A happy birthday this time, not to an actor or a commander of the microphone, but to a writer and producer, William Spier. Lovers of Adventures of Sam Spade and Suspense have enjoyed the good work of Spier. Born today in 1906, Spier started his writing career as a critic for the magazine Musical America. After foraying into radio in 1929, he decided he'd like to stay in the medium a bit longer. He got a job as a director of the news show The March of Time . It began as a WLW (Cincinnati) program that gave voice to material from Time magazine. It eventually evolved into The March of Time , on which talented actors dramatized the day's big news stories. Spiers got a chance to work with huge stars such as Everett Sloane, Orson Welles, Lionel Barrymore , Nancy Kelly, and Joseph Cotten . From there, it was a stint as the chief of the writing department at CBS , a gig that led to his producership of Suspense and then The Adventures of Sam Spade . So let's salute th
Lionel Barrymore's 61st birthday celebrated at MGM with a few of his friends! Norma Sheaerer on his right and Rosalind Russell on his left. In back of him he has Mickey Rooney , Robert Montgomery , Clark Gable , Louis B. Mayer, William Powell and Robert Taylor. Known to have been a reluctant performer in a family full of them, Lionel Barrymore is much loved for his annual performance as Ebenezer Scrooge on various old time radio programs . His biggest gig was in The Story of Doctor Kildare , in the role of Doctor Gillespie. Gillespie was the older doctor who graciously mentored Kildare. He was the mayor of the town Mayor of the Town, a 1940s radio series, and made many appearances on Lux Radio Theatre , Command Performance , and Kraft Music Hall . He would go on to shine as a screen actor in such movies as It's a Wonderful Life and A Free Soul , winning an Oscar for the latter. Ask your friends if they know who was born today in 1878. Tell 'em Li
People can debate whether it was "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup," or "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille," but there can be no dispute over the fact that the film director was also a huge figure in oldtime radio . Cecil DeMille was a regular actor and frequent host of The Lux Radio Theatre , working alongside such greats as Loretta Young , Lionel Barrymore , Clark Gable , and Geraldine Peck. His run on the show stretched from 1936-1945. DeMille was amazing in his ability to adapt to media after media. Born--today--in 881, he began as a stage actor and writer. He met the new medium of film and began directing silent films in 1914. When radio began crackling over the airwaves, he became a virtuoso in that form, also becoming a legend in talkies--motion pictures with sound. We salute a paragon of versatility, a man known as a filmmaker whose legacy also includes great work in front of the microphone.
Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to break the sound barrier, was born on this day in 1905. The pride of Hamlin, West Virginia, he enlisted in the Air Force and served in WWII . Yeager made a few interesting radio appearances. In 1951, he guested on The Bob Hope Show giving the host a ride in an airplane. In 1953, The Hallmark Hall of Fame dramatized General Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier, with Raymond Burr , Lamont Johnson, and host Lionel Barrymore . After the program proper, Yeager had a brief conversation with Barrymore. Finally, he appeared in a brief clip on the series Eyes On the Skies, discussing the Ground Observer Corps. One learns something new every day, right? Happy birthday, Chuck Yeager.