Saturday, January 10, 2015
Born on this day in 1904, Ray Bolger may be best known as the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. But this is a radio blog! Let's talk old time radio. The curious Ray Bolger, who'd have parts in Little House on the Prairie, Rich Man, Poor Man, and Babes in Toyland (the 1961 re-make), also has a chapter in the history of classic radio.
Remember those Summer replacement shows? Ray's was The Ray Bolger Show, a stand-in for Jimmy Durante and Gary Moore in 1945.
Later, the quixotic song and dance man would record a children's record called Churkendoose, about a fowl that was a hybrid of--guess which--animals. Add to this the fact that he was originally up for the part of the Tin Man role in Wizard but coveted the Scarecrow instead, and you have a very colorful, odd addition to the pantheon of character actors in radio's grand history.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
Today's birthday girl--born today in 1884--would've had no problem starting conversations at cocktail parties. She was not only Glinda the Good With in The Wizard of Oz, but also the wife of Florence Ziegfeld, Jr. of Ziegfeld Follies.
Her party conversation partners may also have recognized her from her CBS radio program The Billie Burke Show. Whereas throughout the history of American comedy in any medium it's been commonplace for humor to center around the characters' vices and the trouble their machinations get them into, Burke's character on this sitcom was funny while being generous and caring. Episodes often centered around her helping someone but making delightful gaffes along the way.
So here's to Billie Burke, the talented actress with the radiant voice.