Thursday, October 31, 2013
Tied for Halloween for greatest significance today is the birthday of singer, actress, and pioneer, Ethel Waters.
Waters was a groundbreaker and trailblazer for many later African-American singers and performers of all stripes. She ground out a living on the hard-scrabble vaudeville circuit in the early 20th century, then became a staple of the still-developing artform known as jazz. She's best known for her big hit songs such as "Dinah," "Stormy Weather," and "Heat Wave."
She was the first African-American woman to star in a nationally-broadcast radio program, and turned in great appearances on Jubilee, The Tex and Jinx Show, The Big Show, and Command Performance. We salute a strong and successful woman and a great addition to the universe of oldtime radio.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Born (in 1879) into a world with no movies or television or radio, Ethel Barrymore still had something in her genetic code predisposing her to a career in the performing arts. Both of her parents were stage actors, and her brothers Lionel and John would choose that craft as well.
Before her 1959 death, the theater star was able to make some high-quality appearances on radio. She managed to log time on quite a few of the big-name shows, including Screen Guild Theater, Suspense, Big Show, and Suspense. On the latter, she played a woman frightened by a psychotic handyman.
One of the first generation of the Barrymore dynasty, Ethel Barrymore gets today's birthday wish!
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
March 12: Happy Birthday, Gordon MacRae
Broadway fixture Gordon MacRae made a name for himself with appearances in Oklahoma! and Carousel.
Just before he'd attained that level of stardom, though, he hosted several installments of radio's Texaco Star Theatre in 1948. Episode titles during his reign include "When The Red Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbin' Along," "June Is Busting Out All Over," and "Top hat, White Tie and Tails."
He also hosted the very popular The Railroad Hour in which he and his fellow cast members performed abridged versions of Broadway productions.
Do you remember his guest appearances on: The Big Show, Guest Star Radio, Martin & Lewis, The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, and The Railroad Hour show? Take a listen!