Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Strange promotion

Click to enlarge (1935)

What's the most-popular item at the OTRr Buffet?

It's this.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

New books added

As I have stressed since Day One, the most valuable part of this blog are the searchable OTR books.

I added a few new ones today: I Have a Lady in the Balcony, Sold on Radio, American Women in World War II, The Radio, Pittsburgh's Golden Age of Radio, Border Radio, Emergency Broadcastng and the 1930's American Radio, Radio Mysteries and Adventure and it's appearances in Film, Television and other Media, Radio Modernism and the Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

My new blog: D u m m y

Not only is there a new blog coming about Vic and Sade but there is also Dummy; Photos of Charlie McCarthy.

Dummy is actually pretty far along.  What is it?  It's just photos of mostly Charlie (some Edgar and their friends) but it will be presented in a different blog style than us OTR folks are used to.

As are all of the blogs here, it is a work in-progress and will be an on-going project.

In the future, I hope to have photo blogs of a few other radio stars, including Fibber McGee and Molly and a few others.

You can visit Dummy here
or you can also view it this way

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Hodge-podging about trying to get back into the the swing of things!

Okay, I was lazy for at least a couple of months.  I did very little to any of my blogs.  I just burned myself out.  :)  But I'm pumped up again and ready to go back to working on these things.

I'm not sure if the Lum and Abner Dictionary will be worked on right now as I have stopped listening to the program at the moment.  The show is getting strange and different (I'm in 1945) and I am not happy with the way things are going.  I may just go back to the early days of the show and finish the needed episodes for the dictionary - but not at this time.  Perhaps this winter.

While I don't have any magazine stuff to post at the moment, I still think I can scare up a few articles a day posting about some cool stuff I've found and hopefully some more interviews.

The other blogs that I run need working on too and I may spend a majority of my time in those areas.   I'm actually not that far from catching up on the OTR advertising, which is surprising...and I'm getting some help with some crucial info needed from the fine folks at the OTRR Yahoo group (see the very bottom of this blog for more information on how to sign up.)

I do plan on doing something (blog extention) in the Vic and Sade area, along the lines of the Lum and Abner Dictionary.  I'm also working on removing the Crisco commercials for Vic and Sade and hope to make the entire set available to everyone soon.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Lend your support to Lum and Abner

Donnie Pitchford, (President of the National Lum and Abner Society and a big friend of the OTRr Buffet) is trying to get his Lum and Abner comic strip published by the First Arkansas News.

The comic strip looks like it could be awesome.

If you would like to support his cause, check out this article here.

Thank you.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Stuff I'd buy if I was a millionaire [#43]

Monday, May 30, 2011

Phil Harris/Alice Faye - non-Rexall

Found this:

I had no idea Phil Harris/Alice Faye worked together for anyone but Rexall; all the episodes I have listened to have Rexall as the sponsor.

But after looking it up, sure enough, the show used to be called, The Fitch Bandwagon.

I had heard of The Fitch Bandwagon but in no way associated it with Phil and Alice.

Working on Adverts

Not much going on but I have been working an hour or two here and there on the adverts.  A lot there to see; lots of fun to wade through everything.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

You can't hear everything

Due to heart disease, I am unable to work.  I have been using a lot of this time to listen to OTR.

I've found out something.  It's impossible to listen to everything.

I sat down one day with pencil and paper just figure out how long it would take me to listen to the entire run of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.   It would take a long time.  And I don't even like the CBSRMT that much.

Take a few shows you like and listen to them

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Helen Hayes photo

Since I have been doing this blog, I have yet to find one really good picture of Helen Hayes.

Hayes was probably radio's most-respected actress - at the very least, she ranks right up there with the very best.  I was lucky enough to find this photo of her today - albeit it is from 1934 or 1935.  By far the best photo I have seen of her.

Summertime yet?

I'll bet it was a real treat to get ice cream back in the war days.  This pic is actually pre-war but still probably pretty hard to come by.

Very rare 1935 Jack Benny advert

Saturday, May 21, 2011

An interview with Ian Grieve - expert in Australian OTR

I was very fortunate to have Ian Grieve with me.  American OTR fans, be prepared to learn a lot about radio Down Under.

OTR Buffet: Ian, thanks so much for joining me for this interview.   Could you tell me first of all about the wonderful, exhaustive software, the Encyclopaedia of Australian Radio Shows?
IAN GRIEVE: G'Day Jimbo, thank you for inviting me.
The Encyclopaedia of Australian Radio Shows database (EARSdb) is the basis for logging Australian Produced Radio Shows from the 1920's to 1960's.  In the future we may extend the database to the 1980s, and unofficially we do have some 1980's serials in there already, but we are trying to concentrate on what is considered OTR.  Moris Sztajer is the programmer behind the database and the chief researcher.  Instead of logging a show at a time, we work our way through everything and add an episode at a time as we work through the month or year.  We then go back over as we find new sources.  Basically we are working on 6,500 logs at the same time.  I then take time out to research individual shows when we get requests for information.

We log the Series/Serial/Variety program, the titles, the cast, the characters and the production details.  We include print advertising for the programs, cast photos, individual actors photos and where possible we include a single representative episode.  A lot of groundwork getting permissions from print media and production houses was done before we started. We have only had one Production House refuse to allow us to include a representative episode and that was a company struggling with the terms of their contracts with the actors.  We have negotiated a licence fee system where we pay a large percentage of the sale of each copy of EARSdb to the Production House owning most of the copyrights and they have the responsibility to divide the money where it is owed.

The searchable text version of EARSdb is online at www.australianotr.com.au to assist researchers. 
The current statistics for EARSdb is:
6,450 series listed.  Not bad considering the National Film and Sound Archives in Australia advised Government there were possibly as many as 1,500 Australian Series/Serials/Variety shows produced.  They now know better and have made EARSdb available to the public to use for research purposes in their Canberra Library.

2,334 people involved in Australian Radio Production are listed, many with photos.
27,368 people listed in logs, in other words characters
18, 712 episodes logged
555 complete episodes included and the aim is to reach 1,000 within the next two updates.
Future intentions:  To add voice samples for each actor to assist in identification.  To include non Australian produced shows that were broadcast in Australia.  Probably indicated by a different colour text.  To include a Bio of each person, rather than just list the series/serials/plays they were in and the roles.  We hope to have descendants write a more personal Bio as this database is for future generations as well.  
All in all, EARSdb will keep Moris and I busy for the rest of our lives and hopefully others will take it over and expand it further.

OTR Buffet:  I posted an article not too long about US entertainers and their shows gaining wide popularity in Australia due to the broadcasts of the Armed Forces Radio Service back in World War II.  This kind of opened up the airwaves in the Pacific to a whole new listener.  If you can, can you elaborate on that and do you happen to know what entertainers and shows were the most popular?
IAN GRIEVE: Actually, U.S. shows were imported and broadcast in Australia from the mid 1930's.  But were then banned basically during the 1940's and beginning of the 1950's.  This was for currency trade reasons and was also a shot in the arm for local production.  The recordings couldn't be imported but the scripts could.  Books were banned until 1970's or 1980's I think and it really helped the local writers.  AFRS discs were brought to Australia, with special permission, by the U.S. Armed forces when U.S. forces were stationed here in the latter stages of WWII.  They basically split the shows up between stations so that most stations played several U.S. series for the troops.  I do have several articles about it and they listed the shows involved and there were a lot of false starts as permission was granted, then rescinded, granted, rescinded and granted.
I honestly couldn't say which shows were most popular, but many of the U.S. OTR performers visited Australia, from Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy to Jack Benny and Bob Hope.  Also during the 1950's top Hollywood actors were flown out for performances on the Australian radio plays like Lux, Caltex or General Motors Hour.  Performers doing tours on the stage would also participate in local radio productions while they were in Australia.

OTR Buffet:  Originally, I asked you here with the intention of asking you only questions about the show, Dam Busters.  But even after listening to the series myself, I don't really know enough about it ask any good questions.  Could you tell us a little about the radio series?

IAN GRIEVE: The radio series follows the book by Paul Brickhill very closely and as you know, Paul introduces each episode.  It tells the story of the 617 Squadron that was handpicked and trained during WWII to bomb important targets, commencing with German controlled Dams then heavily concreted Submarine docks, ships in fortified harbours and bridges.  They used specially designed bombs and trained specifically for each type of bomb and target.  They were the cream of the RAAF and included several nationalities including Australians.  Bud Tingwell who plays Guy Gibson V.C. was a Pathfinder in WWII so there is realism in his acting.
For those who do not know the story, these was a British Film made in 1955 that is well worth watching and starred British OTR actor Michael Redgrave.  Also the book "Enemy Coast ahead by Guy Gibson V.C. that I read in my younger days.
Paul Brickhill also wrote The Great Escape (also a radio series that has survived complete).  U.S. fans of the movie beware, most of the parts played by U.S. actors were in actual fact Australian characters.  Hollywood likes to build up Americans at the expense of other Nationalities :)

OTR Buffet:  Where do you think Dam Busters ranks as far as Australian radio?   (And if you can answer this: How would you rank it with American, British or South African radio?)

IAN GRIEVE: I think Dambusters is well done.  It is historically accurate and well acted.  It has several other things going for it, it survives complete which is unusual for an Australian serial.  I am sure Dambusters was broadcast in U.S. and South Africa and it has stood up for quality.  Australia had a good reputation for producing quality shows.  Many series had their start in the U.S., then the scripts purchased and produced in Australia and the series sold back to the U.S.  Many Australia series were accepted as U.S. until Moris and I started documenting Australian Productions and identified them as Australian.  British Production Houses like Towers used to get their productions made in Australia, Black Museum is a good example.  It was British, made in Australia and had an introduction by Orson welles tacked on when the discs were produced, then broadcast in the U.S.. and nobody knew until I found the newspaper articles detailing the production and the crew involved.
Australia sold thousands of series to South Africa and South Africa started to make their own versions and sell them back.  They were buying them over about 50 years, so they must have liked what we were producing.

It is hard to rate radio series/serials against each other, let alone against other nationalities.  I prefer the Australian version of The Clock to the U.S. version.  I prefer the U.S. Gunsmoke to the Australian version.  It is hard to rate a well known actor or actors in the U.S. against the performance of a little known actor playing the same role in another country.  We all have our favourites.

OTR Buffet: What are some other Australian series we may have heard ?

IAN GRIEVE: Over the years I have released something like 3,000 Australian episodes into circulation as I found them or identified them.  Commonly known series include The Clock, Fat Man, Amazing Mr Malone (most of the surviving episodes in circulation are the Australian episodes), Air Adventures of Biggles, Danger with Grainger, Dangerous Assignment, Dossier on Dumetrius and the other Major Keen series, Famous Trials, Famous Jury Trials, all the George Edwards seials like Frankenstein, Afloat with Henry Morgan, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Corsican Brothers, Son of Pathos, Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde, Adventures of Marco Polo, The Man in the iron mask,  Passage of the Tangmar, Undercover Carson, White Coolies, just to name a few.

OTR Buffet:  What are some old Australian shows that you would reccommend?

IAN GRIEVE: I like Detective and Mystery shows like I Hate Crime, Carter Brown Mysteries, Address Unknown, Nighbeat, all 5 of the Major Keen serials starting with Dossier on Dumetrius.

OTR Buffet:  Thanks so much Ian for your time and answering these questions.

IAN GRIEVE: No problem, I enjoyed it.  The reason I started researching and documenting Australian radio shows was that when I discovered OTR, U.S. collectors told me that Australia didn't produce any of their own shows, they just used U.S. scripts.  So I asked about Search for the Golden Boomerang, Yes, What!, Dad and Dave and was greated by Huh? and I knew that they didn't know anything about Australian Produced shows and that was because nobody had done the research.  That was about 12 years ago and now lots of people have discovered that Australia produced more than the shows based on U.S. scripts.
©Jimbo 2010/2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

L&A Dictionary update..

I seriously am trying to get back into the swing of things but I had things to do last night and didn't listen to any Lum and Abner -- therefore, there is no dictionary update today.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Adverts added

Spent about 4 hours total yesterday and today adding adverts to OTR Ads.  It barely makes a dent - as I have a bunch of ads to go (probably 1000 more.)  It's truly overwhelming... but I'll get there one day.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Hound of the Baskervilles - the movie

Somehow, I had been unfortunate my whole life to have missed all the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce films in which they portrayed Sherlock Holmes.

Well this weekend, I seized that opportunity as the duo was on TCM in their most famous (and best film) adventure, The Hound of the Baskevilles, easily an Arthur Conan Doyle's classics - and probably the best Sherlock Holmes adventure on film.

The story was fine and Rathbone and Bruce work every well together on camera - just as on radio.  It was a lot of fun watching the two work.

If you enjoy Sherlock Holmes - especially Rathbone as Holmes, you should go and rent this film.  It's a classic and most video stores should have it.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Lum and Abner Dictionary update/May 9th

Added the following words to the Lum and Abner Dictionary today:

grief stuck

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lum and Abner Dictionary update/May 8th

I got off my lazy butt and added the following words to the Lum and Abner Dictionary today:


©Jimbo 2010/2011


I have Lum and Abner words to put in the dictionary, advertisements for the Advertisement blog and plenty of casts to compile for OTR Casts - so that's what I will be doing for the next few days.

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things...

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hodge-podging about what I've been doing

Hi everyone.

I have been doing a lot of things away from the internet.  I've been exploring some television (traitor, right?)  I watched I Love Lucy and saw Jay Novello.  I've been watching the old Dragnet TV show.

Am I still listening to OTR?  Yes, of course.  As a matter of fact, I am heavily into Gleason and Armstrong (almost half-way done with it) and still listening hard to Vic and Sade and Superman.  I've almost been listening to a lot of Amos 'n' Andy "since I've been away."

I've been enjoying (or trying to enjoy) baseball, one of the things I enjoy most in life.  My team started off hot but is no longer hot - as a matter of fact, they waver on being horrible.  But I've been watching.

I have been listening to Lum and Abner as well - but I have noticed than in 1945, Alka Seltzer has taken some drastic measures to change the show a bit - and I am none too happy about it.  So much so that I almost don't want to listen to it.

Basically, I have been trying to stay away from the internet as much as possible.  I devoted 4 months to this blog (and it's siblings) and I need a rest is all.  As soon as I get a hold of some more news, I will get back in the swing of things.  This "vacation" was sorely needed.

I honestly hate to be away, but I was dangerously close to running myself into the ground here.  I still love OTR but the blog got to be a heavy burden because I was devoting so much time to it.

I'll see you soon.  I hope.

©Jimbo 2010/2011
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