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Showing posts from April, 2013

April 30: Happy Birthday, Eve Arden

Eve Arden was born--as Eunice Quedens, on this day in 1908. However, we know her as Our Miss Brooks , the star and title character of the long-running radio series about a witty and wise school teacher. The show actually hauled in an award from The National Education Association for its sympathetic portrayal of teachers. On Our Miss Brooks , Mrs. Brooks interacted with the bio teacher, Mr. Boynton ( Jeff Chandler ), Principal Conklin ( Gale Gordon ), and Walter Denton, one of her wacky students, played by Richard Crenna . For her efforts, Eve Arden won a Radio Mirror magazine readers' poll for best comedienne of 1948-49. Though her own series was her claim to fame, Arden also guested on The Danny Kaye Show , and The Lux Radio Theater .

April 28, 1947: The star-studded 'Studio One' premiered on CBS

April 28, 1947: Heavily starred Studio One went on air for the first time on CBS. The show, having no sponsors, remained on CBS just for a year. Studio One   was a show that featured adaptations of great stories, novels, films, and plays. Despite being a really great show, it was cancelled after just a season. The reason was rumored to be linked to Fletcher Markle's refusal to hire famous actors and actresses, since he wanted the show to become popular because of the stories, not because of the stars. The show, nevertheless, produced first-class entertainment. Ironically, it developed into a show called  Ford Theater , which starred well-known Hollywood personalities.

April 27, 1932: The First Performance of Ed Wynn on Texaco Fire Chief Show

April 27, 1932:  Ed Wynn , the Texaco fire chief, graced the airwaves for the first time on Texaco Star Theater. Wynn, who enjoyed popularity as a vaudeville performer, gave as a condition to his switch to radio, that a live audience react to his humor.His condition was granted by the network and so began Wynn's career as the first true superstar of radio. Ed Wynn was hosted a popular radio show  on Tuesday nights for most of the 1930s. The radio show was heard in North America and sponsored by Texaco gasoline. On the show Wynn played  as the " Texaco Fire Chief ". He was often seen wearing a fireman's helmet. For this show, Wynn would turned down the offer form The Wizard in MGM's adaptation of The Wizard of Oz , to play a role on that show.

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.

April 23: Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare 's biggest claim to fame was...being William Shakespeare . He was born on this day in 1564, so let's take a moment to celebrate performances of Shakespeare works on old time radio . Orson Welles was a lover of the classics who cut his teeth as a stage actor acting in several Shakespeare classics. He produced and directed several, including some for the Federal Theatre Project in the early 1930's. On the air, he brought Shakespeare to life on his program Columbia Workshop , with adaptations of Hamlet and As You Like It. Shakespeare's plays were adapted on such programs as I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, Suspense, and Theatre Guild . References to Shakespeare characters and phrases inspired titles of episodes of Gunsmoke , First Nighter , and Favorite Story . He is too big a figure in arts and literature not to have made his imprint on old time radio. Happy Birthday, Bard.

April 22, 1940: KSAN (AM), The Rhythm and Blues Pioneer, airs Its First All-Chinese Radio Program

April 22, 1940: KSAN in San Francisco, CA, broadcast the first all-Chinese commercial radio program . KSAN, headquartered in San Francisco, became the first radio station in the United States to air an all-Chinese commercial radio program in 1940. Now defunct, KSAN was also a pioneer in its effort to cater to black audience in San Francisco Bay area. It was considered as one of the first "rhythm and blues" radio stations which played underground rock music which, according to many, sounded like Chinese too.

April 21, 1940: The Quiz Show 'Take It or Leave It' was first heard on CBS

April 21, 1940: Airing on CBS for the first time on this particular day,  " Take It or Leave It "  contestants were offered a top prize of $64 by Bob Hawk. Losers left as there were no lovely parting gifts or consolation prizes that they could find. " Take It or Leave It " was a very popular radio quiz show in America during its run. The title was derived from the fact that each time a contestant answers a question correctly, he or she will be asked to either "Take" his/her winnings and walk away, or "Leave" it and proceed with the next question.  The show ran for 10 years on CBS (1940-1947) and NBC (1947-1950), and was hosted by Bob Hawk (1940-1941), Phil Baker (1941-1947), Garry Moore (1947-1949), Eddie Cantor (1949-1950), and Jack Paar (1950). It became the precursor of another American game show called "The $64,000 Question."

April 17: Happy Birthday, Hans Conried

April 17: Happy Birthday, Hans Conried Perhaps best known for his voice-over role as Captain Hook in the 1953 version of Disney's Peter Pan , Hans Conried was also a show-hopping radio actor. He was a consummate comedian whose niche was zany doctors and other professionals. Conried's regular gigs were on My Friend Irma , The Burns and Allen Show , and the dramatic programs Suspense and Mercury Theatre on the Air . He made occasional or one-time appearances on Martin and Lewis , Lux Radio Theatre , and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy . A very fun fact about Conried is that his villainous growl caused him to inspire the character "Robot Devil" on the TV show Futurama . Conried fans will also enjoy this anecdotal story with famed director and author Arch Oboler .

April 16: Happy Birthday, Marian Jordan

April 16: Happy Birthday, Marian Jordan As a title for a program, Smackout has a distinctly current sound. It could be a particularly obnoxious reality show about to premier on MTV. Yet it was an early radio show from 1931 starring Marian and Jim Jordan, who we'd later know as Fibber McGee and Molly . And get this: the title came from a catch phrase "we're smack out of that" used by a character named Uncle Luke at his country store. The show ran four years, first on Chi-town's WMAQ and then on NBC. One fan was Ms. Henrietta Johnson Lewis, which trivia savants might know as a member of the family that owned the Johnson Wax Company, which would go on to sponsor Fibber. ("Look, Molly, there's no dull season for wax polish sales!") Since we're celebrating the day of Marian's birth:. She was born in Peoria, IL in 1898 and sang in a Catholic choir. Doing so is, of course, a good way to meet men, with one example being Jim Jordan. Legend

April 12, 1932: The Joe Palooka's Premiere on CBS

April 12, 1932: This date marked the premier of Joe Palooka , an action-comedy broadcast on CBS. The program eventually became a popular comic strip. Joe Palooka was a comic strip created by Ham Fisher in 1921. The comics was published  in the papers in 1930. Joe Palooka comics quickly became popular. They adapt the comics into television shows and movies. In 1932, it was network radio's turn to adapt Joe Palooka. The popular comic came to the radio in a short-lived series that was aired from April to August 1932. The comic strip featured Joe, Joe's manager Knobby Walsh, his girlfriend Anne Howe, blacksmith Humphrey Pennyworth, and mute kid sidekick Little Max. The radio show featured Knobby Walsh and Anne Howe.  Joe Palooka was broadcast for 15 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the program was sponsored by Heinz Rice Flakes.