Tuesday, October 27, 2015

October 27, 1947: 'You Bet Your Life' on ABC

"And now....here he is....the one....the only.....GROUCHO!" 

You Bet Your Life debuted today in 1947 on ABC Radio.

October 27, 1947: The quiz show You Bet Your Life went on air for the first time on ABC. It was hosted by Groucho Marx and George Fenneman. The show remained on radio from 1948 to 1959 and made the jump to TV from 1950 to 1961. The show included very easy questions, such as, “Who is buried in Grant's tomb?”

Apart from hearing it on the radio, You Bet Your Life could also be seen on television. The show featured teams of contestants consisting of one male and one female, usually selected from the audience. Sometimes, famous people were also invited to play. In the actual game, each team was given the chance to choose a category (from the 20 available), and their task was to answer the questions from that category. Every time they answered the question correctly, they earned money.

For those who had earned $25 or less, a very easy question would be asked, so that an incorrect answer was nearly impossible. Nevertheless, the hosts were shocked when one man incorrectly answered the question "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?" His answer was "no one," pointing out that Grant's Tomb is not buried. 

In 1960, the show's title was changed to The Groucho Show.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

October 20: Happy Birthday, Mickey Mantle

Today we commemorate the birth--in 1931--of New York Yankee slugger Mickey Mantle.

One of Mantle's main entrances into the starry galaxy of vintage radio came very much by accident.  In a still-preserved blooper, an announcer was discussing the phenomenon of "switch hitting," being able to bat with either the left or right hand, when he declared Mantle the best "swish hitter" of all time, with "swish" being slang for homosexual.

The announcer comically overcorrected himself with a very enunciated "switch."

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 1937: Debut of Big Town

76 years ago today in 1937, the newspaper drama Big Town premiered on CBS radio. Edward G. Robinson starred in it for the first 5 of its 15 year run. Here's what i find amazing. At its height of popularity, it attracted 20 million listeners a week. Currently on TV, only "NCIS" draws more fans week to week.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

October 18, 1943: Perry Mason airs on CBS for the 1st time

October 18, 1943: Perry Mason was aired on CBS for the first time. The fifteen minute show was presented form Monday to Friday. John Larkin starred as the leading role of Perry Mason with Barlett Robinson, Santos Ortega, and Donald Briggs rounding out the rest of the cast.

Perry Mason has been mentioned in over 80 novels and short stories. There was also a popular television show made based on the radio one.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

October 17, 1919: The First Experiment Radio License

October 17, 1919: The founding of Radio Corporation of America

RCA Corporation, established as Radio Corporation of America, was an electronics company that existed from 1919 to 1986. Now, the RCA trademark is owned by Thomson SA. The RCA Trademark is used by two companies, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Thomson SA.

Friday, October 16, 2015

October 16, 1945: His Honor the Barber airs on NBC for the 1st time

October 16, 1945: Barry Fitzgerald appeared in the leading role of Judge Barnard Fitz in His Honor, the Barber,which aired for the first time on NBC.

Barry Fitzgerald refused all other radio shows until this one cropped up. It featured Judge Fitz and some of his comedic cases. The show only lasted one season, but it did go on to become a Broadway play.