Showing posts with label Martin and Lewis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Martin and Lewis. Show all posts

Sunday, December 27, 2015

December 27: Happy Birthday, Marlene Dietrich



We wish a Merry Christmas to all our readers, and, simultaneously, a happy birthday to the mysterious, urbane songstress, Marlene Dietrich.  As Marie Magdalene Dietrich, she entered the world on this day in 1901.

While her icy stare may not have played well on the radio, her voice certainly did.  She turned in sensuous and beguiling performances in such episodes of Lux Radio Theater as "Song of Songs," "Manpower," and "The Legionnaire."  She also appeared on Martin and Lewis and Burns and Allen.

An anti-Nazi voice and USO participant, Dietrich died in Paris at the age of 90.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

June 14: Burl Ives

Whether it was his irascible personality in various motion pictures or as an animated host for playful reindeer, people instantly knew who Burl Ives was. Mr Ives had the voice that played to the radio audience because of its intrinsic calming quality and valued variance of intonation. Born June 14 of 1909, Burl Ives captured the American stage, movie and radio enclave with an almost operatic enhancement. One could say his first public performance was of him singing to a group of old soldiers. His uncle asked him to sing before the group and immediately his talents were noticed.

His early days had him partnered with the Boy Scouts of America as a spokesman and a former scout. Radio was a big part of Burl Ives, beginning with his first 1940’s radio program called The Wayfaring Stranger, where Ives first heard the news of WWII. Mr Ives continued to work on radio guest-starring on programs such as Bing Crosby, Martin and Lewis and Command Performance. He continued to parlay his hand with folk music, becoming part of the “The Almanacs”. As the war with Germany was going on, Burl Ives and his group could be seen around the country supporting the war effort and urging Americans to stay strong.

In 1947, Ives paired with the Andrews Sisters to record for Decca Records and held for weeks one of the highest selling recordings of the day. Although cleared of any communist sympathies, Burl Ives had to face the charges during the 1950s.

During this period, and into the 60’s, Mr Ives performed in various motion pictures. Into the 90’s, he was a great lover and performer of country music, stay involved in films and lent his voice to animated characters. He is probably most remembered as the host snowman for the classic , “Rudolph, The Red-nosed Reindeer”. Burl Ives was married twice and one son.

In 1995 he passed away from complications dealing with oral cancer. It has always been a well-known belief that Burl Ives personified joy and happiness in everything he did...and lived.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 31: Happy Birthday, Tallulah Bankhead

January 31: Happy Birthday, Tallulah Bankhead


Darlings, Tallulah Bankhead was a hilarious star of stage and screen and the host of NBC's The Big Show from 1950-1951. The ostentatious Alabaman introduced each week's lineup of spectacular stars (Ethel Merman, Fred Allen, Groucho Marx, Martin and Lewis, Rosemary Clooney, you name 'em) and jousted with them in witty exchanges.

The ambitious and extravagant extravaganza was hosted in the 3,000-seat Center Theatre. Each show opened with the theme song  "A Hand Full of Stars," Bankhead's monologue, and then the wide array of guest stars singing, dancing, or performing sketches in an ensemble.

The indomitable Tallulah, who, legend claims, smoked about a hundred and fifty cigarettes a day in rehearsals, was sometimes a bit thorny with guests. It was mostly all in good fun, but sometimes a bit uncomfortable. For example, Jose Ferrer showed reluctance at being called, by Bankhead, the day's best stage actor, Tallulah quickly shot back that he was right, he probably wasn't.

You may remember Bankhead's roles in such films as "The Trap," "My Sin," "Faithless," "Lifeboat," and "A Royal Scandal." And did you remember that she also played Black Widow in two 1967 episodes of the TV series "Batman"?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

November 23: Happy Birthday, Boris Karloff

November 23: Happy Birthday, Boris Karloff

Unlike a lot of radio stars who would go on to careers in television or film, Boris Karloff was a star of the silver screen before embarking on a radio career. He is best known for starring as Frankenstein's monster in the 1931 opus Frankenstein (as well as in some sequels). He would later cross over and appear in many radio shows. He hosted The Boris Karloff Show in 1957, with episodes such as "The Vampire's Grave," "Shakespeare's Hometown," and "The White House."

Shows on which he appeared as a guest include "Bergen & McCarthy," "Inner Sanctum," "Lights Out," "Martin and Lewis," "Jack Benny Program" and more. To these shows he lent his distinctive, deep, slow, spooky drawl. Later in his life he would play many voice roles, including that of the narrator of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas."

Karloff's birth name was William Henry Pratt.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 12: Happy Birthday, Gordon MacRae

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!