Monday, January 31, 2011

Pretend now is really 1980. How *BIG* is your OTR collection?

For OTR fans, this graphic proves how the internet has changed things

* If this were 1980 there would be no internet

* If this were 1980 there would be no XM Radio/Channel 164

* If this were 1980 you might have one or two radio stations in your area that played old-time radio in the evenings

* If this were 1980 and if you had an OTR collection - it would be a tape medium; either reel to reel, cassette or 8-track tape.  Perhaps you had some on vinyl; highly doubtful, though

* If this were 1980, you could/might be able to listen to OTR in your car on a cassette player

* If this were 1980, instead of having 285 episodes of Dragnet, you'd have maybe 26 - if you were lucky.  If you were a die-hard fan with a lot of money or a lot to trade and were persistent and belonged to an OTR Club, you might have 100

* If this were 1980, 80% of what you were listening to had obtrusive background noise

* If this were 1980 and you had a large collection (assume it's as large as what you have on your computer) where would you store it?  If you had 20,000 programs on tape, there's a strong possibility you'd have to have a room just for your collection.  And even then, unless you took careful notes or had a rack full of books, you really wouldn't know what you had or who anyone was, except for the big stars

* If this were 1980, you probably would have never heard of about 90% of the radio stars you know now.

* If this were 1980, you actually have to have a budget for your OTR because there was a big recession in America then and cassettes weren't cheap (see the graphic at top.)

* If this were 1980, CBS Radio Mystery Theater would still be on the air - as were a couple of other shows that were modern and not "old-time."


* Consider with the internet - OTR friends are a click away

* There's no need to buy or trade - almost every show is free (actually, every show is free if you know where to look.)

* The internet allows us to look at hundreds of newspaper.magazine articles from a by-gone era and we can literally learn as much as we'd like on almost anyone (with the exception of John Brown.)

* With an mp3 player, we are free to shop, sit in the doctor's office, drive, do chores around the house, work, cook and lounge and have OTR with us anytime we wish.

* We are able to have forums to discuss our hobby, when in 1980 we would have had to travel somewhere to a convention - and be subjected to a lot of nonsense and probably never get our questions asked or answered or voice heard.

While sometimes I wish I could go back in time, I say that only if OTR could go with me.

Lum and Abner giggle

Every now and then while listening to one of the 1,700+ shows of Lum and Abner, you will hear them bust out of character and laugh and snicker.

I always find it fun when this happens.

Here's a case where they are looking at a similar photograph (below) and have a listen at them:
John L. Sullivan, Sullomon...Solomon?

Review: A Day in the Life of Dennis Day

Dennis Day was perhaps the most-surprising star to come out of Hollywood in the 1940's - maybe in any era.

Day was noted for his voice (he recorded over 1000 songs) but once a part of the Jack Benny Show, it was obvious that Dennis could do more than sing - he could act and he was a master of both mimicry and other vocal attributes.

Dennis remained on the Benny show and got a show of his own and did them simultaneously for a few years. His own show, A Day in the Life of Dennis Day was a situation comedy that usually allowed Dennis to sing three songs during the program - and his mimicry and acting were all in full suite.

Playing a naive, young adult who never can seem to hold a job, Dennis did manage to have a girlfriend (Mildred) on the show.  What she saw in him, we'll never know. And what he saw in her - we'll never know either.  All she did was whine about wanting to get married.

Mildred's mother was domineering and a lot of the time the show revolved around Dennis avoiding/pleasing/tricking her.  She often played the foil to Dennis - but without much to laugh at.  The jokes/acting come off as "not funny."

Mildred's father was a wet noodle (Dink Trout) who was a lot like Dennis and cow-towed to any female's request and never spoke up for himself.  He really wasn't funny either.

When Dennis did have a job, the boss is usually played by radio ironman John Brown.

Dennis singing: He does this about 1/3rd of every show.
The show wasn't without controversy.  Once, believe-it-or-not, Day's music was "banned" in Boston because he sang one of the Irish songs a slightly different way than the faithful liked.   He went as far as to make note of this (in a humorous way) on his program.   Another time, several heavyweight comics (Fred Allen, Red Skelton and Bob Hope) were cut off by NBC for 20-30 second spans for what they were saying about the network one week.  Day followed up those programs by incorporating jokes about it the next time he was on the air.

The show is very sappy entertainment.  While Day is enormously talented (in line with Danny Kaye) the scripts are not very well done and once something gets going, there's a Day song thrown in to ruin all the fun.

While I will admit it is fun to listen to Dennis' imitations (he's spot on) the show does not revolve around these - as a matter of fact, they are usually a last minute thing.  And while I don't suggest the show should have been 'Dennis Day does Rich Little', I think more use of his talents could have been employed.  20 minutes of listening to Dennis be the character he was on the Jack Benny Show is a little too much.

If you enjoy the Irish tenor voice of Dennis Day, you will undoubtedly enjoy this show.  The humor and singing will placate you until it's time for something you really want to hear on your iPod. 

March of old time/Jan. 31

55 years ago...
Suspense 560131 Arctic Rescue
Dragnet 560131 Big Strip 

60 years ago...
Crime Does Not Pay 510131 Heir Apparent
Harold Peary 510131 Civic Achievement Award 
Halls of Ivy 510131 Professor Warren's Retirement  

65 years ago...
Rogues Gallery 460131 Fake Will  
Suspense 460131 178 The Long Shot  

70 years ago...
Lone Ranger 410131 The Ranger's Protegee

75 years ago...
Front Page Drama 360131 Love Doctor

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Review: My Favorite Husband

My Favorite Husband is another of the long line of old-time radio comedies that doesn't hold up so well today.  It's not that it's a bad show (most of the scripts were later turned into scripts for the I Love Lucy television show) or has bad acting (the show is blessed with Lucille Ball, Richard Denning, Gale Gordon and Bea Benaderet) nor is it loaded down with unbearable musical numbers every 10 minutes (ala A Day in the Life of Dennis Day) - this show has no musical numbers at all.

Everything is in place for this to be a classic radio show - but instead, what we get is a soggy version of The Lucy Show.

In my mind, there's not one episode of the show that I can pick out and say, "You know, that was a great episode."  The only thing that makes the show memorable is the endless comparisons that are made with I Love Lucy and perhaps that is the show's curse?  It wasn't Desi Arnez or the Mertz's who made I Love Lucy work - it was the writing and Lucy herself.

This is where we came in.  This show has both of those things: the scripts of Jess Oppenheimer (the I Love Lucy creator and writer) and a younger, more virile version of Lucille Ball.

But for some reason, it just doesn't work.  One thing that would have made the show better is to flip husbands.  Make Denning the husband of Benederet and Gordon the husband of Lucy.

There's a good chance that this would have turned the show into a hopped-up version of The Bickersons (which is not a good show at all) but a souped-up version with Lucy and Gordon as a married couple might have provided hours of entertainment.

Gordon was one of Lucy's favorite actors and she really wanted him to be Fred Mertz in I Love Lucy.  Gordon never played Lucy's husband in all of the shows they did together; why not?

At any rate, Denning is boring.  He's not horrible but like Alice Faye on the Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, Denning is simply a piece of living room furniture.  And really, why would you want him to be anything else?

The blame for the lack of fun in this show then lands squarely on Lucy.  I have no idea what the deal was, I just know that the show is just like most of the others (actually, slightly less fun) during that time frame.  The situations may have been a little more outlandish than say, Our Miss Brooks - but I dare say, Our Miss Brooks is a better show on radio.

If I were rating the show on a 5 star system, I'd have to give the show 2 stars - maybe 2 and a half on a good day.

Fibber and Myrt joke of the day [#11]

Fibber: Hello, operator?  Give me Kramer's Drug Store on the corner of...hey is that you, Myrt?  How's every lil thing, Myrt?  Tis, eh?  Your uncle?  Smashed his face and broke one of his hands?

Molly: Oh, what's the matter, McGee?  Did he drop his watch?

Fibber:  Haw-shaw.  Hello, Myrt?  Nah, she guessed it right away.

Major update at OTR Advertisements

I spent a good 4 hours or more working on OTR Advertisements yesterday.   I decided to seperate the advertisements by show and sponsor, rather than just by show.  Nowhere near being caught up, but maybe one day....  I really should spend most of today working on OTR People and I am determined to do so.

March of old time/Jan. 30

35 years ago...
CBS Radio Mystery 760130, Castle Kerfol 

55 years ago...
Johnny Dollar 560130 318 The Flight Six Matter Episode 1

60 years ago...
Fibber McGee and Molly 510130 Skating Party On Dugan's Lake
Mr. and Mrs. North 510130 382 Charles Wyatt Murder

65 years ago...
Bob Hope 510130 18 March Field

70 years ago...

Lum and Abner 460130 Will elect new mayor

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lucy: pre-"My Favorite Husband"

Fred Astaire in blackface? Who knew

Astaire didn't do much radio...

Revisisted: Mr. Peavy gets angry

Anyone who has followed this blog will remember this post where I mentioned Mr. Peavy (Dick LeGrande on Great Gildersleeve) actually gets angry with Gildy neighbor kid Craig Bullard. 

Here's the edited, classic piece:

Sounds of Dragnet

Not OLD but NEW time: Red Panda Adventures

We all love our classic radio.  I'm sure you wouldn't be reading this blog otherwise.  And who could blame us?  OTR is full of fun, adventures and wholesome entertainment for most everyone.

But I'd like to make you aware of something I found about a year ago: Red Panda Adventures.

The show is about a superhero named the Red Panda.  He has a sidekick, a female by the name of Flying Squirrel.  They aren't superhuman but they are a lot like Batman and Robin, except they are Canadian.

The show is like a cross between The Shadow and The Blue Beetle (if you've ever heard that one.)  It seems to be set in the 1945 era or so (that's all a guess; I haven't really read up on them.)

I've heard 20 or more episodes and I must say it's a fine show.  There's a lot of humor in it and sometimes it has sexual innuendo but they do this very cleverly.  It's still a kid-type show, I assure you.

The adventures are very cartoony and they are actually lots of fun.  There are about 65 adventures and all were made within the last couple or three years.

March of old time/Jan. 29

50 years ago...
Johnny Dollar 610129 The Short Term Matter 

55 years ago...
Gunsmoke 560129 The Bureaucrat

60 years ago...
Let George Do It 510129 Christmas In January

65 years ago...
Red Skelton 460129 Looking for Trouble 
Boston Blackie 460129 John Williams Inheritance Case 
Green Hornet 460129 Escape for Revenge 

70 years ago... 
Fred Allen 410129 A Stay-at-home Cruise 

75 years ago...
Cavalcade of America 360129 Enterprise

Friday, January 28, 2011

"He preferred writing letters to receiving them"

Stuff I'd buy if I was a millionaire [#27]

Fibber McGee and Molly comic

The Cliff Arquette/Uncle Charlie mystery

This is getting weird.  The other day I wrote about Cliff Arquette being Charlie Weaver, the old waterworks guy who worked for Summerfield in the show, Great Gildersleeve - and while that was quite a surprise, it's not near as shocking as what I just found:

This is from LIFE Magazine (1961); I think I read one time somewhere that Bill Thompson, voice of many on Fibber McGee and Molly got the Old Timer idea from Jim Jordan who suggested he copy a character who was on the show, Smackout.  Smackout was the show Fibber and Molly did before they began Fibber McGee and Molly.

Can it be?

Say what? 1947, sex and the radio

Billboard Magazine December 1947

Yippee!/Argh! (Boring blog stuff)

I'm doing a bunch of research (as always) and guess what?  I found that the Billboard Radio Program Reviews were there all the time, I just had to skip to 1947 while Billboard turned their attention to television (again, I ask why?  A three year skip????)

This is both joyous news and it's also bad really news (for me.)

The 1942-1944 review blog as it is now constitutes hours and hours of work and research.  1947-1960 or 1961 will provide many more hours of work.

However, I have an idea that may not require so much work.  While the Billboard Review arm of this site gets very little attention, I suggest to you the finished product will prove invaluable.  But now, I must devise a different system as I can't continue to do everything I am doing without falling apart at the seams - it's just way too much work.

I am in the process still of obtaining advertisements from various newspapers but once finished, I will begin reworking the Billboard blog (perhaps, moving it to a new location and beginning from scratch - and creating a whole new system that will force me to only reproduce 50 reviews a day.  This will take a while but [deep breath] so does everything else I am doing.)

Actually, I am very happy to find the reviews, even though it may sound like I am not.  The reviews add an entirely new and important aspect to the overall theme of OTR WORLD (the eventual name of all of this when I finally start making decent headway in the project.)

As long as you people don't expect me to finish everything overnight (and I know you don't) then I suppose everything is fine.  It's just I drive myself very hard to finish incomplete things - so you can realize how I am literally driving myself crazy with this gigantic vision/OTR Monster I have created.  (Actually, OTR Monster - or something similar - might be a better name than OTR World.  I know no one will write to tell me, but if you have an idea for the name of the conglomeration of blogs, send them in.)

Name the Gilderleeve dog (1953)

Where's Charlie McCarthy?

Charlie McCarhty easily bested Edgar Bergen as far as name recognition and star-quality goes. The dummy was in the film as well. Where is he? And where's Molly (Marian Jordan?)

There he is.

Half-truths about Kato and The Green Hornet

You probably know that The Green Hornet's sidekick Kato used to be Japanese and as the story goes, after Pearl Harbor his nationality was changed to Filipino.

Partly true.

Seems that yes, Kato was Japanese and yes, later became Filipino and yes, this happened during WWII.

But it didn't happen after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Actually it happened more than a year before Pearl Harbor.

Kato (right) from the 1940 Green Hornet film serial
I do not know the reason for sure but I can guess.  Any World War II historian will tell you that Japan was gunning for Pacific conquest (and probably world conquest) shortly before 1933.  Japan was none-too-friendly with anyone during the years preceding WWII.

Therefore, it could be suggested that by 1940 (after Japan had already begun it's brutal challenge to take over the entire Pacific) it was evident that Japan was not really a country the script writers of The Green Hornet might want to associate Kato with.

Granted, this is all conjecture on my part but I think it's a pretty good theory, myself.

The Lone Ranger lie

There are two "flashback" episodes of The Lone Ranger that explain how the Ranger came about being, "The Lone Ranger."

One episode states that the Ranger was crtically injured (in episode #1?) and that Tonto came to his aid and nursed him back to health and therefore they became companions.

However, it must be noted that Tonto didn't come along until episode #12.   That is a passage of either 12 days or 12 weeks (depending on how you want to look a it) and since The Lone Ranger is not a serial, we can assume it's not 12 minutes/hours.

In other words, the script continuity is afoul.

D'oh: Why Bill Stern once got fired

Sportscaster Bill Stern, who spins terrific-yet-bizarre yarns on Bill Stern's Sports Newsreels, was once hired to broadcast a college football game.

He was excited about this and got many of his friends and relatives to write the station and send telegrams telling them what a great job he did and that they wanted him to broadcast every game.

Very sneaky and pretty smart idea; it seemed at the time that all the accolades would secure Stern a spot as the regular handler of college games.

Instead, two days before the game, Stern was fired. Several telegrams arrived, saying what a great job he did on the game!

Did you know [#06]

Here's one you probably think I am lying about: between 1922 and 1927 radio stations were required to shut down for 24 hours a day once a week.

The reason for this was to allow people to hear radio stations not broadcast in their local area. 

A 50,000 watt station like KMOX in St. Louis (provided it was around back then) would come in rather clearly (at night with clear skies) in Chicago or Dallas if local stations weren't broadcasting.

More on "The Shadow"

Richard Lamparski, who did the 1960's-1970's series called, "Whatever Became of.." claims that Arch Oboler wrote most of The Shadow scripts under various pen names.

Reviewed: Let George Do It

"Let George Do It" is an easy, light, fun mystery in the vein of Mr. and Mrs. North or the Thin Man series.

Valentine (Bob Bailey) and Brooksie
George Valentine (Bob Bailey) is a laid-back, happy-go-lucky guy who seems to never find any real adventure; the "cases" (I really hesitate to call them "cases") that come his way seem to be more of a small problem rather some life or death situation.  You kind of feel like George could take it or leave it - as if his bags are packed for Tahiti and he feels like he really doesn't care about the case, but eh, it's a living.  (Think: Late-1950's Johnny Dollar on marijuana.)

That's not really a criticism of the show, as it's a worthwhile time-killer and I enjoy listening to it.  But old-time radio is filled with so many noir-type detectives, violent criminals and even more violent cartoon enigmas that I want to frame all OTR detectives the same way.  It's safe to say that Valentine is probably less of a detective than Baby Snooks is - he's more like a problem solver/delivery boy.

"Complimenting" George is his go-everywhere-he-goes Girl Friday or his secretary/sidekick/whatever-she-is with the odd name of Brooksie; she's usually not too hard to take but she's rarely any fun at all.

She kind of has a bitchy attitude but not enough of an attitude to dislike her. More of the attitude where you don't really give a hoot about her at all (and wonder - why is this girl hanging around?)  She is rather a bit protective of Valentine.   In some ways she acts like she is in-like with him - but there is no romance period between the two and that is probably one of the "problems" with the show.  She's like his younger tomboy sister or something similar.  He must like her a bit though as he calls her "Brooksie" and you just know that isn't her real name.  Add to that the fact that there is NO electricity between them - yet they somehow belong together, like Abbott belongs with Costello - without the silliness from Costello or the bite from Abbott.
Frances Robinson is "Brooksie"

The show Let George Do It often comes off as a cross between a very wilted version of Clark Kent/Lois Lane and a random episode of Box 13; the main difference is there's almost never any danger involved.  Bailey plays it so very cool at every turn and it seems he has more fun avoiding the almost-jealous allures of Brooksie than he does looking for trouble.  Besides, real trouble never comes.

True mystery

March of old time/Jan. 28

35 years ago...
CBS Radio Mystery Theater 760128 Mirror Mirror

60 years ago...
Phil Harris-Alice Faye 510128 Phil & Remley Donate Blood
Red Skelton 510128 Big Business Venture

65 years ago...
The Whistler 460128 The Strange Sisters 
Lux Theatre 460128 The Clock

70 years ago...
Bob Hope Show 410128 Guest Basil Rathbone

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Totally off-topic news find

200+ new ads (and counting)

I'm nowhere near finished and have found 211 new ads and I'm not even 1/10th of the way done yet!

I found a whole batch of Canadian OTR advertisements and that's pretty exciting yet - what am I going to do with those?  (Anyone know of any Canadian OTR sites - if you do, pass me a note, will you?)

One of the wacky Canuckian shows no one has ever heard of
Yes, Canada had their own set of National programs.  Most seem like they are dramatic - in line with Screen Guild Playhouse and that kind of thing.  (Who knew?)

First OTR, then Doug Flutie... those pesky Canucks are trying to take over the world!

I hope you'll be patient with "Buffet Boy" here as I do some things behind the scenes.  I will do what I can to the OTR Buffet and the L&A Dictionary but in the meantime, the other digits may suffer for a bit.

Did you know [#06]

Did you know Fibber McGee and Molly made a South African version of their show (just one.)  I have never heard it but I understand it's about "cleaning the hall cupboard" (which is the "closet.")

If anyone knows where to find it, I'd love to hear it.

More Take it or Leave It

Hodge-podging about The Shadow and other stuff

Do you ever wonder what interested Margot Lane in Lamont Cranston? Once he turns into The Shadow, he kind of gets creepy.

For one thing, Margot has no idea where he is unless he reveals himself to her. Just how many times do you think he visited her in her bedroom or shower at her house without her knowledge? And I'm sure since he had the ability to be invisible, he was probably tomcatting around at other girl's houses not named Margot Lane.

That aside, Lamont was pretty weird as it was. He often took her to places like crypts, prisons and subjected her to spiritualists of all sorts, murderers, hyptnotists, rogue law officials, kidnappers, etc. What was he thinking?

And Margo never protested. Never. Maybe she was hypnotized? Now your imagination can really run wild.

Okay, here's something for you think about: the internet is blessed with a whole lot of The Shadow magazine covers; you can find them readily.  What I want to know is this:  if he's "THE SHADOW" on the magazine cover, how are we able to see him on the magazine cover?  And did he wear the hat and scarf all the time?  Why wear a scarf (to obviously hide your identity) when you are invisible to begin with?

Of course you know Orson Welles was the second (not the first) Shadow and of course you SHOULD know that it wasn't his laugh they used, it was a recording of Frank Readick's laugh (he was the first Shadow.)

I mentioned in my lists the other day how I can't stand it when announcer Jackson Beck (Adventures of Superman) always tells the listener that "Dick Grayson, who is secretly Robin" or "Bruce Wayne, who is secretly Batman" - hey Jackson, WE KNOW THIS. We're not stupid. Tell us once, if you have to. But don't tell us this everytime you have a chance to talk.

Nothing against Jackson Beck - who had the greatest announcing voice ever. The script writers deserve a large raspberry, though.

Speaking of Robin, I got a chance to meet Burt Ward (who was secretly Robin on the TV version in the 1960's) when I was 5 or 6 years old. I also got his autograph on an 8x10. I wonder where that went to?


I would be doing a podcast (rather Podgecast) right now, but since no one even breathed a "oh that was horrible" or "oh that was cool", I just figure you guys hate that sort of thing and have gone back to the old-fashioned way of doing things.

It's too bad. I had a bunch of cool bloopers lined up to let you hear in the middle the the Podgecast...


I think out of all the stuff I do on the internet that is OTR-related, I get the biggest kick out of finding old advertisements in newspapers. My new blog, OTR Advertisements is the most fun to put together.

All of the blogs are a lot of work and time-consuming. What you don't see is the hours and hours and hours of time I spend just looking for stuff.

I've been up more than 24 hours straight right now because I found some new ads in some newspapers and I am downloading them. I have to cut them out, sort them and then post them.

Frankly, I have way too much to do!

I'm very sure you guys tire of reading about me pouting about, "I have too much to do." Hahaha too bad.


I really enjoy comments on the blog. You can comment "off-topic" whenever you like. You can say anything you want as long as it's not some crazy stuff - because I'll delete that.


If anyone has a suggestion about something they'd like to see me tackle or search for - some particular series I haven't covered or whatever, leave me a comment. I am most accomodating.

March of old time/Jan. 27

Just 30 years ago...
CBS Radio Mystery Theater 810127  Small Money

55 years ago...
CBS Radio Workshop 560127 Brave New World Part 1

60 years ago...
A Man Called X 510127 Orient Express 
Dangerous Assignment 510127 Middle East To Stop A Revolution. 

65 years ago...
Great Gildersleeve  460127 Facing Old Age
Jack Benny 460127 Contest Winners

70 years ago...
Lux Theatre 410127 Captain January
Burns and Allen 410127 George Plans To Recover A Mink Coat

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another Snooks article

Chase and Sanborn ad starring Charlie McCarthy

Kenny Baker, the actor

There'll be some changes

Not a big deal but there will be no more ad "dumps."  On occasion, I may point out an ad or more - but from now on, ads will go into OTR Advertisements (which I just got caught up on) - and like the Lum and Abner Dictionary, I will inform of you of those new ads as I post them.

Busy this afternoon finding millions of ads, so I am "stuck" grabbing those from the newspapers.

So much work to do...  I am not a number!  I am a free man.  - The Prisoner (BBC TV), 1967

Weird story/A big OTR surprise

Lately, I have been intrigued about Cliff Arquette.  Who is Cliff Arqueete, you ask?

Like me, perhaps you didn't know the name. But I've been pouring myself into research lately about OTR and have found out Cliff Arquette is actually Charlie Weaver. They are the same person.

That's odd enough because Arquette created the personality in 1942 and then in 1959 or so, BECAME that person for the rest of his life.

Ok that's pretty odd, you say. Now let me turn your world upside down.

"Uncle Charlie Weaver" - say it outloud. Does it sound familiar? Yes, you say - it's the Charlie Weaver in this photograph here.

Yes, yes, yes. I know that and you know that. But the name, "Uncle Charlie Weaver." Doesn't ring a bell?

Would it help if I told you Cliff Arquette played the character known as "Uncle Charlie" on the Great Gildersleeve? Perhaps you'll remember if I told you that he was the maintenance man down in the shack by the lake for the waterworks (remember, for a time, Gildy was the Water Commissioner.)

Uncle Charlie = Cliff Arquette = Uncle Charlie Weaver!
This from an OTR collector's newsletter from the early 1970's

Fanny Brice writes about Baby Snooks!

Did you know [#05]

Did you ever realize that for most of the Ozzie and Harriett run, 1847 Rogers Brothers was the sponsor of the show - and that the Nelson's address was 1847 Rogers Road?

Mixed-up LaTriva [#05]

The topic of the day is "lit." This may be the weakest of the 5 posts so far (I promise, it gets much better.)

Also, this is hampered by about a minute of very bad sound quality. I fixed what I could but I can only do so much:

More lists

Shows everyone seems to love except me:
1. Fred Allen
2. X Minus One

Shows that I can't figure out why I don't like:
1. Mr. President
2. You Are There

Shows that are missing one element from being really good:
1. Bob Hope Show
2. Abbott and Costello
3. Our Miss Brooks

It almost happened:
1. Groucho Marx as Chester A. Riley on Life of Riley
2. Shirley Booth as Connie Brooks on Our Miss Brooks

Characters I feel that are most like me:
1. Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve
2. Doctor Watson (Sherlock Holmes)

Actors who were everywhere:
William Conrad, Joseph Kearns, Lurene Tuttle, Parley Baer, Shirley Mitchell, Howard McNear, John Brown, Gale Gordon, Elliot Lewis, Agnes Moorehead, Dick Beals, Mel Blanc, Elvira Allman...

Favorite Episode of Escape (so far - I haven't quite finished the series yet):
1. A Shipment of Mute Fate
2. Border Town
3. Operation Fleur de Lis
4. Leningen vs the Ants
5. Three Skeleton Key

#77 on the list?:
Challenge of the Yukon or College Quiz Bowl


Best dialog:
1. Pat Novak for Hire
2. Lum and Abner

Best linguist:
1. Danny Kaye
2. Jim Jordan

Shows that are the most alike:
1. Inner Sanctum
2. Mysterious Traveler

Two characters most alike:
1. Baby Snooks
2. Teeny (Fibber McGee and Molly)

Show that surprise you every time:
1. You Bet Your Life
2. People Are Funny

Shows you probably haven't heard, but should:
1. Adventures in Research
2. Biographies in Sound

Things in OTR that drive me crazy:
1. In the Adventures of Superman, whenever Batman is on the show - we are continuously told that, "Dick Grayson, who is actually Robin" by Jackson Beck, the announcer.
2. Having to wade through music in the Jack Benny Show, A Day in the Life of Dennis Day or Fibber McGee and Molly.

Best radio actors:
1. Orson Welles
2. John Dehner

Better on radio than on TV:
1. Life of Riley
2. Halls of Ivy
3. Our Miss Brooks

Better on TV than radio:
My Favorite Husband (I Love Lucy)

One of the best: Halls of Ivy

A couple of years ago, I ran across Halls of Ivy and listened to a few episodes.  I really didn't like it then; it came across as a 'soap opera' to me and one with moral overtones.  While the show was in the comedy genre, I could find nothing funny about it.  Basically, I just didn't like the show and moved on.

About six weeks ago, a friend from a forum made the show sound so good (and I trust his judgment about old time radio) that I was persuaded to give the show another go.

30 episodes later, I am very happy I decided to listen to it again.  This second stab at the show makes me realize how totally wrong I was about the first go-round and how right my friend was about the show.

The Halls of Ivy is a show about a husband and wife (William "Toddy" and Victoria "Vickie" Hall.)  Toddy is the president of Ivy University, a college somewhere in the United States, while Vickie is a dramatics teacher at the school.

My memory of the show the first time revealed that the show was "heavy" and carried a moral message.  I realize now that I misunderstood the show; for though the show can be dead serious about issues such as racism, cheating, stealing, ethics and the usual problems associated with college students at that age (except sex, of course) the show is really about the love of Toddy and Vickie.

After all, Toddy and Vickie were Ronald and Benita Colman in real life and there is a chemistry there that you rarely feel on radio.  As a matter of fact, I can't think of another husband-wife couple on radio who come anywhere near it.

School problems are just a buffering peripheral to the message of love, understanding and admiration for husband and wife.

Each episode includes a flashback of Toddy's younger days when he found himself falling hopelessly in love with Vickie while on sabbatical in England and she was a rising English stage star.  These are well-acted scenes - as is the show in whole.

While this may sound a bit corny or mushy, I assure you, it's not.  This may not be a show for the 20-ish year old single male, I'll grant you, but it is a show most can appreciate for it's well-acted, well written value.

Written by Don Quinn (he was the main writer for Fibber McGee and Molly) you might expect a show full of clever puns and word jokes; instead The Halls of Ivy is warm, intelligent humor - the humor of life.

March of old time/Jan. 26

65 years ago...
Johnny Dollar 560126 The Duke Red Matter Part 4

60 years ago...
Sam Spade 510126 The Chateau McLeoud Caper
Richard Diamond 510126 The Rawlins Case
This is Your FBI 510126  Continental Killer
Duffy's Tavern 510126  Guest: Joan Bennett 

65 years ago...
Gangbusters 460126 The Case Of Damiani and Krause

70 years ago...
Jack Benny 410126 Jack Packs For New York
Aldrich Family 410126 Pen Pal
The Shadow 410126 Ghost of Caleb Mackenzie

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Don Wilson - the singer

Without ever bothering to find out all of these years, I was certain I could hear Don Wilson singing with the various vocal groups on the Jack Benny Show.

Today, I found out that Don Wilson used to be a part of the Three Melody Boys before he became announcer of the Benny program.

Also I found out that Phil Harris' natural instrument is the drums and used to play with various bands before he became an orchestra leader.

Slow today - much more tomorrow

It will be slow around here today.  Despite my most valiant efforts I still have not finished the "B's" in OTR PeopleTHERE ARE A LOT OF B'S!  I am also working on trying to get-up-to-speed with OTR Photo and OTR Advertisements.  And I just don't have time to look for articles today for the OTR Buffet today.   I promise I will give you more of a smorgasbord tomorrow.

Too much on my plate, you say?  Maybe.  Probably.  But this is the way I drive myself (crazy.)

There may be a couple more items here today, but don't expect too much.

Groucho talks with a wedding planner on YBYL

Groucho: How much do you charge for this grand larceny?

Wedding Planner: We have two plans. One is $25 and the other is $15.

Groucho: What do you get for the $25?

Wedding Planner: Well for $25, you get a minister of your choice, an organist who'll play whatever songs you'd like; witnesses if you need them..

Groucho: What do I get for $15?

Wedding Planner: Well for $15, you get the same things as the $25, except you get a live organist.

Groucho: For $15 you get a live organist. What do you get...a dead one for $25? I'll take the one with the dead organist [...] What's the most splice-jobs you've had in one day?

Wedding Planner: One Valentine's Day we had 27 weddings.

Groucho: Is that what killed the organist? What are your working hours on a job like that?

Wedding Planner: Well I work 9 to 5 and I am on call 24 hours a day.

Grouch: Oh. Well you're sorta like a fireman, eh? You slide down a brass pole with rice in one hand and a dead organist in the other.

March of old time/Jan. 25

55 years ago...
X Minus One 560125 Parade
Johnny Dollar 560125 The Duke Red Matter Part 3

60 years ago...
Father Knows Best 510125 Sound Matchmaker
Dragnet 510125 The Big Tomato
Suspense 510125 413 Aria For Murder  

65 years ago...
This is Your FBI 460125  The Unwelcome Guest

75 years ago...
Front Page Drama 360125 Repayment

Monday, January 24, 2011

Random observation: A Day in the Life of Dennis Day

I'll bet you almost half of the shows in A Day in the Life of Dennis Day ends with the word, "Poopsie."

BONUS McGees, O&H, Burns & Allen, Milton Berle etc!

The show, "Guest Star" was a program that ran during and a bit after the war. From what little information I could collect, it's main reason for existing was to advertise and drive for U.S.War Bonds.

There are many shows available with great sound quality (for the most part) but 90% or more are devoted to music and musical stars.

There are however, a few shows you should know about because they are of the stars you probably listen to: and what we have below are about 12 minute versions of the regular show (done just like the regular show!) - except these are all shows not documented in that particular show's logs. These are like mini bonus episodes!

In the case of Fibber McGee and Molly - there are actually two different shows.

All the show themes are centered (or get around to at the end) War Bonds.

DO NOT MISS THESE!  Download them all, you will be glad you did.

(Note: The Great Gildersleeve episode runs a couple of minutes short, including the ending of the Gildersleeve story.)

Abbott and Costello
Red Skelton 
Ozzie and Harriet
Milton Berle
Burns and Allen
Great Gildersleeve
48-06-20 (0065) Fibber McGee and Molly
49-09-25 (0131) Fibber McGee and Molly
Truth or Consequneces

Mixed-up LaTrivia [#04]

Still not into full swing, here is the 4th time that Fibber, Molly and Mayor LaTrivia get into a mixed-up quarrel.  This is about a parade route:

Photo Dump/Jan. 24

Harry James and Frank Sinatra

Bacall and Bogie

Frank Sintara getting hot

Lucy Ball

Desi Arnez

Jimmy Durante and Don (or Jim?) Ameche

Kirk Douglas guest appearance

Dean Martin

Dinah Shore

Bob Hope

Shirley Temple

Bing Crosby on the drums AGAIN

Gene Autry playing sound man

Guest stars Cary Grant and Mickey Rooney

Fanny Brice

Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotten - no doubt doing an Alfred Hitchcock-inspired radio script

Ed Gardner

Garry Moore and Jimmy Durante
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