Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Mel Blanc Show

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 remembered for his work with Warner Bros. during the "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, Taz, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Woody Woodpecker, Barney Rubble, Mr. Spacely, Speed Buggy, Captain Caveman, Heathcliff, Speedy Gonzales, Tom and Jerry, and hundreds of others. Having earned the nickname “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” Blanc is regarded as one of the most influential people in the voice-acting industry.
At the time of his death, it was estimated that 20 million people heard his voice every day.

Blanc began his radio career in 1927 as a voice actor on the Portland, Oregon, KGW program The Hoot Owls, where his ability to provide voices for multiple characters first attracted attention. He moved to KEX in 1933 to produce and host his Cobweb And Nuts show, which debuted on June 15. The program played Monday through Saturday from 11:00 pm to midnight, and by the time the show ended two years later, it appeared from 10:30 pm to 11:00 pm.
Blanc moved to Warner Bros.-owned KFWB in Hollywood, California, in 1935. He joined The Johnny Murray Show, but the following year switched to CBS Radio and The Joe Penner Show. Blanc was a regular on the NBC Red Network show The Jack Benny Program in various roles, including voicing Benny's Maxwell automobile (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.

At times, sharp-eyed audience members (and later, TV viewers) could see Benny struggling to keep a straight face; Blanc's absolute dead-pan delivery was a formidable challenge for him. Benny's daughter, Joan, recalls that Mel Blanc was one of her father's closest friends in real life, because "nobody else on the show could make him laugh the way Mel could."

 Blanc's success on The Jack Benny Program led to his own radio show on the CBS Radio Network, The Mel Blanc Show, which ran from September 3, 1946, to June 24, 1947. Blanc played himself as the hapless owner of a fix-it shop, as well as his young cousin Zookie (who sounded quite a bit like Porky Pig). Many episodes required Mel to impersonate an exotic foreigner or other stranger in town, ostensibly for carrying out a minor deception on his girlfriend's father, but of course simply as a vehicle for him to show off his talents. Other regular characters were played by Mary Jane Croft, Joseph Kearns, Hans Conried, Alan Reed, Earle Ross, Jim Backus, Bea Benaderet and The Sportsmen Quartet, who would supply a song and sing the Colgate Tooth Powder commercials. (Blanc would later work with Reed and Benaderet on The Flintstones.) Shows usually adhered to a predictable formula, involving a date with his girl Betty Colby (Mary Jane Croft) and trying to either impress her father or at least avoid angering him. However, Mr. Colby (Earle Ross) usually had occasion to deliver his trademark line, "Mel Blanc, I'm going to break every bone in your body!"

For his contribution to radio, Mel Blanc has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6385 Hollywood Boulevard.

Blanc died on July 10, 1989 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California of heart disease and emphysema. He was interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California. Blanc's will stated his desire to have the inscription on his gravestone read, "THAT'S ALL FOLKS," (the phrase was a trademark of the character Porky Pig, of whom, Blanc created the voice.)

For a more in depth insight into the life of this fascinating man, check out his extensive wikipedia page.

Below is a large collection of episodes of The Mel Blanc Show courtesy of Archive.org.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

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.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Avenger

The Avenger is a fictional character whose original adventures appeared between September 1939 and September 1942 in the pulp magazine The Avenger, published by Street and Smith Publications. Five additional short stories were published in Clues Detective magazine (1942–1943), and a sixth novelette in The Shadow magazine in 1943. Newly-written adventures were commissioned and published by Warner Brother's Paperback Library from 1973 to 1974. The Avenger was a pulp hero who combined elements of Doc Savage and The Shadow though he was never as popular as either of these characters. The authorship of the pulp series was credited by Street and Smith to Kenneth Robeson, the same byline that appeared on the Doc Savage stories. The "Kenneth Robeson" name was a house pseudonym used by a number of different Street & Smith writers. Most of the original Avenger stories were written by Paul Ernst.

In 1941 Walter Gibson turned The Avenger into a radio series that lasted 26 episodes. His origin and powers were so radically altered that this Avenger should probably be considered a brand new character. In the radio version The Avenger is biochemist Jim Brandon, who secretly fights crime using his inventions, a "Telepathic Indicator" which allows him to pick up thought flashes, and a "Diffusion Capsule" which provides a black light of invisibility. He is assisted by Fern Collier, the only person he trusts with his secret identity. per The Avenger page at International Catalog of Superheroes.

 For a more in depth look at The Avenger, check out the extensive Wikipedia page.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Richard Diamond, Private Detective

Richard Diamond, Private Detective is an American detective drama, created by Blake Edwards, which aired on radio from 1949 to 1953, and on television from 1957 to 1960.

 Dick Powell starred in the Richard Diamond, Private Detective radio series as a light-hearted detective who often ended the episodes singing to his girlfriend, Helen (Virginia Gregg). Other regular cast members included Ed Begley as Rick's friend and former partner on the police force, Lt. Walter Levinson, and Wilms Herbert as Walt's bumbling sergeant, Otis. It began airing on NBC Radio on April 24, 1949, picked up Rexall as a sponsor on April 5, 1950, and continued until December 6, 1950. Many of the shows were either written or directed by Edwards. Its theme, "Leave It to Love", was whistled by Powell at the beginning of each episode.

With Camel cigarettes as a sponsor, it moved to ABC from January 5, 1951, to June 29, 1951, with Rexall returning for a run from October 5, 1951, until June 27, 1952.

Substituting for Amos 'n' Andy, it aired Sunday evenings on CBS from May 31, 1953 until September 20, 1953.

Dick Powell's company, Four Star Television, produced the television version of Richard Diamond,
Private Detective, which premiered in the summer of 1957 on CBS. It returned to CBS in January 1958 for the second season and in February 1959 for the third season, again on CBS. In the fall of 1959, the fourth and final season aired on NBC.

David Janssen, prior to The Fugitive, starred as Diamond, a former officer of the New York Police Department and a hard-boiled private detective in the film noir tradition. His secretary, "Sam," was shown only from the waist down to display her beautiful legs. Initially, these were the legs of Mary Tyler Moore for seven episodes, but later the legs of other actresses were seen. Don Taylor played the title role in a 1956 television pilot, broadcast as an episode of the anthology series Chevron Hall of Stars.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Box 13

Box 13 was a syndicated radio series about the escapades of newspaperman-turned-mystery novelist Dan Holliday, played by film star Alan Ladd. Created by Ladd's company, Mayfair Productions, Box 13 premiered in 1947. In New York City, it first aired December 31, 1947, on Mutual's New York flagship, WOR.

To seek out new ideas for his fiction, Holliday ran a classified ad in the Star-Times newspaper where he formerly worked: "Adventure wanted, will go anywhere, do anything -- write Box 13, Star-Times." The stories followed Holliday's adventures when he responded to the letters sent to him by such people as a psycho killer and various victims.

Sylvia Picker appeared as Holliday's scatterbrained secretary, Suzy, while Edmund MacDonald played police Lt. Kling. Supporting cast members included Betty Lou Gerson, Frank Lovejoy, Lurene Tuttle, Alan Reed, Luis Van Rooten and John Beal. Vern Carstensen, who directed Box 13 for producer Richard Sanville, was also the show's announcer.

Among the 52 episodes in the series were such mystery adventures as "The Sad Night," "Hot Box," "Last Will And Nursery Rhyme," "Hare And Hounds," "Hunt And Peck," "Death Is A Doll," "Tempest In a Casserole" and "Mexican Maze." The dramas featured music by Rudy Schrager. Russell Hughes, who had previously hired Ladd as a radio actor in 1935 at a $19 weekly salary, wrote most of the scripts, sometimes in collaboration with Ladd. The partners in Mayfair Productions were Ladd and Bernie Joslin, who had previously run the chain of Mayfair Restaurants.

 At least one attempt to convert the series for television was tried when Ladd appeared in an adaptation of "Daytime Nightmare" (retitled "Committed") on CBS' General Electric Theater (December 5, 1954). Box 13 was also re-imagined (rather than a straight adaptation or continuation) as a comic book series in 2010 by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis and published by Comixology. It is published digitally by comiXology and published in print by Red 5 Comics.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet

Around here, we're big fans of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Our post today  honors Ozzie's birthday, (born Oswald George Nelson on March 20, 1906 in Jersey City, NJ.)

Happy Birthday Oz!

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is an American sitcom, airing on ABC from October 3, 1952 to September 3, 1966, starring the real life Nelson family. After a long run on radio, the show was brought to television where it continued its success, running on both radio and TV for a couple of years. The series starred Ozzie Nelson and his wife, singer Harriet Nelson (née Hilliard), and their young sons, David Nelson and Eric Nelson, better known as Ricky. Don DeFore had a recurring role as the Nelsons' friendly neighbor "Thorny". The series attracted large audiences, and although it was never a top-ten hit, it became synonymous with the 1950s ideal American family life. It is the longest-running live-action sitcom in US TV history.

When Red Skelton was drafted in March 1944, Ozzie Nelson was prompted to create his own family situation comedy. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet launched on CBS on October 8, 1944, moving to NBC in October 1948, and making a late-season switch back to CBS in April 1949. The final years of the radio series were on ABC (the former NBC Blue Network) from October 14, 1949 to June 18, 1954. In total 402 radio episodes were produced. In an arrangement that amplified the growing pains of American broadcasting, as radio "grew up" into television, the Nelsons' deal with ABC gave the network the option to move their program to television. The struggling network needed proven talent that was not about to defect to the more established and wealthier networks like CBS or NBC.

The Nelsons' sons, David and Ricky, did not join the cast until the radio show's fifth year (initially appearing on the February 20, 1949 episode). The two boys were played by professional actors prior to their joining because both were too young to perform. The role of David was played by Joel Davis from 1944 until 1945 when he was replaced by Tommy Bernard. Henry Blair appeared as Ricky. Other cast members included John Brown as Syd "Thorny" Thornberry, Lurene Tuttle as Harriet's mother, Bea Benaderet as Gloria, Janet Waldo as Emmy Lou, and Francis "Dink" Trout as Roger.

Ozzie and Harriet has long been one of my favorite radio programs and classic television shows. Corny perhaps by today's standards some might say, but there's a wholesome, genuine quality that really appeals to me.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Quiet, Please

Quiet, Please was a radio fantasy and horror program created by Wyllis Cooper, also known for creating Lights Out. Ernest Chappell was the show's announcer and lead actor. Quiet, Please debuted June 8, 1947 on the Mutual Broadcasting System, and its last episode was broadcast June 25, 1949, on the ABC network. A total of 106 shows were broadcast, with only a very few of them repeats.

 Earning relatively little notice during its initial run, Quiet, Please has since been praised as one of the finest efforts of the golden age of American radio drama.

Quiet, Please was produced at WOR in New York City, and began on the Mutual Network on June 8, 1947. Beginning in September, 1948, it was syndicated by ABC, though CBS executive Davidson Taylor expressed an interest in the show, writing in a memo in March 1948,

 Each episode began with Chappell intoning the show's title, followed by a long pauseCésar Franck's 1899 Symphony in D Minor. The introduction established the sparse, understated tone of the show, and has inspired collectors and reviewers to remark upon Cooper's use of the dramatic power of silence.
(sometimes up to seven seconds), before repeating the title. Then, the show's theme music was played, a dirgey, funereal organ and piano version of a portion of the second movement of

Though the general thrust of the stories were fantasy, horror and suspense, Quiet, Please scripts covered a broad thematic range, including romance, science fiction, crime, family drama and humor (some of it quite self-deprecating).

"The Thing on the Fourble Board"

Probably the most highly regarded episode of Quiet, Please is "The Thing on the Fourble Board" (August 9, 1948), about an oil-field worker who encounters a mysterious subterranean being hiding on the derrick's catwalk. The unusual title is a bit of oil worker argot: the "fourble board" of an oil derrick is a narrow catwalk that is as high up as four lengths of drilling pipe placed vertically (two lengths of pipe are a "double", three are a "thribble" and four are a "fourble.")

 The story effectivness has led some fans to label the episode one of the best radio horror programs ever broadcast. Richard J. Hand of the University of Glamorgan notes that "The Thing on the Fourble Board" is not only cited as the finest example of radio horror, but occasionally cited as one of best examples of radio drama as a whole. Especially effective was Cecil Roy's vocal performance as the creature. Though she performs only very briefly, Roy's vocal (barely recognizable as human) was cited as still startling and chill-inducing even after decades.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Archie Andrews

Archie Andrews, created in 1941 by Vic Bloom and Bob Montana, is a fictional character in an American comic book series published by Archie Comics, as well as the long-running Archie Andrews radio series, a syndicated comic strip, The Archie Show, and Archie's Weird Mysteries.

Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead were heard on radio in the early 1940s. Archie Andrews began on the NBC Blue Network on May 31, 1943, switched to Mutual in 1944, and then continued on NBC radio from 1945 until September 5, 1953. The program's original announcer was Kenneth Banghart, later succeeded by Bob Shepard (during the 1947-48 season, when Swift and Company sponsored the program) and Dick Dudley. Archie was first played by Charles Mullen (1943-1944), Jack Grimes (1944) and Burt Boyar (1945), with Bob Hastings (1945-1953) as the title character during the NBC years. Jughead was portrayed by Hal Stone, Cameron Andrews and later by Arnold Stang. Stone later wrote about his radio career in his autobiography, Relax... Archie! Re-laxx! (Bygone Days Press, 2003). During the NBC run, Rosemary Rice portrayed Betty, Gloria Mann portrayed Veronica, Alice Yourman portrayed Archie's mother, Mary Andrews and Arthur "Art" Kohl was Archie's father, Fred Andrews.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Alan Young Show

The Alan Young Show is an American radio and television series presented in diverse formats over a nine-year period and starring Canadian-English actor Alan Young, of later Mister Ed fame.

The series began on NBC Radio as a summer replacement situation comedy in 1944, featuring vocalist Bea Wain. It then moved to ABC Radio with Jean Gillespie portraying Young's girlfriend Betty. The program was next broadcast by NBC for a 1946-47 run and was off in 1948. When it returned to NBC in 1949, Louise Erickson played Betty and Jim Backus was heard as snobbish playboy Hubert Updike III.

In 1950 The Alan Young Show moved to CBS television as a variety, sketch comedy show, taking an 11-month hiatus in 1952. When it returned for its final season in 1953, the tone and format of the show changed into the more conventional sitcom, with Young playing a bank teller with Dawn Addams (pictured) cast as his girlfriend and Melville Faber portraying his son. The show alternated weeks with Ken Murray's The Ken Murray Show under the title Time to Smile.

In the last two weeks of the season, the format returned to its earlier style, but it was cancelled at the end of the season. The Alan Young Show received two Emmy Awards during its run.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Clock

The Clock is a radio suspense anthology series broadcast November 3, 1946–May 23, 1948, on ABC. Narrated by Father Time, the 30-minute program was directed by William Spier.

The cast included Jeanette Nolan, Cathy Lewis and Elliott Lewis. The Clock was originally a United States production. Starting in 1955, a version of the program was produced in Australia by Grace Gibson Productions.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons

Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons was one of radio's longest running shows, airing October 12, 1937 to April 19, 1955, continuing well into the television era. It was produced by Frank and Anne Hummert, who based it upon Robert W. Chambers' 1906 novel The Tracer of Lost Persons. The sponsors included Whitehall Pharmacal (as in Anacin, Kolynos Toothpaste, BiSoDol antacid mints, Hill's cold tablets and Heet liniment), Dentyne, Aerowax, RCA Victor and Chesterfield cigarettes. It aired on the NBC Blue network until 1947, when it switched to CBS.

Bennett Kilpack began as Mr. Keen in 1937 with Arthur Hughes and then Phil Clarke stepping into the role later in the series. For 18 years the kindly Keen and his faithful assistant, Mike Clancy (Jim Kelly), entertained followers with their intuitive perception that kept listeners coming back for more. With 1690 nationwide broadcasts, Mr. Keen was the most resilient private detective in a namesake role. The nearest competitors were Nick Carter, Master Detective (726 broadcasts), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (657) and The Adventures of the Falcon (473). Only 59 of the 1690 Mr. Keen programs are known to survive.

Richard Leonard directed scripts by Barbara Bates, Stedman Coles, Frank Hummert, Lawrence Klee and Bob Shaw. James Fleming and Larry Elliott were the announcers. Al Rickey's band provided the background music, including the program's theme, "Someday I'll Find You."

The cliches, stereotypes and simplistic dialogue provided much fodder for Bob and Ray's memorable parody, Mr. Trace, Keener Than Most Persons, broadcast in numerous variations. It was also satirized by Harvey Kurtzman and Jack Davis in Mad's fifth issue (June-July 1953) as "Kane Keen!"

The character of Mr. Keen was referenced by Alfred Hitchcock in one of his television shows, according to The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion by Patrik Wikstrom and Martin Grams, Jr. Mr. Keen is also mentioned in the stage version of Bye Bye Birdie by the character Mr. Harry MacAfee, who was played by Paul Lynde.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Nightfall is the title of a radio drama series produced and aired by CBC Radio from July 1980 to June 1983. While primarily a supernatural/horror series, Nightfall featured some episodes in other genres, such as science fiction, mystery, fantasy, and human drama. One episode was even adapted from a folk song by Stan Rogers. Some of Nightfall's episodes were so terrifying that the CBC registered numerous complaints and some affiliate stations dropped it. Despite this, the series went on to become one of the most popular shows in CBC Radio history, running 100 episodes that featured a mix of original tales and adaptations of both classic and obscure short stories.

 Nightfall was the brainchild of producer Bill Howell, who was best known at the time for his work on CBC Playhouse and the cult favorite adventure series, Johnny Chase: Secret Agent of Space. (Howell later went on to be executive producer of CBC Radio's highly-popular series, The Mystery Project, which ran from 1992 to 2004.) When CBC Radio was revamped and given an expanded budget in 1980, Howell approached the newly appointed head of radio drama, Susan Rubes, about his idea for a supernatural/horror anthology series that would push the envelope. Though not a fan of the horror genre, Rubes recognized a hit when she saw one and gave Howell the green light to begin production.

Bill Howell served as executive producer of Nightfall at CBC Toronto for the first two seasons. The reins were passed for the third season to veteran CBC Radio producer Don Kowalchuk (Doctor Bundolo's Pandemonium Medicine Show) at CBC Vancouver.

Nightfall featured two hosts during its run. The Toronto years (1980–1982) were hosted by "the mysterious Luther Kranst", a character created by Bill Howell's devious imagination and played by character actor Henry Ramer. For its Vancouver run (1982–1983), Don Kowalchuk worked with voice actor Bill Reiter to develop the character of Frederick Hende.

Nightfall episode plot summaries can be found here - http://www.otrplotspot.com/nightfall.html

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Bold Venture

Bold Venture was a syndicated radio series starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall that aired from 1951 to 1952. Morton Fine and David Friedkin scripted the taped series for Bogart's Santana Productions.

 Beginning in March of 1951, the Frederic W. Ziv Company syndicated 78 episodes via electrical transcription. Some sources have claimed that the 78 episodes include reruns, and that there were only around 30 episodes but more than 50 shows have now come to light. Heard on 423 stations, the 30-minute series earned $4000 weekly for Bogart and Bacall.

57 episodes are now known to exist, some are known by more than one title which can make it appear that there are more.


Salty seadog Slate Shannon (Bogart) owns a Cuban hotel sheltering an assortment of treasure hunters, revolutionaries and other shady characters. With his sidekick and ward, the sultry Sailor Duval (Bacall), tagging along, he encounters modern-day pirates and other tough situations while navigating the waters around Havana. Aboard his boat, the Bold Venture, Slate and Sailor experience "adventure, intrigue, mystery and romance in the sultry settings of tropical Havana and the mysterious islands of the Caribbean."

Calypso singer King Moses (Jester Hairston) provided musical bridges by threading plot situations into the lyrics of his songs. Music for the series was by David Rose.

The series combined elements of a number of past Bogart/Bacall film collaborations, most notably To Have and Have Not which also cast Bogart as a boat owner in the Caribbean who reluctantly becomes involved in intrigue while romancing Bacall. The relationship between Shannon and King Moses, and his ownership of an inn, is strongly reminiscent of the dynamic between Rick Blaine and Sam in Casablanca.

Ziv brought Bold Venture to television in 1959 with 39 episodes directed by William Conrad. The series starred Dane Clark as Slate Shannon, Joan Marshall as Sailor Duval and Bernie Gozier as King Moses. However, because of unstable conditions in Cuba, the setting was changed to Trinidad. Locations included the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, California.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tales of the Texas Rangers

Tales of the Texas Rangers is a 20th century Western old-time radio and television police procedural drama which originally aired on NBC Radio from 1950 to 1952 and later on CBS Television from 1955 to 1958. Film star Joel McCrea voiced the radio version as the fictitious Texas Ranger Jayce Pearson, who uses the latest scientific techniques to identify criminals. His faithful horse, Charcoal (or "Charky"), helps Pearson to track down the culprits. The radio shows, some of which are available on the Internet, are reenactments of actual Texas Ranger cases.

The television version was produced and also directed for several episodes by Stacy Keach, Sr. It was sponsored for part of its run by Wheaties cereal. Captain Manuel T. "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas, who was said to have killed thirty-one men during his 30-year career as a Texas Ranger, was the consultant for the television series, as he had been for the earlier radio series. The television version was filmed by Screen Gems.

On radio, Joel McCrea's Pearson often worked by request with a local sheriff's office or police department. But in the television version, Willard Parker assumed the role of Jace Pearson and had a regular partner, Ranger Clay Morgan, who had been an occasional character on the radio show. Morgan was portrayed in the television version by Harry Lauter. William Boyett appeared five times on the television series, including the role of Wade Crowell in the 1955 premiere episode, "Ransom Flight."

During the opening and closing credits of the television series, the actors march toward the camera as an off-screen men's chorus sings the theme song, "These Are Tales of Texas Rangers", to the tune of "The Eyes of Texas Are Upon You" and "I've Been Working on the Railroad". The radio series used contemporary cases and modern detective methods to solve crimes; it was a procedural drama, in many ways Jack Webb's Dragnet with a western flavor. The television version had some episodes set in the 1950s, comparable in some ways to Rod Cameron's syndicated series, State Trooper. Other episodes were set in the 19th century in a traditional western genre. In each case, Parker and Lauter were involved with chases and shoot-outs. The weaponry varied greatly between the modern and older stories.

Irving J. Moore, later with Gunsmoke, began his career as a director on two episodes of Tales of the Texas Rangers. Besides Keach and Moore, the other directors included Lew Landers, George Blair, and Earl Bellamy.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Pete Kelly's Blues

Pete Kelly's Blues was an American crime-musical [radio [drama]] which aired over NBC as an unsponsored summer replacement series on Wednesday nights at 8pm(et) from July 4 through September 19, 1951. The series starred Jack Webb as Pete Kelly and was created by writer Richard L. Breen, who had previously worked with Webb on Pat Novak for Hire; James Moser and Jo Eisinger wrote most of the other scripts. Set in Kansas City in the 1920s, the series was a crime drama with a strong musical atmosphere (Webb was a noted Dixieland jazz enthusiast).

 Pete Kelly was a musician, a cornet player who headed his own jazz combo, "Pete Kelly's Big Seven." They worked at 417 Cherry Street, a speakeasy run by George Lupo, often mentioned but never heard. Kelly, narrating the series, described Lupo as a "fat, friendly little guy." The plots typically centered on Kelly's reluctant involvement with gangsters, gun molls, FBI agents, and people trying to save their own skins. The endings were often downbeat.

The supporting cast was minimal; apart from the off-mike character Lupo and occasional speaking parts by the band members (notably Red the bass player, played by Jack Kruschen), the only other regular role of note was Maggie Jackson, the torch singer at another club (Fat Annie's, "across the river on the Kansas side"), played by blues singer Meredith Howard. In one episode, Bessie Smith is mentioned as the singer at Fat Annie's instead of Maggie Jackson. Boozy ex-bootlegger Barney Ricketts would show up occasionally, an informant not unlike the character Jocko Madigan on Webb and Breen's Pat Novak for Hire. The episodic roles were filled by William Conrad (as various mob bosses), Vic Perrin, and Roy Glenn, amongst others. The music dominated the series. In addition to one song by Maggie Jackson, each episode boasted two jazz numbers by the "Big Seven." The group was actually led by Dick Cathcart, the cornet player who was Pete Kelly's musical stand-in. The other members of the group, all well known jazz musicians, included Matty Matlock on clarinet, Moe Schneider on trombone, piano player Ray Sherman, bass player Morty Corb, guitarist Bill Newman, and drummer Nick Fatool. The show's announcer was another frequent Webb collaborator, George Fenneman, who would open each show with "This one's about Pete Kelly."

The series lasted only three months, but inspired a 1955 film version of Pete Kelly's Blues, in which Jack Webb produced, directed and starred. It used many of the same musicians, including Cathcart, and Ella Fitzgerald was cast as Maggie Jackson. A lesser-known television version, still produced and directed by Webb but with William Reynolds in the lead, aired in 1959, using scripts originally written for the radio version.

After the film, two albums were released, a soundtrack recording and Pete Kelly Lets His Hair Down, an instrumental album using the musicians from the series with songs arranged by tempo - "blue songs" and "red songs" with names such as "Peacock," '"Periwinkle," "Midnight," "Rouge," "Flame'" and '"Fire Engine." This LP was released by Rhino Records as one-half of a Webb compilation disc, Just The Tracks, Ma’am.

Jack Webb Pete Kelly's Blues Original Full Length Movie Trailer

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Jeff Regan, Investigator

Jeff Regan, Investigator was one of the three detective shows Jack Webb did before Dragnet (see also Pat Novak For Hire and Johnny Modero: Pier 23). Originally a Summer radio series, it debuted on CBS in July 1948. Webb played Jeff Regan, a rough-and-tough private eye working for the Los Angeles-based International Detective Bureau, run by Anthony J. Lyon. Regan introduced himself on each show "I get ten a day and expenses...they call me the Lion's Eye." 

The show was fairly well-plotted, Webb's voice was great, and the supporting cast were skillful.

Regan handled rough assignments from Lyon, with whom he was not always on good terms. He was tough, tenacious, and had a dry sense of humor. The voice of his boss, Anthony Lyon, was Wilms Herbert. The show ended in December 1948 but was resurrected in October 1949 with a new cast; Frank Graham played Regan (later Paul Dubrov was the lead) and Frank Nelson portrayed Lyon. This version ran on CBS, sometimes as a West Coast regional, until August 1950. Both versions were 30 minutes, but the day and time slot changed several times. A total of 29 episodes from this series are in trading currency.

Info via http://www.thrillingdetective.com/regan.html

Frank Graham Episodes-

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Johnny Modero, Pier 23

Johnny Modero, Pier 23 was a 30-minute radio detective drama series which was broadcast on Mutual Thursday at 8 p.m. from April 24, 1947 to September 4, 1947. It was the first nationwide program for star Jack Webb.

The storylines follow the footsteps of fast-talking, wisecracking Johnny Madero (Webb), who runs a boat shop on the San Francisco waterfront, rents boats and usually drops in for a weekly chat with Father Leahy (Gale Gordon). When investigating a crime, Modero manages to solve the mystery before tough cop Warchek (William Conrad). The supporting cast sometimes included Betty Lou Gerson, Elaine Burke, Bob Holden, Herb Butterfield, Irvin Lee and Herb Rawlinson.

Harry Zimmerman provided the background music. Nat Wolff directed the scripts by Richard Breen, Herb Margolis and Lou Markheim. The program's announcer was Tony LaFranco.

Friday, March 4, 2016

People are Funny

People Are Funny is an American radio and television game show, created by John Guedel that ran from 1942 to 1960 in which contestants were asked to carry out stunts.

 The series began in 1938 when Guedel made an audition recording, and the following year, his concept of a comedy stunt show aired in Los Angeles as Pull Over, Neighbor, later reworked into All Aboard. Watching a bored, unreceptive audience listening to an after-dinner speaker, Guedel scribbled, "People are funny, aren't they?" on a napkin, and he had his title.

In 1942, learning of a show that was canceled, he pitched People Are Funny to NBC, and it went on the air April 10, 1942 with Art Baker as host. In a popular first-season stunt, a man was assigned to register a trained seal at the Knickerbocker Hotel while explaining that the seal was his girlfriend.

On October 1, 1943, Baker was replaced by Art Linkletter, who continued for the rest of the series. For a memorable stunt of 1945, Linkletter announced that $1,000 would go to the first person to find one of 12 plastic balls floating off California. Two years later, an Ennylageban Island native claimed the prize.

As the popularity of the program escalated, a movie musical titled People Are Funny was released in 1946, offering a fictional version of the show's origin in a tale of rival radio producers. Phillip Reed appeared as Guedel, with Linkletter and Frances Langford portraying themselves. Also in the cast were Jack Haley, Helen Walker, Ozzie Nelson and Rudy Vallée. One outstanding moment in the film is a Spanish dance number performed by Lupe Mayorga (aka Lillian Molieri) to the song "I Love My Marimba." The radio series moved to CBS from 1951 to 1954, returning to NBC from 1954 to 1960.

Linkletter continued as host of the show during its run on television from September 19, 1954 to April 1, 1960. In one stunt, a contestant would win a prize if he could sustain a phone conversation with a puzzled stranger (picked at random from the phone directory) for several minutes without the other party hanging up. The series received Emmy nominations in 1955 and 1956. It finished #27 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1955-1956 season, then finished #21 for 1956-1957 and #29 for 1957-1958.

Episodes are available on Hulu - People are Funny.

Although the series ended on April 1, 1960, the network aired encores until April 13, 1961, making People Are Funny the first game show to air repeats. On March 24, 1984, a "reconstituted" version of People Are Funny with Flip Wilson as host returned to NBC where it was telecast until July 21.

Derek Roy was the host of a 1955 British version.

The series was satirized in the 1959 Warner Bros. cartoon, People Are Bunny. The Art Linkletter character was named Art Lamplighter, and the show was entitled People are Phoney, in which contestant Daffy Duck became one of his unfortunate victims.

People Are Funny is mentioned in the "Ladies Room" episode of the series Mad Men, and later a clip from the show is seen on a TV set in the background.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Pat Novak, for Hire

Pat Novak, for Hire is an old-time radio detective drama series which aired from 1946-1947 as a West Coast regional (produced at KGO in San Francisco) program and in 1949 as a nationwide program for ABC. The regional version originally starred Jack Webb in the title role, with scripts by his roommate Richard L. Breen. When Webb and Breen moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles to work on an extremely similar nationwide series, Johnny Modero, Pier 23, for the Mutual network, Webb was replaced by Ben Morris and Breen by other writers. In the later network version, Jack Webb resumed the Novak role, and Breen his duties as scriptwriter. The series is popular among fans for its fast-paced, hard-boiled dialogue and action and witty one-liners.

Ladies and gentlemen, the American Broadcasting Company brings to its entire network one of radio's most unusual programs . . . Pat Novak, for Hire.

Pat Novak, for Hire is set on the San Francisco, California waterfront and depicts the city as a dark, rough place where the main goal is survival. Pat Novak is not a detective by trade. He owns a boat shop on Pier 19 where he rents out boats and does odd jobs to make money.

Each episode of the program, particularly the Jack Webb episodes, follows the same basic formula; a foghorn sounds and Novak's footsteps are heard walking down the pier. He then pauses and begins with the line "Sure, I'm Pat Novak . . . for hire". The foghorn repeats and leads to the intro theme, during which Pat gives a monologue about the waterfront and his job renting boats. Jack Webb narrates the story as well as acts in it, as the titular character. Playing the cynic, he throws off lines such as "...about as smart as teaching a cooking class to a group of cannibals". He then introduces the trouble in which he finds himself this week.

Typically, a person unknown to Pat asks him to do an unusual or risky job. Pat reluctantly accepts and finds himself in hot water in the form of an unexplained dead body. Sultry females are usually involved. Police Inspector Hellman (played by Raymond Burr) arrives on the scene and pins the murder on Novak. With only circumstantial evidence to go on, Hellman promises to haul Novak in the next day for the crime. The rapid, staccato dialogue between Webb & Burr is typical of hardboiled fiction and is often humorous. Pat uses the time to try to solve the case. He usually employs the help of his friend Jocko Madigan (played by Tudor Owen) - a drunken ex-doctor typically found at some disreputable tavern or bar - to help him solve the case. As Pat asks for his help, Jocko launches a long-winded philosophical diatribe, full of witty and funny remarks, until Novak cuts him off.

Jocko and Pat unravel the case and Hellman makes the arrest. Finally, we hear the foghorn and Novak's footsteps on the pier again before Novak spells out the details of the case for us. At the end, Novak informs us that "Hellman asked only one question", which Pat answers with a clever retort. The dialogue is rife with similes found in pulp fiction. Example: 'The neighborhood was run down - the kind of place where the For Rent signs look like ransom notes.'

John Galbraith played the inspector, and Phyllis Skelton was frequently heard in female roles on the program. George Fenneman was the announcer, and Basil Adlam led the orchestra.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

It's a Crime, Mr. Collins

It's a Crime, Mr. Collins was a half-hour mystery/adventure radio program broadcast weekly from August, 1956 to February, 1957 by Mutual Broadcasting System in the United States that was a "flagrant rip-off of The Adventures of the Abbotts in which only the names had been changed."

San Francisco private detective Greg Collins was played by Mandel Kramer (who had previously been heard as Lieutenant Tragg in the radio version of Perry Mason) and his wife, Gail Collins, was played by namesake Gail Collins. Each week, Gail Collins, "the gumshoe's gorgeous spouse -- with green-eyed predilections emerging as curvaceous damsels in distress frequently petitioned her husband -- shared his investigative exploits with her Uncle Jack and thereby with the listeners at home." Uncle Jack was played by Richard Denning, whom listeners had heard from 1952 to 1954 as amateur detective Jerry North in the radio version of Mr. and Mrs. North. Kramer had also played on Mr. and Mrs. North in the comedic supporting role of Brooklyn taxi driver Mahatma McGloin.

Frances Crane's detective pair, Pat and Jean Abbott "came to radio on Abbott Mysteries on Mutual in 1945 and then ran for three consecutive summers. The series was resurrected by NBC in 1955 under the new title of The Adventures of the Abbotts, and this nudged Mutual into producing a copycat show, It's a Crime, Mr. Collins. "Many programs in the Golden Age of Radio were flattered by their competitors... The Abbotts on NBC were copied exactly in Mutual's It's a Crime, Mr. Collins, including paraphrasing (the original author's) words." "Mutual even used... the habit of putting a color in the title of every story."

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cavalcade of America

 Cavalcade of America is an anthology drama series that was sponsored by the DuPont Company, although it occasionally presented a musical, such as an adaptation of Show Boat, and condensed biographies of popular composers. It was initially broadcast on radio from 1935 to 1953, and later on television from 1952 to 1957. Originally on CBS, the series pioneered the use of anthology drama for company audio advertising.

Cavalcade of America documented historical events using stories of individual courage, initiative and achievement, often with feel-good dramatizations of the human spirit's triumph against all odds. This was consistent with DuPont's overall conservative philosophy and legacy as an American company dating back to 1802. The company's motto, "Maker of better things for better living through chemistry," was read at the beginning of each program, and the dramas emphasized humanitarian progress, particularly improvements in the lives of women, often through technological innovation.

The show started as part of a successful campaign to reinvigorate DuPont. In the early 1930s, the Nye Committee investigations concluded that DuPont had made a fortune profiteering in World War I. The company stood accused of encouraging an arms race between WWI enemies, after being heavily subsidized by the Allies to increase black powder production. The negative effects of the investigation left the company demoralized, directionless and with a tarnished corporate image in the middle of the Great Depression.

DuPont's products were primarily not for public consumption, so there was no purpose in promoting them through advertising. As a solution to DuPont's troubles, Roy Durstine, then creative director of Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, proposed the creation of Cavalcade of America using the company motto. This was to be an important element in the successful re-branding of DuPont as an American legacy engaged in making products for the well-being of Americans and humanity in general.