"Baby Snooks"... what gives?

Discussion in 'Radio' started by VivianRegan, Nov 2, 2006.

  1. VivianRegan

    VivianRegan One of the Regulars

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    Lizzie Maine, happyfilmluvguy, ANYONE: please explain to me the attraction of "Baby Snooks." Wasn't it a fairly popular show?

    I'm listening to it right now on XM, and actually, everytime Greg Bell announces it's on next, I utter an audible, "Ugh!"

    Every episode is confounding! That poor father! Fanny Brice as a baby girl!

    She drives me bonkers. Maybe I just can't do madcap.

    I'd have dropped Snooks at the orphanage. Seriously.
     
  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Heh -- funny thing, Baby Snooks was my mother's favorite radio program growing up. But when I played an episode for her not long ago, she just looked at me with a sour look on her face. "I thought that was the funniest thing I ever heard when I was six years old. *But I ain't six years old anymore!*"

    Actually, to me, the funniest part of Snooks's routine is Hanley Stafford's barely-suppressed rage as Daddy. Only Gale Gordon in his prime rivaled Stafford as a stack-blower.

    I'd also suggest that Snooks worked best as a seven-minute sketch on the hour-long Maxwell House Good News variety program -- long enough to get some laughs, but not long enough to make you want to throw a shoe thru the speaker. By trying to expand those sketches into a full half-hour sitcom format, as was done in the mid-forties, they tried to put what was basically a cartoon character into a semi-realistic setting -- and it didn't work at all. Or at least it doesn't to my ears.
     
  3. VivianRegan

    VivianRegan One of the Regulars

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    Location:
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    Was there some sort of time-standardization happening in the mid-forties so that a seven minute prog like Snooks would have to be stretched?

    I've never heard the seven minute version, but that sounds a lot better than almost 30 minutes of her getting the best of pops.

    I know how your Mom feels. If I try to watch tv shows (mostly comedies) from my childhood, I am consistently let down.
     
  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    There was a definite trend away from hour-long variety programs during the forties -- sponsors decided they'd get more punch for their money by condensing these longer shows into half-hour packages, so quite a few shorter sketch-type features got spun into programs all their own. In the case of Snooks, the hour-long Maxwell House program got squished into a half hour shared between Fannie Brice and Frank Morgan -- and then, when Morgan went off on his own, Snooks ended up with a program all to herself.

    The half-hour sitcom format ended up as a catchall during the forties for all sorts of features that actually worked better in other formats -- basically, it was a case of what the sponsor wanted trumping what was more effective from a creative point of view. (And it has ever been thus...)
     
  5. The Wolf

    The Wolf Call Me a Cab

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    I don't much care for "Vic and Sade" myself. It is one of Stan Freberg's favorites and I love Freberg. Oh,the irony.
    VivianRegan, what do you think of Red Skelton's radio show?

    Sincerely,
    THE WOLF
     
  6. happyfilmluvguy

    happyfilmluvguy Call Me a Cab

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    Baby Snooks was the first radio program I ever listened too. It was also the ONLY one I ever listened to up until I recieved cds from my uncle to replace the cassettes. Every night while going to bed it was Daddy's Old Flame or the Child Psychologist. I'd literally laugh myself to sleep. lol

    I haven't much knowledge of it's popularity at the time it was airing, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was. The plot of the troublemaking child annoying the heck out of the adult can be refreshing sometimes, and I can bet it wasn't just for adults. Baby Snooks indeed was troublemaking, but she was sweet on the side of it. Hanley Stafford's character always tried to get her to learn right from wrong, but often didn't succeed, which is also why it makes a funny program. But even Snooks made mistakes. The mother was a perfect role as well. I always imagined her that heavy brute wife that runs the household and the husband, though the husband makes the money. The kind you'd see in a Warner Brother's cartoon. But she has a sweet heart for Snooks as does Daddy.

    There's also some postitive messages in the program that you can easily learn from, other than to watch and teach your children well in the ears of an adult. It also gave a sense of "do the right thing", and all the problems of the world won't keep you from loving your family. Even though Daddy and the mother found Baby Snooks as troubling, annoying and sinful as she seemed, in the end, they always loved each other no matter what. That's a care to consider.

    It was neat to see Hanley Stafford in a movie once, and you should definitely hear them as contestants of Groucho Marx's "You Bet Your Life". Hilarious!

    And see "Funny Girl" if you ever get the chance!

    and for saying "ugh" every time it comes on, I'm sure that's what Daddy is thinking too. :p
     
  7. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

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    Location:
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    The first "Baby Snooks" I ever heard was the Halloween episode. I actually still enjoy that one, perhaps because the emphasis isn't so much on Snooks badgering Daddy as on what happens during the rest of the evening. However, I've listened to others and haven't gotten into them much at all.

    I'd agree with LizzieMaine that Daddy and Gale Gordon are both terrific stack-blowers. ;)

    Good point. The actors did a good job of conveying that love without making me wonder Why on earth they didn't give her away. :p

    And Mr. Wolf, when you mention Red Skelton I can't help thinking of his diabolical Junior. I've only heard a couple sketches with him (one on Bob Hope's show), but he's a doozie!
     
  8. VivianRegan

    VivianRegan One of the Regulars

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Valley of the Sunstroke, AZ
    Maybe I have to try Snooks some more. I attempt everytime to put myself into the context of the period. I've been trying to replace endless tv watching with endless radio listening (why was I watching Top Model when I could be listening to Suspense? GEEZ!)

    I have yet to hear Red Skelton, but I'm open. I've got a modest collection of shows on mp3, but otherwise, I'm a slave to XM's programming. I assume that's much the way it was back then... listeners were often isolated by the regions in which they lived (shows didn't play ALL over the country). Or am I wrong?
     
  9. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

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    Vivian, there's a lot of free online listening out there. My two favorite (free) sites are The OTR Fan (See here for complete availability) and Zoot Radio.
     
  10. happyfilmluvguy

    happyfilmluvguy Call Me a Cab

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    Miss Sunny's cheerful radio knowledge makes me wonder. :)

    Plus the fact she lives in Texas. Miss Sunny, have you been to any of those live radio theatre shows? Like the Violet Crown Radio Players?

    The Halloween episode is great too. I need more Baby Snooks episodes. :(

    (opens wallet, moth flies out)
     
  11. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

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    Location:
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    Aww, I'm blushing. :)

    I must confess that I haven't seen any live radio theatre. Looks like you have the jump on the knowledge in that area! Can you share more?

    Let's see... Radio Lovers has maybe twenty Baby Snooks. :)

    I'm no longer a starving college student. (It's a great feeling!) But I built up a collection of 1700+ shows without spending a dime, simply by watching websites. The ones I've mentioned are the big ones, but there are plenty that change their offerings weekly or monthly.
     
  12. happyfilmluvguy

    happyfilmluvguy Call Me a Cab

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  13. happyfilmluvguy

    happyfilmluvguy Call Me a Cab

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    [/QUOTE]I have yet to hear Red Skelton, but I'm open. I've got a modest collection of shows on mp3, but otherwise, I'm a slave to XM's programming. I assume that's much the way it was back then... listeners were often isolated by the regions in which they lived (shows didn't play ALL over the country). Or am I wrong?[/QUOTE]

    Here's one episode, no free download, but it's at the bottom. http://www.originaloldradio.com/red_skelton.html

    :D Enjoy
     

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