Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April 30, 1945: Jack Bailey opens his show on Mutual with 'How would you like to queen for a day?'

April 30, 1945: Jack Bailey, host of the Mutual, delivered on this day the opening line, "How would you like to be queen for a day!" for the first time. The first Queen for a Day was Mrs. Evelyn Lane.

A regular radio game show host, Bailey became famous for his Queen for a Day line. The show was a big hit and was eventually transferred to television until 1964.

Monday, April 28, 2014

April 28: Happy Birthday, Joseph Dunninger

April 28: Happy Birthday, Joseph Dunninger!

That's "The Amazing Dunninger" to you! He was a mentalist--or mind reader--who did some of his best reading on the radio on his 1943-44 radio show, Dunninger, The Master Mentalist. He explained his abilities as being "60 percent mind reading, 10 percent psychology, 10 percent hypnosis, 15 percent self-hypnosis, and 5 percent magic, all of which adds up to 100 percent entertainment."

Let's also note that Joseph Dunninger appeared on a show called The Ghost Hours in 1929, de-bunking rival mentalists. He was a confrontational fellow, challenging any mentalist to do through supernatural means what he, Dunninger did through natural means.  He also had a standing, hefty cash reward for anyone who could prove he used shills or conspirators in his acts.

Dunninger also contributed the influential book The Encyclopedia of Magic. If he were alive today, you could think a happy birthday wish and he'd get it.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April 27: Happy Birthday, Ned Wever

April 27: Happy Birthday, Ned Wever

A happy birthday goes out to talented voice actor Ned Wever, born on this day in 1899.

One of the mainstays in the career of Wever was his regular appearances on The Adventures of Superman, which ran from 1940-1951. Ned Wever played Jor-L, Superman's original father, as well as various bad guys.

He also earned his paycheck for a few years on (remember this one?) the soap opera Betty and Bob. This was a serial about a businessman who fell in love with his secretary, the two of them embarking on a romance. Its episode titles didn't mind giving out spoilers: "Evelyn Purposely Encounters Bob," "Margaret Jameson Has Hit a Girl With a Car," and "Evelyn Decides Not to Marry Sam." One guesses these titles were not announced or published prior to the broadcast.

Ned Wever appeared on episodes of Big Sister, Cavalcade of America, Bulldog Drummond, X-Minus One, and Dick Tracy.

It's important to note that he was also a lyricist of such Golden Age hits as "Sing a New Song," "I Can't Resist You," and "Sweet Stranger."

Friday, April 25, 2014

April 25, 1938: The Start of the Drama Series 'Your Family and Mine'

April 25, 1938: The first show of Your Family and Mine series aired today.

Your Family and Mine was a radio drama series aired on radio from 1938-1940. It was created by Lilian Laugerty, who also created the successful daytime series Big Sister, which was aired for 16 years (1936-1952). Your Family and Mine features the story of the Wilbur family, and the unexpected changes that happened in the lives of its family members. It starred Lucille Ball, Robert Adams, Frank Lovejoy, William Adams, and Templeton Fox.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24, 1955: X Minus One' First Broadcast

April 24, 1955: The radio science fiction show X Minus One made its first appearance on NBC.

The show began as an adaptation of Dimension X, broadcast by NBC. It soon took on a life of its own. X Minus One got its name from the countdown at the beginning of each show: "X minus five, four, three..."

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 22, 1946: A famous radio morning show was entertained by Hi, Jinx

April 22, 1946: Hi, Jinx was an entertaining morning show introduced by Tex McCrary and Jinx Falkenburg upon their arrival at WEAF in New York City.

The couple was commonly known as "Tex and Jinx," and the pair helped to revolutionize the concept of the talk show. They continued their productions into early television as well.

Monday, April 21, 2014

April 21, 1949: The Brain and the Mustache

April 21, 1949: Famous star Groucho Marx received the coveted George Foster Peabody Award for Broadcasting, becoming the first winner of this award. Groucho Marx hosted You Bet Your Life.

Like the Nobel Prize, the George Forster Peabody Award is considered as one, if not the most prestigious achievement in the field of electronic media. With the goal of rewarding people or programs showing “principle of excellence in quality rather than popularity,” the prize was set to be awarded to people, organizations, networks, or individuals that had proven their commitment to commendable public service.

Groucho Marx, a man famous for his mustache, was given this award for being the “Dean of all wise-crackers in this country” because of his witty way of hosting the successful quiz TV show You Bet Your Life.

You Bet Your Life ran for nine years on the radio, had a television remake, and was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1988.