Sunday, October 20, 2019

October 20: Happy Birthday, Bela Lugosi



Dracula both on stage and on film, Bela Lugosi was born Bela Ferenc Dezso Blasko in Hungary, on this day in 1882.  In addition to his famous role as the diabolical vampire, Lugosi acted in many horror films, also co-starring with Boris Karloff.

He lent his distinctive voice to radio series Suspense, Texaco Star Theatre, Candid Microphone, and Command Performance.

Later, the Goth rock band Bauhaus recorded a song called "Bela Lugosi's Dead."

Today, we commemorate the man's birth.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

October 17, 1938: NBC moves to Sunset and Vine

 
October 17, 1938: On this day, NBC was moved to the corner of Sunset and Vine. NBC became the new Hollywood radio station, one that would attract thousands of people with popular radio programs during the golden age of radio to fill the studio audience seats.

The studio became known as West Coast Radio City, which served as the headquarters for NBC's Red and Blue Radio Networks. It replaced the radio broadcast center located in San Francisco, which had been used since 1927-- the year NBC was established.

Monday, October 14, 2019

October 14, 1943: NBC Blue Network sold to Edward Noble to form ABC


October 14: Today in 1943, RCA finalized the sale of the NBC Blue Network to Edward J. Noble.

Noble paid $8 Million and renamed the network. Happy 70th Birthday, ABC!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

October 13: 1951 Debut of the Television Series I Love Lucy

October 13: 1951 Debut of the Television Series I Love Lucy

‎"Lucy, you got some splainin' to do!" Well, it's easy to understand, Desi!

Lucille Ball appeared on My Favorite Husband radio show.  An adaptation of the popular radio show moved to television.   On radio, Richard Denning starred as Lucille Ball's husband but he was replaced with Lucille Ball's real husband, Desi Arnaz, as the TV husband -- and the rest is history. 

I Love Lucy debuted 62 years ago today in 1951. Many thanks to My Favorite Husband on the radio for making I Love Lucy possible!

Friday, October 11, 2019

October 11: Happy Birthday, Eleanor Roosevelt

No one ever accused Eleanor Roosevelt of messing around, doing things halfway.  When her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt assumed office to try to medicate the Great Depression, Eleanor set herself upon the task of expanding the role of the First Lady.

She did things first ladies hadn't done before: she put together her own staff, wrote magazines, and began holding her own press conferences.  This last involved a stinging dart into the state of gender relations, since she rarely invited male journalists.  This was, of course, a protest against the under-representation of female correspondents at presidential press conferences.

At the end of the dramatic and wildly-effective first term, Eleanor launched her own radio program, which, owing to a fondness for literalness, was named Mrs. Roosevelt's Own Program.  This twice-weekly dispatch was themed around women's issues and aired by NBC.

Good for her, we say!  She was born on this day in 1884.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

90 Years Ago Today: Debut of DuPont's "Cavalcade of America"


The DuPont Chemical Company was one of the biggest and richest in the country, but it faced a backlash during the Depression Years because much of its fortune was based on profiteering during the Great War. One of its public relations moves was to sponsor "The Cavalcade of America", one of the best written and produced radio anthology programs of all time, beginning in 1935. Interestingly, DuPont's products were never sold directly to consumers, so "Cavalcade" was purely a PR feature.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

October 3: Happy Birthday, George Moran



Born into a world without electricity or the automobile, George Moran was an early nineteenth-century minstrel performer who donned the blackface along with his partner Charles Mack.  The comedy duo went by the moniker "Two Black Crows," two black men who travelled North for industrial work.  The characters were germane to the minstrel tradition, men looking for fun in pool halls and taverns.

Moran isn't very well-known outside the Moran and Mack duo, and he should not be confused with Chicago gangster George "Bugs" Moran.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

October 2: Happy Birthday, Bob Burns



There is precisely one man who invented the word "bazooka," and his name is Bob Burns.  The comedian coined the word (or "neologism" for those of you interested in learning a new word: neologism means "new word") to refer to his odd musical instrument made up of a whiskey funnel plus two gas pipes.  He copyrighted the word, which presumably means he made out well when the gum by the same name became popular.

And I bet you thought he was famous as the host of The Bob Burns Show.  The wartime show included many references to the troops (whose guns they called bazookas due to their resemblance to Burns's instrument), much encouragement, and entertainment from a variety of guests.

On this day in 1896, Bazooka Bob Burns entered the world. Happy birthday!