Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
Sunday, November 25, 2012
I was thinking last night that there are shows I listen to that I appreciate more and more.
These will be in no particular order:
Burns and Allen. The shows prior to 1942 are ones I am not crazy about. Despite other flaws in the show after '42, I still find the show to be very entertaining and funny. I've said this probably 382 times but the show would have been outstanding without the duck. I'll never understand the duck (literally and figuratively.)
Amos and Andy. I've come to realize that during the Shorty the barber days, this show is probably at it's all-time best. I'm near the end of the series now and will write extensively about it in the near future. A great show.
Suspense. There are so many shows and they all had top-notch production; even the bad shows aren't hard to listen to. The good ones will live forever.
Lux Radio Theater. Pretty much the same thing I said above about Suspense. CBS had a good formula that no one has ever topped with those two programs.
Challenge of the Yukon. I think I appreciate this show more as the days go by simply for nostalgic reasons. It is one of the shows I remember listening to in 1975 when I first found old-time radio. The shows aren't great but are fun - and it's one show that I don't mind listening to their commercials.
Richard Diamond, Private Detective. Despite the changeover in some of the cast (thankfully Diamond was always Dick Powell) I enjoy this one too. There aren't a whole lot of episodes but I find them all to be good stuff.
Bob and Ray. If I didn't know any better, I don't think I would know Bob and Ray was OTR. It makes no sense and it's as zany as it can be. Every day I find myself scrunching my eyebrows and thinking, what... I am always amused by it. I don't laugh but I find them just to be absolutely crazy. They never do what I think they will. They always keep me off balance.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Friday, November 9, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
The funniest character is Mayor LaTrivia from Fibber McGee and Molly. There are others that come close but Mayor LaTrivia (who got his name from New York's Mayor La Guardia) was the essential funny character.
Actually, he was a very serious character. But Gale Gordon, the man with impeccable timing who played LaTrivia, would find whatever he said twisted and taken literally and hurled back at him by both Fibber and Molly, Then he would deteriorate - he would become confused then angry. Like a crashing plane, he'd become uncontrollably sputtering and you waited for that moment when he realized what the McGees had done to him. He'd stop and the audience would grow quiet after his enormous outburst. "McGee," he'd say. And the audience would come back to life.
Just thinking of those moments, which are the highlights of many of my days listening in the evening, give me chill bumps just thinking about him saying it.
At #2 I have Uncle Fletcher of Vic and Sade. Many people who claim to not like Vic and Sade have never heard Uncle Fletcher. The arrival of Uncle Fletcher presented a level of humor to Vic and Sade. He's almost funny enough to be at #1.
At #3, I have George Kingfish Stevens of Amos and Andy fame. The Kingfish twisted English as badly as anyone on radio and you'd think about what he'd was saying later on and laugh to yourself. "Regusted" instead of disgusted. "Dispossessed" instead of "repossessed" and on and on. I've a never-ending smile listening to the Kingfish.
At #4 Leroy on The Great Gildersleeve. The early days, primarily as the older the show got, it seems Leroy wasn't near as funny. Of course Leroy was 25 or 26 when the show started so... But when he was on there, he was funny, for corn's sake.
The last spot could have been anyone. Fibber McGee was funny in a lot of different ways. Gracie Allen - playing herself - was funny and I appreciate her more as the days roll by. And there are many others I could mention. But I vote for Baby Snooks.
From what I have read, Fannie Brice would become possessed with Baby Snooks, turning into this creature at show time. She was just as funny as she was bratty. This is an overlooked show because many people see the title and believe it is a juvenile show. It is anything but that. And Baby Snooks always makes me laugh.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
This episode (Christmas Day, 1947) stars George and Jane Wyman of all people. I have no idea where Gracie was.
Monday, October 29, 2012
And I've recently run into Gale Gordon (surprisingly) playing the part of a millionaire Texan/oil man/cattle man on Burns and Allen in the late 1940's - right yonder before they went on the television.
I like his character a lot!
EXCEPT, I cannot stand his tagline: "Ma'am I like your sense of humor!" When he utters this ridiculous phrase in his ridiculous manner, you'd think he was trying to do a bad Marlin Hurt impression.
A real Texan MIGHT say it like that ONE time. The rest of the time, a real Texas is too busy lookin' for Tacos and doin' Texas stuff than act like a goober.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Hear for yourself and make your own decision: (((HEAR)))
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
What I have tried to do there is to make a place where you can search through books that have to do with OTR or OTR participants. One of those books is John Dunning's fabulous On the Air.
While you can't read entire books, you can generally read 25-50% of the books there.
I'm not begging you to go have another look but it's a website *I* use all the time and I wonder why you don't?
He's not just a taxi driver. He's a taxi driver who hates to say "goodbye."
He's played perfectly by... well, I don't know who plays the part. But man, is he funny!
(From episode #659, 48-06-06 Jack Leaves For Detroit)
Monday, October 8, 2012
Three years ago, I was "iffy" on listening to George Burns and Gracie Allen. The early episodes (up to 1942) are not very good. Despite the fact that I never liked the duck on there (!!) I listened. And the postman (Mel Blanc) was someone who I wanted to rip his mailbag open on a very windy day. But somehow, I now kind of like the postman.
Crazy, aint it?
I used to hate George saying, "Gracie... (tap tap tap)" Now, it's one of my joys to hear him say it, mainly because I have learned to mimic George. So I can't wait for those moments to check out my own comedic timing.
For whatever reason, I still don't care for sci-fi. I recently re-downloaded X Minus One. My taste hasn't changed - I just don't get it. I suppose I don't get it like most of you can't get Vic and Sade. I'll feel sorry for you and you feel sorry for me.
Thanks to all of you people who broaden my horizons. Thanks to "Boston Blackie," I now listen to Halls of Ivy, a show I once avoided because "it's not funny." Thanks to Sarah Cole, I've been listening to Henry Morgan and I've been trying to like I Love a Mystery. She probably isn't aware how closely I follow her Tweets.
I like to ask people what they would recommend I listen to? I like to hear new shows. I want to find that special show. It's the only way to go!
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Friday, October 5, 2012
I hope if you haven't done so already, you will check out the files. You will see how clean they turned out.
I'm hoping someone other than Boston Blackie will comment about the files and what you think.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
I have a couple of surprises for you. I am working on removing commercials and improving sound for "Escape." The main thing is the sound, which isn't horrible to begin with but the volume is very low on almost all episodes. I am fixing that and equalizing them as well. I've done about 60 episodes and they sound fantastic. I hope to be finished with Escape in a couple of weeks or less.
But the big surprise is that I am also working on Gunsmoke - removing commercials and improving the sound. I hope to have this finished by the end of the year if not sooner.
I envision the following for 2013:
Fibber McGee and Molly - finishing what I have started, which is removing all songs, all openings and all closings. (40% done already.)
Burns and Allen - same as FM&M above. (30% done already.)
Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar - Improving the sound and connecting all of the serials, removing the openings on episodes #2-#5 and closings on episodes #1-#4. The serials will be one long episode. I'm not going to mess with the non-serials.
This is Your FBI - Removing commercials, improving the sound.
Dragnet - Removing commercials, improving the sound.
This is as far as I have thought ahead.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
I am pretty proud of them. I spent some quality time fixing them the way I wanted them. I got rid of all the whistling and all of the commercials. I fixed all of the titles that were really badly screwed up by whoever did them from OTRR (where I got the files to begin with.)
I shorted the opening and closings to the bare minimum. I fixed the sound as best I could on every files. I'm actually getting pretty good (if I may say so) at fixing sound. It's taken me two years to get this good, so I can brag if I want to. ha ha
I think you'll enjoy these files. But if you don't, return them for a full refund.
Yes, I know there are 83 files. That's because there really are only 83 remaining files in circulation.
Find them here. Enjoy.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Somehow during the uploading, archive.org logged me out, meaning that was all for naught. I suppose I will try thi sagain tomorrow morning.
Sorry for the delay.
Monday, September 24, 2012
So, this puts the release of the files back a day or two. I could be done today or tomorrow. It may be another 24 hours before they are uploaded.
Best guess: tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning. At any rate, you can check here or Twitter for updates.
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Groucho was not just funny, he was also rude. Sometimes he was embarrassingly rude. But even when he was, he was funny. It was impossible not to laugh.
If you had never seen or heard Groucho, either in his hilarious Marx Brothers films or on TV's You Bet Your Life, there would be no way to describe him to someone.
Not too long ago, I put in a DVD of the TV show, You Bet Your Life, in the player for a 22 year old friend of mine. He laughed the whole way through and sat there and watched the full fours hours with me. When he left my house, I gave him the DVD as a gift and he now loves Groucho.
Groucho has that effect on people. I'd say the current generation would love Groucho as much as they 'love' the current comedians if they only gave the man a chance.
Of course we know that will never happen...
Us old folks and OTR lovers though, have a bunch of Groucho to listen to from his radio game show, You Bet Your Life. On the show, Groucho is Groucho. Larger than life, loud, obnoxious and very, very funny.
Yes, it's a game show - but that just kind of seems secondary to Groucho. I can imagine the sales pitch for this show in the 1940's... I can imagine prospective advertisers running away in fear. You never knew what Groucho would do or say. Because he was the one, the only, Groucho.
About 4 years ago, I found the radio show by the boys. I've listened to each one and I think I have a good grasp of the show.
I'm not sure you'd put the duo in the 'juvenile' category, but it's darn close to being there - at least in 2012. It probably wasn't that way in the 1940's (and later on television.) But things change.
I probably don't have to tell you this, but Bud Abbott was the duo's straight man. He was tall and thin and quick and snarky and needless to say, he was all business. Lou Costello was a pear-shaped, active, silly, elastic, lunatic who provided all the machine gun crazy stuff.
They were better in the films and on television, where you could see them. On the radio though, their material worked too. It just wasn't as strong.
Their jokes and puns were pretty corny. They weren't the corniest people on the radio but they were up there. I remember Milton Berle doing a very brief parody of them and he 'murdered' them. It was eye-opening, because their corny humor (which I somewhat enjoy and always have) all of them sudden sort of died that very day that I heard the parody.
At any rate, Abbott and Costello will always be mentioned when people talk about comedy teams. They aren't in the same class as Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen or Fibber McGee and Molly, but they do rank somewhere near the 1940's Three Stooges, in my mind (it's hard to beat the 1930's Three Stooges.)
The radio show isn't horrible it's just corn, corn and more corn. Not the corniest. Not the worst. It's good, clean fun. It's GREAT for kids. It's fast and loud. It's Abbott and Costello.
When I found old-time radio in 1975, I found out quickly. Although I don't really remember if I knew that Bergen was a ventriloquist. My brother wasn't around to ask. I may have asked my parents - but at any rate, sometime after 1975, I found out that Charlie was a dummy.
Skip ahead a half of a lifetime and here I am listening to all of the surviving broadcasts. The shows themselves are something that I simply cannot like; there is too much music and too much slapstick and vaudevillian-type humor that reminds one of a bad Abbott and Costello Show.
However, when Bergen and his dummies are isolated, apart from the periphery of the rest of the show (which can include lots of "awful" singing and coffee commercials) you find a treasure.
Bergen, by all accounts, wasn't a very good ventriloquist. His lips moved and his talent in this area was far behind others. But his material was good and he was on the radio, where you couldn't see his lips moving.
Bergen didn't just have Charlie McCarthy - who was very much a Bugs Bunny/Walter Tetley-type character (sans the Brooklyn accent) - Charlie was like a smart-aleck kid who could get away with almost anything. He really wasn't that funny but he provided laughs now and then.
Charlie and to a lesser-extent, Bergen, became super famous almost overnight. For a good part of the latter 1930's, Bergen's dummies were as popular (or more-so) than any other star on radio. He made films too.
|One of these guys is Mortimer Snerd|
It's Snerd that really stands out when you listen to the sketches as a whole.
Another dummy, Effie Clinker, is Bergen's female persona. I do not find the character funny in the least. I don't think Bergen ever really felt that comfortable with Effie as he uses her very sparingly on the radio shows.
When broken down into dummy sketches, you will find a quick-paced barrel of fun. While the various Bergen radio shows drag (many of them last as long as an hour) 90% of the sketches last less than 7 minutes. And I'd guess that 75% of those actually last less than 5 minutes.
Other than Bergen and his dummies, the one standout would be Don Ameche. Ameche comes and goes throughout the series. When he is in the sketches with the dummies (in my recollection, always with Charlie) he plays an Italian named Gazzolla. The Gazzolla character can be quite amusing at times when paired with McCarthy.
Yes, we are talking about a very juvenile/vaudevillian-type show; I understand that kind of humor isn't everyone's cup of
The rest of the sketches should be up sometime before the end of year.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
First, let me get off my chest all of the stuff I don't like about the show.
In my first review of the program, I made it known I am not a fan of Mrs. Davis, Connie Books' landlord, played by radio veteran, Jane Morgan. This still is the case but for some reason, she is not nearly as hard to stomach this time around. It's probably that I knew she'd be there messing up my enjoyment of every show and I just went ahead and prepared myself for this.
Another complaint is Mrs. Davis' cat, Minerva, who is obviously played by an overpaid voice actor. There are only a few episodes where the cat is prominent and I have toughed those out. And another animal is Mr. Boyton's frog. Boyton, who is Connie's "love interest" - is much more interested in animals than he is in Connie it seems. His noisy frog is annoying to me. [Treating animals as part of the cast in otr is a dumb idea anyway, in my opinion. This just doesn't work well.]
My biggest complaint, however, is something I somehow overlooked during the first listen. The misuse of the boom microphone by the crew. Many times, almost a half of a sentence will be almost lost into the ether because the guy running the boom mike has the mike off somewhere else. If you haven't noticed it, listen closely to the show next time and see if I am not right.
There are some good things about the show, most of them named Gale Gordon, who plays Mr. Conklin, the principal of the school. He usually has a quick temper but sometimes he has a slow burn. Either way, he's terrific. If he weren't on the show, the show would be totally a stinker and not worth listening to at all. You can imagined a Joseph Kerns-type playing the part as well but Gordon is just perfect for the role and deserves credit as being the one thing that almost makes the show work.
Eve Arden, of course, plays Connie and while I don't have anything bad to say about her and her constant dry sarcasm, I really don't have anything good to say about her either. She's a mostly positive cog in the wheel of the show but she's more or less vanilla as far as what I hear.
Richard Crenna, who plays the constant-student-thorn is Walter Denton. He plays the part of an older juvenile well and he's definitely not vanilla. He seems like he's in every scene and that's mostly a positive. Although, his cracking voice after a while is annoying as well.
Leonard Smith, who plays Stretch Snodgrass, the school's star player of all sports, is stereotypically stupid. And since Miss Brooks teaches English, he is prone to mangle his grammar on every other line. This is a strong plus to the show, especially over Crenna's cracking voice . While he's not funny, exactly, he is more than a fill-in while you listen patiently, waiting for Walter or Miss Brooks to goof up something that will excite Mr. Conklin so we can hear him blow up like a covered steam pot.
To me, the show is just a filler. I look at this way: there are shows I want to listen to. If I listen to them all 'now' then I will be stuck with stuff like Our Miss Brooks the rest of my life.
That's not something I would be looking forward to.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Believe it or not, I left Dick Powell's songs in there although I am working on another set (should be done within a week or so) that doesn't have his songs.
All commercials have been deleted as well as his whistling (I can't stand that!)
Anyway, I'll keep you informed
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
3. Mercury Theater - When Orson Welles plays the lead most every week and the stock company had players like Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotten and 15 other names you have heard of, then you realize you have found something. The only drawback is, there aren't that many surviving shows.
2. Suspense - Almost 700 surviving stories and a cast of thousands, with top-notch direction - but missing something that would put it over the top.
1. Radio Theater (AKA Lux Radio Theater) - Pristinely acted, directed shows with almost an hour's length to them. Hundreds of existing titles and the sound is generally great. Barely beats out Suspense.
3. Frontier Gentleman - A great show. John Dehner is at his best here.
2. The Six Shooter - Wonderful stuff; this has slipped in my ratings over the years only because of it's brevity and the fact that Gunsmoke has like 20+ times as many shows.
1. Gunsmoke - Overwhelmingly good stuff with piles of shows to listen to.
Shows you should try, but haven't:
3. 20 Questions - There aren't a lot of surviving shows but you'll like what's left for you.
2. People Are Funny - Enough shows exist that you can't really complain that there aren't enough; but I like it so much that I still complain that there aren't enough.
1. College Quiz Bowl - Allen Ludden hosts this quiz program. If you like a challenge, this is the one for you. There are no easy questions.
But last night, I had a big laugh. I hope it makes you laugh like I did! Here's a clip of Jack, his violin teacher and the Sportsmen's Quartet...
Monday, September 17, 2012
3. Challenge of the Yukon - Almost every show's formula is the same but it's still something that's fun to listen to. The colder it is outside, the more fun the show is.
2. Speed Gibson of the International Secret Police - Series One is much more fun than the second series but it's hard to beat the first series. The first series ranks somewhere in my top ten all-time best.
1. The Adventures of Superman - There are so many episodes, so many arcs and the sound is darn good on most of them. Bud Collyer is a perfect radio Superman and it's just fun.
Best situation comedy:
3. Burns and Allen - Even with the Duck and the postman, the show somehow ranks in my top 3.
3. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - Not only is the radio show a blast but so are the 50 or so television episodes you can find online.
2. Amos 'n' Andy - By the time this show reached the 1950's, they found the perfect comedy formula. It's darn funny and there isn't anything racial about the show at all except 'dialect.' Dialect isn't raciscm.
1. Fibber McGee and Molly - Jim Jordan was overlooked as a comedian. He belongs in the same category as the great ones. The show was funny from the 1930's to the mid 1950's.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Favorite police show:
3. This is Your FBI - It's pretty hokey but I expect it to be hokey. I'm not turned off by it. I'm not turned on by it either, although it sometimes makes me laugh. It's not a well-done show but it's got that certain flavor I expect. It's bad and it's supposed to be bad, get me?
2. Dragnet - Dragnet is mostly an awesome show. Again, the acting can be pretty bad but it's supposed to be like that. Sgt. Friday is as dry as a cold north wind as are each of his superiors. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Extra points for some great sound effects.
1. 21st Precinct - Great acting and stories. I simply love this show and wish there were 500 of them. I hate to say it but this show is twice as good as Dragnet.
Favorite detective shows -
3. Black Museum - Not really a detective show but worth mentioning more than most of the sap out there that calls itself a detective show.
2. Sherlock Holmes (with Basil Rathbone) - Everything about the show is first class and clever. I think I learn something after each show.
1. Richard Diamond, Private Detective - This show is one that I appreciate more every day. I realize just how smooth Dick Powell was. And the guy was funny as well.
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Friday, August 31, 2012
Thursday, August 30, 2012
If nothing else, go and have a look - have a listen.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
In this episode from 1949 that I found on Rand's Esoteric OTR, Brown plays Digby O'Dell "the friendly undertaker" from the Life of Riley show. It's interesting!
Monday, August 27, 2012
The good news: I am on a mission seeking out sound clips to build the sound clip section up better than before. It will take time but it should happen.
When I am listening to comedy - I can think about anything at all and I follow along without any problem.
When I listen to Groucho, I think of a certain street/location in my hometown. It's funny, because this street and area is someplace I have never actually been. It's just off a main street in my hometown but I envision myself there, looking at the main street. This only happens when I listen to Groucho and I have no idea why!
When I listen to detective shows, I look straight ahead, my eye fixed on the curtain in my home. I watch the curtain so I can concentrate and I listen closely - otherwise, the plot or details *I* need will float by me.
I can't be doing paperwork of any kind, unless that is, I am taking notes for one of the blogs.
When I listen to police shows, I am "there" with them, especially the 21st Precinct. I know that police station well. I know where the detectives are. I know where the Captain's office is. I know it all. I see it very clearly because I actually "go" there. That's not the case with most shows, as I stay at home but 21st Precinct transports me to the station. I'm pretty sure I am invisible to the others there. :)
Another place I am transported to is the Riley's bungalo in The Life of Riley. I too, walk with Chester as he encounters "Digger" - it seems to be always dark and Digger kind of pops up. I am not scared, of course, since I know when Digger's going to pop up!
Now that I think about it, I am also at the Phil Harris-Alice Faye house. But it's strange, as I can only see 3/4ths of the house. It's too hard to explain but the house is not "open" to me - probably because I have never heard them talk about the rooms. I've never been upstairs there for sure.
And have you noticed, almost all situational comedy house have upstairs and down. One exception may be Jack Benny's home.
Which reminds me, I am only in one room in Benny's house; it's like a solarium. I can see a pool outside and I see the home of Ronald and Benita Colman as well.
When I listen to Gunsmoke, I am in the Long Branch or out in the street or perhaps on a long, hot (or cold) journey with Matt and Chester. Invisible, of course.
Yes, even when I'm not busy here at this blog, I'm usually busy elsewhere. I'm very proud of the work I (and others) have done at The Crazy World of Vic and Sade blog. I wish others would do the same thing with other shows,
I've a feeling there will be little else done in terms of OTR websites. The people who enjoy OTR are getting older and older and there are few "young bloods" out there who like OTR to begin with. I feel like I am a part of the dying breed. I feel like a lot of weight is on my shoulders to not let OTR die. After all, how many people under 50 years old love old time radio?
I was told by someone who knows, that I am one of a small handful. And out of that handful, how many are trying to keep it alive? The internet is still a growing place and there's room for everyone. But I have a feeling we are seeing the last days of OTR on the internet.
I promise to keep plugging along doing my thing for as long as I can. My health isn't great and -shock- I expect to die one day! But until that day comes and as long as I am able, I'm going to keep spreading the word about OTR.
|"Gloria" is dead (and gone)|
Today, I did something drastic. I took a digital knife and I completely removed Gloria from my files.
Okay, so you are wondering what I am talking about. Let me clue you in: Gloria is the maid on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in the 1945 and 1946 seasons. She sounds like this: AUDIO
Now, this is not to say that Gloria (played by Bea Benaderet) is not funny. The lines themselves are standard one-liner fare and as such, the lines aren't bad. Ozzie and Harriet aren't great playing "straight men" but then, who really is? The fact is: her voice makes me crawl up a wall.
I like Benaderet in everything else (although just the thought of her playing the part of Gloria reverberates in my head when I hear her on the numerous other shows she does and I wince considerable. I cringe; my body quivers... but it subsides eventually and I smile and laugh at Benaderet in other shows.)
My, she was so versatile that she was in thousands of shows. It seems like she was in almost every situation comedy in the 1940's! She was everywhere. I realize that bit actors and actresses didn't make a ton of money but I wouldn't be surprised if she put away $500 a week most weeks during that time, quite a hefty sum for that kind of work.
But this morning, I finally did something that will make my listening a lot more bearable: I killed Gloria. What I had been doing is skipping 1945-46 Ozzie and Harriet. Finally, I sat down with my sound software and I digitally removed Gloria from every Ozzie and Harriet recording she was in.
I know you purist out there are shaking your heads or having convulsions or whatever you purists do when you hear of such. And I guess I won't tell you that I am up to 1948 in Fibber McGee and Molly in removing all the songs and intros; I did keep Harlow Wilcox's commercials. I guess I won't tell you I am in the process of removing all the songs in Burns and Allen, Jack Benny, Amos and Andy and others.
I realize that removing a character - a real character, not a singer, ad pitchman, dead air or something else - from a radio series rivals something Hitler might do and I am prepared to handle the backlash. It's not like I am going to take these files and upload them for you or unsuspecting others to download; they are for my personal consumption.
But I hated Gloria. I killed Gloria. I'm not sorry I did it. I'd do it again.