Wednesday, December 25, 2019

December 25, 1934: The Premier of Christmas Carol on CBS

December 25, 1934: For the first time, CBS broadcast the reading of the classic tale from Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Lionel Barrymore read the tale on The Campbell Playhouse. Since then, the reading of the tale became an annual radio annual event for years.

Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English writer and one of the greatest novelists in history. His works continue to exist until today.

Lionel Herbert Blythe was known as Lionel Barrymore  the great-uncle of Drew Barrymore. He starred in many movies, such as The Mysterious Island (1929), Grand Hotel (1932, with John Barrymore), Captains Courageous (1937), You Cannot Take It with You (1938), Duel in the Sun (1946), and Key Largo (1948). He was featured on the AFRS Concert Hall Radio Show, circa 1947

Lionel Barrymore had broken his hip in an accident, hence why he played Gillespie in a wheelchair; later, his worsening arthritis kept him in the chair.The injury also precluded his playing Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1938. MGM film version of A Christmas Carol, a role Barrymore played every year, but only on the radio from 1934 through 1953.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

December 12, 1937: Mae West Banned From Doing Radio Shows

December 12, 1937: The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) scolded NBC because of Mae West' s inappropriate joke during a satirical routine, a performance based on the biblical tale of Adam and Eve. NBC was so angry with Miss West that they proceeded to fire her. They did not have any communication with her for the next 15 years.

At that point, Mae West's career was starting to fade. She went on the show to promote her latest film, entitled Every Day's a Holiday.

The infamous sketch, written by Arch Oboler, starred Mae West (alongside Don Ameche as Adam) in the Garden of Eden. West's line that got NBC lambasted by Women's clubs and Catholic groups was, "get me a big one… I feel like doin' a big apple!", which was deemed to be obscene and immoral. That incident was one of the first instances where a radio show was deemed indecent by the FCC.  Mae West was blamed by NBC, and they banned her from their stations. Even a mere mentioning of her name was not allowed. After that incident, no one would let her perform on the radio until 1950.