Showing posts with label Suspense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Suspense. Show all posts

Saturday, January 3, 2015

January 3: Happy Birthday, Ray Milland



Ray Milland won an Oscar in 1946 for his work in Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend.  He also starred in Dial M For Murder, Close To My Heart, and Reap the Wild Wind.

But who are we kidding?  You and I love Ray for his role in the CBS blockbuster radio program Meet Mr. McNutley.  The series ran from '53-'54, and starred Ray Milland and Phyllis Avery.  Mr. McNutley was, as his name might imply, a warm-hearted, perhaps absent-minded professor at Lynnhaven College for Women.  The show ran simultaneously on the airwaves and the tube.

Plots include Peg buying a new outboard motor for Ray; Ray trying to divine the gender of a new parakeet; and an O. Henryesque miscue involving a mink coat.

Milland appeared as a guest on Lux Radio Theatre, Safari, Camel Screen Guild Theatre, and Suspense.

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 17: Happy Birthday, Rita Hayworth



A dancer as a child and actress and sex symbol as an adult, Rita Hayworth was born Margerita Carmen Cansino on this day in 1918.

Star of Gilda, Pal Joey, and Separate Tables, the stunning brunette was also once married to Orson Welles and romantically involved with Prince Aly Khan, Aga Khan's son.

But let's allow others to worry about her lovelife, her scandals and intrigues.  We're here to celebrate her radio performances: there were many.  She appeared on The Lux Radio Theatre, Gulf Screen Guild Theatre, The Pepsodent Show (hosted by Bob Hope), Suspense, and Command Performance.  On these top-flight shows, she acted alongside Cary Grant, Cecil B. DeMille, George Burns, and Angela Lansbury.

Hayworth was dashing and sensual, and has been recognized by collective memory as one of the great film actresses of all time.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

August 2: Happy Birthday, Myrna Loy!



Happy Birthday to Myrna Loy today!

Born today in 1905, the film actress was known for her many film roles including opposite William Powell in "The Thin Man" and with Cary Grant in "Mr Blandings."

During the Golden Age of Radio, Myrna Loy also appeared in such radio shows as "Good News", "Lux Radio Theater", "Screen Guild Theater", and "Suspense!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 27: Happy Birthday, Vincent Price


Imagine a dozen voices singing "Happy Birthday" in a sepulchral, raspy Vincent Price voice.

 Vincent Leonard Price, Jr. was born on this day in 1911 and would forge a career in broadcasting, television, and film. The gothic ghoul who oozed cool graced the airwaves of such programs as Lux Radio Theater, Suspense, Escape, and Hollywood Star Playhouse.

Check out the titles of the programs brought to life by Price's mid-century appearances on Suspense: "Fugue In C Minor," "Hands of Mr. Ottermole," "Rave Notice." He also starred in literary chillers "Occurrence At Owl Creek" and Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum."

The Yale-educated Price started his acting career in Broadway and didn't waste much time busting into film, starring in the 1953 flick "House of Wax" alongside Frank Lovejoy and Phyllis Kirk.

Price may be the only person born today who has won a "Grim Reaper Award" and who is a member of the Horror Hall of Fame. A scary and horrific birthday to you, Vincent!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 5: Happy Birthday, Gregory Peck


Lux Radio Theatre and Suspense gave Peck a chance to shine in productions of "The Yearling," "Gentleman's Agreement," and "Murder Through the Looking Glass." He also appeared in a rendering of Anna Karenina on Screen Guild Theater.

Peck was born in La Jolla, CA, and schooled first at St. John's Military Academy and then at the University of California, Berkeley. Without really knowing why, the English major took a role in a stage production of Moby Dick, and a promising career was born. Happy Birthday, Gregory Peck!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3: Happy Birthday Alan Ladd!

Sept 3: Happy Birthday, Alan Ladd



Alan Ladd (born Alan Walbridge Ladd) debut as a lead in a major motion picture was in 1942 in This Gun for Hire. This collection includes his radio version of This Gun for Hire from Lux Radio TheaterAlan Ladd with Daughter Alana
Alan Ladd with daughter, Alana
Other films that he starred in include, The Great Gatsby, The Blue Dahlia, and The Glass Key. He continued to star in major roles such as the critically acclaimed Shane in the 1950s and until his death in 1964. Remembered both on screen and on the radio as a top-rate performer.

This collection hopes to honor the work of Alan Ladd on radio. The second volumes contains the complete collection of Box 13, his most memorable role on radio as Dan Holiday. On the first volume there are also examples of some of his best work on the radio from shows such as Burns and AllenCommand PerformanceJerry at Fair OaksLux Radio TheaterScreen Director's TheaterScreen Guild Theater, and Suspense.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

August 22: Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury

Today's birthday commemoration goes out to the renowned author Ray Bradbury. About sixty years before the "Green" movement, meant to stave off the destruction of the natural Earth, Bradbury set his stories in Green Town, an analogy for his hometown of Waukegan, Illinois. Green Town was green and inviting and nurturing, yet also the setting for fantastic events like an uncle growing wings and carnivals bringing characters with supernatural powers. 

It's no surprise that Bradbury's weird tales in the science fiction genre were adapted for radio, by programs such as Dimension X, X Minus One and Suspense. But did you know that at the tender age of fourteen, the future author of Fahrenheit 451 got his first paying gig as a writer for the Burns and Allen Show? That's right, loyal listeners.

Bradbury did something very unique and quirky in his literary career. Feeling the world needed a journal devoted just to his works, he published Futuria Fantasia, with almost all the work being written by him. He used pseudonyms to hide this, though. This was in 1938, when he was a whipper-snapper just graduating high school. We salute you, Ray Bradbury!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August 15: Happy Birthday, Ethel Barrymore

Born (in 1879) into a world with no movies or television or radio, Ethel Barrymore still had something in her genetic code predisposing her to a career in the performing arts. Both of her parents were stage actors, and her brothers Lionel and John would choose that craft as well.

Before her 1959 death, the theater star was able to make some high-quality appearances on radio. She managed to log time on quite a few of the big-name shows, including Screen Guild Theater, Suspense, Big Show, and Suspense. On the latter, she played a woman frightened by a psychotic handyman.

One of the first generation of the Barrymore dynasty, Ethel Barrymore gets today's birthday wish!

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.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16: Happy Birthday, Ginger Rogers


The Rogers of Astaire and Rogers was born July 16, 1911. The lovely Ginger Rogers was a  captivating dancer and actress would perform more than 10 movies with Fred Astaire and be a romantic focus of his as well. Born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence Missouri, Ginger would grow up with her grandparents in Kansas City. During this time her mother worked in Hollywood writing scripts. Due to the fact one of her cousins could not properly pronounce her first name, she took on the nickname of “Ginga’.” “Ginga’” moved to Texas where where her mother was working as a theatre critic for a Fort Worth newspaper. During this time, Miss Rogers became fascinated with the stage and started to learn to sing and dance. She became involved vaudeville and the stage, performing in a number of productions. One of her most memorable was Girl Crazy, where she met the choreographer, Fred Astaire, for the first time. By 1929 she had moved onto Hollywood and became a film performer. During the years of 33-39 she made a number of films with Astaire as her dancing partner. Rogers made a number of guest appearances on radio. her academy award winning Kitty Foyle was a showpiece on Lux Radio Theatre. She also made appearances on Command Performance, Screen Guild Theatre, G.I. Journal and Suspense. Ginger Rogers had as much presence on-air as she did on the motion picture screen. She was married five times, but never to Fred Astaire. She loved to perform, be involved in civics and enjoyed people. She left this world in 1995 of a heart attack. She had danced her last earthly dance.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

June, 30: Happy Birthday, Lena Horne

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne was born June 30, 1917. This versatile lady would grown to become an inspiring actress, singer, dancer and involved in civil rights. This descendant of notable early American colonists, John C Calhoun; Lena Horne spent a very uninspired childhood shuffling from grandparents to mother to an uncle growing up. Her mother was involved in a roving black troupe and that had an early impact on Horne’s desire to entertain.

By 1933, Ms Horne became a part of the Cotton Club in NYC. She later became a part of Noble Sissle’s Orchestra, with whom she made her first recording with Decca Records. She then became the main vocalist for the The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street with NBC. during the 30’s and into the 40’s she made a few low-budget films. In 1944, Lena was featured in the radio mystery program Suspense, which featured her singing and acting as a nightclub performer. Also during the period of WWII, Lena Horne could be heard singing on radio programs like, Command Performance, Mail Call and G.I. Journal.

These on-air programs were major hits with the servicemen overseas. By the 1950’s and into the early 90’s, Ms. Horne would be seen on television programs with the likes of Bill Cosby and Frank Sinatra. She was very involved with civil rights issues that affected African-Americans. Lena Horne was married twice and had a son (passed away of kidney disease) and a daughter, Gail, that became a noted author. Lena Horne left this earth in 2010 after a heart attack. The Grammy award winning singer and actress had finally gone home.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22: Happy Birthday, Paul Frees

June 22, 1920 was when American voice and character actor Paul Frees was born. Born Solomon Hersh Frees, his voice range that covered multiple octave levels made Frees a popular pick for voice characterizations over 40 years.

 To this day, some of his voice offerings can be found in the Disney company of entrees, including Walt Disney World. Beginning in 1942, Frees would extend his voice to cartoons, and other venues of entertainment...including commercials.

While beginning a career in radio, Frees was drafted into WWII and fought in the European theatre. Injured in Normandy, he would would convalescent for a year at home. His return to radio would endear him to millions of Americans as a voice actor in such popular programs as Gunsmoke and Suspense Theatre. In fact, if actor William Conrad was not the voice narration, Paul Frees would be heard giving the voice to Suspense. In the radio drama The Player , Frees handled all the parts; cast and storyteller.

Paul Frees talent ran into handling various dialects and into narration. Disney loved using Frees because of the versatility of his vocal talents. He would be the voice of Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, portraying a solid rendition actor James Mason’s voice...the performer from the movie. In the 1959 Disney hit, The Shaggy Dog, Frees came on -board the filming for a bit part as a psychiatrist. This was an example of the few times America actually caught a glimpse of the actor that was a voice of a thousand parts.

In November of 1986, Paul Frees lost his life to a heart attack at the age of 66. Whether it was hearing the snobbish Von Drake or the Little Green Pea of Green Giant commercials, America lost a talented voice.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 23: Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare's biggest claim to fame was...being William Shakespeare. He was born on this day in 1564, so let's take a moment to celebrate performances of Shakespeare works on old time radio.

Orson Welles was a lover of the classics who cut his teeth as a stage actor acting in several Shakespeare classics. He produced and directed several, including some for the Federal Theatre Project in the early 1930's. On the air, he brought Shakespeare to life on his program Columbia Workshop, with adaptations of Hamlet and As You Like It.

Shakespeare's plays were adapted on such programs as I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, Suspense, and Theatre Guild. References to Shakespeare characters and phrases inspired titles of episodes of Gunsmoke, First Nighter, and Favorite Story. He is too big a figure in arts and literature not to have made his imprint on old time radio. Happy Birthday, Bard.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 7: Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens

February 7: Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens

We salute the author of A Tale of Two Cities, Bleak House, David Copperfield, and many other classics because so many of his works were adapted into radio plays.

If you can recall sitting on the floor with the fire crackling nearby, your mom sorting her coupons at the coffee table, and radio actors giving voice to great Dickens dramas, here's what you're remembering, specifically:


Imagine turning on commercial radio today and hearing classic literature instead of gossip about Miley Cyrus or the latest hit song by Justin Bieber.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February 6: Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan

February 6: Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan

Inventing the cotton gin was one of the only things Ronald Reagan didn't do. The actor, governor, and president actually began his career as a radio announcer.

It all began for Dutch Reagan in 1932 when WOC from Davenport, Iowa needed someone to call
the Iowa-Minnesota homecoming football game. He moved on to WHO , a Des Moines NBC affiliate.

Known for sprinkling some humor into his presidential communiques, Reagan honed his comic style, in addition to his television appearances, on the radio. As he became a relatively big name on the tube, he began, as many TV stars did, appearing on some of the big radio shows. His appearance on Lux Radio Theatre teamed him future wife Jane Wyman for an adaptation of Nobody Lives Forever. The Gipper also guested on The Bing Crosby Show, The Burns and Allen Show, Suspense, and Colgate Sports Newsreel.

Later, The Great Communicator would broadcast many presidential speeches.  Reagan was born Feb. 6, 1911 and died June 5, 2004.