The persona Phil Harris created on the radio was one who was easy to like. He was a happy-go-lucky hep cat who never met a bottle or a pretty girl that he didn't like. By reputation, he made acquaintances with plenty of both. Most of all, the radio Phil Harris was easy to like because he was a fundamentally happy fellow, as willing to laugh at himself as he was to laugh at those around him. When your boss is Jack Benny , of course, there is plenty around you to laugh at. Phil is best remembered as one of Benny's many “second bananas”, although he had a relatively successful career beyond the Jack Benny Program. He was never quite a superstar, but that seems to have been just alright with him. On June 24, 1904, Wonga Philip Harris was born to circus performers Harry and Dollie Harris in Linton, Indiana. Harry, a circus band leader, taught the lad to play several instruments and gave his son his first gig, playing drums under the big top. The boy played in movie houses
Born in Toledo, Ohio in 1913, Bob Bailey was a noted actor that did most of his career doing radio programs. Although his early years did catch him working films for 20th Century Fox, Bailey created a radio presence that attracted more attention for himself than film ever could. The early 40’s found him in Chicago handling radio programs that were on the air. It was not until 1946, that he became a regular on detective radio shows like, Let George Do It and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar . His time as George Valentine on the first mentioned program was from 1946 until the 50’s. In 1955, Bailey became the legendary Johnny dollar. That program ran until 1962, although Bailey had left the program in 1960. Although this time of his life found Bailey ending his acting career; he did find room as a cameo reporter on the film the Birdman of Alcatraz. Irony played around with Bailey as one of the actors from the film, Edmund O'Brien had played the insurance detective Johnny Dollar in t
Today marks the 1904 birth of Thomas "Fats" Waller , one of the great jazz pianists of the mid-20th century. The Harlem native began playing at rent parties, raising some cash for the hosts. He broke into the music business writing novelty songs, and started recording with Victor Records in 1926. Waller played the organ in addition to piano, and also laid down the vocals on his solo songs. His technique was considerable--he was an innovator in the difficult realm of stride piano, which requires fast alternation on the bass end of the keyboard, with the right hand augmenting the basic melody. He hosted a radio show called " Fats Waller 's Rhythm Club" from 1932-34. Waller's virtuosity and his smooth, comic patter made him a very popular entertainer in Depression-era America . Happy Birthday, Fats!
March 28: Happy Birthday, Frank Lovejoy We can't know if Frank Lovejoy was voted "Most Likely To Be The Blue Beetle " by his high school class, but it seems possible. The steely-eyed, square-jawed actor exuded intensity and a detective's predatory determination. If we were alive, he'd be celebrating his one hundred and first birthday. Lovejoy's voice was one of the most recognized in the business, for Blue Beetle and several other shows. Blue Beetle hit the airwaves in May of 1940. Lovejoy gave voice to the title character, a superhero (whose alter-ego's name was Dan Garrett) with the strength of ten men. He carried a beetle pendant and left it around town to alert evil-doers he was on to them. Lovejoy held down this gig only for a Summer, and then future episodes went uncredited as to the voice. Frank Lovejoy is also well-known for his parts in Box 13 , Nightbeat , Dragnet , and This Is Your FBI . When they needed a stern cop or investiga