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, June 13, 2015

June 13: Bob Bailey was born on this day in 1913.

June 13: Bob Bailey was born on this day in 1913.  

What was your favorite old time radio series that Bob Bailey starred in?

Friday, June 12, 2015

June 12: Happy Birthday, Vic Damone


June 12: Happy Birthday, Vic Damone

Today marks the day on which, in 1928, the crooner of "You're Breaking My Heart," "You Do," and "My Truly Truly Fair" came into the world. Vic Damone was a singer, an armed services veteran, and an all-around charming personage.

When not cranking out the big hits, he had time to deliver them live on such big radio programs as Hedda Hopper's Hollywood and Guest Star. Guard Session featured Damone's recordings, interspersed with short interview slots in which he promoted the National Guard and talked about his experiences with them.

Damone was a prototypical Italian crooner, classy, debonair, well-tailored. It all went with his silky-smooth voice. We're pleased to pay tribute to him, and we thank him for the old time radio memories!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June 9, 2013: Happy Birthday Les Paul


If you are a guitarist and know what a “lick” or a “trill” is, than you undoubtedly know Les Paul. Les Paul, born in 1915, is the world’s most renown guitarist to date and influenced the work of many of the big names of today. In fact, Les Paul had an influence on guitars as the inventor of the full-body electric guitar. His playing style formula surpassed the guitarists of the day and drove towards innovations, such as the overlay of sound upon sound. In 1934, Paul got involved in radio with an interest in piano, but that changed and he became fascinated with the arena of the guitar. His jazz style drove him to form a band and he got a gig on Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians radio program.

During the 1940’s Paul had opportunity to perform with some of the big names like Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole  People were becoming more familiar with the music man and his variations on the traditional way of play. What was not lost was that Les Paul stepped out from the norm and created instruments that transitioned into the rock and roll realm of instrumental resonance. In the course of his life Les Paul was married twice and had four children, plus one adopted. His second wife, Mary Ford, became a part of his on-air presence when he hosted the Les Paul Show for NBC. Later, he moved the program from radio to television and renamed it the Les Paul and Mary Ford Show. Les Paul died in 2009 from complications with pneumonia.

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 8, 1942: The Return of 'Clara, Lu 'n Em'

 
June 8, 1942: The original show of Clara, Lu and Em began in 1931 on NBC. The comic soap opera was then revived on CBS.  Clara, Lu and Em  vanished into radio oblivion after being broadcast for only a short while.

Clara, Lu and Em  made a comeback as a revival on the CBS network. First aired over a local AM radio in Chicago, it was considered one of the first soap operas on the radio. It became a standard for all soaps that came after it. The show was described as a light drama with a few comedic stunts from three tongue-wagging Midwestern housewives.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 7: Happy Birthday, Jessica Tandy


The Oscar Award winning actress (Best Actress, "Driving Miss Daisy") Jessica Tandy was born on this day in 1909.  She reached adulthood and began her acting career in a world that was becoming familiar with broadcast radio, and she thrived in this new medium.

Those of you with the sharpest memories might recall her work on the NBC sustaining program "The Marriage," on which she played the wife of the character played by Hume Cronyn, her real-life second husband.

She also turned in sterling performances on The Lux Radio Theatre (as an intermission guest on "Presenting Lily Mars"), The Columbia Workshop (on "The Trojan Women"), and Great Plays (on "The Tempest").

A happy birthday to someone who thrilled audiences half a century before becoming Miss Daisy!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

June 13: Happy Birthday Elmer Davis


Newspaper reporter, radio announcer and reporter, War Department Information head were all signature components of Elmer Davis. Davis was born in 1890 in Indiana and was quick as a young man to find his way into the world of news and reporting. He spent time as a reporter and editorial writer for the New York Times.

By 1939 Davis moved onto radio when asked to fill in for a regular announcer that had gone to Europe covering events. The radio audience instantly was captivated by his easy going voice and was soon reporting nightly. Edward R Murrow once stated that the reason Elmer Davis was so successful so quick was due to his Indiana voice.. The irony here is that Davis would receive a couple of Peabody awards during the course of his career placing him as a peer to Murrow. In 1941, the government asked Davis to become head of the War Departments Information Division.

Davis left a high paying radio position to handle this government position thus displaying his patriotic stand. After the war, Elmer Davis returned to radio and stayed involved in commenting on politics. One of his points of contention were the McCarthy Communist witch hunts. Davis never failed at expressing himself when the need arose. He passed away in the spring of 1958. The news world lost an informed and intelligent voice of reporting the facts.