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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vanishing Point (CBC)

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Vanishing Point is the title of a science fiction anthology series that ran on CBC Radio from 1984 until 1986, although the show would continue under different names and formats. A descriptive intro declared that Vanishing Point was "The point between reality and fantasy". The series was produced by Bill Lane in the CBC's Toronto studios.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vic and Sade

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This series was probably the most beloved radio program ever. Difficult to describe, it was neither a soap opera or a comedy show - a little of both. The Gooks, Vic and Sade, were ordinary people living in a small mid-western town. Vic was an office worker at a local plant; Sade, the housewife. Completing their household was their adopted son, Rush (later Russell). Later on Sade's relative, Uncle Fletcher joined the group. The Gooks were happily married, faced no challenges, no tragedies - they just experienced events that were both bizarre and hilarious. Vic and Sade began in 1932 and lasted as a daily serial-type show for 14 years. When last heard in 1946 the show went to a 30 minute format but this was short-lived, and then, alas, the end. Paul Rhymer, the creater/writer, was extremely prolific and was responsible for all the writing. Vic and Sade was one of the greatest comedy programs of all time. To give one an idea of what this was all about just think of the "nothing" concept of the Jerry Seinfeld show - some every day events about nothing with topics ranging from shopping at the local department store; just sitting on the back porch, talking; watching a man learning how to smoke a cigar; drawing a mustache on a sleeping guest with a pencil; a horse that died; and on and on.






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Friday, June 5, 2009

Halls of Ivy, The (OTRR Certified)

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The Halls of Ivy was an NBC radio sitcom that ran from 1949 - 1952. It was created by Fibber McGee and Molly co-creator/writer Don Quinn before being adapted into a CBS television comedy (1954-55) produced by ITC Entertainment and Television Programs of America. British husband-and-wife actors Ronald Colman and Benita Hume starred in both versions of the show. Quinn developed the show after he had decided to leave Fibber McGee and Molly in the hands of his protege Phil Leslie. The Halls of Ivy's audition program featured radio veteran Gale Gordon (then co-starring in Our Miss Brooks) and Edna Best in the roles that ultimately went to the Colmans, who'd shown a flair for radio comedy in recurring roles on The Jack Benny Program in the late 1940s.

The Halls of Ivy featured Colman as William Todhunter Hall, the president of small, Midwestern Ivy College, and his wife, Victoria, a former British musical comedy star who sometimes felt the tug of her former profession, and followed their interactions with students, friends and college trustees. Others in the cast included Herbert Butterfield as testy board chairman Clarence Wellman; Willard Waterman (then starring as Harold Peary's successor as The Great Gildersleeve) as board member John Merriweather; and, Elizabeth Patterson and Gloria Gordon as the Halls' maid.

The series ran 110 half-hour radio episodes from January 6, 1950 to June 25, 1952, with Quinn, Jerome Lawrence, and Robert Lee writing most of the scripts and giving free if even more sophisticated play to Quinn's knack for language play, inverted cliches and swift puns (including the show's title and lead characters), a knack he'd shown for years writing Fibber McGee and Molly. Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee continued as a writing team; their best-known play is Inherit the Wind.

Cameron Blake, Walter Brown Newman, Robert Sinclair, and Milton and Barbara Merlin became writers for the program as well. But listeners were surprised to discover that the episode of 27 September 1950, "The Leslie Hoff Painting," a story tackling racial prejudice, was written by Colman himself. The sponsors were Schlitz Brewing Company and then Nabisco. Nat Wolff produced and directed, Henry Russell handled the music and radio veteran Ken Carpenter was the announcer. (Wikipedia)





Harold Peary Show, The (OTRR Certified)

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The Harold Peary show made its CBS debut on September 9, 1950. An audition show was done on August 23, 1950. Harold Peary was the creator and main performer for the show.

Previously starring on The Great Gildersleeve, Peary took many of Gildy's characteristics along with him to his new Honest Harold character... the "dirty" laugh, singing songs, and closing dialogue over credits were all there with Harold. And that voice. Who could forget that voice? In simple terms, Peary couldn't or wouldn't sound and act differently enough to make listeners forget Gildy, and that made it very tough for the new show to fly. Perhaps the plot was a little creaky for the beginning of the Rock 'n' Roll era, as well.

The show was about an older, unmarried guy, Honest Harold Hemp, who lived with his mother and nephew and did a radio homemaker's program. The townsfolk think of him as somewhat of a celebrity, but his girlfriend, Gloria, who works at the station, knows better.

The series received undeserved negative ratings and general negative comments as there were just too many similarities between the two series. Also, the series was without a sponsor, although some of the last shows were sponsored by the US Armed Forces. The series lasted only one season.

The regular cast consisted of Harold Peary, Gloria Holiday, Peary’s wife, who played Gloria, Joseph Kearns as Old Doc ‘Yak Yak’ Yancy, Mary Jane Croft and Parley Baer. The announcer was Bob Lamond. The series was directed by Norman MacDonnell. Writers for the series were Harold Peary, Bill Danch, Jack Robinson and Gene Stone. Music was by Jack Meakin. The last show aired on June 13, 1951.

The director of the show was Norm MacDonnell, who went on to create perhaps the greatest old time radio show - Gunsmoke, and another western, Fort Laramie. Of course, Norm was a sold radio veteran who certainly had a flare for directing comedy, so he and Peary, together with an excellent cast, made The Harold Peary Show just about as good a show as it could be. (OTRR)


OTRR_Certified_Harold_Peary_Show_Ver1_CD_1of1.zip


Behind the Mike (OTTR Certified)

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Behind the Mike was a behind-the-scenes view of radio personalities, personnel and operations. This version of the program aired from 15 Sep 1940 until 19 Apr 1942. Of the possible 83 episodes, it appears only 32 are currently known. The program was developed as a way for radio listeners to learn more of their favorite radio personalities, programs, and behind-the-scenes people who contributed to the production of radio programs. The host of the show was Graham McNamee. (OTRR)






Back of the Mike - How Radio Sound Effects are Made (1930's)

Not related to Behind the Mike, but very interesting to watch.

Begins with the visualization of what the boy is thinking listening to the radio, you can see what is meant by "Theater of the Mind", but when you get to the part in the radio studio, get ready to be entertained watching how the sounds were made.



Download iPod/Zune(Right Click and Save As)

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Daredevils of Hollywood, The (OTRR Certified)

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Daredevil Deviltry may not be the easiest or safest way to make one’s living, but it is certainly the most exciting. People often wonder how daredevils get that way and if they are normal human beings or suicidal maniacs. They are as normal as you and I and have no intent of self-destruction.

With a yen for accomplishing what to many appears to be impossible in the way of daring feats, they have entered a bizarre profession where the money is good and they satisfy a public willing to pay for chills and thrills.

But why pay to watch daredevils to perform? If you’ve got a television set in your home, sit back, relax, and get your share of thrills and chills watching the old adventure movies frequently shown, and, of course, the ever popular westerns. Look closely and you’re liable to see Yakima Canutt, perform his specialty of jumping from a stagecoach, onto the rear two animals of a six-horse team, then jump to the next two, and then up to the first two.

Then Canutt, who usually gets $1,000 for this stunt, utters a prayer under his breath and then drops to the ground. Sure. You’ve seen this stunt a dozen times. Canutt allows the six-horse team thunder past him, then, as the wagon goes thundering past his body, he grabs the rear of the stagecoach and pulls himself up to the top.

Many movies contain daring flying sequences staged by the king of the movie stunt pilots, Frank Clarke, who, before his death in 1948 from a plane accident not connected to any movie daredevilry, could make a plane do everything except eat out of his hand.

And there were many other stunt daredevils, both men and women, who made the movie business exciting. In this series, you’ll hear many of their stories. We hope that you’ll enjoy them. (OTRR)





Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Old Gold Comedy Theater,The

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The Old Gold Comedy Theater was an NBC anthology series that aired for the single 1944-1945 season. It was hosted by comedy star Harold Lloyd, of silent film fame, and featuring some of the biggest names from film and radio. The series was intended as a lighter version of The Lux Radio Theater, featuring half hour shows that were cut-down versions of successful comedy films from the time period. Despite Mr. Lloyd's best efforts, the presence of big-name movie and radio stars and the selection of successful films for scripting, the series did not last, perhaps due to the too-truncated, half-hour format. However, in today's time period they are quiet entertaining and I feel the shows were underrated.

At the bottom of the page is one episode I featured on the podcast that I thought was quiet good.






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Old Gold Comedy Theater - Brewster's Millions

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Brewster's Millions is a novel written by George Barr McCutcheon in 1902, originally under the pseudonym of Richard Greaves. It was adapted into a play in 1906, and the novel or play has been made into a movie nine times (including twice in India). The story revolves around Montgomery Brewster, a poor man who inherits a large sum of money. However, there is a catch—he has to spend every penny within 30 days, and end up with nothing at that time. Should he make the deadline, he stands to gain an even larger sum; should he fail, he remains penniless. Here is a radio version from Old Gold Comedy Theater in 1945. It stars Dennis O'Keefe as Monty Brewster and Helen Walker as Peggy Gray.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Michael Shayne

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One of the most popular private detectives ever, red-haired Miami P.I. MICHAEL SHAYNE has had a long, successful, multi-media career. Shayne was created and first appeared in the 1939 novel, Dividend on Death, by Davis Dresser, published under the pseudonym Brett Halliday. Dresser wrote fifty Shayne novels (with a little help from ghostwriters such as Ryerson Johnson) and twenty-seven more were written by Robert Terrall and published as paperback originals by Dell, still under the pseudonym Brett Halliday. So that's 77 novels, over 300 short stories, a dozen films, radio and television shows and even a few comic book appearances.

A radio show featuring Mike debuted on Mutual as a West Coast regional in October 1944 with Wally Maher in the lead. Although mystery writer Brett Halliday got the credit for creating this detective and bringing him to radio, he never wrote any scripts but was happy enough to pick up the royalty checks. There were three separate versions of this show over the years.

In October 1946 it went coast-to-coast, lasting until November 1947. It was resurrected on Mutual in July 1948, under the title of "New Adventures of Michael Shayne" with Jeff Chandler in the lead, and it ran for two years. The last version began in October 1952 on ABC, first with Donald Curtis playing Shayne, and later with Robert Sterling. This third and last series went off the air in July 1953. (Thrilling Detective)



Mel Blanc Show, The

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Melvin Jerome "Mel" Blanc (May 30, 1908 – July 10, 1989) was an American voice actor and comedian. Although he began his nearly six-decade-long career performing in radio commercials, Blanc is best known for his work with Warner Bros. during the so-called "Golden Age of American animation" (and later for Hanna-Barbera television productions) as the voice of such well-known characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Beaky Buzzard, Tweety Bird, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Barney Rubble, Mr. Spacely, and hundreds of others. Having earned the nickname “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” Blanc is regarded as one of the most influential persons in his field.

Born Melvin Jerome Blank in San Francisco, California, to Jewish parents, Frederick and Eva Blank, he grew up in Portland, Oregon, attending Lincoln High School. At 16, he changed the spelling of his last name from “Blank,” reportedly because a teacher told him that he would amount to nothing and be, like his last name, “blank.” Blanc began his radio career in 1927 as a voice actor on the KGW program The Hoot Owls, where his ability to create voices for multiple characters first attracted attention. Blanc moved to sister station KEX in 1933 to produce and host his Cobweb And Nuts program.

Moving to Warner Brothers-owned KFWB in Hollywood, California, in 1935, Blanc joined The Johnny Murray Show; then, in 1936, he moved to CBS Radio and The Joe Penner Show. Beginning in the late 1930s, Blanc was a regular on the NBC Red Network show The Jack Benny Program in various roles, including Benny’s automobile (a Maxwell in desperate need of a tune-up), violin teacher Professor LeBlanc, Polly the Parrot, Benny’s pet polar bear Carmichael, the tormented department store clerk, and the train announcer.

One of Blanc’s most memorable characters from Benny's radio (and later TV) programs was “Sy, the Little Mexican,” who spoke one word at a time. The famous “Sí...Sy...sew...Sue” routine was so effective that no matter how many times it was performed, the laughter was always there, thanks to the comedic timing of Blanc and Benny.


Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Show

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Martin and Lewis were an American comedy team, comprising singer Dean Martin (as the "straight man") and comedian Jerry Lewis. The pair first met in 1944; their debut as a duo occurred at Atlantic City's 500 Club on July 24/25, 1946.

Before they teamed up they were both stand up comics. They worked together in nightclubs, on radio and in television and films. The radio series commenced in 1949, it lasted until 1953, in 1949 Martin and Lewis were signed by Paramount producer Hal Wallis as comedy relief for the film My Friend Irma. In the team's later years, it was no longer billed by the two men's surnames alone, as in their early radio work, but by their full names: "Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis." These separate identities helped them launch successful solo careers after the team's dissolution.







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Times Past has no affiliation with Old Time Radio Researchers. Any related content is provided here as a convenience to our visitors and to make OTRR's work more widely known.

References: Old Time Radio Researchers Group, Wikipedia, Frank Passage & Others OTR Logs, Archive.org, Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning, Australian Old Time Radio Group



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