Sunday, February 28, 2016
Saturday, February 20, 2016
Monday, February 15, 2016
February 15: Happy Birthday, John Barrymore
Drew Barrymore's grandfather, yes, but John Barrymore was also a theatre actor lauded for his performance as the title character in Hamlet on Broadway (1922) and for his roles in the films Don Juan, Dinner at Eight, Twentieth Century and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
His radio life included many appearances on The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour (The Rudy Vallee Show), most of them in 1941. His last performance was on the May 5, 1942 episode of the show. It was at a rehearsal for Vallee's show later in the year that he collapsed and went into a coma.
A brief life of hard-drinking ended for Barrymore on May 29, 1942. Depending on who one believes, his dying words were either "Die?...No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him," or "you heard me, Mike."
The oldtime radio world salutes John Barrymore on the day of his birth in 1882.
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Friday, February 12, 2016
February 12: Happy Birthday, Abraham Lincoln
What is Honest Abe, the man on the penny, doing on a site devoted to classic radio? Here's the secret. Here's the answer to the mystery. Not only is Abraham Lincoln still regularly written about, re-imagined, investigated, and portrayed (see the new film, Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg), but he was particularly popular as a subject for radio plays.
For one ready example, the popular show Cavalcade of America gave us a cavalcade of no less than eight original documentaries on Lincoln: Abraham Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, Ann Rutledge and Lincoln, Mr. Lincoln's Wife and others.
In 1953, Crime Classics devoted its attentions to the assassination of our fourteenth president.
The revered You Are There looked at the same topic in July, 1947, and covered the Battle of Gettysburg in 1948 and the capture of John Wilkes Booth in 1949. Maybe you were there for these original broadcasts.
At any rate, it's still possible to snag copies of some of the old shows devoted to Abe, The Great Emancipator.