Showing posts with label Kraft Music Hall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kraft Music Hall. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28: Happy Birthday, Lionel Barrymore

Lionel Barrymore's 61st birthday celebrated at MGM with a few of his friends! Norma Sheaerer on his right and Rosalind Russell on his left.  In back of him he has Mickey Rooney, Robert Montgomery,  Clark Gable, Louis B. Mayer, William Powell and Robert Taylor. 
Known to have been a reluctant performer in a family full of them, Lionel Barrymore is much loved for his annual performance as Ebenezer Scrooge on various old time radio programs. His biggest gig was in The Story of Doctor Kildare, in the role of Doctor Gillespie. Gillespie was the older doctor who graciously mentored Kildare.

He was the mayor of the town Mayor of the Town, a 1940s radio series, and made many appearances on Lux Radio Theatre, Command Performance, and Kraft Music Hall.

He would go on to shine as a screen actor in such movies as It's a Wonderful Life and A Free Soul, winning an Oscar for the latter. Ask your friends if they know who was born today in 1878. Tell 'em Lionel Barrymore -- that's who!

Monday, May 26, 2014

May 26: Happy Birthday Al Jolson


Al Jolson was one of the most famous Broadway performers of his day. He was spontaneous and daring, improvising at will and giving audiences long segments of his song and dance stylings. He is, of course, known to history for his blackface routines, which have suffered disrepute, widely considered racist.

Jolson's early alter ego, was Gus, a wily underdog who survived on his wits. Jolson played Gus in such revues as "The Honeymoon Express" and "Dancing Around."

Off stage, Jolson was known to bet on the ponies and on boxers. He was known for his volatile personality.

Jolson lit up the radio airwaves with appearances on Bing Crosby's Chesterfield Show and Kraft Music Hour. He also had a brief run with his own Al Jolson Show.

Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7: Happy Birthday, Eddie Bracken

February 7: Happy Birthday, Eddie Bracken

Just read through the episode titles of The Eddie Bracken Show and you know there's been a mix-up and that hilarity is about to ensue. There's "Switching Beauty Contestant Pictures, " "The Pretend Marriage and Baby Scales," and "To Borrow a Pig."

On that note, we celebrate the 1915 birth of Eddie Bracken, radio star who also shone on the stage and screen.

The oldt ime radio show bearing Bracken's name aired on Sundays from 1945-1947. The man who always had a sarcastic expression on his face also put in guest appearances on Suspense, Academy Award Theatre, Kraft Music Hall, and NBC University Theatre.

The winsome film star is today's birthday boy. He was able to live a long, full life--his death was in 2002.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

August 6: Happy Birthday, Lucille Ball



Bios of Lucille Ball abound, and most people know at least a little bit about the famed comedienne. But on the occasion of her birthday, we get a chance to look at her contributions to oldtime radio.

Her first big break was the chance to star in the radio program My Favorite Husband along with Richard Denning. The two played a Minneapolis couple, with Lucille's character Liz, being a goofball housewife. She signed each time with a cordial "Jell-O, everybody," to plug the sponsor, General Foods' Jell-O. The show would later make the jump to television.

But what a lot of people may not realize is that she also made the rounds as a guest on just about any radio show you can name: The Kraft Music Hall, Screen Guild Theatre, Mail Call, The Campbell Playhouse, and The Gulf Screen Guild Theatre to name a few.

Many things to many people, Lucille Ball was a giant of old time radio. Happy birthday, Lucille!

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.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May 18: Happy Birthday, Perry Como

Mr. Perry Como was born on this day in 1912. His show biz career spanned half a century, including his exploits as a singer and also as a radio and TV personality.

In 1943, Como signed on with RCA Victor records and began churning out an amazing string of hits, such as "When You Were Sweet Sixteen," "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now," "Because," and "Forever and Ever."

Radio played a big part in Como's life, and not just for playing his songs. He'd begun as a singer in a traveling band led by Ted Weems. When he became a family man, Como decided to quit the road life and was set to begin a middle-class life as a barber. However, an offer of a CBS radio show was what kept him in show business. The RCA recording contract would come not long after.

Radio also made Como the highest paid performer at that time--he earned this big salary as the host of Perry Como's Kraft Music Show. We're glad he didn't become a barber--a close shave to say the least.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April 3: Happy Birthday, Doris Day



On Mar. 28, 1952, CBS took the air with The Doris Day Show, a radio program featuring an established recording artist and actress. The show used the format that was by then a staple: soothing musical numbers and then performances by guests, most of them stars of stage, screen, and air. Guests included Kirk Douglas, Ronald Reagan, Danny Thomas, and Ray Bolger. Howard Keel was probably the most frequent guest, with Gordon MacRae not far behind.

As was the case with many of the big stars of the time period, Day also made plenty of appearances on the various big-name radio shows. The fetching singer-actress climbed the radio ladder with appearances on The Rudy Vallee Show, Command Performance, The Bob Hope Show, Kraft Music Hall and Stars For Defense.

The songstress who gave us "Till The End of Times," "My Dreams are Getting Better All the Time," and "I Got the Sun in the Mornin'" lives on in the memories of old time radio fans.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

January 3: Happy Birthday, Victor Borge

January 3: Happy Birthday, Victor Borge

Victor Borge was a Danish and American comedian affectionately known as “The Great Dane” and “The Clown Prince of Denmark.”

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, Borge was a talented pianist. He spent much of his younger years learning and playing concerts. When the Nazis occupied Denmark during World War II, Borge was playing a concert in Sweden and was able to escape to Finland. He traveled to America on the USS American Legion, the last ship to make it out of Petsamo, Finland.

Borge didn’t speak any English when he arrived in America, but he quickly learned by “studying” in movie theaters. Rudy Vallee offered him an opportunity on his radio show, and Borge soon became part of Kraft Music Hall. He also made many guest appearances on Command Performance, Fibber McGee and Molly, Jubilee, and Mail Call.

Victor never stopped working. He continued to perform and tour throughout his life. Even at the age of 90, Borge was still making 60 appearances a year.

Many of Borge’s performances had physical elements that were more suited for television and the stage than radio. He made many appearances on both throughout his storied career of almost 75 years.

Victor Borge, the melancholy Dane, passed away on December 23rd, 2000 at the age of 91.