Saturday, February 18, 2012

Things I can't stand in shows I like

I can't guarantee that I currently listen to more old-time radio than anyone in the world but I'll bet I'm in the top twenty!  Alot of my day is filled with the pleasing tones of OTR.

I have written a lot in this blog and I have have often written about things I don't like.  I thought I'd share with you today about some of the things I don't like in some of the shows I do like.  Was that clear?  Okay, moving on...

For instance, in the Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, I can find a number of things I don't like.  The live audience for one.  It works on some shows but it doesn't always fit the bill on this show, for me anyway.  The constant jokes about alcohol could go as well.  Julis Abroozio is loud and obnoxious; as much as I enjoy Walter Tetley, I do believe I enjoy the subtler "Leroy" better than Julius.  The impromptu songs could go too; I shuffle right on by them with my iPod when I'm listening.

Listening the Jack Benny Show, I find myself -at times- wondering why I am listening to the show at all.  Mary's dumb poems and even more dumb laugh.  I know, that's Mary; but Mary is a goofball.  Have you ever listened to the background?  Don Wilson is laughing at every joke.  Fred Allen once made this same observation and everyone laughed at Fred, but it's true.  And after listening to the show umpteen times, sometimes I want to get a crane and pick up Don Wilson and drop him in the Pacific Ocean.

I really enjoy The 21st Precinct.  It seems the more I listen to the show, the more I like it.  But I could kill somebody whenever I hear the telephone "ring" at the station house.  It's not a ring but a buzzer that sounds like a thousand woodpeckers are boring a hole in your ears.

I generally enjoy the comedies of the Golden Age but my goodness, seriously, how many songs do you have to have in a show?  There's always that one or two minutes of the orchestra playing at the very beginning, then about six minutes in, the orchestra plays another song; 8 or 9 minutes later, some tenor is up at the microphone wailing away and then you have the ending music.   I have no idea how anyone could stand listening to the singing back then, aside from The Andrews Sisters.

Here you go: I'm even going to find fault in the show, You Bet Your Life.  Since most of the shows were also simulcast to television, sometimes it is near impossible to know what is actually going on.  For instance, if couples tie and have to answer the final questions together and write down their answer, you may as well forget it, you'll never know who won.  Groucho won't tell you.   He'll tell you someone won and the crowd will cheer and you're sitting there mad for a minute or two...

I'm starting to get into Boston Blackie.  The show is fun and the more I listen, the more I like it.  But whose idea was it to use the organ as much as they do on that show?  Organs are very annoying to me.  I'd like to destroy all of them with a wrecking ball.  On the Boston Blackie program, it sounds a team of monkeys are playing the organ.

I can't remember how many times I have heard or read people enjoying dumb secretaries on shows.  Box 13, The Great Gildersleeve, The Adventures of Sam Spade and on and on.  I'm sorry.  I'm not in that camp - I can do without the dumb secretaries.  It also occurs to me that housekeepers are generally in the same category.   I know I've harped on specific ones before but golly - I just don't like them.

©Jimbo 2010/2011


  1. Of all the things you wrote about, I agree most with comedies and the injection of instrumentals and singers. As much as it irritates me, it must not have irritated the audience of the period. It had to be in the mind set of the listeners of the time to expect it and liked it.

  2. I like Jack Benny except for the Dennis Day songs. They may have been popular songs in their day, but they are very forgettable for me. I think he is better at comedy than singing.

    Boston Blackie is one of my favorites. I love the interplay between Blackie and Inspector Faraday. The inspector is fast to blame Blackie for whatever crime has been committed.

    The musical interludes on Fibber McGee and Molly seem out of place. The incessant doorbell ringing drives me batty, but I still like the shows otherwise.


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