Tuesday, December 25, 2018

December 25: Happy Birthday, Humphrey Bogart

December 25: Happy Birthday, Humphrey Bogart

Humphrey Bogart, born December 25th, 1899, was an American actor dubbed the greatest male star in the history of American cinema by The American Film Institute. Bogart attended a prestigious academy in Andover, Massachusetts as a young man, but he was eventually expelled from the institution. With no other options, Humphrey joined the Navy. While serving, he was injured in the bombing of the USS Leviathan. The partial facial paralysis that resulted from the attack gave him the signature vocal and facial style that he became famous for.

Many people identify Bogart as a film actor, but he actually made numerous radio appearances after moving to Hollywood. Both Lux Radio Theater and Screen Guild Players featured famous actors in their starring roles, and Bogart made numerous appearances on these programs. He also performed on Command Performance, a post World War II program that let Bogart chat with Lauren and Frank Sinatra. In addition to his regular positions, he also had several guest appearances on shows such as Jack Benny.

Bogart, a heavy smoker and drinker, was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in January of 1956. On January 14th, 1957, weighing just 80 pounds, the legendary actor passed away at the age of 57.

“Here’s looking at you, kid” - Casablanca

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 5: Happy Birthday, William Spier!

On this day in 1906, William Spier "radio's outstanding producer/director of mystery and crime drama" was born. 

On this day 110 years later in 2016, you can stream a free episode of one of his better known series: The Adventures of Sam Spade.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

November 25: Happy Birthday Joe DiMaggio

November 25: Happy Birthday Joe DiMaggio

To be a ballplayer for the New York Yankees in the 30's, 40's, and 50's was to be a national sports icon, a celebrity of the highest order. A star among stars was Centerfielder Joe DiMaggio, who hosted a sports-themed radio show , The Joe DiMaggio Show, from Sept. 17, 1949 to Oct. 7, 1950. The show started on CBS, then jumped to NBC. It included the theme song "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio."

The Joe DiMaggio Show was a sort of sports-oriented variety show. It included a sports quiz for both kids and adults from the studio audience; a roundup of recent Major League action; and a dramatization of a sports story from a famous sports writer; and a segment in which DiMaggio answered fan mail.

Sports writers who appeared included Lou Effrat, Jim Kahn, and Mel Allen. Mandel Kramer, Everett Sloane, Leon Janney, and Jackson Beck played roles in the re-enactments of stories, which included one on Pancho Segura, tennis champion, Willie Pep, the boxer, and Pee Wee Reese, Brooklyn Dodger Shortstop.

Before taking on the responsibility of hosting a show, DiMaggio had learned the ropes a little by making cameos on shows such The Radio Hall of Fame, It's Time to Smile, and The Royal Gelatin Hour.