Showing posts with label Lucille Ball. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lucille Ball. Show all posts

Saturday, August 6, 2016

August 6, 1911 Lucille Ball was born


On this day in 1911, Lucille Ball was born.

Friday, March 27, 2015

March 27: Happy Birthday, Richard Denning

If he were alive today, actor Richard Denning would be a 101! He was born on this day in 1914. In that year, the first airline flight cruised from St. Petersburg to Tampa; Ford Motor Co. began paying $5 for a 9-hour day; Charlie Chaplin played The Little Tramp, and George Washington Carver began experimenting with peanuts.

Radio was a technology rather than a broadcast medium, and silent films were sweeping the nation.

After he'd toiled for years in many small film roles, Denning became a movie star and then dived headlong into the shimmering pool of radio. He starred alongside Lucille Ball in My Favorite Husband from 1948-'51. This program allowed Denning to work with, in addition to Ball, character actors such as Hans Conried and Gale Gordon.

After that, he got "married" to Barbara Britton, starring as a husband in a much different spouse program, Mr. and Mrs. North. He became the third Jerry North on the long-running series, stepping into the lineage of Joseph Curtin and Carl Eastman.

We commemorate the birth of a popular actor and bigtime contributor to oldtime radio. Here's to Richard Denning.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 12: Happy Birthday, Ann Miller



Today we commemorate the birth on this day in 1920 of charming and lovely screen actress Ann Miller. No flash in the pan or overnight success, Miller paid her dues and toiled for years before becoming a major film star.

She is reputed to have been discovered by Lucille Ball during a nightclub song and dance act, and went on to spectacular musical roles in such films as "Small Town Girl," "On The Town," and "Kiss Me Kate."

The versatile performer made a few, memorable radio appearances. Many of these were on the shows devoted to entertaining the WWII troops, including G.I. Journal and Command Performance. In 1940, she appeared in Forecast a series highlighting notable people from a particular state. Her episode took a look at Texas's Sam Houston.

Happy birthday, Ann Miller!

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!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

June, 29: Happy Birthday, Joan Davis

When Joan Davis was born on June 29, 1907, America was blessed with talent that would encompass all avenues of entertainment. This young comedian was going to make her mark on television, radio, vaudeville and in the movies...not in necessarily in that order. he first arena for performing was in vaudeville with her comedian husband Si Willis.

One of her enterprising talents was that of a physical comedian; her size and lanky build was suited for the making the slapstick variety of visual humor. In 1941, Joan Davis entered the radio arena by appearing on the Rudy Vallee Show, where she would become a regular a few months later.

When Vallee left to serve during WWII in 1943, Davis and Jack Haley became co-hosts of the program, The Sealtest Village Store. In 1945 she moved over to CBS and did a radio program centered around owning a tea room. In 1947, the show changed placing her name on the title still with the focus of the tea room and the happenings in Smallville, running until 1948. By July of that same year, Leave it to Joan ran in place of Lux Radio Theatre for the summer.

In August 1949 the program became a yearly diet for america with its run until March of 1950. Her physical comedy was played up on the radio and developed her prowess for that type of comedy. it worked for when NBC took her on television opposite of Jim Backus with I Married Joan. It ran until 1955. In 1961, MS Davis passed away at the age of 53 in Palm Springs, California. Comediennes like Lucille Ball and Eve Arden owe much of their success to the talents pioneered by Joan Davis.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

March 16: Happy Birthday, Jerry Lewis

March 16: Happy Birthday, Jerry Lewis

It isn't easy to write a short entry on Jerry Lewis. Doing so can't capture his kinetic energy, his flowing and sprawling brand of physical humor. Nor is it adequate for discussing all the things he was: director, comedian, radio personality, fund raiser, winner of many prestigious awards.

Maybe we should just focus on radio! The Martin and Lewis Show leapt onto the airwaves in 1949, starring Lewis and his partner Dean Martin, a popular nightclub act. With Martin as the butt of Lewis's jokes, the two provided zany and energetic comedy while also hosting guests. The program did not skimp on talent, with guests including Lucille Ball, Peter Lorre, Henry Fonda, John Carradine, Jane Russell, and many others.

On the air or live, the two were the biggest comedy act of the early 1950's. As was the case with many radio stars, their show had more than one incarnation with more than one sponsor. In 1951, they took the airwaves under the name The Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Show. A comedy song called "A Streetcar Named Max" got guest Dinah Shore laughing in what Variety Magazine would deem "one of the most hilarious thirty minutes in radio."

Lewis would go on to a tremendously successful film career, as an actor, yes, but also as a writer and director. In June of 2012 he was hospitalized after collapsing at a Friars' Club function.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

February 10: Happy Birthday, Jimmy Durante

February 10: Happy Birthday, Jimmy Durante


Actor, personality, voice-over expert and owner of a famous "schnozzola," Jimmy Durante was born on this day in 1893. Jimmy's calling card was his raspy, urbane voice. He hosted the Durante-Moore Show with partner Garry Moore and went solo with The Jimmy Durante Show in 1947. "Dat's my boy dat said dat!" was a catchphrase on the first iteration of the program.

Like many shows of the era, The Jimmy Durante Show featured comedy and music. Do you remember guest appearances by: Lucille Ball, Victor Moore, Bing Crosby, and Al Jolson?

After his radio career, Durante voiced the Narrator of the 1969 cartoon special "Frosty the Snowman." He died in Santa Monica on Jan. 29, 1980.

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.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 22: Happy Birthday, Ann Sothern

January 22: Happy Birthday, Ann Sothern


The Adventures of Maisie crackled from radio speakers nationwide from 1945 to '52. It starred the vivacious Ann Sothern, who was born on this day in 1909. Star of film, television, and radio, Sothern may be best known for her Maisie character.

Maisie originated in the 1939 film of the same name. Maisie is a New York dancer who finds herself in adventures in Wyoming. The movie spawned a few sequels and then Sothern got to play the role in a radio adaptation of Maisie Was a Lady, produced by Lux Radio Theatre. A small empire was born, and the comic actress became a radio staple.

Like many talented lookers of the day, Sothern entertained the WWII troops and appeared at military hospitals. Reportedly, a plane was named Sothern Comfort in her honor.

She was a good friend of comedienne Lucille Ball. Ball once remarked, "the best comedienne in this business, bar none, is Ann Sothern."

Late in her life, Sothern retired to whence she had come, Ketchum, Idaho. She died in 2001.