Thursday, November 20, 2014
The Beach Boys rarely surfed; Creedence Clearwater Revival, for all their Bayou songs, weren't from that region; and Judy Canova, sometimes called The Ozark Nightingale, did not hail from the Ozarks. She wasn't even from Georgia, which means that the act Three Georgia Crackers, which she had with her brother Zeke and sister Annie was another marketing ploy.
Judy played the role of the country innocent to the hilt, and found success at a young age. Before long, the hoky act--with Judy yodeling, singing, and picking a gee-tar--had ironically made Broadway.
She then became a big radio star. She started on Rudy Vallee's The Fleischmann Hour and then landed her own show, appropriately called The Judy Canova Show. This included music and skits and stories about pigs. Some advertisements featured a pencil sketch of Judy in a straw hat and pigtails, looking not unlike the mascot for the Little Debbies snacks that would fatten a nation a little later.
Today marks the birth of an interesting comedienne and performer.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Lauren Bacall, today's birthday girl (1924) may be the only Hollywood figure to ever win the award for Prettiest Usher, a distinction Ms. Bacall garnered in 1942 while working on Broadway. Incidentally, she made the acquaintance of ace thespian Gregory Peck while toiling in this capacity.
We may best know Bacall from her "bogey and fame", but she is now of course a legend in her own right, known not just for her elegance and beauty but for her considerable acting chops.
Her electrifying voice played no small part in this, and it is what caused her to translate to radio so well. Let's not forget that the dynamic duo of Bogey and Bacall also starred in a radio program called Bold Venture. It was sort of about Bogart's characters' love for his small boat, but Bacall co-starred, and actors like William Conrad, David Rose, and Jester Hairston were also involved.
Ms. Bacall was also a gas on such radio programs as Command Performance and Let's Playwright. In 1997, she gave an introduction to a broadcast fundraising event for Bill Clinton. How's that for versatility?
Lauren Bacall passed away earlier this year (2014) at the age of 89. Happy Birthday, Lauren Bacall!
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!
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
January 29: Happy Birthday, W.C. Fields
Raise your glass to toast a playboy, a consort of the likes of John Barrymore, Anthony Quinn, Cecil B. DeMille, and a hard drinker, comedy icon W.C. Fields.
Fields is known for his acerbic, biting persona, which includes sexism and a general misanthropy. He was a vaudeville and Broadway one-man act, a silent film star, a talkie star, and a radio star.
In 1937, Fields joined the cast of The Chase and Sanborn Hour, popularly remembered as "The Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy" show. One of Fields' niches was trading insults with the dummy, Charlie. "Is that your nose or are you eating (insert a vegetable here)" was a standard line from Charlie to Fields, whose nose was not small.
A shorter-lived stint for Fields was as emcee of Your Hit Parade, briefly known as Your Hit Parade With W.C. Fields. His particular brand of comedy kept him on the show for just a month.
If you're looking for a quote for the day, try this one from Fields: "I never drink water because of the disgusting things fish do in it."