Showing posts with label Citizen Kane. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Citizen Kane. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

May 6: Happy Birthday, Orson Welles



While standing out in the memories of most as being "the director of Citizen Kane," Orson Welles was a polymath and a practitioner of all mass media. As a filmmaker, Welles had a very keen visual sense, but he is also well-known for his deep and booming voice. This made him a natural for radio.

He entered the medium relatively early in a career that had been, at that point, one centered around drama. He'd established a theatre troupe called The Mercury Theatre, and before long he decided to expand this to an iteration for radio called Mercury Theatre on the Air. This 1938 series mostly adapted classic and contemporary dramatic works, but it was also the show on which the "War of the Worlds" blowup occurred. The attention from that got new sponsorship and a new iteration of the program, Campbell Playhouse. This series adapted such works as "Our Town," "The Count of Monte Cristo," "The Magnificent Ambersons" and "Mutiny on the Bounty," and ran from December of '38 to March of '40.

During the late 30's and early 40's, even though Welles was not a big film star, and hadn't yet become famous as the director of Kane  his talent and iconic voice were recognized enough for him to be asked to make appearances on The Fred Allen Show and The Charlie McCarthy Show.

Other radio series Welles masterminded were Black Museum, This is My Best, Orson Welles' Almanac, and Ceiling Unlimited. He was born on this day in 1915.

Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6: Happy Birthday, Agnes Moorehead

December 6: Happy Birthday, Agnes Moorehead!


Most people think of Agnes Moorehead as the cranky witch and mother-in-law on Bewitched. What many people do not realize is that this daughter of a Massachusetts minister was a renowned actress that played so many portrayals that her laurels surpassed that of many contemporaries of her day. Ms Moorehead gained a semblance of her fame from Citizen Kane with Orson Welles. In the early days of her career, Moorehead found work doing radio programs (later to be part of the Mercury Theatre on the Air radio program) before being discovered to handle visual art to her resume. In fact, it was acclaimed actress Helen Hayes that had a major influence on Ms Moorehead to follow her dream and become a screen actress. Agnes Moorehead as one of those few actresses that would transition from the screen to radio performing with ease and professionalism. Her skill was so adept that major studios were clamoring for her to come become a contract player for her acumen. One thing that did not leave Ms Moorehead was her enduring faith in God as a devout Presbyterian. Before she passed away in 1974, Agnes Moorehead made sure her estate went to aid Christian charities. Miss Moorehead remains a favorite in the annals of Hollywood.