On this day in 1906, William Spier was born.
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Our other birthday celebration revolves around the 1897 birth of Jane Ace. Ace was married to radio king Goodman Ace and was the queen of malaprops, or intentionally-funny mispronunciations, a wonderfully-quirky contribution to our language and vernacular. These include "the crank of dawn," "awfully-wedded," "a hangnail expression," etc.
The twisted language contributed to the plots of the long-running series Easy Aces on which the married couple starred. After this series' cancellation, the dynastic duo re-surfaced on CBS with a show with a not-by-Hoyle spelling of its title, Mr. Ace and Jane.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
We commemorate the births of a lot of radio hosts and actors, but today's birthday boy is a producer, John Guedel. If you don't quite remember his name, you surely remember shows he both produced and created, including The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and You Bet Your Life.
Legend has it he was behind Jack Benny's little ditty "J-E-L-L-O." Let's all remember the great John Guedel.
Sunday, October 7, 2018
October 7, 1922: WJZ in Newark, NJ and WGY in Schenectady, NY collaborated tp become the first radio networks to broadcast a World Series game directly from the Polo Grounds in New York, with Columnist Grantland Rice as the announcer.
The Polo Grounds were four different stadiums located in Upper Manhattan, New York City. The stadium was used by many professional teams in both baseball and American football from 1880 until 1963.
World Series broadcasters conducted numerous experiments via the phone line to ensure that the program could reach the listeners from the East Coast to New Jersey. The broadcast of the World Series was a commercial broadcast that delivered great benefits to the radio station at the time. Ford Motor Company issued the funds of $100,000 to pay for ad impressions on the radio during the game.
Friday, October 5, 2018
Today in 1934, “Hollywood Hotel” debuted as a series on radio. It would be the first national radio program to be broadcast from Hollywood on a regular basis.
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
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.
On this day in 1900 was born a rough-and-ready jack of all trades, Barton Yarborough. He was one of the warhorses who put together a very long career on radio show after radio show, playing a wide variety of characters. Perhaps not one to garner the fame and glory, Yarborough turned in a long-term performance on One Man's Family and also contributed to I Love a Mystery, Adventures By Morse, and Dragnet.
He died at just 51, causing his characters to be written out of both One Man's Family and Dragnet.
Here at oldradio.org, we love to salute the character actors who helped make our favorite shows so entertaining. Happy birthday, Barton!