Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 27: Happy Birthday Donna Reed!

Happy Birthday to Donna Reed! She personified Mid-Western goodness and dependability, fans may best remember her from her role as Mary Hatch in It a Wonderful Life. She also made some great radio appearances during the Golden Age of Radio!

January 27, 1905 Howard McNear was born

On this day in 1905, Howard McNear was born.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19: Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe

January 19: Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe ate a live raven on the air on this day in 1928. Oh, all right. It was Charlotte Bronte. But today is Poe's birthday (1809) and his contributions to old time radio should be celebrated.

Poe may have died without hearing a single radio broadcast, much less without appearing in one, but his chilling tales have been widely adapted. One program, WGN's The Weird Circle loved putting Poe's work on the air. They broadcast "The Fall of the House of Usher" on Jul. 8, '43; "A Terrible Strange Bed," Jul. 29, '43; "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym," Aug. 5, '43, and "William Wilson," Sept. 9, '43, and "The Tell-Tale Heart," Jan. 30, '44.

For the latter, "The Tell-Tale Heart," the WC crew had to lengthen Poe's original story. It was a task also undertaken when Inner Sanctum and The Hall of Fantasy adapted the work. Inner Sanctum's version starred the master of disaster, Boris Karloff.

Black Mass adapted "A Predicament," "The Telltale Heart," "The Man in the Crowd," and "Found in a Bottle." NBC Presents: Short Story ran "Cask of Amontillado," and "The Tell-Tale Heart."

Poe died in 1849.

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18: Happy Birthday, Cary Grant

January 18: Happy Birthday, Cary Grant

When was the last time you used the word "debonair" in a sentence? It's out of fashion, and not a whole lot of today's men merit the adjective. But it's a word often used to describe Cary Grant, star of Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, and North By Northwest. He was always neatly coiffured, even when being chased by an airplane, and wore a steely look on his placid face.

As for oldtime radio: Cary appeared on several vintage radio programs, chief among them
Lux Radio Theater. He appeared on that series' productions of The Philadelphia Story and Madame Butterfly as well as episodes entitled "The Theodora Goes Wild," "Only Angels have Wings," "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" and "The Awful Truth Stars Cary Grant."

He also starred on several episodes of Suspense, including "On a Country Road," broadcast Nov. 16, 1950. His co-stars were Cathy Lewis and Jeannette Nolan.

It's also worth a note, since it's Grant's birthday, that his 1948 movie Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House was adapted into a radio sitcom.

So put a little grease on your hair, light a pipe, and flash a smile in honor of Cary Grant. He would've been a hundred and eight!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 16: Debut of "I Love a Mystery"

On this date in OTR: "I Love a Mystery" debuted Jan. 16, 1939, on NBC's West Coast network.

 It moved to the full network in October of that year. Carleton E. Morse's stories focused on the adventures of three detectives in the Hollywood A-1 Detective Agency. The program ended Dec. 26, 1952.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Jan 13: Debut of Al Pearce and His Gang

January 13: On this date in OTR: "Al Pearce and His Gang" debuted Jan. 13, 1934, on NBC. Pearce played a door-to-door salesman. The program included what radio historian Jim Cox described as "a bunch of zany comics whose non-sensical abilities tickled the nation’s funnybone when it was most needed

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January 7, 1941: The start of a long-running horror radio program Inner Sanctum

January 7, 1941: The first installment of the Inner Sanctum was presented by the NBC Blue network.

In its 11 years of featuring suspense, horror, and mystery stories on the air, Inner Sanctum produced a total of 526 episodes. Raymond Johnson, the program’s first host, always opened the program with his popular self-introductory line: “Your host, Raymond.” Through the years, the line was continually used, though with some revisions, by the succeeding hosts.

Featuring Lon Chaney Jr. in a starring role, Universal Studios produced six movie series based on the popular radio program, Inner Sanctum.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January 6, 1941: Richard Widmark starred as Neil Davison in a 1941 serial drama

January 6, 1941: Richard Widmark, a young actor, made his radio debut on a new program on CBS titled The Home of the Brave.

The Home of the Brave, a serial drama of the Golden Age of Radio, was about a soldier of fortune struggling to maintain an American standard of living among the turmoil the world was facing.

This program starred the late Richard Widmark, an award-winning actor whose career began in radio. Along with Vincent Donehue, the two played the role of Neil Davison.

Friday, January 1, 2016

January 1, 1925: The first broadcast of international grade opera show on radio

January 1, 1925: The first broadcast of Lucrezia Bore and John McCormack at the famous Metropolitan Opera in New York, was aired on this day by WEAF. The program helped to inspire other singers to perform on the radio.

The performance of John McCormack, a tenor, and Lucrezia Bori, a prima donna of the Metropolitan Opera Company, broadcast on WEAF, was one of the most important events in radio broadcast history. This was the first time internationally famous artists were broadcast in the US. The New York Times reported that New York theaters complained of losses of revenue due to many opera fans' affinity for listening to the opera on their home radio, but that did not apply to the Metropolitan Opera House. The tickets for Miss Bori's show were sold out.