Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May 23, 1890 Herbert Marshall was born

On this day in 1890, Herbert Marshall was born.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

May 21: Happy Birthday, Fats Waller

Today marks the 1904 birth of Thomas "Fats" Waller, one of the great jazz pianists of the mid-20th century. The Harlem native began playing at rent parties, raising some cash for the hosts. He broke into the music business writing novelty songs, and started recording with Victor Records in 1926.

Waller played the organ in addition to piano, and also laid down the vocals on his solo songs. His technique was considerable--he was an innovator in the difficult realm of stride piano, which requires fast alternation on the bass end of the keyboard, with the right hand augmenting the basic melody.

He hosted a radio show called "Fats Waller's Rhythm Club" from 1932-34. Waller's virtuosity and his smooth, comic patter made him a very popular entertainer in Depression-era America.

Happy Birthday, Fats!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March 28, 1912 Frank Lovejoy was born

On this day in 1912, Frank Lovejoy was born. As Randy Stone, he was your favorite newspaperman on trail of crime and corruption in Night Beat.

March 28: Happy Birthday, Frank Lovejoy

March 28: Happy Birthday, Frank Lovejoy

We can't know if Frank Lovejoy was voted "Most Likely To Be The Blue Beetle" by his high school class, but it seems possible. The steely-eyed, square-jawed actor exuded intensity and a detective's predatory determination. If we were alive, he'd be celebrating his one hundred and first birthday.

Lovejoy's voice was one of the most recognized in the business, for Blue Beetle and several other shows. Blue Beetle hit the airwaves in May of 1940. Lovejoy gave voice to the title character, a superhero (whose alter-ego's name was Dan Garrett) with the strength of ten men. He carried a beetle pendant and left it around town to alert evil-doers he was on to them. Lovejoy held down this gig only for a Summer, and then future episodes went uncredited as to the voice.

Frank Lovejoy is also well-known for his parts in Box 13, Nightbeat, Dragnet, and This Is Your FBI. When they needed a stern cop or investigator, they called Lovejoy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 25: Jack Benny Marries Sadye Marks

January 25: Jack Benny Marries Sadye Marks

Sadye Marks looked beautiful in her wedding dress. At least Jack thought she did. Jack was crazy about her, and would marry her on January 25, 1927. Sadye Marks would change her name. If you know the Golden Age of Radio, you know her as Mary... Mary Livingstone. And Jack? Jack Benny, of course.

Sadie was a cousin of the Marx brothers.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January 3, 1916 Happy Birthday Maxene Andrews

On this day in 1916, Maxene Andrews was born. Maxene was the middle sister (and soprano) of the musical mid-century act: The Andrews Sisters.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 1, 1927: First Rose Bowl National Broadcast

January 1, 1927: Graham McNamee presented the play by play on NBC for the Rose Bowl, broadcast for the first time on this day by a coast-to-coast network radio.

NBC chose sports as their main program focus since they were the first network to broadcast the Rose Bowl across the country. Later on, several important sporting events were aired nationally by NBC, including the World Series, golf tournaments, and the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1932.

McNamee was a pioneering broadcaster in American radio history. He broadcast many sporting events, including national and international competitions. He was not a sports expert, but he had an incredible affinity for conveying to audiences what he saw in great detail and with great enthusiasm.  Graham McNamee later broadcast the radio program Behind the Mike.