Showing posts with label suspense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label suspense. Show all posts

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23: Happy Birthday, Gene Kelly

They just don't make 'em like Gene Kelly anymore, do they?  George Clooney, Tom Cruise, you name any of today's big leading men and whatever their virtues, they fall short of the charm and all-around talent of Gene Kelly.

He could act, he could sing, he could dance!  He could even choreograph. Today we celebrate the 1912 birth of Eugene Kelly, the man who gave us Singin' in the Rain, An American in Paris and so much more.

While dancing works only so well on the radio, Kelly did lend his talents to the medium that concerns us here.  He appeared on some of the cream of old-time radio, such as Suspense and The Lux Radio Theatre (I'll bet his appearances sold a lot of soap!).    He also appeared on episodes of The Hotpoint Holiday Hour, Opportunity USA, and The Best of Groucho.  His first known appearance on the airwaves was in 1942 (Your Hollywood Radio Reporter) and his last in 1978 (The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast).  What a lot of great memories in between!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August 2: Myrna Loy

A few days (and seven years) after the birth of William Powell, Myrna Loy realized if she wanted to star with him in fourteen films, she'd have to be born too.  So she was, on Aug. 2, 1905.

Loy spent her childhood switching from Montana and Southern California, permanently settling into Culver City in 1918, after the death of her father.  She began playing vampy, exotic roles in less-than-stellar silent films like A Girl in Every Port.

Her big break was her first role with Powell, in The Thin Man.  She'd soon become a sought-after actress, starring alongside Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Clifton Webb, and--why not?--Shirley Temple.

She hit the airwaves for a few adaptations of movies she'd starred in, produced by Lux Radio Theatre.  On Suspense she starred in "The Library Book," which probably sounded a lot more intriguing in 1945 than it would today, and she was part of an intrepid group of artists appearing on the 1947 special Hollywood Fights Back.  This program voiced protest against the Un-American Activities Committee.

Thanks for the memories, Myrna!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

July 16: Happy Birthday Barbara Stanwyck

On July 16, 1907, Barbara Stanwyck, once considered to be the highest paid actress of her time in America, was born. Originally known as Ruby Stevens, Miss. Stanwyck’s first tour of duty as an entertainer is when she traveled with her older sister, who was a Jort Cort showgirl, learning behind the scenes of the business. By 1922, she was hired as a dancer for Ziegfeld Follies, “just so she could eat.” Over the next few years she worked for an unseemly nightclub doing late shows as a chorus girl. Over the years she had a long-running success in motion pictures and televisiStella Dallas (among others) were brought to radio on Lux Radio Theatre. In a different portrayal, to that of the legendary Agnes Moorehead, Stanwyck did a run on Lux with Suspense. Varied radio theatre productions carry her movie performances around the country. Miss Stanwyck was married twice and had one adopted child. It was said that leading men of her day were also considered very close friends, usually platonically; as she prefered their company. Barbara Stanwyck died in 1990 of congestive heart failure. The much loved and celebrated Ruby Stevens had gone on.
on. Barbara Stanwyck was top favorite to guest star on radio programs, such as The Jack Benny Show and Burns and Allen.

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 15: Happy Birthday, James Mason

Not always mentioned among big stars like Clark Gable and Cary Grant; not always among celebrated artists such as Laurence Olivier, Marlon Brando, or Al Pacino, James Mason certainly earned the right to be called one of the great film actors of all time.

Mason was nominated for three Oscars and and three Golden Globes, and his resume reads like a who's who of classic movies: Lolita, North By Northwest, and Julius Caesar.  Also not too shabby were A Star is Born and Bigger Than Life.

While radio was passing the baton of dominant media on to movies (with television a newbie), the British Mason appeared on a few of the big American shows: Suspense, Maxwell House Coffee Time, Studio One, and The Fred Allen Show.

We say a happy birthday to actor James Mason!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

December 27: Happy Birthday, Cathy Lewis

December 27: Happy Birthday, Cathy Lewis

Cathy Lewis (December 27th, 1916-November 20, 1968) was best known for her numerous radio appearances.

Lewis moved from her hometown of Spokane, Washington to Chicago and found work on The First Nighter Program. Eventually, Lewis moved back across the country to Hollywood, where she had starring roles in the Pasadena Playhouse productions of Stage Door, Winterset, and To Quito and Back.

In 1943, Cathy met and married Elliot Lewis, a radio actor and writer. They both became staples of the vintage radio scene, regulars among the group known as Hollywood’s Radio Row. The pair appeared both together and separately on programs such as The Whistler. Together they co-created the respected anthology series On Stage and helped to steward the popular mystery's program Suspense. Cathy and Elliot began to be billed as “Mr. and Mrs. Radio.”

Cathy is most remembered for her role as Jane Stacy, a sensibly droll woman that roomed with Irma Peterson in the television comedy My Friend Irma. A lot of Lewis’ early film work was uncredited, but she was eventually able to get bigger roles, such as the female lead in Double Trouble and of course the role in My Friend Irma.

Lewis died of cancer on November 20th, 1968.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

September 27: Happy Birthday, William Conrad

Thanks for stopping by to help us celebrate the birthday of quintessential radio character actor William Conrad, who entered the world in 1920.

If you're remembering Conrad as Matt Dillon from Gunsmoke you're probably in good company.  However, Conrad once estimated he'd played more than 7,500 roles.  How did he find the time?  We do know for sure that he appeared on Fibber McGee and Molly, Lux Radio Theater, Suspense.  He also spent a few years as the announcer for Escape, bringing listeners in and asking them if they'd like to get away.

Resembling Orson Welles, Conrad was deep-voiced, a rugged man's man.  He was also a mainstay in the world of classic radio.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 7: Happy Birthday, Peter Lawford

A member of the Rat Pack, a Kennedy in-law, and a good-looking British-born actor, Peter Lawford was born today in 1923.

Lawford is well known for his roles in "The Picture of Dorian Gray," "Above Suspicion," and "Son of Lassie."

Radio-wise, he graced the airwaves on shows such as The Frank Sinatra Show, Suspense, and Lux Radio Theater.

Being a member of the Rat Pack, glamorous though it may be, is not without its hazards. The story goes that after Lawford had fallen out of Sinatra's favor, when he went to see the singer performing, Sinatra refused to go on until Lawford had left.

We're happy to commemorate the birth and life of Peter Lawford, radio great!

Monday, September 1, 2014

James Cagney in a James M. Cain broadcast of Suspense: "Loves Lovely Counterfeit" from 1948

"Probably you haven't known any tough boys personally, but you've read about them and heard about them.  And high caliber actors like James Cagney have made them live for you on the screen ..."

Written by James M. Cain and performed by James Cagney, enjoy this Suspense radio noir broadcast from Jan 17, 1948:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

March 23: Happy Birthday, Joan Crawford

Today's birthday salute goes to Joan Crawford, born today in 1904.  Crawford's career began kicking in 1924, when she worked as a dancer in traveling revues.  Spotted in a performances, she landed a gig in Innocent Eyes on Broadway.  It wasn't long before she landed her first movie role, in The Circle, and the rest is history.

In 1934, Crawford made her first of many appearance on The Lux Radio Theatre, starring in an adaptation of the 1934 MGM film "Chained."  In 1938 it was "Anna Christie," with Crawford playing the role made famous by Greta Garbo.  She would later star in "A Doll's House" on the same program.

The much-sought actress also lent her talents to Screen Directors' Playhouse, Stars Over Hollywood, Hollywood Star Playhouse, and Suspense.

A happy birthday to Joan Crawford.

Friday, February 7, 2014

February 7: Happy Birthday, Eddie Bracken

February 7: Happy Birthday, Eddie Bracken

Just read through the episode titles of The Eddie Bracken Show and you know there's been a mix-up and that hilarity is about to ensue. There's "Switching Beauty Contestant Pictures, " "The Pretend Marriage and Baby Scales," and "To Borrow a Pig."

On that note, we celebrate the 1915 birth of Eddie Bracken, radio star who also shone on the stage and screen.

The oldt ime radio show bearing Bracken's name aired on Sundays from 1945-1947. The man who always had a sarcastic expression on his face also put in guest appearances on Suspense, Academy Award Theatre, Kraft Music Hall, and NBC University Theatre.

The winsome film star is today's birthday boy. He was able to live a long, full life--his death was in 2002.

Friday, September 27, 2013

September 27: Happy Birthday, William Conrad

September 27: Happy Birthday, William Conrad!

A great voice that during an era seemed to be everywhere on radio including the the role of Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke, and appearances in Escape, Lux Radio Theater, Suspense, This is Your FBI, Nightbeat, and Suspense.

An amazing voice actor, his radio roles were most memorable when he toned his "deep, tough-guy voice down", and when he played an effeminate Emperor Nero in Crime Classics or a Chinese merchant in
Escape's Misfortune Isle.

Although he missed his shot to be Matt Dillon on TV, he brought us Cannon and Jake and the Fatman and his narration of The Fugitive with David Janssen and Rocky & Bullwinkle voice-over.   He was so much more than that fat detective, with a phone in his Mark IV, named 'Cannon' on TV. 

He was quite versatile. He was a heavy in the movie THE KILLERS and did the voice of the Steward of Gondor in the Rankin Bass animated RETURN OF THE KING.