Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner (only, 13 years later)

See previous Chicken Dinner advert.

The Amazing Agnes Moorehead

A most unusual photo

Article on Eve Arden (1946)

Ridiculous basketball game on the Life of Riley?

Some bad writing again, this time, on the Life of Riley ("Basketball Game Bribe")...

In basketball, high schools play 16 minutes halves and 32 minute games.  I would imagine that junior high is similar.

Junior's junior high team is playing a game.  The announcer says:

The announcer clearly states that "With 10 minutes left, the score is 112-111..."

This means that the team scoring 112 points would have had to have scored 5.09 points per minute while the other team would have had to score 5.05 points a minute.

The two teams together would had to have scored an average of 10.2 points a minute.

While it's not impossible to score 10 points in a minute, it would be impossible to do that over a stretch of say, 3 minutes - probably even 2 minutes.

Scoring 112 points in 22 minutes while the other team is basically doing the same thing would be impossible, for so many different reasons, it's really not even worth going into.

PS - there was no 3 point field goal then.

Last day of August: Hodge-podging

I probably write this once a month but it's true; it's getting much harder to find radio information that my readers would like to read.

There's plenty of stuff out there from the 1930's but I know few of you care about that.To top it off, my readership is declining each day on this blog (although, increasing daily at The Crazy World of Vic and Sade.)  And I spend many hours here a day looking for stuff and writing and posting.

There are a few more reviews to write but I've spent about 6 hours this week looking for stuff in the newspapers to post and though I have found some ads for OTR Advertisements, I have found only one article to post - and that was a Vic and Sade article about Bernadine Flynn, which I posted in the Vic and Sade Yahoo Group.

I can foresee a day when in order to post, I will HAVE to write and that's not that appealing to me....

I have been listening to a lot of Duffy's Tavern the past week.  It occurs to me that the character Clifton Finnegan may get his monicker from Clifton Fadiman, from Information Please.  Information Please began in 1938 and Fadiman gave the show instant respect because the man was so classy and intelligent.

Fennigan on the other hand, is a totally classless stooge with no brains whatsoever.  Of course, this is pure conjecture on my part...

Are you aware that Gracie Allen played the part of Mrs. North in the film, Mr. and Mrs. North?  Yes, the same Mr. and Mrs. North of radio fame...

One thing I will never understand is how popular orchestra radio was - in mono.  In stereo, I can understand.  But wrapping my head around my grandpop unwinding  on the sofa listening to orchestra music without stereo, is beyond me...

Unless you search through the papers like I do, you may have never noticed, or knew this but during the World War II years,  it was forbidden for newspapers or radio to print weather maps or give weather reports...

The very first Radio Hall of Fame show broadcast (in 1934) featured Katherine Hepburn.  I don't know exactly how much radio Hepburn did but that may have been one of just a handful of shows she did...

©Jimbo 2010/2011

You Can't Escape Vic and Sade

This is an article written by my friend, Sarah Cole.  She has graciously allowed me to share this with my readers.

Recently, I was speaking with my mother about Vic and Sade. She had been thinking about why, as a seven-year-old in an isolation hospital, she had enjoyed it so much, She knew she wasn't sophisticated enough to catch the subtleties of some of the humor (though she did think Sade's sister Bess's letters, which invariably began "We are fine, and Walter's kneecap has let up definitely on the twinges..." were deliciously silly), and the references to local Illinois towns were appealing; but most of all, she recalled, it reminded her of being home. To which I responded, "Of course it would: your family was a bunch of nuts!" I had put it bluntly, but she agreed with me. Nuttiness, however, is not limited to just her family. Each family has its share of eccentrics; and each member has his own eccentricities. The incidents taking place in that small house halfway up in the next block, and the characters living there, were exaggerated, but they were all strangely familiar.

What's frightening, though, is how little they needed to be exaggerated. In one episode, the couple's boy Rush is planning a party. He doesn't want to host just another boring party where everyone just stands around and talks. He wants something memorable. So, as he explains to Vic, he is planning to hire a detective to break up groups of loiterers, a trained nurse to care for anyone who might get sick, and would arrange for everyone to be tattooed. He had considered calling in a fire alarm, until Vic reminds him doing so was illegal. Wild stuff? Maybe, but when was the last time you heard a teenager plan a party? It's not all that wild, after all. The same goes for the times Vic practices the ritual for his fraternal lodge. It smacks of parody, but, if you know anyone in a fraternal organization, you know you've heard it all before.

Or a more startling example might be how, in one episode, Uncle Fletcher tells of a dentist of DeKalb, Illinois, who died while he was awake. (". . .Waved good-bye to his loved ones, and walked to the undertaker's under his own steam." He needlessly adds, "I've always been glad I wasn't there.") That sounded pretty bizarre, until I read of a case of a man being found dead in the parking lot of an undertaker's establishment. His wife concluded that he had known he was dying, and had driven there himself. Somehow, I doubt the man was inspired by this fictional DeKalb dentist; so the thought that the impossible situations of Vic and Sade could actually happen does give one pause.

What's even more scary, is when you start hearing ideas from Vic and Sade episodes being suggested by real, seemingly normal, people. For instance, in one of the episodes, Vic's lodge plans to set up hospitality routes for members, so they can stay at each other's houses while they travel. Of course, the mobs who would be traveling through the Gooks' town were so incredible, including such members as infant cousins, straw bosses, and partners in the Powdered Rabbit business, that they would need a trailer court to handle them all. We all get a good laugh about the idea. A few years ago, my mother's family put together a directory. One of the cousins suggested we run the addresses through some software he had that would pinpoint their location on a map. One of his persuasion points was that, when we were traveling, we could stay at each other's houses.
I'm not smart enough to make this up. But, so far, happily, we haven't made the map.

Uncle Fletcher, Sadie's vague uncle, was a monument of quirkiness. Besides calling everyone "Honey,' and turning up at inopportune times, he seemed to know everybody. Everybody! Everybody with an unexpected past, or an odd talent, that is. He would keep track of them by reciting, each time their names came up, their history. Invariably, these litanies of remarkable triviality would end with "later died." It was always worth a chuckle on the program. Now, listen to your elderly relatives talk about people they remember. One day, I was riding with my parents and grandparents. The area through which we were passing had been farmland, belonging to families my grandparents had once known. As we went along, the grandparents were discussing Peter Schwartz, who had come from Indiana, married Lily Plow, who was fifteen years older than he at the time, had sold the farm, moved to Mendota and died about ten years before. Or cousin Margaret Steepleknocker, who sent her children to military school after her husband drowned in a grain bin, bought a tree farm in Idaho and is buried in the township cemetery. Now, I made up these sample descriptions, but this was essentially how my grandparents were keeping track of these people they had known. The whole time they talked, my mother and I were pounding on each other to keep from laughing out loud. They sounded just like Uncle Fletcher!

I could go on, but my point is, if you listen to Vic and Sade, then listen to the people around you, you will soon hear your own personal episode of this absurdist, realistic domestic comedy. The underlying humor of Vic and Sade is its glorification of the commonplace and trivialization of the extraordinary.– just like real life So, look around. How many times have you seen the truly remarkable overlooked and the merely bizarre honored? My mother has described Vic and Sade as a program on which nothing happens. But in that "nothing," all kinds of remarkable things are taking place. Just like the real life it reflected; albeit in a funhouse mirror.
(By the way, I don't know what Powdered Rabbit is, either. But once I figure it out, I'll be going into business, and the directory shows I'll be traveling through your town...)

© Sarah Cole 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Marian, Jim and Harlow (photo, 1947)

Poor quality (from newspaper) but worth seeing

Winner, winner, Chicken Dinner

Behind Your Radio Dial (1947)

The audio on part one doesn't begin until :34 seconds into the the video.

Ugh. What were they thinking?

Steve (Brian Donleavy) from Dangerous Assignment, breaks into song for no reason (and it's worse than horrible.)

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Mercury Summer Theatre (1946) - a review

The Mercury Theatre is well known. Even aside from The War of the Worlds, we know that the original team of actors (Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead, Everett Sloane, Vincent Price, Dolores del Rio, among others)  was much celebrated on stage, in film and of course, on radio.

By 1946, the stock company was full of decent, but unknown actors, aside from Welles. The Mercury Summer Theatre's productions are all centerpieces for Welles and he does not disappoint. After all, Welles is Welles and one need not say much else. He could be anything he wanted and was. In the Mercury Summer Theatre, he takes the lead in every story except one - and that's a story about him.

Welles is a dynamic theatrical force (and otherwise) and I'm convinced you will like the snthology as much as I did. While there are many plays dealing with romance, Welles even makes those quite easy to listen to. (If it sounds like I have a man-crush on Welles, it's because I simply admire him.)

There are adventure stories too, many you may know (Around the World in 80 Days, Man From Bali, etc.) and these too are handled perfectly. Welles' direction and acting are in top form.

The sound quality is good. I'm going to give 1946's Mercury Summer Theatre 4 ½ stars.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Lightnin and Kingfish imitations by Al Jolson!

From the Amos 'n' Andy show, 12-17-46.


Jokes about John L. Lewis' eyebrows

According to Wikipedia,
John L. Lewis was an American leader of organized labor who served as president of the United Mine Workers of America (UMW) from 1920 to 1960.
His eyebrows were often the butt of jokes as well!  Here are two such occaisions, the first from Jack Benny in January of 1939 and the other from Fred Allen's Texaco program in 1943:


Monday, August 29, 2011

1940's Pet Peeve of the Day - "stink" is a dirty word

In the mid 1940's and before, it appears that the word "stink" was avoided as much as possible on the airwaves.

It wasn't "dirty" but it seems it was close.  It seems to be avoided at all costs on many shows, most notably on Fibber McGee and Molly.  The scripts often point to the word "stink" but instead of the word being used, usually nothing will be used in it's place, only an inference to the word.

Not censorship, mind you, but "stink" was a word to be avoided.

Walter Tetley used the word a few times on the Great Gildersleeve and when he used it, he was reprimanded in some way.

By the time the war was over, "stink" seems to become an acceptable word again.

Here's a saved search for the word "stink" in the magazines available on Google Books.  in 1940, the word, "stink" shows up just 6 times.

Am I the only one who has noticed this?

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Cloak and Dagger incorporates incidental music from Texas Rangers, YTJD

Not to be outdone, this episode incorporates incidental music from Tales of the Texas Rangers and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar:

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Fred Allen singing

He did so on Duffy's Tavern, January 4, 1944.


Little known fact

 Ricky Nelson's real name was Eric Hilliard Nelson.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Don Wilson dreams about Jell-o in December of 1938


Mr. and Mrs. Blandings - a review

Cary Grant and Betsy Drake were married and shortly after, had a radio show that was based on a couple of books and an earlier movie Grant had made, Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House.

The premise was a simple one: Blandings (Grant) would take his life savings and build his family a house in which they could be proud.  Of course, Murphy's Law takes over on day one and never lets up.

When the show centers it's attention on the house (which is about half of the time), I find it predictable and not much fun.  Let's face it, we already know that whatever it is that involves the house will either break down or never work to begin with.  Even the property itself has a future highway running through it!

But when the show strays to a different subject, like the Blandings' two charming daughters or anything not house-related, the show seems to do fine.  Is it funny?  No.  It's mere entertainment or perhaps just a curious time killer.

There are a few bright spots, mainly Charlie Weaver who shows up now and then in a couple of parts.  Gale Gordon also is on hand now and again.

Still, I can find little to say in this show's favor.  It's basically a one joke comedy.  1 ½ stars.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What exactly are they selling?

The Shadow's shadow

This is where Clark Kent got his glasses

Gang Buster boobs

Silly writing on Gang Busters (480410). The last word of this official FBI communique is "goodbye."  Just plain goofy!

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Singing of a White Christmas before Halloween

Do you remember your mother stating, right after Halloween something like this: "Goodness, the stores are putting up Christmas displays already!" When my mother said it, it wasn't in a good way. She was mad about it. I never understood why she felt that way. Me? Well I never cared one way or the other.

The reason I told that story is because on October 20th, 1942, (11 days before Halloween) Jimmy Cash (the singer on the George Burns - Gracie Allen Show) sang this...

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Mr. President - a short critique

Mr. President is a show I have long appreciated for it's production values and historical accuracy.

It is however, a show I don't listen to. Let me tell you why:

I think Edward Arnold was a top-notch actor. During his many years as a motion picture actor, he played bankers, businessmen and politicians such as mayors, governors and senators. His stern voice made him a great radio "President."

The problem with the show is just that: Arnold is the President every week. He's every President!.

The show would have been much better served if a different voice played each of the Presidents. When I listen to the show I am somewhat confused and can't play the guessing game involved (the audience is to guess what President is being portrayed as clues are given along the way) as I am more than mesmerized by Arnold being Grover Cleveland one show and Abe Lincoln the next. I would love to hear Frederic March or William Conrad doing one of those scripts (which by the way, were usually very good.)

The production value alone makes the show worth 3 stars.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

The "Forever Amber" book

In the mid 1940's, the book, "Forever Amber" was mentioned on many comedy programs, including A Day in the Life of Dennis Day and the Great Gildersleeve.

Check out this commentary about the book, if you care to know what the book was about. ©Jimbo 2010/2011

1940's Pet Peeve of the Day: "Los Angeles"

The pronunciation of the city, "Los Angeles." I've heard some of the following pronunciations lately - and there are more than I have here.

©Jimbo 2010/2011 ©Jimbo 2010/2011

Use of the Sam Spade Theme

In the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, the Sam Spade Theme was incorporated into the incidental music. (The clip will be followed by the actual Sam Spade Theme.)
©Jimbo 2010/2011

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lum and Abner Dictionary updated

Added these words to the Lum and Abner Dictionary:

divide, English, import, Marthy, paladial, optimistic

©Jimbo 2010/2011

A word about "MP3 Tag"

MP3 tags (at least for OTR) will drive you crazy.  I find that at least half (maybe closer to 60%) are wrong.

The fixing of these tags used to take hours.  Not anymore!

Mp3 Tag is -free- computer program from the fine folks in Germany.  Those industrious people have made a program that will fill your need as far as OTR filenames are concerned.

If you have have trouble with filenmaes not being right, this program will solve most of your problems.  It's extremely fast and there are many different combinations and ways to use their tag copier.

Anyone with a computer and who listens to OTR should have this program.  It's one of the best free programs I have ever used or seen in 20 years of computing.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Johnny Dollar and the Six Shooter

For a short time in 1960, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar used parts of the Six Shooter Theme in the show!

I included one such incident in Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and the Six Shooter Theme is thrown in for good measure.


Rocky Fortune calls the 21st Precinct

Every now and then you will hear shows reference another show. In the clip below, Frank Sinatra as Rocky Fortune calls the 21st Precinct and mentions the brass ring. (First though, you'll hear the ending of a typical 21st Precinct show where the brass ring is mentioned.)


More Janet Waldo stuff

Here's a recent Janet Waldo interview.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

A sneak at Canadian radio

Came across more ads from Canadian Radio series.  I can find no documentation about them.

Meet Corliss Archer - a review

Sam Edwards and Janet Waldo
Meet Corliss Archer was one of those shows I had tried listening to in the past and didn't like. With my recent hiatus, I had the opportunity to actually take a good listen to the show and what I heard this time seemed completely different.

Meet Corliss Archer was a show mostly centered around 15 or 16 year old Corliss, who was "engaged to be engaged" to her boyfriend Dexter.

Corliss was played by Janet Waldo, the same gal who played the bobbysoxer on the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet who was always so infatuated with Ozzie Nelson. She does a fine job of being a teen and is very believable, although she tones it down a bit from the Nelson show.

Sam Edwards as Dexter is just as good if not better than Waldo. He played Dexter for more than 10 years (the show ran for 13 years!) and was made for the part. He was prone to say, "Holy cow!" and seems to do it more than Phil Rizzuto ever did. He was also prone to calling his girl in a similar way that Henry's mother called him on the Aldrich Family. Dexter is definitely part of the show's overall fun.

While this show has many similarities with the other teen comedies that were out in the same era of the Golden Age of Radio (for instance, A Date With Judy) this show has far more charm. Corliss is the central character but Edwards (who would go on to play many other parts in radio and television) is the deciding factor.  He's goofy but not ridiculously so.

Mr. Archer was played by Bill Christy. He was a level-headed dad and he has a laugh similar to Harold Peary's trademark giggle.

The sound quality of the 10 or so surviving episodes ranges from passable to fine. I'm going to give the show 3 stars.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

Books added

Added to OTR Books:

A to Z of Australian Radio and Television, The
A to Z of British Radio, The

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Coming soon, my reviews of...

In the coming days I will tackle reviews of the following series:
  • Meet Corliss Archer
  • Mercury Summer Theatre
  • Mr. and Mrs. Blandings
  • Words at War
  • Mr. President
  • Hallmark Playhouse
  • Radio Reader's Digest
  • Gunsmoke
  • CBS Radio Mystery Theatre
  • Amos 'n' Andy
  • George Burns-Gracie Allen Show
  • Texaco Star Theatre (Fred Allen)
  • Gang Busters
  • Fibber McGee and Molly
  • Jack Benny Show (1938-39)
  • My Friend Irma
Not necessarily in the order presented above...

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated

I had a nasty electrical storm a couple of weeks ago and it did some major damage to my computer.  Most of everything I had previously, I still have (yes, I backed up!)

There are many things I need to do to the computer to get back to where I was before, but I should return to posting in all the blogs by Saturday.  Things will be even better than before and I am confident all of my readers haven't left me (if you have left me, please come back!)

I have missed writing and researching.  But while I was away, I spent more than 110 hours listening to OTR and taking notes.  (I have about 30 pages worth of notes!)  There will be sound clip offerings and I have already written several reviews (by hand) while I was away.

I also spent at least 20% of my time listening to CD's that I had to dust off - previously unheard, stuff that I had never gotten around to listening to.  Well, I had some time while I was away and so you will be reading about those series.

Even though I regret the fact that I was away, I did spend my time wisely and I look forward to sharing it all with you in a couple of days.  Let's say, Saturday.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

1940's pet peeve of the day

I have some ideas about "pet peeves" from the 1940's (some may actually be from the 1940's or 1950's) that I would like to get off of my chest.  Thus, a new series called, "1940's pet peeve of the day."

I'm steadily going through the Aldrich Family - listening to one episode a day.  There's something on there that drives me crazy.  It's the pronoun, "I."

A typical exchange will be:

Sam Aldrich: Henry!  Did you find your missing Latin book?

Henry: Who, I, Father?

When did "I" become a better word than "me?"

When I was in grade school, I remember the teachers telling us over and over that it was "me" and not "I" in those situations.

When I first began to relaize that OTR characters were using "I: where I had been taught to use "me" - I was flabbergasted.  I still furrow my brow when listening to such shows as the Aldrich Family (seems to happen there more than any other show) but there is a bit of nostalgia there that makes me glad I can go back and listen to these things.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Hard boiled detective joke of the day


Was Gildersleeve qualified to be an air raid warden?

The above is from the U.S. government in 1942, relaying the needs for several volunteer civil positions; I recall that Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve said in one episode of the Great Gilderlseeve that he was an air raid warden.

But did he really qualify?

Strong?  I can't think of any manual labor the man ever did, frankly.

Dominant?  Yes, I think so.

Could he do the other duties?  Clear streets, assist people, first aid, fire fighting, report falling bombs?  Probably - for about about 15-20 minutes.  Then he'd be sweating so badly and be so tired, he'd have to go home.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Groucho talks about his dog

ATF? Phooey!

1942 was certainly a different time, wasn't it?

Words to a King Moses' song on Bold Venture

In Shannon's place where many dwell
The pretty, the ugly, the high tone swell
They come to Havana to have some jolly
Sit around in the evening to discuss their folly

Right now this small hotel is graced
By charming lady with handsome face
And husband who get younger by the hour
Thinking how his wife is pretty like a flower
 - 510514 A Muncie Murderess in Havana

Sorry, that's just terrible.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Phillips Lord hired a "colored boy" to worry for him

1937 - Notice it says "it" instead of "he"

Friday, August 12, 2011

...and Orson Welles, as God

May 7, 1940 Milwaukee Journal

Hello. I live in a parallel universe

I have a next door neighbor that I met about a year ago.  He's not always there as his home is a vacation home.  He comes by when he can as he only lives 30 or so miles away.

When I first met him, he saw the iPod hanging around my neck and asked me what it was.  I got to tell him about the world of OTR.

"I live in the 1940's", I remember telling him.  He just looked at me.

Whenever I am around anyone for more than a few minutes, I try and bring up OTR in some way.

The other day, a couple friends of my niece were sitting at the table.  They were dressed in beach wear.

"Going to the beach?"

Yes, they nodded.

"Umm. I was listening to a Suspense episode the other day about a couple who murdered a gal and put her on the beach."

They just looked at me.

And so it goes.  I wonder if you also get the blank looks and stares.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

NY Times story about Himan Brown

There's a free story in a 2003 NY Times about Himan Brown - hurry and read it before they charge you $4.00.

Answer your phone! It could be somebody!

June 1942

Hap Hazard

This is very likely the only ad around for a very short-lived show called Hap Hazard, a show I only heard about today when I found the advert.

According to the On the Air Encyclopedia, it was only a brief 2 and half month replacement for Fibber McGee and Molly in the Summer of 1941. Ransom Sherman (the star) would later go on and become a regular on the Fibber McGee and Molly show for a bit and Harlow Wilcox was the announcer and Billy Mills led the orchestra.

It was also sponsored by Johnson's Wax. Although I haven't been able to find any surviving episodes, I'd love to hear it sometime,

Medical quackery!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Original Roswell news broadcast 1947?

A taste of Vaudeville

Ed Wynn?

I don't get Ed Wynn.  Never have.  Never will.  Is he someone you follow?

He was on radio for years. I just don't think he is the least bit funny!

Big meal then OTR = out like a light

How many of you have ever eaten a big meal, then sat down and gotten comfortable with OTR (you have made plans to listen to 3-4 episodes!) and then next thing you know, you are snoozing away...

Just happened to me {blush.}

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Dangerous Assignment (TV)

Notice how much slower the "assignment" details are compared to radio. It will blow your mind.

Just in case you missed it - you MUST watch

Using "Stuff I have written about"

Surely, you have seen this in the middle, right side of the blog:

For those who don't know, this is a gateway to easily finding things I have written about.  Clicking on Amos 'n' Andy, for example, will take you all the posts containing their names (or at least, most of them.)

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I promise

I didn't get around to putting in the words into the Lum and Abner Dictionary today - I promise to do that tomorrow, if Blogger is working.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

A batch o' halfway tongue-in-cheek questions

+ What was the problem with Leila Ransome on the Great Gildersleeve that allowed her to commit to marriage and yet leave two men literally in the ailse?  What is the psychological term for that?  After she did that twice, wouldn't you think Gildersleeve would have more brains than to fall in love (?) with a psycho like that?

+ If you were Connie Brooks (Our Miss Brooks) would you put up with a boss like Mr. Conklin?  I'd quit and I'd probably tell him off pretty good before I left.  And with a boyfriend(!) like Mr. Boyton, I'd just pick up and move 1000 miles away and start over.

+  What a drag it must have been for the Dragnet detectives to wake up every seven days and find themselves in a new department of the police division.  One week they are on the lookout for a missing baby - to heck with that, what about the 70 year-old lady who is bad check-passer?  Every week it changed: from homicide to juvenile etc.  Usually when you are doing a good job, your boss wants to keep you - in the case of Dragnet, Joe Friday is being shifted around like a bad employee.

+ Where in the world did Sgt. Preston (Challenge of the Yukon) live?  If you said "Canada," you deserve a punch in the nose.  I meant: what city?  Vancouver?  Moose Tongue?  Reindeer Liver?  Slippery Sidwalk?  Deranged Hockey Fan, Alberta?  Seriously, I don't remember a hometown for the man and his dog ever mentioned.   Love that show by the way.  How do you categorize it?  Western?  Adventure?  Juvenile? 

+ When did Randy Stone (Nightbeat) ever sleep?  He worked at night and in the daytime he was off chasing people around.  And one week he has a car and then next week he's taking a taxi.

+ How is it that Broadway (Damon Runyon Theater) knew every crook and seedy character in New York City, yet was never a criminal himself?

+ If the Milton Berle Show got into a fight with the Bob Hope Show, which one would win?

+ What kind of crazy people were Phil Harris and Alice Faye that their lives suddenly stop and they begin singing a song for no reason?

+ Who was cooler - Richard Diamond or Harry Lime?

+ Baby Snooks was such a bad child.  If there was a list written out of all the terrible things she's done, we'd be appallled.  Instead of being spanked, the lil tot ought to be put behind bars.

+ Name one male teenager in 1930-40's old-time radio that wasn't goofy?   Junior Riley wasn't totally goofy - but he's the only one I can think of - and I'm not sure he is even a teenager on the Life of Riley radio show.  David and Ricky Nelson were not goofy but it wasn't until 1950 that they even got onto the Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

+ What was the purpose of the Saint whistling in the hallway or alley or where ever he was before every episode?  Wouldn't that alert the criminals?  (Okay, this one is spotty but I am trying to cover all the bases.)

+ You can name comedy radio shows where football, basektball and hockey aren't mentioned - but I'm pretty sure the subject of baseball was covered in all of them.  The one exception might be in Duffy's Tavern as I don't recall off the top of my head, any sports being mentioned.  And which character was the biggest baseball fan?  It has to be Molly McGee.  In one episode, she knew everything about baseball - she was amazing.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A million basquillion

Well, more like 25 but I have a bunch of words to insert into the Lum and Abner Dictionary - I'll put those in soon (I hate doing it...grrr.)

Also, for those not following me on Twitter, you may want to know there are 5 new Peabody's Peabrain sound clips today but no Vic and Sade because my internet was out this morning and threw me all off track - plus I had no sleep last night and yada yada yada.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Barbara or Constance?

I'm wondering if you have heard the 391017 Aldrich Family episode called, Barbara or Constance?

I think this is the funniest of all of the Aldrich Family episodes and every scene is stolen by Barbara's candy-wanting grandmother, and I am sorry to say I have no idea who is playing the part. 

This is the only episode that I recall hearing her on and she is just fantastic.  I would love to hear from anyone who has heard this episode and can relate to what I am talking about.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

My favorite OTR theme music

1. The Black Museum - There are so many cool parts to the theme, I don't even know where to begin.  The next time you listen to the show, try blocking out everything but the music - it's a wild ride.

2. Lives of Harry Lime/The Third Man - Explored and over-explored many times on this blog.

3. Have Gun Will Travel - This and the tune below were both written and composed by Bernard Herrmann, perhaps the most prolific and talented composer for dramatic art in history.

4. Suspense - The theme is built for the show - this you cannot deny.

5.  Dragnet - It's great, what else is there to say?  Except have you heard this?

6. FBI in Peace and War - I just love this march as the horns are blowin' that sound. I seem to hear this song in my sleep often (not kidding!)

7. Halls of Ivy - Written long before the show was ever conceived but the music goes well with the often slow pace of Ivy College.

A nice rendition exists here.

8. The Life of Riley - Not nice or pretty but perfect for the show. And that's the object, isn't it?

9. The Shadow - The only all-organ theme to make my list, the melody is more haunting than that of say, The Whistler, Inner Sanctum or other eerie, moody pieces.

10. The Six Shooter - There are two main themes but the slower one reminds me of the slow lope of a man on horseback - this is what I think of when I hear this fantastic piece of music.

Honorable mentions - Escape! - I couldn't leave this off the list, neither could I leave off Nightbeat with it's timpani drums and loud brass.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

My Favorite Cugat

In the early days of the show, My Favorite Husband, husband-wife George and Liz were known as the Cugats.  Later they became the Coopers.

Although I have not read this anywhere, I happen to *think* the name Cugat was an homage to Desi Arnez's friend Xavier Cugat to whom he was sometimes compared.

Both Xavier and Desi were from Havana and were very good friends. 

Anyone know anything different?  Is this a plausible theory?

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'll have a Harry Lime and a little zither music

Lately, I have found myself drawn to The Lives of Harry Lime.  I've always liked the radio show and of course, loved the film, The Third Man (which, if you have never seen it, you are truly missing one of the greatest achievements of not just just film, but art.)  I'm beginning to appreciate the radio show more as time goes on and I'm not sure why this is.

The writing has always been very good and of course, Orson Welles is Orson Welles; one needs to say no more.  Welles is absolutely perfect as the suave, smart-alecky thief - although to call Lime a "thief" is a lot like calling Norman Rockwell a "painter."  I can't think of anyone I'd rather "see" in the part of Lime.

As I am about half-way through the series, I don't know if it is that I am finally comfortable with Harry (as you probably know, he's a very seedy character) - or that the scripts are actually getting better.  They have been good all along, although some have been quite predictable.  Somehow, Welles makes it fun even when you know he's going to get caught.  It's as though Welles himself is a bit of a butterfly; if he does get caught, he's still beautiful and unable to be smashed.  Plus you know there is always going to be another show.

And the music of Anton Karas keeps rolling around in my head; I often awake at night to go to the potty only to hear the di-da-di-di-di de-da-di in my head and I am only in deeper trouble after I spend many, many minutes somedays, watching kids 9 years old play the song on the guitar as I sit in amazement:

I wonder how many of you have grasped that through the entire show we have the marvelously exotic and moody soundtrack, only to have the odd bit of non-Karas music thrown into almost every episode near the end?  It is a startling piece that I believe is put there because Harry usually gets his come upppance.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

What's on Jimbo's iPod?

"Sherlock 1" is the Sherlock Holmes with Basil Rathbone. "Sherlock 2" is the Sherlock Holmes starring Tom Conway.

The perilous times of an OTR mail trader?

I have blogged before about how much space an OTR collection used to take "back in the day" when the shows were kept on reel-to-reel or cassette tape.  Note that I have never had a reel to reel (for OTR purposes) and have never traded OTR with anyone.  My perspective is simply thinking about how the situations probably played out.

After going through some old collector's trade magazines it seems to me that there were some problems in trying to have a collection.

Belonging to a club would be the most ideal situation.  You would probably meet once a week - trading tapes with people you knew and trusted.  You knew people - they knew people.  You probably knew traders they didn't know and vice versa.  Therefore, there would be shows to obtain because Harry had a lot of the Superman stuff you need and his friend Albert had 3 Ozzie and Harriets you didn't have.  You on the other hand, you had 6 episodes of Adventures of Research that Albert's friend Ned wanted...

So this is how a club worked.  It was the best way to 'do business.'

Once a year, you might drive 100 miles away (if you were lucky!) and go to an OTR convention. 

At the convention, you'd bring whatever you could bring - but mainly a list of what you had, a list of what you wanted and you made as many contacts as you could.  In between, you'd meet celebrities and whatnot but it seems to me that in - let's say - 1985, most people who went to a convention were most interested in finding people to trade with.

At the low end of finding a trade partner would be through a magazine.  All one has to do is look through the old trade magazines to see that many people traded for stuff they never got.  You send out your tape full of Jack Benny for another tape of Jack Benny that you didn't have.  Your tape went out and the one you were to get never came.

You'd ask politely.  You'd threaten.  You'd write again.  But you'd give up after a while.

Having never gone through this myself, I can only imagine how frustrating it must have been.  However, knowing many people through the Internet and having to rely on people for this and that for the blogs has taught me a lesson: people's "words" and their "promises" mean very little.  Therefore, if you made some good trades with some good people - and all were satisfied, this would be the kind of people you'd want to trade with. 

The magazine was a way to "hide."  I'm not saying these people who didn't return tapes were crooks, I'm just saying most people are unreliable.   I'm going to say that at least 90% of all people are unreliable!


Aside from all the above problems you had these other worries:

Postage.  It was a lot cheaper then than it is now but you can imagine how much it would cost to trade 100 tapes in a year?  What if you traded 500 tapes a year?

Waiting.  And waiting.  And waiting.

It seems the Internet solved a lot of these problems.  There is one thing though: people are still unreliable.  I'd say at least (now) 90.1%... (and growing.)

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Happy 100th birthday, Nicholas Ray!

In his heyday, Nicholas Ray was one of Hollywood's finest directors, most-notably of dark, gritty film noir (although he also directed many mainstream films, such as Rebel Without a Cause and others.

But in his early directing days, he directed such films as They Live By Night, In a Lonely Place, The Racket, On Dangerous Ground and one of his films was also a radio drama before it was a film: Macao (heard on Escape! in the Summer of 1951.)

Ray died in 1979.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Earliest Fibber McGee & Molly stuff ever! (1930)

Thanks to the Cobalt Club, early info on Jim and Marian Jordan 1930!)

Early early early info on Amos and Andy

All of these are from 1930 and I am allowed to use them because of the fine folks at the Cobalt Club.

Itty-bitty Hodge-podge

There was The Thin Man.  He was thin.  There was The Fat Man - who was fat.  Why was there never In-Between Man or Nicely-Built Man?

On September 17, 1952, Leroy gets his driver's license on the Great Gildersleeve.

The next year (August 19, 1953 to be exact), Leroy doesn't need to have a fishing license because he's only 12 years of age.

Was he 11 years old when he got his driver's license?

Someone once figured up there were over 200 stores at the intersection of 14th and Oak streets mentioned on Fibber McGee and Molly.

The Old Timer on Fibber McGee gave his real name twice on the show: on January 26, 1946 it was "Rupert Blassingame." And on December 19, 1954, he gave his name as "Adelton P. Bagshaw."

©Jimbo 2010/2011

"Easy" homemade OTR animal trivia

No fair using search engines!  This quiz is pretty easy.

1. Name Jace Pearson's (Tales of the Texas Rangers) horse.

2. Name Brit Ponsett's (The Six Shooter) horse.

3.. Name Eddie "Rochester" Anderson's horse that ran in the Kentucky Derby.

4. Name of The Thin Man's dog?

5, Name the cat on Our Miss Brooks?

6. Name of Mr. Gumpox's horse on Vic and Sade?

 (Answers tomorrow)

©Jimbo 2010/2011
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