What Was The Last Radio Program You Heard?

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

  1. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    Browsing through some threads, I found your idea for a radio broadcast. Your pitch sounds top-notch - did it ever come to pass?
     
  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    We're talking about doing it this year -- I've gfot a script about 3/4ths written for an hour-long show with comedy, music, and a concluding sketch, and the local community station is interested in running it. Tfe main thing for me is that I want to do it live, not taped, there's to be no executive meddling in the content, and I need to have specific people available for the cast. Two of them are going off to school this fall, but they promise me they will be back for winter break in December, so if that works out and the bosses don't interfere, I don't see why we can't do it.
     
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  3. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

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    Here's hoping it works out for you in December.
    Record it.
    I'd like to hear it even if it's taped.
    Thanx.
     
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  4. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    504
    I would very much like to hear the show! Your artistic and production requirements put me in mind of Goodman Ace...
     
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  5. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Yep, one of my writing heroes. "Easy Aces" had some of the best character comedy ever broadcast, and I never get tired of it.
     
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  6. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Listening right now to the March 3,1947 broadcast of "Breakfast In Hollywood," one of the more inane features of 1940s daytime radio, in which lumbering comedian Tom Breneman wanders the crowd having breakfast in his own restaurant and tries to get them to say something interesting. Breneman is one of those MCs who laughs too loud at jokes that are too obvious and lappy for their own good -- it's not for nothing that his stooge is named "Uncle Corny" -- and most of the people he interrupts over their waffles and All-Bran are too mike-shy to say anything of any particular interest. So it's usually pretty rough going, and only the spontaneity -- the feeling that something bizarre *might* happen -- gives the program any reason to exist.

    But every once in a while something mildly humorous does happen. One of Breneman's favorite pieces of schtick is to find the oldest woman in the crowd and give her an orchid as a memento of her visit, and on this particular program the lady in question is ninety years old. But she's also extremely reticent, and he labors mightily to draw her out, suggesting that she must remember the Civil War. "Oh yes, oh yes," she agrees, and adds nothing any further. "Was your father in the service?" Breneman inquires, still feeling around for an opening. "Oh no, no, my father wasn't in the service." "Well, you must remember something, some little thing about the Civil War?" he stammers, getting desperate. "Oh, yes, I remember when Lincoln was shot." "Ah! You remember when Lincoln was shot! How long did it take to get the news?" "Oh, not long, not long."

    At that, poor brother Breneman gives up and gives the old lady her orchid. An interviewer's life can be a brutal one.
     
  7. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    Not necessarily old time radio, but some newer productions-

    From The Fireside Mystery Theatre "The Christmas Elf," which is not a light-hearted romp, as we might think. Really good production. Audio "Uncle Creepy meets Twilight Zone" feel to it.

    A presentation of The Incomperable Radio Theatre's "The Adventures of Timmy Preston in Farfutureland." Junior Space Rangers meet Disneylandia-inspired time travel. There are loads of science fiction references and throw-away lines for good laughs.

    The podcast group calling itself The Truth delivered an excellent audio drama entitled "Brain Chemistry," about the future where some folks' brains are preserved mechanically and are sorts of museum pieces for other similarly disembodied brains who are mobile. Superior writing and performances, and an understatedly nuanced sound effects track.
     
  8. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Listening to Fort Pearson reading the closing commercial for the 10/5/40 broadcast of "Beat The Band," a very entertaining quiz program that enjoyed a healthy run on NBC during the first half of the decade. The format is a variation on "Information Please" in that listeners send in clever questions based on the title of a popular song, and it's up to the band members to figure out what those songs are -- and then perform them cold, without rehearsal.

    The band in this case is that of Ted Weems, one of the top "show bands" of the period -- a group built around a solid core of regulars and a couple of fine vocalists in the persons of Perry Como and Marvel (Marilyn) Maxwell. Bouncing the questions as moderator is Garry Moore, in his first major quiz-show job, and he proves himself a very gifted MC with just the right humorous ad-lib touch for a program of this type. The band is also quite good -- not just musically, but as personalities. Most of Weems' men had been with him for years, and the effect is a sort of casual "the gang's all here" approach complete with the sort of gentle kidding and inside gags you get from a group of people who've worked together for a long time and like each other besides.

    The prizes aren't much -- if you "beat the band" with your question, you get a small cash prize and a case of Kix, the "new breakfast cereal that comes in round golden bubbles." But it's a fun variation on a well-worn theme, and a pleasant way to spend half an hour.
     
  9. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    I still listening NDR Kultur (North German Broadcast) all the time... :D

    The cultural music rotation is small, ok, but that's no problem. The "daily attending" with educational atmosphere and the transmission of classic/mixed music events is the point, that works.

    I don't want go back to stiff "classic radio"... :confused::D
     
  10. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    The August 24, 1937 edition of The Camel Caravan, featuring Benny Goodman and his Orchestra.

    If there's a prototypical Goodman broadcast from the peak of his popularity, it would have to be this one. It's actually part of a summer replacement series for the full hour Camel show Goodman had been splitting with comedian Jack Oakie over the previous season, condensed down to half an hour and given the Boys From Marketing-induced title "Benny Goodman's Swing School," the better to appeal to the swingcopatin' college kids with their beer jackets and their saddle shoes and their crazy dancing and what not. The format features Goodman as "the Swing School Prez," exchanging lame quips in a forced and stilted voice with announcer Bill Goodwin, but there is thankfully not so much of this palaver as to interfere with the music, which is of supreme quality, including a number of classic arrangements, including the Edgar Sampson arrangement of "Sometimes I'm Happy" that stands as one of the band's better sweetish tunes, a torrid performance of "Minnie The Moocher's Wedding Day," a gorgeous Quartet arrangement of "Stompin' at the Savoy," and the rousing flag-waver "Roll 'Em." There are a couple of inconsequential gimmick numbers by the Meyer Alexander Chorus and English comedian Pat O'Malley -- on which Goodman himself isn't heard -- but there's also a fine performance of "A Sailboat In The Moonlight" which was vocalist Martha Tilton's very first solo number with the band -- she had been plucked out of Alexander's chorus to become Goodman's first really good female vocalist since Helen Ward left, and would become indelibly identified with the "Carnegie Hall Era" incarnation of the band.

    The commercial interruptions are irritating hard sell -- not so obnoxious as the Lucky Strike ads of the same era, but still annoying with their constant exhortations to "Get A Lift With A Camel!" No thanks, but do keep the music coming.
     
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  11. Kirk H.

    Kirk H. One Too Many

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    Tales Of The Texas Rangers staring Joel McCrea on Sirius XM while driving home from work the other night.
     
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  12. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Listening right now to a "Recorded Music Request Program," broadcast over WCNW, "1500 kilocycles at the top of your dial," in Brooklyn on January 7, 1937.

    WCNW was one of the many small-fry stations in Brooklyn and on Long Island during the late thirties, clustering around the high end of the dial. With studios in Flatbush, and a 250-watt transmitter that covered about eight miles on a good day, the station aired a lot of ethnic programming targeting the borough's extensive hyphenated population, while its English-language programming tended to be very modest in scope and inexpensive in cost -- meaning they played a lot of records. This particular broadcast features a pretty broad gamut of pop tunes from the latter half of 1936. As I'm typing this, Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra are offering "Shoeshine Boy" via a Decca record, and a fine performance it is, albiet more commercial than the jazz cognocenti would appreciate. They go from this to a British side by Ambrose and his Orchestra, a hokey pop tune called "His Majesty The Baby," as requested by a young couple from 86th Street who apparently have just received some news.

    The announcer on the program is just that, an announcer, not a personality-type Dee Jay -- he doesn't give his name, just a fellow with a bland, monotone voice who introduces the records, reads the names of the people making the requests, and drops in live-read commercials for such sponsors as Dr. Podos the Optometrist, McClure's Floor Covering, and the Majestic Gift Shoppe. Don't forget to call INgersoll 2-1500 to get your request in! And coming up at 4:45 pm, stay tuned for the Christian Science Commentary program followed by a feature in the German language, and at 5:30 hear Buck Nation and his Hill-Billy Roundup. A hillbilly in Brooklyn? Must be from Clinton Hill.

    I love this kind of smalltime neighborhood radio from the 1930s -- a real contrast to the hype and gloss of the big network shows.
     
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  13. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Reviewing several hours of programming from shortwave station KGEI in San Francisco dating to the summer of 1941.

    Alone among the major players on the global scene in the years before WWII, the United States had no state-owned international broadcasting system, no "Voice of America," to relay the official US line to the rest of the world. Instead, American international broadcasts of the prewar era were under the control of major corporations, mostly RCA-NBC, Westinghouse, Crosley, and General Electric. GE was the most active of these, operating stations in both Schenectady and San Francisco to blanket the world in their messages. Those messages were an odd mix of routine stateside commercial programming relayed from NBC, transcriptions of such GE programs as "Excursions in Science," and the propaganda line of the National Association of Manufacturers, as represented in news bulletins provided by Hearst's International News Service. It's telling that they devote a substantial segment of each newscast to reading the latest quotes for the entire Dow Jones Industrial Average. (Sears was selling at $69.50 on June 7, 1941, if anyone in Micronesia cared.)

    It's typical of stateside radio of the time, but an odd juxtaposition of content to send out for a primarily non-English-speaking audience, far removed from the thought-out cohesiveness of, say, the BBC's Overseas Service programming. Listeners to KGEI in Asia, Austrialia, and Latin America probably made little sense of the likes of Lum and Abner, Don McNeill's Breakfast Club, Baby Snooks or Bob "Bazooka" Burns singing the Hut-Sut Song, punctuated by isolationist-oriented news headlines delivered in a cold, hard-edged voice, and short dramatized lectures outlining the role of GE's brand of technology in the future progress of humanity. The mix is often incomprehensible -- a relay of an English-language NBC entertainment show is followed immediately and without any sort of transition by a station ID and a long-winded news summary in Spanish -- and one wonders exactly what the target audiences got out of this programming.

    KGEI, however, did have the most impressive sign-on I've ever heard, with the station commencing its broadcast day with a crashing, sizzling blast of thunder and spark noise followed by a stentorian voice bellowing "THE VOICE OF ELECTRICITY!" That to you, Hirohito.
     
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  14. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    Came across a small group of Hear It Now episodes online. Last night was mostly about the sacking of General Douglas MacArthur and his address to Congress along with some debate about escalation in Korea. Politicians insulting each other and questioning intelligence/pedigree on the floor was pretty common in your grandfather's day too.
     
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  15. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    In the middle of the January 5, 1935 Metropolitan Opera broadcast of "La Traviata," featuring Rosa Ponselle and Lawrence TIbbett, definitive opera stars of the decade. The format of the broadcast is as interesting as the performance itself -- Milton Cross opens with an audio vignette of the excitement outside as the matinee audience arrives at the Opera House, giving the broadcast more the feel of The First Nigher Program than of the august institution that it was. Right now, retired diva Geraldine Farrar is delivering her first intermission talk of the afternoon, discussing her own history with "Traviata," and in doing so offering a textbook specimen of the now-extinct, highly-cultivated Mid-Atlantic accent favored among the Northeastern upper class. "A's" are broadened and "R's" are flattened with wild abandon, as Miss Fararr tells us "in the yee-ah Nineteen Hundred and One, I was extreemly slen-dah." No fat-lady cliches for her.

    Tibbett is a larger-than-life character in his performance, even by opera standards, as he was in real life. The recording exists because he hired a New York recording studio to take it down off the air, and it's unfortunate that he instructed the studio not to record the commercials. The Met was sponsored by the makers of Listerine Antiseptic during the 1934-35 season, and it's a great cultural loss that we don't have the opportunity to hear what Geraldine Farrar had to say about halitosis.
     
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  16. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Listening now to the NBC broadcast of Game 7 of the 1934 World Series, as announcer Tom Manning describes one of the most infamous incidents in Series history. In the top of the sixth, Cardinal outfielder Joe Medwick plowed into Tiger third baseman Marvin Owen -- and something happened. Either Medwick took a vicious kick at Owen with spikes high, or Owen stomped on Medwick causing Medwick to fight back. Manning can't see exactly what happened because of the cloud of dust raised by the play, but the Tiger fans packing Navin Field are convinced Medwick was at fault -- and when he goes out to his position for the bottom of the inning, they shower him with heavy glass soda bottles, seat cushions, fruit, and all sorts of assorted garbage. The game is delayed for nearly twenty minutes until Commissioner Landis, present at the game, orders Medwick off the field for his own protection. So much for "Ah for the days of decorous fans in suits and ties instead of the crude riff raff that goes to games nowadays."

    Manning, who called Cleveland Indians games during the regular season over WTAM, was NBC's regular announcer for World Series and All-Star games for much of the thirties, and is a practitioner of the old school of sportscasting, screaming at the top of his lungs on every pitch. Co-announcer Ford Bond is far more restrained in his style, but we're still a year away from the more casual, cerebral approach to World Series broadcasting represented by Red Barber. There is, refreshingly, none of the modern obsession with statistics, metrics, and micro-analysis. There are no "storylines." There is no hype other than that generated by the game itself.

    An aside to the Boys: there are no commercials, as such, during this broadcast, only restrained mentions that the game is coming to you as a public service thru the courtesy of "Henry Ford, Edsel Ford, and the Ford Motor Company." I'm no fan of Herr Henry, but give the devil his due here -- that's a very classy approach.
     
  17. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    Because of the discussion in the This Day In History thread, last night was the Chase & Sanborn hour from October 30, 1938. Don, Edgar, Madeline Carroll and several more. I'm saving up to send in for my Charlie McCarthy game.
     
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  18. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    On our drive to a little desert getaway, several Vic n' Sade episodes. The magic Paul Rhymer worked with just two or three voices and the unseen universe of Crooper, Illinois, is nothing less than astonishing.
     
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  19. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    The September 23, 1936 broadcast of "Town Hall Tonight," my favorite of the hour long comedy-variety series of the 1930s. Fred Allen, the usual star of the program, is away on his summer vacation, and while he sautes in the sun of Old Orchard Beach, he's turned the Town Hall over to none other than Colonel Stoopnagle and Budd.

    Stoop and Budd were the most outre comedy team of their era, specializing in bizarre meta-comedy focusing on the banalities and absurdities of radio. Their main sketch on this program is an oddball parody of "Buck Rogers In The Twenty Fifth Century," with Buck and Wilma marooned on a jungle planet while Doctor Huer confuses himself with Rudy Vallee's pitchman Dr. R. E. Lee and begins selling the Gyro-Cosmic Relitivitator as though it were packaged yeast. You have to be up on thirties radio to get the gags, but if you are, it's a very funny bit. There is a great deal of Stoopnagle and Budd in Bob and Ray, who in 1936 were a couple of fresh kids growing up in New England and soaking up this kind of stuff.

    There's another entertaining bit of nonsense revolving around the Colonel's mock presidential campaign, or rather, his campaign NOT to be elected president. Introduced by the rousing theme song "Keep Him Out Of The White House! You Don't Know What He Will Do!", the Colonel proceeds to describe exactly what he will do if we fail to not elect him, which is a dire warning to all.

    Where Stoop and Budd fall short, however, is in their handling of the Town Hall Amateurs. Fred Allen really shone in these segments, dealing smoothly with the contestants and encouraging them without condescension, while still managing to keep the show moving. Budd does a decent job of introducing each amateur, but Stoopnagle is clearly out of his element in dealing with them, floundering around with half-hearted ad libs and pausing at awkward moments. It doesn't help that this particular lot of amateurs isn't one of the best you've heard on this program, with the highlight being a tossup between the gal who does insect imitations and the spoon player.

    At repeated intervals over the course of the show, Stoop announces with great solemnity, "Fred Allen Will Be Back In Two Weeks." The amateurs, no doubt, will appreciate that.
     
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  20. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Last radio program I heard is the first rehearsal for the one I'll be appearing in on Sunday December 16th at 5pm EST over WRFR-LP and its worldwide internet feed. "The Strand Theatre On The Air" will be a 90 minute variety package featuring comedy, music, special guests, and anything else we can stuff into it. The cast is made up for the most part of our theatre crew, and the script is by some nameless NWU hack working for scale. You've been warned!

    45654746_2467061830001042_6295596352768311296_n.jpg
     

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