Sunday, April 29, 2012

Phil Harris and Alice Faye
Episode: Beauty Shop

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, a comedy radio program which ran on NBC from 1948 to 1954, evolved from an earlier music and comedy variety program, The Fitch Bandwagon. Singer-bandleader Phil Harris and his wife, actress-singer Alice Faye, became the earlier show's breakout stars, and the show was retooled into a full situation comedy, with Harris and Faye playing fictionalized versions of themselves as a working show business couple raising two daughters in a slightly madcap home. source:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Fibber McGee And Molly
Episode: Fibber Joins Posse (1/7/1947)

Fibber McGee and Molly originated when the small-time husband-and-wife vaudevillians began their third year as Chicago-area radio performers. Two of the shows they did for stationWENR beginning in 1927, both written by Harry Lawrence, bore traces of what was to come and rank as one of the earliest forms of situation comedy. In their Luke and Mirandy farm-report program, Jim played a farmer who was given to tall tales and face-saving lies for comic effect. In a weekly comedy, The Smith Family, Marian's character was an Irish wife of an American police officer. These characterizations, plus the Jordans' change from being singers/musicians to comic actors, pointed toward their future; it was here where Marian developed and perfected the radio character "Teeny".It was also at WENR where the Jordans met Donald Quinn, a cartoonist who was then working in radio, and the couple hired him as their writer in 1931. They regarded Quinn's contribution as important and included him as a full partner; the salary for Smackout and Fibber McGee and Molly was split between the Jordans and Quinn.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Fibber McGee and Molly
Episode: The Diamond Stick Pin (1/2/1945)

Fibber McGee and Molly is an American radio comedy series which maintained its popularity over decades. It premiered on NBC in 1935 and continued until its demise in 1959, long after radio had ceased to be the dominant form of entertainment in American popular culture.

Fibber McGee and Molly Fun Fact:
The husband and wife characters of Fibber and Molly McGee were played by Jim Jordan and Marian Driscoll. Were these two married in real life?

Yes. Jim and Marian both hailed from Peoria, Illinois where they met in church. The two were married in 1918. They remained married for forty-three years until Marian's death of cancer in 1961.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Favorite Husband
Episode: George Tries For A Raise (10/7/1949)

My Favorite Husband Cast:

Liz Cooper, played by Lucille Ball; happily married housewife
George Cooper, played by Richard Denning; Liz's husband, works for Mr. Atterbury
Mr. Rudolph Atterbury, played by Gale Gordon; George's boss, friend of the Cooper family, refers to male acquaintances as "boy", as in "George-Boy"
Mrs. Iris Atterbury, played by Bea Benaderet; wife of Rudolph and friend of the Cooper family, refers to female acquaintances as "girl", as in "Liz-Girl".
Katy, played by Ruth Perrott; the Cooper's maid, presumably enjoys making Jell-O.
Mrs. Leticia Cooper, played first by Benaderet and in subsequent episodes by Eleanor Audley; George's aristocratic mother, who typically looks down on Liz.
Gale Gordon and Bea Benaderet were both given first consideration for the roles that would become Fred and Ethel Mertz on "I Love Lucy", but both had contract conflicts that forced them to turn down the roles. source:

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Favorite Husband
Episode: Womans Club Election (9/30/1949)

My Favorite Husband is the name of an American radio program and network television series. The original radio show, co-starring Lucille Ball, was the initial basis for what evolved into the groundbreaking TV sitcom I Love Lucy. The series was based on the novels Mr. and Mrs. Cugat, the Record of a Happy Marriage (1940) and Outside Eden (1945) written by Isabel Scott Rorick, which had previously been adapted into the Paramount Pictures feature film Are Husbands Necessary? (1942), co-starring Ray Milland and Betty Field.

My Favorite Husband began on CBS Radio with Lucille Ball and Richard Denning as Liz and George Cugat. After at least 20 early episodes, confusion with bandleader Xavier Cugat prompted a name change to Liz and George Cooper. The cheerful couple lived at 321 Bundy Drive in the fictitious city of Sheridan Falls and were billed as "two people who live together and like it." The main sponsor was General Foods' Jell-O, and an average of three "plugs" for Jell-O were made in each episode, including Lucille Ball's usual sign-on, "Jell-O, everybody!" The 1948 radio version opened with:
Bob LeMond: It's time for My Favorite Husband starring Lucille Ball!
Lucille Ball: Jell-O, everybody!
Theme music [composed by Marlin Skiles, conducted by Wilbur Hatch]
LeMond: Yes, it's the gay family comedy series starring Lucille Ball with Richard Denning and is brought to you by the Jell-O family of Red-Letter Desserts:
O! The big red letters stand for the Jell-O family,
Oh, the big red letters stand for the Jell-O family,
That's Jell-O!
Yum, yum, yum!
Jell-O pudding!
Yum, yum, yum!
Jell-O tapioca pudding, yes sir-ee!
LeMond: Now, let's take a look at the Cooper family, two people who live together and like it.
The program, which aired 124 episodes from July 23, 1948, through March 31, 1951, initially portrayed the couple as being a well-to-do banker and his socially prominent wife, but three new writers—Bob Carroll, Jr., Madelyn Pugh, and Jess Oppenheimer—took over the writing, changed the couple's name to Cooper, and remade them into a middle-class couple, which they thought average listeners would find more accessible.
Lucille Ball was asked to do a television version of the show (with Jell-O remaining as sponsor), and CBS insisted on Richard Denning continuing as her co-star. However, Ball refused to do a husband-and-wife TV show without real-life husband Desi Arnaz playing her on-screen husband. The network reluctantly agreed, reworking the concept into I Love Lucy after Ball and Arnaz took a show on the road to convince the network that audiences would respond. When Jell-O dropped out of the show, Philip Morris became the television sponsor.
Carroll, Pugh and Oppenheimer agreed to do the switch to I Love Lucy. They subsequently reworked several My Favorite Husband episodes into I Love Lucy episodes, especially early in the TV show's run. For example, the 1948 radio episode entitled "Giveaway Program" inspired the I Love Lucy episode "Redecorating", with some lines exactly the same. Many actors who had done the My Favorite Husband radio show also appeared on I Love Lucy, sometimes in episodes where they reprised their roles using a reworked My Favorite Husband script.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Old-time radio live performance to hit Elmira, NY

For the 25th time, Gary Yoggy will direct an Elmira Little Theatre cast in a return to the entertainment of the past. "A Visit to the Golden Age of Radio," featuring recreations of classic radio shows and live music, begins its run at the Clemens Center's Mandeville Hall on Friday.

This year's program includes a production of an original episode of "The Shadow" and recreations of classic broadcasts of "The Jack Benny Program," "Easy Aces" and "The Aldrich Family." The Boogie Woogie Girls will perform songs in the style of groups such as the Andrews Sisters.

The cast includes Elmira Little Theatre veterans such as Stu Luther, who performed in the company's first radio recreation, 1988's production of Orson Welles' infamous adaption of "The War of the Worlds," and a host of newcomers. Kim Canale, Rebecca Chen, Robin Gaige and Barbara Krauss all are making their Elmira Little Theatre debuts, according to a press release from the company. Jerry Holleran is the show's producer.

Wealthy playboy Lamont Cranston and his dark alter-ego, the Shadow, were already popular heroes when "The Shadow" radio drama debuted in 1937. Welles and radio greats Bill Johnstone and Bret Morrison were among the actors who portrayed the hero during its long run, which ended in 1954. Agnes Moorehead is the best-known of the actresses who played Cranston's resourceful friend Margot Lane.

"The Jack Benny Program," featuring Benny as a self-absorbed, penny-pinching version of himself, was broadcast for 32 years, starting on NBC in 1932 and finishing up on CBS in 1955. Benny was joined by his long-suffering valet, Rochester (Eddie Anderson), Mary Livingstone (in real life, Benny's wife), bandleader Phil Harris, singer Dennis Day and announcer Don Wilson. Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny and countless cartoon characters, played several characters. Benny's reluctance to part with his money was the show's longest-running gag.

"Easy Aces," starring Goodman and Jane Ace, was broadcast for 15 years starting in 1930. The comedy was focused on the language-butchering malaprops of Jane and the zany situations she bungled her way into.

Episodes of "The Shadow" opened with one of pop culture's most famous lines, "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" In its time, the opening of "The Aldrich Family" was just as famous. "Henreeeee? Henry Aldrich!" called out Mrs. Aldrich, to which Henry, played by Ezra Stone, replied shakily, "Coming, Mother."

Based on a character in a Clifford Goldsmith play, the radio show began as a regular skit on "The Kate Smith Hour." Aldrich was an earnest but often misdirected teenager.

A reception to honor Yoggy for his 25 years of directing radio shows for Elmira Little Theatre will follow Saturday's matinee performance. Ticket holders for this year's performances may attend the reception, which will begin about 4:30 p.m. in the upstairs lobby of the Clemens Center. Yoggy, a retired Corning Community College history professor, has directed radio recreations at major national entertainment conventions, including many productions featuring top performers from radio's golden age.

If You Go
» What: "A Visit to the Golden Age of Radio"
» When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday
» Where: Mandeville Hall at the Clemens Center, 207 Clemens Center Parkway, Elmira
» Tickets: $14, $12 for students and seniors. Purchase them at the Clemens Center box office, by calling (607) 734-8191 or (800) 724-0159 or online at
» More information:

Source: Written by John Cleary Correspondent

New Merchandise in the works

The Mysterious Traveler
Episode: The Locomotive Ghost (7/6/1947)

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Mysterious Traveler
Episode: Queen of the Cats (7/2/1944)

The Mysterious Traveler was an anthology radio series, a magazine and a comic book. All three featured stories which ran the gamut from fantasy and science fiction to straight crime dramas of mystery and suspense.

Written and directed by Robert Arthur and David Kogan, the radio series was sponsored by Adams Hats. It began on the Mutual Broadcasting System, December 5, 1943, continuing in many different timeslots until September 16, 1952. The lonely sound of a distant locomotive heralded the arrival of the malevolent narrator (portrayed by Maurice Tarplin), who introduced himself each week in the following manner:

This is the Mysterious Traveler, inviting you to join me on another journey into the strange and terrifying. I hope you will enjoy the trip, that it will thrill you a little and chill you a little. So settle back, get a good grip on your nerves and be comfortable—if you can!

Cast members included Jackson Beck, Lon Clark, Roger DeKoven, Elspeth Eric, Wendell Holmes, Bill Johnstone, Joseph Julian, Jan Miner, Santos Ortega, Bryna Raeburn, Frank Readick, Luis van Rooten, Ann Shepherd, Lawson Zerbe and Bill Zuckert. Sound effects were by Jack Amrhein, Jim Goode, Ron Harper, Walt McDonough and Al Schaffer.
"Behind the Locked Door," a popular, much-requested episode which took place in total darkness, was repeated several times during the years. Two archaeologists discover a century-old wagon train that had been sealed in a cave following a landslide. When their Native American guide is mysteriously and brutally attacked, the two, now lost in the darkness, conclude that the descendants of the wagon train are still living in the cave.
Only 75 of the original 370 Mysterious Traveler episodes still exist. The popularity of the series spawned other supernatural shows, such as The Sealed Book. With scripts by a Mysterious Traveler writer and Tarplin as host-narrator, The Strange Dr. Weird was a nearly identical program.