Showing posts with label Cavalcade of America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cavalcade of America. Show all posts

Friday, February 12, 2016

February 12: Happy Birthday, Abraham Lincoln

February 12: Happy Birthday, Abraham Lincoln


What is Honest Abe, the man on the penny, doing on a site devoted to classic radio? Here's the secret. Here's the answer to the mystery. Not only is Abraham Lincoln still regularly written about, re-imagined, investigated, and portrayed (see the new film, Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg), but he was particularly popular as a subject for radio plays.

For one ready example, the popular show Cavalcade of America gave us a cavalcade of no less than eight original documentaries on Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, Ann Rutledge and Lincoln, Mr. Lincoln's Wife and others.

In 1953, Crime Classics devoted its attentions to the assassination of our fourteenth president.
The revered You Are There looked at the same topic in July, 1947, and covered the Battle of Gettysburg in 1948 and the capture of John Wilkes Booth in 1949. Maybe you were there for these original broadcasts.

At any rate, it's still possible to snag copies of some of the old shows devoted to Abe, The Great Emancipator.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Happy Birthday, Helen Hayes



The First Lady of American Theater, the first stage actress to go on to win an Academy Award, Helen Hayes was born on this day in 1900.  Helen Hayes starred in Victoria Regina, The Sin of Madelon Claudet and Happy Birthday.

In 1941, she took the helm as producer, actress and even casting director of the CBS radio series The Helen Hayes Theatre of the Air, a series running contemporary plays.

Hayes starred in a 1938  Lux Radio Theatre production of Jane Eyre and turned in appearances on a wide variety of classic radio series such as The Campbell's Playhouse, The Silver Theatre, and Dupont Cavalcade of America.  Radio gave us all the big stars of the 30's, 40's, and 50's, delivered as just a voice to let our imaginations fill in the rest.  Helen Hayes was just one shining example.

Friday, September 4, 2015

September 4: Happy Birthday, Dick York

Dick York, the tall, willowy actor who played Darrin on "Bewitched," was born today in 1928. 

To look at the extensive, prolific TV career of York, take this quiz. Which of these TV series did York not appear in: "The Twilight Zone," "Dr. Kildare," "The Virginian," "Wagon Train." You're absolutely correct if you said he appeared in all of them. He also played occasional roles in "Rawhide," "The Flintstones (himself)," and "Simon & Simon."

Dick York was born at the right time to catch the tail end of radio's comet, and appeared in series such as The Cavalcade of America, Tales of Tomorrow, and Meet the Meeks.

York is widely quoted as saying that Lux Radio Theater inspired him to puke, but it's unclear what he meant by this.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 5: Happy Birthday, Tyrone Power


Could Tyrone Power have been anything other than an actor? The branches of his family tree included Laurence Olivier and Tyrone Guthrie, who instituted the Stratford Festival, while his great-grandfather, Tyrone Power (1795-1841) was an actor, as was his father Tyrone Power, Sr. Thus, the man known for his parts in The Black Swan, The Mark of Zorro, and Blood and Sand couldn't have been better suited for a life on stage and in front of the camera.

Today's birthday boy made many solid appearances on some of the biggest radio shows, such as Lux Radio Theatre, The Cavalcade of America, and The Gulf Screen Guild Theatre. On Jan. 7, 1940, he starred alongside Humphrey Bogart in an adaptation of Robert Sherwood's "The Petrified Forest." Power's radio travels also allowed him to work with Gale Gordon, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, and Hans Conried. So take a moment and remember the times you heard Mr. Power on the radio, on this, the day of his 1914 birth.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

November 2: Happy Birthday, Burt Lancaster



In the world of show biz bios, you can either be a lower-working class kid from Bumble Bluffs, Illinois who hopped on a tomato truck and rode out to L.A. hoping to make it big, or you can come from one of the big cities and be drawn to the entertainment world around you.

Burt Lancaster wasn't from Bumble Bluffs.  He was born in New York City and was very affected by Joan Crawford and Lon Chaney in the 1927 silent film The Unknown.  From there it was a stint working for the circus (OK, maybe he was a bumpkin from the corn belt), Hollywood, and eventually his huge roles in Elmer Gantry, Atlantic City, and The Birdman of Alcatraz.

If you were a radio listener at the time and you wanted to hear Burt's voice, you could tune in to The Bob Hope Show, Hedda Hopper's Hollywood, Lux Radio Theatre, and The Cavalcade of America.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

September 4: Happy Birthday, Dick York



In addition to his role as Darrin on Bewitched, did Dick York do any radio work? That's like asking if Ben and Jerry developed a couple of ice cream flavors.

Dick York was a prolific radio actor who started at the tender age of 15.  He appeared on Grand Marquee, Meet the Meeks, The Cavalcade of America, My True Story, Tales of Tomorrow, and had a run as one of the stars of That Brewster Boy.

On the latter, he was the third of three actors to portray the eponymous character, Joey Brewster.  Apparently the show's writers got entangled in the dragnet of the Cold War Communist hunt, and that was the end of the show.  However, Dick made pitchers and pitchers of lemonade out of those particular lemons, marrying Joan Alt, his character's sister on the show.  Maybe he was Darrin, but to fans of oldtime radio, he was much more.  Happy birthday, Dick!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27: Happy Birthday, Ned Wever

April 27: Happy Birthday, Ned Wever

A happy birthday goes out to talented voice actor Ned Wever, born on this day in 1899.

One of the mainstays in the career of Wever was his regular appearances on The Adventures of Superman, which ran from 1940-1951. Ned Wever played Jor-L, Superman's original father, as well as various bad guys.

He also earned his paycheck for a few years on (remember this one?) the soap opera Betty and Bob. This was a serial about a businessman who fell in love with his secretary, the two of them embarking on a romance. Its episode titles didn't mind giving out spoilers: "Evelyn Purposely Encounters Bob," "Margaret Jameson Has Hit a Girl With a Car," and "Evelyn Decides Not to Marry Sam." One guesses these titles were not announced or published prior to the broadcast.

Ned Wever appeared on episodes of Big Sister, Cavalcade of America, Bulldog Drummond, X-Minus One, and Dick Tracy.

It's important to note that he was also a lyricist of such Golden Age hits as "Sing a New Song," "I Can't Resist You," and "Sweet Stranger."

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12: Happy Birthday, Alfred Lunt



From being referenced in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye to being pictured on a postage stamp, Alfred Lunt has pretty much lived the life. He and his wife Lynne Fontanne made up one of the biggest theatre couples in American history.

If you tuned in to Theater Guild on the Air in the 1940s, you would've heard the Lunts spinning wonderful renditions of Elizabeth the Queen, The Guardsman, O Mistress Mine, and several other great dramatic works.

The couple also strutted their stuff on a couple of episodes of The Cavalcade of America.

All of this came some decades after Lunt had conquered the Broadway world with his acclaimed work in Elizabeth the Queen and The Magnificent Yankee. He snagged an Oscar nomination for his work in The Guardsman.

The cherished actor was born on this day in 1892 in Milwaukee. We celebrate Alfred Lunt's birthday!

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29: Happy Birthday, William Powell



The Bogey to the Bacall of Myrna Loy, William Powell was born today, 1892.

William Powell and Myrna Loy paired up for no less than fourteen movies, including TheThin Man, The Great Ziegfeld, and Manhattan Melodrama.

It's enough to keep a man busy, but WP still had time to play roles in nearly a dozen episodes of Lux Radio Theatre, one of them an adaptation of The Thin Man.  He also lent his acting chops to The Cavalcade of America and The Kraft Music Hall.  And if you think Loy's partner never appeared on Suspense, think again.  He starred alongside John Dehner and Joseph Kearns in a 1953 adaptation of "The Man Who Cried Wolf."  Other Suspense appearances teamed him with Anne Morrison, Paula Winslowe, and Jack Kruschen.

We salute the birthday of the late William Powell.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 20: Happy Birthday, Errol Flynn

June 20 of 1909, Robin Hood and Captain Blood was born in the visage of Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn.

Born and raised in Australia, the entrepreneur turned performer made his way to the USA via time performing theatre and movie work in England. Flynn made a major impression upon the American scene for motion pictures due to his swarthy good looks and care-free attitude to life. It was during his short, but action-filled life that Errol Flynn created the roles of Captain Blood, Don Juan and Robin Hood.

His sword-play was considered some of the best Hollywood magic of the time and earned him more roles as a 200.000 dollar a film performer. Flynn was able to handle less swash-buckling of on-screen roles in war and western themed motion pictures.

During the 1940’s Errol Flynn attempted to serve the country that had made him famous by trying to enlist, but heart and health issues prevented that from happening. However, in 1937 he did serve as a reporter during the Spanish Civil War and used the 40’s and 50’s to write his autobiography and other works. Errol Flynn’s voice was so distinctive that he did some some characterizations for the radio airwaves.

 In fact, his characterizations made him a favorite for work on The Cavalcade of America and Lux Radio Theatre radio programs. These programs were a few of his more notable movie roles scripted for the airwaves. Flynn was married three times and had one son (later declared missed and dead in Cambodia) and a number of daughters.

  Errol Flynn passed away in 1959 from a heart attack at the young age of 50.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March 20: Happy Birthday, Wendell Corey

March 20: Happy Birthday, Wendell Corey

Wendell Corey was a stage and screen actor whose appealing voice made him a shoo-in for radio success. The star of the films Hell's Half Acre, Rear Window, and Alias Jesse James and the TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Peck's Bad Girl, Corey also made notable appearances on the radio.

His performances were on notable shows such as Inner Sanctum, Lux Radio Theater, and Cavalcade of America.  On Lux Radio Theater, Corey reprised his supporting role in the film "Carbine Williams."

A future Santa Monica City Council member, Corey was a team player as an actor, taking on many supporting roles.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March 3: Happy Birthday, Barbara Jean Wong

March 3: Happy Birthday, Barbara Jean Wong

Barbara Jean Wong was an American actress- primarily a radio actress- born to third-generation Chinese-American parents. She started her career at an early age of five. She had a fine, clear voice at the age due to which she garnered many roles in radio programs at such a small age.

Often called The Chinese-American Shirley Temple, L.A. native Barbara Jean Wong was a child actress and radio phenom.

The role you may remember her in was that of Arbadella in Amos 'n' Andy. Arbadella was Amos's daughter, enjoying tender moments with Amos, including his teaching her the significance of the Lord's prayer. She was also a staple on Christmas programs.

The charming young gal also threw her personality into appearances on Lux Radio Theatre, Cavalcade of America, and Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Most of the characters the fifth-generation Chinese-American played were not Asian. Here's a salute to a character actress on Amos 'n' Andy, one of the all-time greats of radio.

Friday, February 1, 2013

February 1: Happy Birthday, Clark Gable

February 1: Happy Birthday, Clark Gable


Both before and after his epochal role in 1939's Gone With The Wind, Clark Gable made more than a dozen appearances of popular radio shows including Lux Radio Theatre, Cavalcade of America, and Good News.

One of his earliest roles was in a 1936 performance of "The Legionnaire and the Lady" on the Lux Radio Program. This was an adaptation of the film Morocco, and starred, in addition to Gable, Marlene Dietrich.

On May 5, 1937, Gable starred with Josephine Hutchinson and Jack LaRue in a Lux production of "A Farewell To Arms."

On May 5, 1938, he starred in "Manhattan Melodrama" on Good News.

In all, Gable's radio performances allowed him to work with Ginger Rogers, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Lana Turner, and Judy Garland.

We honor the King of Hollywood for his sterling on-air performances.