Monday, October 2, 2017

October 2: Happy Birthday, Groucho Marx



His childhood ambition was to be a doctor.  And while it would be a pleasure to be treated by a sawbones with a greasepaint mustache and an ever-present cigar, we can all be grateful that Marx Groucho became one of the greatest American comedians of all-time.

Along with his brothers, Marx was--of course--a film star first and foremost, with television success coming later.  But success was a three-legged stool in those days, composed of making it on the silver screen, the tube, and the airwaves.

Marx struggled to keep sponsors on his first few attempts, but succeeded spectacularly with You Bet Your Life.  This was a showcase of Groucho's quick-witted ad-libbing, disguised as a quiz show.  Groucho would exchange banter with folks pulled from the studio audience, a technique that would go on to become commonplace, practiced by countless talk show hosts.

Thanks for the memories, Groucho.  And a happy birthday.

Friday, September 29, 2017

September 29, 1946: 'The Adventures of Sam Spade', A famous radio show


 September 29, 1946: The Adventures of Sam Spade was on air in the summer of 1946 on ABC every Friday night. Mystery fans remember it's Sunday night debut on CBS. The Adventures of Sam Spade, with Howard Duff playing Spade, became a big hit in the Sunday night radio lineup. And now a word from our sponsor: "Use Wildroot Cream Oil, Charlie ... it keeps your hair in trim..."

It was one of the most famous detective radio shows on at that time. Sam Spade was the main private detective character, played by Howard Duff, a famous American actor born on November 24, 1913. His spouse's name was Ida Lupino and his daughter's name was Bridget Duff. In 1984, Howard Duff divorced Ida Lupino and later married Judy Jenkinson. At the age of 76, Duff died suddenly of a heart attack on July 8, 1990 in California.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

September 9, 1955 Sergeant Preston of the Yukon's first episode was aired


On this day in 1955, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon's first episode was aired. From the snowy mountains of the Great Northwest, Sgt. Preston and King go on a set of adventures.