Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 30: Happy Birthday, Franklin D. Roosevelt

January 30: Happy Birthday, Franklin D. Roosevelt

My fireside chats usually center why these new-fangled lighters are so hard to use, but our 32nd president had something else in mind with his.

Since today commemorates the birth of FDR, let's take a look at his famous fireside chats. There were thirty-one in all, from 1933 to 1944. These fireside chats were radio addresses to a nation first in the grips of the Great Depression and then embroiled in World War II. The name was meant to suggest informality, casualness, all of us as equals with the president.

The first was on March 12, 1933, and it dealt with the banking crisis and the country's economic travails. The second one outlined the New Deal Program, and others dealt with a 1936 drought, "the European War" (Sept. 3, 1939), the declaration of war with Japan (Dec. 9, 1941), the progress of the war (Feb. 23, 1942) and other topics, usually controversial, important, and timely.

Not a lot of historians and analysts over the years have argued that a policy of ignoring the American people and keeping them in the dark is really the way to go. No, the chats have been universally popular, and are considered influential in laying out a paradigm for the communication duties of elected officials.

FDR is generally considered an outstanding speaker. One man was quoted of saying that as a result of the chats, his "mother looks upon the President as someone so immediately concerned with her problems and difficulties that she would not be greatly surprised were he to come to her house some evening and stay to dinner."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June 25: Happy Birthday, Charlotte Greenwood!

It is one thing to be able to look a giraffe in the eye...but to kick one? That was the self-professed irony of one Charlotte Greenwood.

Born in June of 1890, Frances Charlotte Greenwood stood 6 feet tall and was an acclaimed dancer and actress. Her lengthy reach with her legs made her a favorite for choreography selections, being able to kick high and gracefully. The celebrated comedienne would grace the screen of the notable musical, “Oklahoma” in 1955 as Aunt Eller.

However, before her run as a screen actress, Ms Greenwood completed a successful run on radio with her own program which ran as a situational comedy for the airwaves. From 1941-1946, The Charlotte Greenwood Show stood the test of time and became an American favorite during a time of world wide hostilities. Families groomed their time around the radio to listen to This effervescent diva of celebrated humor and tale. As Aunt Charlotte she was full of bits and pieces of wisdom playing nursemaid to the three barton children. Charlotte Greenwood would be married twice in her life. In 1977, at the age of 87, she left this world of unknown causes. Having lived a life that brought so much happiness to so many, Aunt Charlotte finally said goodnight.

Friday, May 3, 2013

May 3: Happy Birthday, Norman Corwin


Today we salute an innovative and pioneering writer and producer, Norman Corwin. In 2011, Corwin died at the age of 101. He is known for his production of the broadcast "On a Note of Triumph," which trumpeted the Allied victory in World War II.

In 1938, Corwinbegan his noteworthy radio program Words Without Music. One of his next endeavors was Columbia Presents Corwin, which took flight in March of 1944. Corwin wrote the original scripts for the programs, each of which was a documentary-style look at the topic at hand. The inaugural episode was "Movie Primer," which looked at some of the pomposity of the movie business. For his thoughtful, high-quality programs, he tapped into the Rolls Royce of available talent: Charles Laughton, Orson Welles, and Everett Sloane, to name a few.

A later work of distinction was American in England, in which Corwin conducted man-on-the-street interviews with British folks during World War II.

Corwin would go on to win many awards and distinctions, ultimately making it into the Radio Hall of Fame.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April 25: Happy Birthday, Edward R. Murrow


The Michael Jordan of broadcast journalism. The Beethoven. The Ben and Jerry's. The google. Yet Edward Murrow has one up on all of them by having a high school named after him.

Edward Murrow was a man of principle, toiling feverishly to uphold journalistic integrity and high standards and to use reporting as a tool for supporting and enhancing democracy.

Bringing the horrors of World War II and the tyrannies of Hitler and Stalin into American living rooms, Murrow adopted a very descriptive style filled with visual imagery.

Upon returning from his daring European coverage of WWII, Murrow recorded an album called I Can Hear It Now, an account of his wartime experiences. His life was cut short in 1965, but he lives on as a pioneer and standard-setter for broadcast journalism.

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.