Saturday, November 14, 2015

November 14: Happy Birthday, Martha Tilton

The angels sing a happy birthday to swing era crooner Martha Tilton.  Originally destined to be the pride of Corpus Christi, Texas, Tilton was instead moved with her family to Los Angeles at the tender age of 7.  Taking full advantage of living in an entertainment mecca, Martha turned pro as a singer during the 11th grade and dropped out of school.  We now know her for huge hits such as "Moon Dreams," "I Should Care," and "And The Angels Sing."

While Alka-Seltzer Time might sound like a dubious name for a radio program, listeners were less than nauseated about tuning in to hear Martha Tilton, starring alongside Curt Massey.  After the show's 1953 cancellation, the duo appeared on such programs as Guest For Defense and Guest Star.

Thanks for musical memories, Martha.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Novemeber 11: Happy Birthday, Joe Penner!


Happy Birthday to a favorite radio comedians, Joe Penner. Lesser known today, Joe Penner was a huge star in the 1930s on radio, on stage, and in films. 

He died of heart failure at the age of he has faded from memory, but if you ever get to catch one of his films you'll find him to be a very funny and quirky presence. 

Wherever he is now there are plenty of ducks.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

November 7, 1938: CBS airs Soap Opera 'This Day is Ours'

November 7, 1938: Radio soap operaThis Day is Ours’ went on air for the first time on CBS. On the air for two years, the main character Eleanor McDonald was played by Joan Banks and later by Templeton Fox. She faced many tribulations including her child’s abduction.

Written by Don Becker and Carl Bixby, the series also stars Jay Jostyn, Patricia Dunlap, Alan Devitt, and Santos Ortega. The last episode was aired on January 9, 1940.

Only a single recording from this series is still believed to be in existence.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

November 3: Happy Birthday, Bob Feller!

Bob Feller (1938-2010)

November 3: Happy Birthday, Bob Feller, who was born today in 1938! 

Bob Feller was a natural ball player who had a stellar 20 year career with the Cleveland Indians. He was also the first professional athlete to enlist to serve in WWII. After his storied career, he recorded the syndicated Bob Feller Show. The 4 minute programs each showcase a great contest from the history of sports, including Bob's own return to baseball, the wreck filled 1956 Indianapolis 500, Lou Gehrig's attempt at five homers in a single game, the 1936 Stanley Cup game which went into multiple over-times until 2 in the morning, Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a single game, and many others.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

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

"And 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."