etc., which I still have today!)

OTR BUFFET: Has listening to radio ever created any special moments that you won't ever forget?

REV. ROBERT NEILY: Specific radio moments included Arthur Godfrey describing FDR's funeral procession in April 1945, the wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Philip Mountbatten in 1947, the Mr./Mrs./Miss Hush and Walking Man contests on Truth or Consequences, and annual World Series games. I was confined to bed for several months in 1949, as was Jim Harmon the very same year. Radio was a constant companion during that time. Daily I tuned in to Don McNeill's Breakfast Club, Arthur Godfrey Time, Tommy Bartlett's Welcome Travelers, two dozen daily soap operas, comedies, adventure shows, detectives and mysteries (especially the second incarnation of I Love A Mystery which returned to the air that year!) - and baseball broadcasts (both “live” and “re-creations”). As a gift, I received a bedside radio which certainly made those long months much more bearable.

OTR BUFFET: How do you listen to OTR? (Mp3 player, car stereo, etc?)

REV. ROBERT NEILY: Most often I listen in my car. My vehicle has nearly 150,000 miles on it, but I won't buy a new one until either the car collapses or the combination tape deck and CD player gives out!

OTR BUFFET: Do others in your family enjoy OTR? (explain either way)

REV. ROBERT NEILY: My wife (who was more a child of TV than radio) patiently lets me share with her my enjoyment and memories of OTR. When my youngest daughter (now in her mid-40's) was a teenager she enjoyed my tapes of ILAM and Let's Pretend and asked me for copies.

OTR BUFFET: You and I have corresponded some lately and you told me you have a large OTR book collection. Would you mind telling us something about that and some of the favorite books that you own?

REV. ROBERT NEILY: I currently have more than 150 books or booklets connected with OTR. Among them are the “usual suspects.” ALL of Jim Harmon's books, John Dunning's two amazing volumes, my college classmate Gerald Nachman's Raised on Radio, Leonard Maltin's The Great American Broadcast, Buxton and Owen's The Big Broadcast and also their initial effort, Radio's Golden Age (my copy is all dog-eared, marked up with notes, additions and corrections, and stuffed with cast lists clipped from copies of Radio Mirror, Radio Best, Radio Album, Movie & Radio Guide, etc.). Jim Cox's batch of books are “must haves.” (My four favorites are The Great Radio Soap Operas, Frank and Anne Hummert's Radio Factory and Say Goodnight, Gracie: The Last Years of Network Radio and The Great Audience Participation Shows. I continually marvel at the output of books by Martin Grams, Jr. (I often wonder if he, like you Jimbo, ever sleeps!) Of course, my favorite is his I Love A Mystery Companion! Another excellent resource is Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers by Thomas A. DeLong, McFarland 1996)). Raymond William Stedman's The Serials: Suspense and Drama by Installment (1971) explores serial drama on radio, in film and comic books. But half this book's 500 pages deal specifically with radio: Chapters 6-18 (220 pages) and Appendix A (35 pages) which is an extensive bibliography of books, pamphlets, periodicals, and newspapers. Five primarily pictorial volumes include Irving Settel's A Pictorial History of Radio (1960, 1967), containing the short oft-mentioned “A Lament for Old-time Radio” by Brock Brower, The Old-Time Radio Book ((1976) edited by Ted Sennet, The Great Radio Personalities in Historic Photographs (1982) by Anthony Slide, Blast From The Past: A Pictorial History of Radio's First 75 Years (1996) by B. Eric Rhoads, and Radio's Golden Years: A Visual Guide to the Shows and the Stars (1998) created by Frank Bresee and artist Bobb Lynes. Also several vintage volumes not always easy to locate, but often found in the stacks of public libraries: three volumes about Fred Allen (the original hardcover edition of Treadmill to Oblivion: My Days in Radio by Allen himself (1954), Fred Allen: His Life and Wit by Robert Taylor (1989), and Fred Allen's Radio Comedy by Alan Havig (1990), The Mystery of the Masked Man's Music: A Search for the Music Used on “The Lone Ranger” Radio Program, 1933-1954 by Reginald M. Jones, Jr., 1987 (the title is self-explanatory!). Three personal favorites include a 28-page booklet (with photos and related articles) from The North American Radio Archives First Annual Tribute Dinner of June 2nd, 1973 honoring Carlton E. Morse, also The One Man's Family Album: An Inside Look at Radio's Longest Running Show (1988) by Carlton E. Morse, (and what was REALLY radio's longest running show, 35 years!!!) Don McNeill and His Breakfast Club by John Doolittle (2001) which includes a CD with Breakfast Club excerpts. Seven books providing “insider” views of radio days include Before Television: The Radio Years by Glenhall Taylor writer, producer, director of shows including Burns and Allen, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and Blondie (1979), Tune in Tomorrow or How I Found The Right to Happiness with Our Gal Sunday, Stella Dallas, John's Other Wife and Other Sudsy Serials by Mary Jane Higby (1968), This Was Radio (1975) by Joseph Julian? (whose career of over 40 years in radio drama also included appearances on over a dozen soap operas and who became an innocent victim of the “Red Channels” madness during the McCarthy era), The Quality of Mercy by Mercedes McCambridge (1981) who had one of the most recognizable radio voices, and It Only Hurts When I Laugh, by Stan Freberg (1988). (Jimbo, if you're not familiar with this one already, I know you'd like it. Stan whose father was a Baptist minister writes that “a lot of my sense of humor was shaped not only by Fred Allen, but by Vic and Sade” (pp. 24-25). WYXIE Wonderland (An Unauthorized 50 Year Diary Of WXYZ Detroit) by Dick Osgood (1981) is a biography of the Detroit radio station where The Lone Ranger, the Green Hornet and Challenge of the Yukon (Sergeant Preston) came to life. Let's Pretend (A History of Radio's Best Loved Children's Show) is by longtime cast member Arthur Anderson? (1994) and a special favorite because Let's Pretend was a part of my childhood on Saturday mornings throughout the 1940's. I can't remember not listening to it – or singing along with the cast it's Cream of Wheat theme song. Faster than a Speeding Bullet: An Informal History and Quiz of Radio's Golden Age by Stuart Silver and Isidore Haiblum (1980) is a 240 page paperback which is not only informative but will tickle the nostalgia glands of any OTR fan. I'll end with three sentimental favorites: 200,000 for Breakfast with Tom Breneman (1943), with plenty of photos and belonged to my grandmother, also my own personal copy of The Breakfast Club 1949 Yearbook and Thou Shalt Not Fear (1962) which contains four sermons in verse written by Bud Collyer (announcer, actor on several soap operas - and radio's Clark Kent/Superman). Unknown to many, Bud was also a Sunday School teacher and lay preacher at his Presbyterian church in Greenwich, Connecticut. Jimbo, I hope there's something here that's of interest to you and your readers.

OTR BUFFET: Thanks so much for answering these for me! I appreciate your time.

REV. ROBERT NEILY: Thank YOU! I enjoyed doing it. Brought back many fond memories!

Monday, October 3, 2011


If TV hadn't come along, would there still be soap operas?

Jack Paar

The 1947 return of the Clicquot Club Eskimos

1947 saw a return to radio of the Clicquot Club Eskimos.  The show was big in very early radio (beginning in 1923 and ending in 1926.)

It was a musical variety show.  The 1947 version lasted just 15 minutes and featured the original host, Harry Reser.

Frank and Anne Hummert

For more, see book, "Frank and Anne Hummert's Radio Factory"

More about Meredith Willson's 'Talking People'

Last week, I brought you an example of Meredith Willson's Talking People.

The Talking People were Betty Allen, Maxwell Smith, Norma Zimmer, John Rarig and Bob Hanlon.  Norma Zimmer was also known as Lawrence Welk's Champagne Lady.

You can read about much more about them here.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

New book in the OTR Library

Added: Meredith Willson: And There I Stood with My Piccolo to the Biography page.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Rare look at writer Cy Howard (My Friend Irma/Jack Benny)

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