Thursday, December 31, 2015

Jack Benny: New Years Eve Programs


Jack Benny, born Benjamin Kubelsky, was an American comedian, vaudevillian, radio, television, and film actor.

Widely recognized as one of the leading American entertainers of the 20th century, Benny played the role of the comic penny-pinching miser, insisting on remaining 39 years old on stage despite his actual age, and often (although an accomplished violinist) playing the violin - poorly!

Benny was known for his comic timing and ability to get laughs with either a pregnant pause or a single expression, such as his signature wave of the hand with an exasperated "Well!"

His radio & television programs, tremendously popular from the 1930s to the 1960s, were a foundational influence on the situation comedy genre. Dean Martin, on the celebrity roast for Johnny Carson in November 1973, introduced Benny as "the Satchel Paige of the world of comedy."

The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny was so successful in selling Jell-O, in fact, that General Foods could not manufacture it fast enough when sugar shortages arose in the early years of World War II, and the company had to stop advertising the popular dessert mix. via Archive.org




The Jack Benny Program: Goodbye 1938, Hello 1939 - January 1, 1939


The Jack Benny Program: No Date for New Year's Eve - December 31, 1939


The Jack Benny Program: Father Time Rides Again - December 29, 1940


The Jack Benny Program: New Years Eve Skit - December 27, 1942


The Jack Benny Program: New Year's Eve Party at the Biltmore Bowl - January 4, 1942


The Jack Benny Program: Jack Resolves to Be Friends with Fred Allen - December 31, 1944

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Green Lama

The Green Lama was an American pulp magazine hero of the 1940s. In many respects a typical costumed crime-fighter of the period, the Green Lama's most unusual feature was the fact that he was a practicing Buddhist. Slightly different versions of the same character also appeared in comic books and on the radio. He is part of a legion of vintage characters being revived in the 21st century in new prose, comic book, and audio adventures. The Green Lama character and Double Detective stories are not in the public domain (although the original comics are), as the author "wisely retained all rights to his creation."

 The Green Lama first appeared in a short novel entitled The Green Lama in the April 1940 issue of Double Detective magazine. The novel was written by Kendell Foster Crossen using the pseudonym of "Richard Foster". Writing in 1976, Crossen recalled that the character was created because the publishers of Double Detective, the Frank Munsey company, wanted a competitor for The Shadow, which was published by their rivals Street & Smith.

The Green Lama's first comic book appearance was in Crestwood Publications' issue #7 of Prize Comics (December 1940), where he continued to appear for 27 issues (through 1943). All stories were written by Ken Crossen, with art by Mac Raboy and others. In Prize Comics #24, he teamed up with Black Owl, Dr. Frost, and Yank and Doodle to take down Frankenstein's Monster. This version of the character bears considerable similarities to his pulp counterpart, most notably his costume design. However, this version was more of a sorcerer with the ability to travel through time, resurrect the dead and often battled Lucifer's minions. There were also minor changes to his supporting cast such as Jean "Parker" and the inclusion of a character known as Tashi Shog.

  More than three years after the demise of his comic book, the Green Lama was resurrected for a short-lived CBS radio series that ran for 11 episodes from June 5 to August 20, 1949, with the character's voice provided by the legendary voice actor Paul Frees. This version of the Green Lama was also written by creator Kendell Foster Crossen, along with several co-writers.

CBS Television considered producing a television version of the Green Lama for the 1950 season. The proposal never got the green light.

For a much more extensive look at the Green Lama, be sure to check out the Wikipedia page. And his entry at the Comic Book Database.


Monday, December 28, 2015

Ellery Queen


Ellery Queen is both a fictional character and a pseudonym used by two American cousins from Brooklyn, New York—Daniel Nathan, alias Frederic Dannay (October 20, 1905 – September 3, 1982) and Emanuel Benjamin Lepofsky, alias Manfred Bennington Lee (January 11, 1905 – April 3, 1971)—to write, edit, and anthologize detective fiction. The fictional Ellery Queen created by Dannay and Lee is a mystery writer and amateur detective who helps his father, a New York City police inspector, solve baffling murders.

Ellery Queen was created in 1928 when Dannay and Lee entered a writing contest sponsored by McClure's Magazine for the best first mystery novel. They decided to use as their collective pseudonym the same name that they had given their detective. Inspired by the formula and style of the Philo Vance novels by S. S. Van Dine, their entry won the contest, but before it could be published, the magazine closed. Undeterred, the cousins took their novel to other publishers, and The Roman Hat Mystery was published in 1929.

The Roman Hat Mystery established a reliable template: a geographic formula title (The Dutch Shoe Mystery, The Egyptian Cross Mystery, etc.); an unusual crime; a complex series of clues and red herrings; multiple misdirected solutions before the final truth is revealed, and a cast of supporting characters including Ellery's father, Inspector Richard Queen, and his irascible assistant, Sergeant Velie. What became the most famous part of the early Ellery Queen books was the "Challenge to the Reader." This was a single page near the end of the book declaring that the reader had seen all the same clues Ellery had, and that only one solution was possible. According to novelist/critic Julian Symons, "The rare distinction of the books is that this claim is accurate. There are problems in deduction that do really permit of only one answer, and there are few crime stories indeed of which this can be said."

In a successful series of novels and short stories that covered 42 years, "Ellery Queen" served as a joint pseudonym for the cousins Dannay and Lee, as well as the name of the primary detective-hero they created. During the 1930s and much of the 1940s, that detective-hero was possibly the best known American fictional detective. Movies, radio shows, and television shows were based on Dannay and Lee's works.

The two writers, particularly Dannay, were also responsible for co-founding and directing Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, generally considered one of the most influential English-language crime fiction magazines of the last sixty-five years. They were also prominent historians in the field, editing numerous collections and anthologies of short stories such as The Misadventures of Sherlock Holmes. Their 994-page anthology for The Modern Library, 101 Years' Entertainment: The Great Detective Stories, 1841–1941, was a landmark work that remained in print for many years. Under their collective pseudonym, the cousins were given the Grand Master Award for achievements in the field of the mystery story by the Mystery Writers of America in 1961.

On radio, The Adventures of Ellery Queen was heard on all three networks from 1939 to 1948. During the 1970s, syndicated radio fillers, Ellery Queen's Minute Mysteries, began with an announcer saying, "This is Ellery Queen..." and contained a short one-minute case. The radio station encouraged callers to solve the mystery and win a sponsor's prize. Once a winner was found, the solution was broadcast as confirmation. A complete episode guide and history of this radio program can be found in the book The Sound of Detection: Ellery Queen's Adventures in Radio, published by OTR Publishing in 2002. The Adventure of the Murdered Moths (Crippen & Landru, 2005) is the first book edition of many of the radio scripts.

Helene Hanff, best known for her book 84 Charing Cross Road, was a scripter for the television series version of The Adventures of Ellery Queen (1950–1952), which began on the DuMont Television Network but soon moved to ABC. Shortly after the series began, Richard Hart, who played Queen, died and was replaced in the lead role by Lee Bowman. The series returned to DuMont in 1954 with Hugh Marlowe in the title role. George Nader played Queen in The Further Adventures of Ellery Queen (1958–1959), but he was replaced with Lee Philips in the final episodes.

Peter Lawford starred in a television movie, Ellery Queen: Don't Look Behind You, in 1971. Veteran actor Harry Morgan played Inspector Queen, but in this film he was described as Ellery's uncle (perhaps to account for the fact that Morgan was only eight years Lawford's senior, or for Lawford's English accent). This film is loosely based on Cat of Many Tails.

The 1975 television movie Ellery Queen (a.k.a. "Too Many Suspects"—a loose adaptation of The Fourth Side of the Triangle) led to the 1975–1976 Ellery Queen television series starring Jim Hutton in the title role (with David Wayne as his widowed father). The series was done as a period piece set in New York City in 1946-1947. Sergeant Velie, Inspector Queen's assistant, was a cast regular in this series; he had appeared in the novels and the radio series, but had not been seen regularly in any of the previous television versions. Each episode contained a "Challenge to the Viewer" with Ellery breaking the fourth wall to go over the facts of the case and invite the audience to solve the mystery on their own, immediately before the solution was revealed. Each episode of the 1975 television series featured a number of Hollywood celebrities. Eve Arden, George Burns, Joan Collins, Roddy McDowall, Milton Berle, Guy Lombardo, Rudy Vallée, and Don Ameche were among the guests. Richard Levinson and William Link, the creators of the series had won a Special Edgars Award for creating the Columbo and Ellery Queen TV series.


In 2011, the Leverage episode "The 10 Li'l Grifters Job", Timothy Hutton's character Nate Ford appears at a costumed murder mystery party as Ellery Queen, in a homage to the actor's late father, Jim.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from VINTRAD- Vintage Radio Blog!

This Christmas, our hope is that you are able to take a few moments for yourself and enjoy this variety of Christmas themed old time radio programs chosen especially for you!

We hope you enjoy!

Best Wishes for a very Merry Christmas to each and every one of you! Thank you for your continued support!




Lux Radio Theatre: Miracle On 34th Street - December 20, 1948


Kraft Music Hall with Bing Crosby: Christmas Show - December 21, 1944


The Pepsodent Show starring Bob Hope w/ Bing Crosby - December 24, 1946


The Big Show starring Louis Armstrong, Bob Hope, Martin & Lewis, Deborah Kerr and Bing Crosby - December 17, 1950


Life Of Riley: Riley's First Christmas - December 20, 1947


Our Miss Brooks: Christmas Re-Gifting Mix-Ups - December 20, 1953


The Shadow: The Stockings Were Hung - December 24, 1939


Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Christmas Bride - December 21, 1947

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Red Skelton: Christmas Programs

The son of a former circus clown turned grocer and a cleaning woman, Red Skelton was introduced to show business at the age of seven by Ed Wynn, at a vaudeville show in Vincennes. At age 10, he left home to travel with a medicine show through the Midwest, and joined the vaudeville circuit at age 15. At age 17, he married Edna Marie Stilwell, an usher who became his vaudeville partner and later his chief writer and manager.

He debuted on Broadway and radio in 1937 and on film in 1938. His ex-wife/manager negotiated a seven-year Hollywood contract for him in 1951, the same year "The Red Skelton Hour" (1951) premiered on NBC. For two decades, until 1971, his show consistently stayed in the top twenty, both on NBC and CBS. His numerous characters, including Clem Kaddiddlehopper, George Appleby, and the seagulls Gertrude and Heathcliffe delighted audiences for decades.


Skelton and his wife put together an act and began to get bookings for it at some of the smaller vaudeville theaters. They somehow made their way to the Lido Club in Montreal. Despite the language barrier, the act was a success, and brought the couple theater dates throughout Canada. While in Montreal, Skelton and Edna devised the well-known "Doughnut Dunkers" routine, with Skelton's visual impressions of how different people ate doughnuts. The problem with doing this type of act was that Skelton had to eat nine doughnuts at every performance. He was performing five times a day and eating 45 doughnuts. Skelton gained almost 35 pounds rapidly and had to shelve the routine for a while until he lost the weight.

The "Doughnut Dunkers" routine also led to Skelton's first appearance on The Rudy Vallee Show on August 12, 1937. The program had a talent show segment and those who were searching for stardom were eager to be heard on it. The show received enough fan mail after Skelton's performance to invite the comedian back two weeks after his initial appearance and again in November of that year. On October 1, 1938, Skelton replaced Red Foley as the host of Avalon Time on NBC; Edna also joined the show's cast. Skelton continued as the show's host until late 1939, when he went on to begin his MGM movie career.

Skelton's success in films meant a regular radio show offer. He went on the air with his own program, The Raleigh Cigarettes Program, on October 7, 1941. The bandleader for the show was Ozzie Nelson; his wife, Harriet, who worked under her maiden name of Hilliard, was the show's vocalist and also worked with Skelton in skits.

Additional Source: IMDB




Red Skelton Show: Christmas Shopping - December 12, 1942


Red Skelton: Christmas Trees - December 25, 1945


Red Skelton Show: Christmas Stories - December 24, 1946


Red Skelton Show: Christmas Show - December 25, 1949


Red Skelton Show: The Christmas Tree - December 19, 1951


Red Skelton Show: Day After Christmas - December 26, 1951


Abbott and Costello: Christmas Programs

William "Bud" Abbott and Lou Costello (born Louis Francis Cristillo), were an American comedy duo whose work in vaudeville and on stage, radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team during the 1940s and early 1950s. Their patter routine "Who's on First?" is considered one of the greatest comedy routines of all time and set the framework for many of their best-known comedy bits.

 The team's first known radio appearance was on The Kate Smith Hour in February 1938. Initially, the similarities between their voices made it difficult for listeners (as opposed to stage audiences) to tell them apart due to their rapid-fire repartee. The problem was solved by having Costello affect a high-pitched childish voice. "Who's on First?" was first performed for a national radio audience the following month. They stayed on the program as regulars for two years, while landing roles in a Broadway revue, The Streets of Paris, in 1939.

In 1940 Universal Studios signed them for the film One Night in the Tropics. Cast in supporting roles, they stole the show with several classic routines, including "Who's on First?" The same year they were a summer replacement on radio for Fred Allen. Two years later, they had their own NBC show.

After working as Allen's summer replacement, Abbott and Costello joined Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy on The Chase and Sanborn Hour in 1941, while two of their films (Buck Privates and Hold That Ghost) were adapted for Lux Radio Theater. They launched their own weekly show October 8, 1942, sponsored by Camel cigarettes.

The Abbott and Costello Show mixed comedy with musical interludes (by vocalists such as Connie Haines, Ashley Eustis, the Delta Rhythm Boys, Skinnay Ennis, and the Les Baxter Singers). Regulars and semi-regulars on the show included Artie Auerbach ("Mr. Kitzel"), Elvia Allman, Iris Adrian, Mel Blanc, Wally Brown, Sharon Douglas, Verna Felton, Sidney Fields, Frank Nelson, Martha Wentworth, and Benay Venuta. Ken Niles was the show's longtime announcer, doubling as an exasperated foil to Abbott and Costello's mishaps (and often fuming in character as Costello routinely insulted his on-air wife). Niles was succeeded by Michael Roy, with announcing chores also handled over the years by Frank Bingman and Jim Doyle. The show went through several orchestras during its radio life, including those of Ennis, Charles Hoff, Matty Matlock, Matty Malneck, Jack Meakin, Will Osborne, Fred Rich, Leith Stevens, and Peter van Steeden. The show's writers included Howard Harris, Hal Fimberg, Parke Levy, Don Prindle, Eddie Cherkose (later known as Eddie Maxwell), Leonard B. Stern, Martin Ragaway, Paul Conlan, and Eddie Forman, as well as producer Martin Gosch. Sound effects were handled primarily by Floyd Caton. Guest stars were plentiful, including Frank Sinatra, The Andrews Sisters, and Lucille Ball.

In 1947 Abbott and Costello moved the show to ABC (the former NBC Blue Network). During their time on ABC, the duo also hosted a 30-minute children's radio program (The Abbott and Costello Children's Show),which aired Saturday mornings, featuring child vocalist Anna Mae Slaughter and child announcer Johnny McGovern.


More on Abbott and Costello at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbott_and_Costello



Abbott & Costello: Christmas Shopping for Lou's Girlfriend - December 14, 1944


Abbott & Costello: Lou's Christmas Party - December 20, 1945


Abbott & Costello: Christmas Program - December 24, 1947


Abbott & Costello: Sam Shovel - I'm All Yours in Buttons and Bows - December 23, 1948

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Duffy's Tavern: Christmas Programs

Duffy's Tavern was a popular American radio situation comedy which ran for a decade on several networks (CBS, 1941–1942; NBC-Blue Network, 1942–1944; NBC, 1944–1951), concluding with the December 28, 1951 broadcast.

 The program often featured celebrity guest stars but always hooked them around the misadventures, get-rich-quick schemes and romantic missteps of the title establishment's malaprop-prone, metaphor-mixing manager, Archie, portrayed by Ed Gardner, the writer/actor who co-created the series. Gardner had performed the character of Archie, talking about Duffy's Tavern, as early as November 9, 1939, when he appeared on NBC's Good News of 1940.






In the familiar opening, "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," performed either solo on an old-sounding piano or by a larger orchestra, was interrupted by the ring of a telephone and Gardner's New Yorkese accent as he answered, "Hello, Duffy's Tavern, where the elite meet to eat. Archie the manager speakin'. Duffy ain't here—oh, hello, Duffy."

Owner Duffy was never heard nor seen, either on the radio program or in the 1945 film adaptation or the short-lived 1954 TV series. Archie constantly bantered with Duffy's man-crazy daughter, Miss Duffy (played by several actresses, beginning with Gardner's real-life first wife, Shirley Booth), and especially with Clifton Finnegan (Charlie Cantor, later Sid Raymond), a likeable soul with several screws loose and a knack for falling for every other salesman's scam. Eddie the Waiter was played by Eddie Green; the pianist Fats Pichon took over the role after Green's death in 1950. Hoping to take advantage of the income tax free status of Puerto Rico for future projects, Gardner moved the radio show there in 1949.

Radio's Duffy's Tavern didn't translate well to film or television. Burrows and Matt Brooks collaborated on the screenplay for the 1945 film, Ed Gardner's Duffy's Tavern, in which Archie (with regulars Eddie and Finnegan) was surrounded by a throng of Paramount Pictures stars playing themselves.

The 1954 syndicated TV series, co-produced by Hal Roach, Jr., lacked leading name guest stars and, according to writer Larry Rhine, it was weighted by Gardner's inability to adapt to camera work: "He couldn't act, and he wouldn't learn camera... He thought he could do TV, so he left radio, but he was a bad actor and knew it." The series failed to gain viewer support.







Duffy's Tavern: Christmas Program with Monty Woolley - December 22, 1944


Duffy's Tavern: The Cast Does 'A Christmas Carol' - December 21, 1945


Duffy's Tavern: Charles Coburn Plays Santa Claus - December 22, 1950

The Fred Allen Show: Christmas Programs

The Fred Allen Show was a popular and long-running American old-time radio comedy program starring comedian Fred Allen and his wife Portland Hoffa. Over the course of the program's 17-year run, it was sponsored by Linit Bath Soaps, Hellmann's, Ipana, Sal Hepatica, Texaco and Tenderleaf Tea. The program ended in 1949 under the sponsorship of the Ford Motor Company.

 The most popular period of the program was the few years of sponsorship under the Texaco Gas Company. During this time, the program was known as Texaco Star Theatre with Fred Allen. On the December 6, 1942 episode of the program, Allen premiered his first in a series of segments known as "Allen's Alley". The segments would have Allen strolling through an imaginary neighborhood, knocking on the "doors" of various neighbors, including average-American John Doe (played by John Brown), Mrs. Nussbaum (Minerva Pious), pompous poet Falstaff Openshaw (Alan Reed), Titus Moody (Parker Fennelly), and boisterous southern senator Beuregard Claghorn (announcer Kenny Delmar). Texaco ended its sponsorship of the program in 1944.

Some prominent guest stars on Allen's program ove the years included Frank Sinatra, Orson Welles, Roy Rogers, Bela Lugosi, Ed Gardner, Norman Corwin and Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy.



Fred Allen: Linit Bath Club Revue - Mammoth Department Store - December 25, 1932


Fred Allen: Town Hall Tonight - Santa Will Not Ride Tonight w/Jack Benny - December 22, 1937


Fred Allen: Texaco Star Theater - Otto Hottendorf - Decemeber 25, 1940

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Great Gildersleeve: Christmas Programs


The Great Gildersleeve (1941–1957), initially written by Leonard Lewis Levinson, was one of broadcast history's earliest spin-off programs. Built around Throckmorton Philharmonic Gildersleeve, a character who had been a staple on the classic radio situation comedy Fibber McGee and Molly. First introduced to FMAM on 10/3/39 ep #216. The Great Gildersleeve enjoyed its greatest success in the 1940s. Actor Harold Peary played the character during its transition from the parent show into the spin-off and later in a quartet of feature films released at the height of the show's popularity.
On Fibber McGee and Molly, Peary's Gildersleeve was a pompous windbag who became a consistent McGee nemesis. "You're a haa-aa-aa-aard man, McGee!" became a Gildersleeve catchphrase.

The character was given several conflicting first names on Fibber McGee and Molly, and on one episode his middle name was revealed as Philharmonic. Gildy admits as much at the end of "Gildersleeve's Diary" on the Fibber McGee and Molly series (10/22/40).
He soon became so popular that Kraft Foods—looking primarily to promote its Parkay margarine spread — sponsored a new series with Peary's Gildersleeve as the central, slightly softened and slightly befuddled focus of a lively new family.

Actor Harold Peary was a much appreciated talent on the old radio series, "Fibber McGee and Molly". Over the course of time, he played a number of different characters, like a butcher or a delivery man. Eventually, the writers created the character of Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve for Peary to portray. Stuffy "Gildy" was the next-door neighbor of the McGee's, so now Peary could portray the major plot point in some episodes. But even this major supporting role was not enough to contain the actor's talents. So in 1941, "The Great Gildersleeve" spun-off into his very own radio series.

With a dedicated program, Harold Peary and his writers greatly expanded the depths of the Gildersleeve character. The show ran for 13 years (1941-1954), with over 550 shows produced. There were also four "official" Gildersleeve movies, and Peary appeared as Gildersleeve in a number of other films. In the fifties there was a "Great Gildersleeve" TV series, which ran for one season and resulted in 39 episodes.


However, it was not Peary who appeared in the TV series. Back in 1950, Peary's agent saw an opportunity to better his client's deal. He moved Peary from NBC to CBS. Unfortunately, the agent didn't cover all the bases of the deal, as CBS found they could not put him on as "The Great Gildersleeve", NBC still owned the rights to the character. They got Peary but not "The Great Gildersleeve" program. So CBS created a different series for Peary to play in, titled "Honest Harold". Starting on September 6, 1950, Peary's old friend Willard Waterman continued the Gildersleeve character successfully for the remaining four years of its run, then onto the year-run of the television series. Harold Peary showed up two years after that as Mayor LaTrivia on the TV version of "Fibber McGee and Molly".

via Wikipedia and http://www.greatgildersleeve.net/





The Great Gildersleeve: Christmas Caroling at Gildersleeve's -  December 25, 1946


The Great Gildersleeve: Leroy's Holiday Job -  December 1, 1948


The Great Gildersleeve: Disappearing Christmas Presents -  December 8, 1948


The Great Gildersleeve: Christmas Shopping -  December 15, 1948


Monday, December 21, 2015

Fibber McGee and Molly: Christmas Programs

Fibber McGee and Molly was an American radio comedy series that maintained its popularity over decades. It premiered on NBC in 1935 and continued until 1959, long after radio had ceased to be the dominant form of entertainment in American popular culture.

 There are people who would argue that Fibber McGee and Molly were the Golden Age of radio. This is partly because of the show's very long (1935-1959) and successful run. But more than just staying power, the show showcased terrific comic and musical talent. Throughout its run, the show was a reflection of its time in the American scene.

The genesis of the program can be traced to a local Chicago show that would become Smackout. Fibber McGee and Molly would go on to great success despite (or perhaps because of) the vaudeville sensibilities of its creators and stars, married couple Jim and Marian Jordan.

Living in the fictional Midwestern city of Wistful Vista, Fibber was an American teller of tall tales and a braggart, usually to the exasperation of his long suffering wife Molly. Life in Wistful Vista followed a well developed formula, but was always fresh. Fibber's weekly schemes would be interrupted, inspired by, and often played upon the People of Wistful Vista, a set of regular players and characters that were as beloved as the stars of the program. The program used a series of running gags that would become part of the common language, many treasures can be found in the Closet at 79 Wistful Vista.

The show began as a comic reflection of Depression Era America, but as time went on and the shadows of war came over the nation, the show again caught the mood of the country. WWII was fought on the Home front on Wistful Vista as surely as anywhere else in America, but here they had the benefit of Fibber's somewhat addled perspective.

The show was formally "The Johnson Wax show with Fibber McGee and Molly." Longtime sponsor S.C. Johnson Wax Company saw the value of saving the episodes they sponsored, thereby preserving this treasure for fans of Old Time Radio today.

One of the funniest, most cleverly written shows you will find. The show ran for an epic 24 years on the radio. The show had a huge influence on popular culture as well. Catch phrases that originated on Fibber McGee and Molly like, "Tain't funny, McGee!" "That ain't the way I heered it!" "Snooky," and "Whatsay?" were common vernacular of the time.

Recently, on an episode of NCIS, Abby Sciutto reprimanded Timothy McGee with the line "T'ain't funny, McGee" as a nod to the show.

Sources: http://www.fibbermcgeeandmolly.com/ and Fibber McGee and Molly on Wikipedia





Fibber McGee and Molly: Mailing Christmas Packages -  December 10, 1940


Fibber McGee and Molly: Fibber Cuts His Own Tree -  December 16, 1941


Fibber McGee and Molly: Looking for a Christmas Tree -  December 21, 1943


Fibber McGee and Molly: Early Christmas Presents -  December 19, 1944


Fibber McGee and Molly: Making Christmas Cards -  December 6, 1949

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show: Christmas Programs

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, a comedy radio program, ran on NBC from 1948 to 1954, evolving from an earlier music and comedy variety program, The Fitch Bandwagon. Singer-bandleader Phil Harris and his wife, actress-singer Alice Faye, became the earlier show's breakout stars, and the show was retooled into a full situation comedy, with Harris and Faye playing fictionalized versions of themselves as a working show business couple raising two daughters in a slightly madcap home.

Harris had been a mainstay and musical director for The Jack Benny Program; Faye had been a frequent guest on programs such as Rudy Vallée's. Their marriage provoked a 1941 episode of the Benny show.

The growing popularity of the Harris-Faye family sketches turned the program into their own comic vehicle by 1947. When announcer Bill Foreman hailed, "Good health to all... from Rexall!" on October 3, 1948, The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show launched its independent life under Rexall's sponsorship with a debut storyline about the fictitious day the couple signed their sponsorship deal. The show was a quick success and its position in that powerhouse NBC Sunday lineup didn't hurt. Playing themselves as radio and music star parents of two precocious young daughters (played by actresses Jeanine Roos and Ann Whitfield, instead of the Harrises' own young daughters), Harris refined his character from the booze-and-broads, hipster jive talker he had been on the Benny show ("Hiya, Jackson!" was his usual hail to Benny) into a slightly vain (particularly about his wavy hair and the dimpled smile that always hinted mischief) and dunderheaded husband who usually needed rescuing by Faye as his occasionally tart but always loving wife. References to his hair and vanity became a running gag.

Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show: A Present for Phil - December 15, 1946


Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show:  Jack Benny as Santa - December 19, 1948


Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show: The Christmas Present - December 26, 1948


Phil Harris Alice Faye Show: Alice Volunteers Phil to Play Santa Claus - December 21, 1952


Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show: Hosting French Refugee Kids for Christmas - December 25, 1953


Saturday, December 19, 2015

CBS Radio Mystery Theater: Christmas Edition!

Three Christmas-themed episodes of The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, created by Himan Brown and hosted by E.G. Marshall (one of the grandfathers on National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation). The first two episodes are presented exactly as aired on WBBM, Chicago in December 1978 complete with original commercials, news and even weather reports!

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Saint: Christmas Eve Problems

Simon Templar is a British fictional character known as The Saint. He featured in a long-running series of books by Leslie Charteris published between 1928 and 1963. After that date, other authors collaborated with Charteris on books until 1983; two additional works produced without Charteris’s participation were published in 1997. The character has also been portrayed in motion pictures, radio dramas, comic strips, comic books and three television series.

 Simon Templar is a Robin Hood-like criminal known as The Saint — plausibly from his initials; but the exact reason for his nickname is not known (although we're told that he was given it at the age of nineteen). Templar has aliases, often using the initials S.T. such as "Sebastian Tombs" or "Sugarman Treacle". Blessed with boyish humor, he makes humorous and off-putting remarks and leaves a "calling card" at his "crimes", a stick figure of a man with a halo. This is used as the logo of the books, the movies, and the 1960s TV series. He is described as "buccaneer in the suits of Savile Row, amused, cool, debonair, with hell-for-leather blue eyes and a saintly smile..."

 Several radio drama series were produced in North America, Ireland, and Britain. The earliest was for Radio Eireann's Radio Athlone in 1940 and starred Terence De Marney. Both NBC and CBS produced Saint series during 1945, starring Edgar Barrier and Brian Aherne.

Many early shows were adaptations of published stories, although Charteris wrote several storylines for the series which were novelised as short stories and novellas. The longest-running radio incarnation was Vincent Price, who played the character in a series between 1947 and 1951 on three networks: CBS, Mutual and NBC.

Like The Whistler, the program had an opening whistle theme with footsteps. Some sources say the whistling theme for The Saint was created by Leslie Charteris while others credit RKO composer Roy Webb. Price left in May 1951, replaced by Tom Conway, who played the role for several more months. His brother, George Sanders, had played Templar on film. The next English-language radio series aired on Springbok Radio in South Africa between 1953 and 1957. These were fresh adaptations of the original stories and starred Tom Meehan. Around 1965–66 the South African version of Lux Radio Theatre produced a single dramatization of The Saint. The English service of South Africa produced another series radio adventures for six months in 1970–1971. The next English-language incarnation was a series of three radio plays on BBC Radio 4 in 1995 starring Paul Rhys.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Jack Benny Christmas Favorites!

Most of the programs during the Golden Age of Radio did special shows near the holidays. Some of the funniest most enjoyable of these are the Christmas shows Jack Benny and his troupe performed every year.

"One extremely popular scenario that became an annual tradition on The Jack Benny Program was the "Christmas Shopping" episode, in which Benny would head to a local department store. Each year, Benny would buy a ridiculously cheap Christmas gift for Don Wilson from a store clerk played by Mel Blanc. Benny would then have second (then third, and even fourth) thoughts about his gift choice, driving Blanc (or, in two other cases, his wife and his psychiatrist, as well) to hilarious insanity by exchanging the gift, pestering about the Christmas card or wrapping paper countless times throughout the episode: in many cases, the clerk would commit suicide, or attempt and fail to commit suicide ("Look what you done! You made me so nervous, I missed!") as a result.





In the 1946 Christmas episode, for example, Benny buys shoelaces for Don, and then is unable to make up his mind whether to give Wilson shoelaces with plastic tips or shoelaces with metal tips. After Benny exchanges the shoelaces repeatedly, Mel Blanc is heard screaming insanely, "Plastic tips! Metal tips! I can't stand it anymore!"

A variation in 1948 concerned Benny buying an expensive wallet for Don, but repeatedly changing the greeting card inserted—prompting Blanc to shout: "I haven't run into anyone like you in 20 years! Oh, why did the governor have to give me that pardon!?" – until Benny realizes that he should have gotten Don a wallet for $1.98, whereupon the put-upon clerk immediately responds by committing suicide. Over the years, in these Christmas episodes, Benny bought and repeatedly exchanged cuff links, golf tees, a box of dates, a paint set, and even a gopher trap." -via Wikipedia


Enjoy this collection of Jack Benny Christmas shows and have a very Merry Christmas!


"Christmas Shopping" - December 5, 1954.


"Gopher Trap for Don" - December 14, 1952.


"Setting Up Christmas Tree" - December 21, 1952.



"Christmas Party at Birmingham General Hospital" - December 22, 1946.




When Benny transitioned to TV, the tradition continued. Benny’s December 18, 1960 Christmas shopping episode is a TV classic. Mel Blanc reprising his role as a harried clerk who goes the extra mile to please his very finicky customer.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

George Burns and Gracie Allen





Burns and Allen, an American comedy duo consisting of George Burns and his wife, Gracie Allen, worked together as a comedy team in vaudeville, films, radio and television and achieved great success over four decades.

Burns and Allen met in 1922 and first performed together at the Hill Street Theatre in Newark, New Jersey, continued in small town vaudeville theaters, married in Cleveland on January 7, 1926, and moved up a notch when they signed with the Keith-Albee-Orpheum circuit in 1927.

 Burns wrote most of the material and played the straight man. Allen played a silly, addle-headed woman, a role often attributed to the "Dumb Dora" stereotype common in early 20th-century vaudeville comedy. Early on, the team had played the opposite roles until they noticed that the audience was laughing at Gracie's straight lines, so they made the change. In later years, each attributed their success to the other.

In 1929 they made their first radio appearance in London on the BBC. Back in America, they failed at a 1930 NBC audition. After a solo appearance by Gracie on Eddie Cantor's radio show, they were heard together on Rudy Vallee's The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour and on February 15, 1932 they became regulars on The Guy Lombardo Show on CBS. When Lombardo switched to NBC, Burns and Allen took over his CBS spot with The Adventures of Gracie beginning September 19, 1934.

Along the way, the duo launched the temporary running gag that made them near-irrevocable radio stars: the famous hunt for Gracie's "lost brother," which began on January 4, 1933 and eventually became a cross-network phenomenon. Gracie was also liable to turn up on other shows (especially those produced by the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, which produced the Burns & Allen series) looking for her brother. Bad publicity after a bid by NBC to squelch the stunt---and an accidental mention by Rudy Vallee on his Fleischmann's Hour---helped the stunt continue, according to radio historian John Dunning's On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, which also mentioned that Gracie's real brother, a "publicity-shy accountant" living in San Francisco, went into hiding until the gag ran its course.

Burns and Allen followed this up with another stunt: "Gracie Allen for President." During the election year of 1940, Gracie represented the fictitious Surprise Party and advocated nonsense as part of her platform. The "campaign" was successful enough for Gracie to actually receive write-in votes on election day.

The title of their top-rated show changed to The Burns and Allen Show on September 26, 1936. One successful episode, Grandpa's 92nd Birthday, aired on 8 July 1940. In 1941 they moved from comedy patter into a successful sitcom format, continuing with shows on NBC and CBS until May 17, 1950. As in the early days of radio, the sponsor's name became the show title, such as Maxwell House Coffee Time (1945–49).

Burns and Allen had several regulars on radio, including Toby Reed, Gale Gordon, Bea Benaderet, Gracie's real-life friend Mary "Bubbles" Kelly, Ray Noble, singers Jimmy Cash and Tony Martin and actor/writer/director Elliott Lewis. The Sportsmen Quartet (appearing as "The Swantet" during the years the show was sponsored by Swan Soap) supplied songs and occasionally backed up Cash. Meredith Willson, Artie Shaw and announcers Bill Goodwin and Harry Von Zell, who were usually made a part of the evening's doings, often as additional comic foils for the duo.

 When The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, aka The Burns and Allen Show, began on CBS Television October 12, 1950, it was an immediate success. The show was originally staged live before a studio audience (during its first three months, it originated from the Mansfield Theatre in New York, then relocated to CBS' Columbia Square facilities in Los Angeles). Ever the businessman, Burns realized it would be more efficient to do the series on film (beginning in the fall of 1952); the half-hour episodes could then be syndicated. From that point on, the show was shot without a live audience present, however, each installment would be screened before an audience to provide live responses prior to the episodes being broadcast. With 291 episodes, the show had a long network run through 1958 and continued in syndicated reruns for years.

After the live series ended, the shows were filmed at General Service Studios. The sets were designed to look like their real-life residence, often using an establishing shot of the actual house at 312 Maple Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Although extensively remodelled, that house still exists today—including the study over the garage where George would "escape" from Gracie's illogical logic. Burns lived in that house for the rest of his life.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Big Story



The Big Story is an American radio and television crime drama which dramatized the true stories of real-life newspaper reporters. The only continuing character was the narrator, Bob Sloane.

Sponsored by Pall Mall cigarettes, the program began on NBC Radio on April 2, 1947. With Lucky Strike cigarettes sponsoring the last two years, it was broadcast until March 23, 1955. The radio series was top rated, rivaling Bing Crosby's Philco Radio Time. Produced by Barnard J. Prockter, the shows were scripted by Gail Ingram, Arnold Pearl and Max Ehrlich. Tom Victor and Harry Ingram directed the series. Gail and Harry Ingram were husband and wife. The theme was taken from Ein Heldenleben ("A Hero's Life"), a tone poem by Richard Strauss.

The radio series was adapted for television where it debuted on NBC on September 16, 1949. The series continued to air on NBC until June 28, 1957, after which it appeared in syndication until 1958. The half-hour program was hosted by Robert Sloane, Norman Rose, Ben Grauer, and, finally, Burgess Meredith.

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Whistler




"I am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes... I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak." -Opening to The Whistler

The Whistler was an American radio mystery drama which ran from May 16, 1942 until September 22, 1955. It was sponsored by the Signal Oil Company: "That whistle is your signal for the Signal Oil program, The Whistler." The program was adapted into a film noir series by Columbia Pictures in 1944.

 The stories followed formula in which a person's criminal acts were typically undone either by an overlooked but important detail or by their own stupidity. On rare occasions a curious twist of fate caused the story to end happily for the episode's protagonist. Ironic twist endings were a key feature of each episode. The Whistler himself narrated, often commenting directly upon the action in the manner of a Greek chorus, taunting the criminal from an omniscient perspective.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Philco Radio Time



Philco Radio Time was an old-time radio radio series starring entertainer Bing Crosby. The series ran over ABC Radio with episodes airing from October 16, 1946–June 1, 1949. The series also was syndicated for a period of time over the Armed Forces Radio Network.

 The series is also known for being the first pre-recorded radio program aired on the major USA radio networks. For the first season, the shows were recorded on disc, but beginning with the series' second season, the show began using Ampex tape recorders for their broadcasts.

The program was usually recorded in Hollywood and was sponsored by the Philco Corporation.

Starting in 1931, singer and entertainer Bing Crosby had had many appearances on radio as a solo performer before Philco Radio Time. In January 1936, Crosby moved from CBS Radio to NBC working as the master of ceremonies for The Kraft Music Hall. In June 1945, with the ensuing accompaniment of much legal wrangling, Bing Crosby terminated his almost, ten-year association with the Kraft Foods Company, leaving himself free to choose another sponsor. He declined other offers in favour of a deal with the Philco Corporation of America which, apart from the financial considerations involved, afforded the appealing convenience of pre-recording his broadcasts. He was obliged to honour an agreement with Kraft which required him to appear in thirteen more shows, the last of which was broadcast in May 1946 but then, on Wednesday October 16th 1946, ‘'Philco Radio Time' - The Bing Crosby Show’, opened on the ABC network and (according to the publicity of the time), Wednesday, became ‘Bing’s Day’.

More programs can be found below, but be forewarned these are of varying quality.


Friday, December 11, 2015

Meet Corliss Archer


Meet Corliss Archer, a program from radio's Golden Age, ran from January 7, 1943 to September 30, 1956. Although it was CBS's answer to NBC's popular A Date with Judy, it was also broadcast by NBC in 1948 as a summer replacement for The Bob Hope Show. From October 3, 1952 to June 26, 1953, it aired on ABC, finally returning to CBS. Despite the program's long run, fewer than 24 episodes are known to exist.

 Priscilla Lyon and Janet Waldo successively portrayed 15-year-old Corliss on radio. Lugene Sanders also played Corliss briefly on radio and in the Meet Corliss Archer television show.

Perpetually perky, breathless and well-intentioned, Corliss is constantly at the side of her next-door neighbor and boyfriend, Dexter Franklin (Bill Christy, Sam Edwards). Clumsy, nerdy Dexter, a sweet but constant bungler with a nasal voice, is best remembered for his trademark phrase, "Holy cow!" and his braying call, "Heyyyy, Corrrrrliiiiiss!"--frequently delivered from the hedge separating their houses.

Harry Archer, Corliss' father, is a lawyer who tolerates Dexter only when he wants to use him to help flaunt male superiority. Gruff but gentle, he was played by Bob Bailey, Fred Shields and Frank Martin. Janet Archer, Corliss' mother, was played by Irene Tedrow, Monty Margetts and Gloria Holden. She is calm and understanding with her daughter and her husband, both of whom sometimes try her patience. Other frequent characters include Mildred Ames, a good friend of Corliss (played by Bebe Young and Barbara Whiting); Mildred's irritating younger brother Raymond (Tommy Bernard, Kenny Godkin); and Corliss' rival, Betty Cameron (Delores Crane).

Meet Corliss Archer was written by F. Hugh Herbert, who first introduced the character and her friends in the magazine story "A Private Affair," the first of a series of stories. Kiss and Tell was a 1943 play that was adapted for a 1945 film starring Shirley Temple. The 1949 sequel, A Kiss For Corliss, was re-released in 1954.

Like many other radio shows, Meet Corliss Archer made the leap to television with live performances in 1951 and 1952, and from 1954 to 1955, as a syndicated television show starring Ann Baker and Mary Brian. One of the show's unique features was the occasional cut to a comic-book-style drawing, with announcer's commentary, that illustrated the current story situation and was used several times during each episode. The program was produced by Ziv Productions.

Robin Morgan portrayed Corliss in a live telecast of Kiss and Tell on The Alcoa Hour (August 5, 1956), with Warren Berlinger as Dexter.

Radio listeners had to use their imaginations to visualize Corliss, her friends and her town. But those imaginations got a boost in 1948 when the Meet Corliss Archer comic book, published by Fox Feature Syndicate, came out in three issues from March to July 1948. Al Feldstein (Albert B. Feldstein), later the editor of Mad, was a key writer and illustrator of this short-lived comic book series, which is now remembered primarily for his artwork in general and the good girl art covers in particular. Film strips and radio microphones on the front cover indicated the tie-ins and media crossovers. Janet Waldo was depicted on the front cover twice, as herself and as Corliss.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Bob Hope Show



 Bob Hope, born Leslie Townes Hope, (May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003) was an English-born American comedian and actor who appeared on Broadway, in vaudeville, movies, television, and on the radio. He was noted for his numerous United Service Organizations (USO) shows entertaining American military personnel—he made 57 tours for the USO between 1942 and 1988. Throughout his long career, he was honored for this work. In 1996, the U.S. Congress declared him the "first and only honorary veteran of the U.S. armed forces."

Over a career spanning 60 years (1934 to 1994), Hope appeared in over 70 films and shorts, including a series of "Road" movies co-starring Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. In addition to hosting the Academy Awards fourteen times, he appeared in many stage productions and television roles, and was the author of fourteen books. He participated in the sports of golf and boxing, and owned a small stake in his hometown baseball team, the Cleveland Indians. He was married to Grace Troxell from 1933 until 1934 and to Dolores Hope from 1934 until his death.

In the early days, Hope's career included appearances on stage in Vaudeville shows and Broadway productions. He began performing on the radio in 1934 and switched to television when that medium became popular in the 1950s. He began doing regular TV specials in 1954, and hosted the Academy Awards fourteen times in the period from 1941 to 1978. Overlapping with this was his movie career, spanning the years 1934 to 1972, and his USO tours, which he did from 1942 to 1988.

Hope's career in broadcasting began on radio in 1934. His first regular series for NBC Radio was the Woodbury Soap Hour in 1937, a 26-week contract. A year later, The Pepsodent Show Starring Bob Hope began, and Hope signed a ten-year contract the show's sponsor, Lever Brothers. The show became the top radio program in the country. Regulars on the series included Jerry Colonna and Barbara Jo Allen as spinster Vera Vague. Hope continued his lucrative career in radio through to the 1950s, when radio's popularity was overshadowed by television.

For a more detailed account of the legendary Bob Hope's personal and professional life, start with his Wikipedia Page.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dick Tracy


Dick Tracy is a comic strip featuring Dick Tracy (originally Plainclothes Tracy), a square-jawed, hard-hitting, fast-shooting, and intelligent police detective. Created by Chester Gould, the strip made its debut on October 4, 1931, in the Detroit Mirror.

Although stories often end in gunfights, Tracy uses forensic science, advanced gadgetry, and wits, in an early example of the police procedural mystery story. Stories typically follow a criminal committing a crime and Tracy's relentless pursuit of the criminal. The strip's most popular villain was Flattop Jones, a freelance hitman hired by black marketeers to murder Tracy. When Flattop was killed, fans went into public mourning, and the Flattop Story was reprinted in DC's series of Oversize Comic Reprints in the 1970s. Reflecting film noir, the villains' small crimes led to bigger, out of control. Similarly, innocent witnesses were frequently killed, and Tracy's paramour Tess Trueheart was often endangered by the villains. As the story progressed, Tracy adopted an orphan under the name, Dick Tracy Jr., or "Junior" for short, who appeared in investigations until becoming a police forensic artist in his father's precinct, and cultivated a professional partner, the ex-steel worker Pat Patton, who gradually became a detective of skill and courage enough to satisfy Tracy's requirements.

 Dick Tracy had a long run on radio, from 1934 weekdays on NBC's New England stations to the ABC network in 1948. Bob Burlen was the first radio Tracy in 1934, and others heard in the role during the 1930s and 1940s were Barry Thompson, Ned Wever and Matt Crowley. The early shows all had 15-minute episodes.

On CBS, with Sterling Products as sponsor, the serial aired four times a week from February 4, 1935 to July 11, 1935, moving to Mutual from September 30, 1935 to March 24, 1937 with Bill McClintock doing the sound effects. NBC's weekday afternoon run from January 3, 1938 to April 28, 1939 had sound effects by Keene Crockett and was sponsored by Quaker Oats, which brought Dick Tracy into primetime (Saturdays at 7 pm and, briefly, Mondays at 8 pm) with 30-minute episodes from April 29, 1939 to September 30, 1939. The series returned to 15-minute episodes on the ABC Blue Network from March 15, 1943 to July 16, 1948, sponsored by Tootsie Roll, which used the music theme of "Toot Toot, Tootsie" for its 30-minute Saturday ABC series from October 6, 1945 to June 1, 1946. Sound effects on ABC were supplied by Walt McDonough and Al Finelli.

Directors of the series included Mitchell Grayson, Charles Powers and Bob White. Cast members at various times included Walter Kinsella as Pat Patton, Helen Lewis as Tess Trueheart and Andy Donnelly and Jackie Kelk as Junior Tracy. Announcers were Ed Herlihy and Dan Seymour.

On July 8, 1945, during a New York newspaper deliverers' strike, New York mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia read a complete Dick Tracy strip over the radio.

The beginning of the May 1, 1945 episode ("The Case of the Empty Safe") was interrupted on the Blue Network for a "special news flash" relating that Adolf Hitler had "died of a stroke." Copies of this episode, complete with the mistaken news flash—Hitler had committed suicide the day before, not died of a stroke—still exist today.

Side note: Dick Tracy can be enjoyed throughout comic strips, cartoons, movie serials, and even several feature length films, but one of his briefest and most interesting incarnations came about during the 60's.  In 1967, William Dozier, the producer responsible for the 1966 Batman television series, produced a pilot for a live-action Dick Tracy series, starring Ray MacDonnell in the title role. While the quality of the pilot ("The Plot To Kill NATO", featuring "Special Guest Villain" Victor Buono as 'Mr. Memory') was slightly above-average, the series was not purchased by either ABC or NBC as ratings for the Batman series were dropping, and a similar series featuring The Green Hornet had recently flopped. To the networks, the "Hero Camp" or Batmania craze was dying, and they chose not to take a risk on another series.
The pilot is notable for the non-appearance of the future Jan Brady (Eve Plumb) as Bonnie Braids. Although cast in the role, she only appears in the title credits at the opening of the show.


Dick Tracy [1967][Unsold Pilot] by UnknownArchiveTV
http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2013/02/01/comic-book-legends-revealed-404/
http://dicktracy.info/on-film/television-shows/dick-tracy-series-pilot-1967/