Showing posts with label groucho marx. Show all posts
Showing posts with label groucho marx. Show all posts

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"?

Friday, May 9, 2014

May 9: Happy Birthday, Mike Wallace


While Massachusetts was Mike Wallace's 1918 birthplace, Michigan was the birthplace of his broadcasting career. Wallace was a writer and newscaster at WOOD in Grand Rapids, and then an announcer at Detroit's WXYZ. After his tour of duty in the Navy during the WWII, Wallace returned stateside and found employ as radio announcer in Chicago, doing the emcee duties for such shows as Sky King and Curtain Time. He got a higher-profile gig announcing for Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life.

It was then on to broadcast journalism with an interview show called Night Beat. Mike Wallace radio life was concluding as he would go on to television super-stardom, with his claim to fame being 60 Minutes. Wallace died in 2012.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 3: Happy Birthday, Bing Crosby


A stirrer of the imagination, a soother of souls, a gentle and loyal companion, Bing Crosby is a crooner for all-time, a superstar of the twentieth century. Known for his songs "White Christmas," "Surrender Dear," and "Sweet Leilani," the baritone was called "the most admired man alive" by Yank magazine.

From 1935-'43, Crosby appeared regularly on Kraft Music Hall. He also made many appearances on Command Performance and Philco Radio Time. These performances, in addition to showcasing his now-legendary vocal skills, allowed him to work with the biggest names of the day, including Peggy Lee, Boris Karloff, Al Jolson, Groucho Marx, and Fred Astaire.

The story has it that his nickname Bing (he was born Harry) came from his infatuation with the comic strip Bingville Bugle.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 22: Happy Birthday, Chico Marx

March 22: Happy Birthday, Chico Marx

It's pronounced "Chick-o." Legend has it that in an early press release, the typesetter forgot the "k," and in a spirit of whimsy, the Marx Brothers left it that way. It therefore began to be pronounced the way it was spelled, and the name essentially began going by either pronunciation.

In the fall of '32, the mispronounced Marx brother began appearing with just Groucho on a radio program called Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, the Monday installment of Standard Oil's Five Star Theatre. Chico played Emmanuel Ravelli, the assistant to Groucho's lawyer character.

In Spring of '34, the two had a quick stint on a show called Marx of Time which lampooned current events.

Chico appeared in a handful of episodes of Pabst Blue Ribbon Town, which Groucho Marx hosted.

He also lent his talents to Command Performance, Radio Hall of Fame, and Hollywood Hotel. The piano-playing funny man died in October of 1961. His real name was Leonard.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Phyllis Diller in Old Time Radio: You Bet Your Life


Phyllis Diller passed away at the age of 95 this week.  Here is an old time radio episode starring Phyllis Diller (1917-2012) as a guest star contestant in the Jan 27, 1958 broadcast of Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life.   Diller was just starting in show business at the Blue Angel.

Here is the full old time radio episode:

(Phyllis Diller appears in the broadcast half way at around the 11 minute mark)