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What Was The Last Radio Program You Heard?

Discussion in 'Radio' started by LizzieMaine, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. The August 12, 1945 edition of "Double Or Nothing," one of the direst "audience participation" shows of the 1940s. The format is a simple "double or nothing" quiz, in which quivering yutzes from the studio audience are called on stage and given a chance to win up to $100. The master of ceremonies is John Reed King, who was competent as a straight announcer, but is utterly charmless interacting with the public. He has no charisma whatsoever, he has no idea how to put the contestants at ease or draw them out to make them seem interesting to the listeners, and he bellows everything he says to the point where you're amazed that the microphone ribbon didn't blow out. And to compete with his loutish howling, the engineer has the audience mics cranked up so high that every pronouncement from the stage is greeted by violent blasts of applause and screaming from the studio crowd.

    One contestant does win the "Feen-A-Mint Double Or Nothing Hundred Dollar Prize," though, answering the question "With whom do we associate a burning bush" with a quiet, mumbled "Moses" that causes King to wail apoplectically. Perhaps he had chewed a bit too much of his sponsor's product and it was finally taking effect.

    Adding to the atmosphere of general incompetence surrounding the whole enterprise is a breathless news bulletin cut in by Bill Slater in the Mutual newsroom about half way thru the show -- a United Press flash declaring that Japan has accepted the Allied surrender terms, and the war is over! Slater repeats this bulletin over and over again, practically leaping with excitement -- he was a sportscaster by trade, not a newsman -- only to have to swallow it all when he's handed a UP order to bust that flash because it was sent out erroneously. "It's entirely untrue," he practically groans,"and the war is not over."

    Listening to a program like this -- and there were many, many programs like this -- helps one really understand why so many people in mid-1940s America were appalled and horrified at how genuinely bad radio could be, no matter what the National Association of Broadcasters tried to get them to believe. And perhaps even the NAB itself deep down understood this, because it's hard to imagine any intelligent person putting together such a tasteless melange and thinking they were doing a good job.
    wgnovak and vitanola like this.
  2. Up here in north we have the Canadian Broadcasting Corp (or Mother Corp). most days I listen to Julie Nesrallah's show from 9:00AM to 1:00PM. She is professional mezzo and a wonderful spinner of classical records. Then I used to end my nights listening to TimTamishero (sp?) play his jazz records except he has either retired or taking a break....the music is still good but without him as host it is just not the same.
  3. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer A-List Customer

    Christmas in July... the last two days of our road trip my wife and I listened to all twenty-six episodes of The Cinnamon Bear. We interspersed it with Burns and Allen, Phil Harris and Alice Faye, The New Adventures of Michael Shayne, and The Great Gildersleeve. She had not heard the syndicated serial before; I had listened to it last year. She liked it very much
  4. I have read about that, and they do a very very good job. A field trip is an excellent idea...
  5. 3fingers

    3fingers Practically Family

    09-02-47 Beauty Vs. Brains. Miss America Contestants.
    07-25-48 Let's talk Hollywood. Eddie Bracken, Celeste Holm and George Murphy.
  6. With the "kids" in tow, you might have a shot at the group rate offer. If you do go, please let us know what you think of it.
  7. Will do. We're thinking of putting on our own Xmas radio show next year in conjunction with the local community-FM station, assuming I can get around to writing one before then. It would be a variety show aired live from our stage, with all of us pitching in in the cast, including a satirical news segment featuring my old character "Camomile Boozhwah of NPR's All Things Rescinded," along with an amateur talent feature and a festive holiday sketch featuring the whole cast, with music by an excellent local band. That's assuming we all survive until next year.

    As for what I'm listening to, a 1936 edition of "Don McNeill's Coca-Cola Refreshment Club" has just ended. This was a syndicated version of McNeill's NBC Breakfast Club featuring the same cast and the same extravagantly corny humor, mixed in with some pretty good songs, especially by 22-year-old swing contralto Helen Jane Behlke, who unfortunately went on to give up show business and become a Girl From Marketing. If only someone had been there to show her the right path.
    wgnovak and Fading Fast like this.
  8. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer A-List Customer

    Working my way through Jonathan Thomas and His Christmas on the Moon series. It's in the same vein as The Cinnamon Bear. There's also something called Jump Jump and the Ice Queen, which I have not heard. All are syndicated to stations in 20-some odd chapters with instrumental intros and outros for hometown announcers to mention the local department stores and their Christmas goods.
  9. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer A-List Customer

    The Fitch Bandwagon, with Phil Harris and Alice Faye. From December 15, 1946 (I think). Phil and Remley go Christmas shopping for FW Fitch and mix-ups lead to double-talk, one-liners, and wisecracks.
    LizzieMaine likes this.
  10. Don't despair, use your head, save your hair!
  11. I set a goal of listening to every one of the Dragnet radio episodes. I hit the halfway point today!
  12. "Stars in the Afternoon," a special two-hour daytime extravaganza introducing CBS's attractions for the upcoming 1946-47 season. It's an elaborate variety cavalcade featuring just about everybody who was anybody on the network that year, from Sinatra on down, in little capsule samplings of their various programs. What elevates it beyond the usual jejune postwar variety show is the fact that it's hosted by a character called "C. B. System," played by Arthur Q. Bryan in his Elmer Fudd voice. While Bryan had used this voice on the air quite extensively earlier in the forties under the name "Waymond Wadcwiffe," this is the only chance you'll ever have to hear him reading a system cue. No doubt Mr. Paley and Mr. Stanton writhed when they heard "This is CBS, the Cowumbia Bwoadcasting System!"
  13. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer A-List Customer

    Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, The Big Scoop Matter, one of the stand alone 30 minute episodes with Bob Bailey.
  14. A rip-roaring band remote by Cab Calloway and his Orchestra from 7/27/40, broadcasting from the Meadowbrook "on the Newark-Pompton Turnpike" in Cedar Grove, NJ. Cabell has just given out with a virtuoso bit of wild jive-talk-singing on a number called "Fifteen Minute Intermission." The original rapper in action.

    The announcer on the broadcast, NBC's Bill Bivens, maybe have been the dullest middle-aged man alive in American in 1940 -- but even he seems to be having a good time. Send me, daddy.
  15. MondoFW

    MondoFW One of the Regulars

    I found the entirety of Orson Welles' War of the Worlds.
    It was a very captivating radio drama, and it's no wonder some believed the news briefs were real. Very immersing.
  16. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer A-List Customer

    The audition show of Duffy's Tavern, as broadcast on Forecast, July 29, 1940. Really good stuff.
  17. The May 16, 1941 episode of "Vic and Sade," another instance in the lives of the V. R. Gook family of Virginia Avenue.

    Today the family discusses an offer from Uncle Fletcher, who is cutting up surplus sections of the C&A Railroad into four-foot lengths of rail, and selling them off the back of Mr. Gumpox's garbage wagon for use as doorstops. Fletcher's landlady is thoughtfully sewing velvet covers embroidered with bright sayings to go with the railroad track doorstops, and young Rush is enthusiastic about the idea, but Sade has her doubts as to its practicality.

    Paul Rhymer, who wrote every word broadcast on the program over its long run, was one of the unsung geniuses of twentieth-century American humor. "Vic and Sade" is unlike anything else ever broadcast, and nothing has ever come along to equal its distinctive, absurd banality. I listen to an episode every weekday at 1230pm, my work routine permitting, and I can think of no better way to spend my time.

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