What Was The Last Radio Program You Heard?

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

  1. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Big fan of "Duffy's" here. The repartee between Ed "Archie" Gardner and Eddie "The Waiter" Green is some of the laugh-out-loud funniest stuff that radio ever produced. No matter what Archie's trying to sell, Eddie's having none of it.
     
  2. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    Another episode of The Line-up, the one with the peddler of marijuana. Laconic but relentless detective Lt. Guthrie works the case.
     
  3. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    For those who missed the live broadcast this past Sunday, an aircheck of our latest "Strand On The Air" broadcast is now available HERE.

    The gamut is well and truly run in this edition -- comedy, "new-grass" music, old-time harmony, show tunes, indie rock, The Kids, and me singing a song made famous by Joe Penner. All this and my mother too!

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  4. ChiTownScion

    ChiTownScion One Too Many

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    Hey, your mom did a great job! Bravo, Patty!
     
  5. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    She wants her own show now. I've created a monster!
     
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  6. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    I started listening, right now. Never heared an entire american evening stage show, before.
     
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  7. ChiTownScion

    ChiTownScion One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,783
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    Terrific idea! Kind of like, "Allen's Alley," only you could call it, "Patty's Porch." The local folks drop by to share their opinions and observations, and she does the same- interspersed with a few songs.

    Too bad that Kenny Delmar isn't with us anymore: I'd love to see his mid coast Maine equivalent of Senator Beauregard Claghorn --- and when he gets too pompous, Patty would be right there to take him down a notch or two.
     
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  8. Nobert

    Nobert Practically Family

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    LIstened to this while sewing up a jacket I've been working on. Fun stuff, and takes the tedium out of doing a back stitch.
     
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  9. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    Jack Benny, courtesy This Day in Jack Benny podcast. The host, John Henderson, does a great job setting up the references in the show, playing snippets of a song or advertising jingle used in the script, giving the background to contemporary personalities, sporting events, and so on.

    Hold That Line, Oct. 27, 1940, with football sketch, Flash Benny coaching Flatfoot College vs. Meatball University

    The Hot Dog Man, January 6, 1946, built around New Year's celebrations, Alabama trouncing Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl, and Mr. Kitzel selling hot dogs at the game.

    After 60 plus years, the humor generally transcends its era, and is still laugh out loud funny.
     
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  10. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Taking it easy on a Saturday night with the August 31, 1935 broadcast of "Shell Chateau." This was an hour-long variety showcase that ran for several years with various hosts thru the mid-thirties, with such personalities as Wallace Beery, Smith Ballew, and Joe Cook taking turns -- but the name indelibly identified with the program was its first star, one Asa Yoelson.

    Al Jolson was an early partaker when the "personality radio" fad brought stars of Broadway and the screen stampeding to the microphone in the early thirties, but it took him a very a long time to find a format that worked -- not until his late-forties turn on "The Kraft Music Hall" did he really click on radio. In the meantime, there were lots and lots of short runs, experiments, and false starts. Shell had big things in mind when they signed Jolson in mid-1935, but, alas, this is one of those false starts.

    It's not for lack of trying, and to be fair, the individual components of the program are often quite good. The problem is that they're poorly routined. Take this particular broadcast for example. Jolson opens with a fine musical number -- eschewing the weak attempts at a comedy monologue that make other "Chateau" broadcasts painful listening. All well and good. But the momentum dies as soon as he brings out his first guest -- a female golf pro who just doesn't seem all that interested in talking. And Jolson, whatever his other gifts, is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a quality interviewer. It's not easy to make a scripted interview sound good, and Jolie doesn't. Using this spot in the lead slot is bad programming -- this is a spot you use to lead into the station break when your audience is all settled in. Placed here, it's an invitation to go dial-spinning.

    Having thus brought the program to a dragging halt, Jolson next brings out his featured guest, George Jessel. Now, Jessel is an acquired taste that many will never acquire, but he can be enjoyable if his material's right. The problem here is that his voice and persona are so much like those of Jolson himself that there's no contrast. Again, poor routining. (We can hope for better results next week, when that least Jolson-like of all performers, Joe Penner, will be the comedy guest.)

    There's an excellent bit next featuring vocalist Maxine Lewis, a bellower of the Martha Raye school whose beat-you-over-the-head energy brings the program to life, and the studio audience likes her a lot. She'd have been a much better choice for the spot used for the golfer, but too late to do anything about it now.

    All thirties variety hours featured a straight dramatic sketch, and here the offering is choice -- Boris Karloff in a scene from "The Green Goddess." This is a play strongly identified with George Arliss, and Karloff's ripe performance here makes you completely forget that Mr. Arliss ever emoted. Karloff was a fine radio actor in later years for Arch Oboler and other directors, and he's still pretty stagy here -- but his personality bursts thru the microphone and really grabs you.

    Scattered among the guest stars, of course, Brother Jolson lets loose with songs in his distinctive style. You don't get too many soft ballads from Jolie -- even when he sings "Cheek to Cheek" he seems like he's down on one knee on the runway at the Winter Garden, but what the hell. He's the World's Greatest Entertainer, and he's singing live on the air in 1935. That's what Shell was paying for, and all the rest of the variety accoutrements are just a stage wait for the real star of the show. The accompaniment by Victor Young's orchestra is fine here, and they get a nice spot on their own featuring a medley from "Every Night At Eight" that's quite elegant. There's also a throwaway love duet by a pseudonymous pair called "Jack Stanton and Peggy Gardner" that doesn't do much for anyone but gives Jolie a chance to rest his tonsils for a few minutes.

    The commercials are deleted from this particular broadcast, which is always a loss -- it's always interesting to hear what the Boys were trying to do, and the Shell pitches were usually done in a very low-key, soft-sell manner, with the announcer, Burton Bennett, cut into the broadcast from a different studio. I'd give a very great deal to know what Jolson did to keep the audience pumped up during these breaks.

    Quite a few of the Shell Chateau shows survive -- the Jolson editions have been floating around in he OTR world since the sixties, but nobody seems to know where the original discs are. What circulates are generally muddy, dubby copies that give the show a dim and gloomy feeling that it doesn't deserve. My copies are about as good as they get until the transcriptions resurface, and I do wish they would. Iffy production values aside, Jolson was the real deal, and his work on this series deserves to be heard to its best advantage. It's too bad the program itself wasn't better constructed.
     
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  11. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    The Casebook of Gregory Hood, with Jackson Beck in the title role. From October of 1949, it's "The Carnival of Death."

    The Phil Harris - Alice Faye Show, from May, 1947, "Second Honeymoon in New York." Walter Tetley as Julius Abruzzio turned up in the Big Apple the same time as Phil and Alice in order to sass Phil.
     
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  12. MissMittens

    MissMittens One Too Many

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    A friend gave me a copy of "Star Wars", from NPR and it surprisingly works as a radio drama
     
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  13. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    Another Phil Harris - Alice Faye broadcast, Leaving for Chicago, from May 4, 1947

    Jack, Mary, Rochester, Phil, Dennis, and Don from March 2, 1947, in which the president of sponsor American Tobacco doesn't like the fact that Jack fired the Sportsmen Quartet, and there's a scramble to round up a new foursome.
     
  14. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    The November 24, 1940 edition of "America Looks Abroad," an NBC public-service feature co-produced with the Foreign Policy Institute.

    Think-tank influence on public policy thru public opinion is no innovation of the modern age -- such organizations were on the scene as far back as the 1910s, and the Foreign Policy Institute was one of the first, established just after WWI to promote Wilsonian internationalism and to encourage US membership in the League of Nations. The organization was unsuccessful in that respect, but it remained a prominent outlet for internationalist views in the public sphere as the US debated its role in the European War.

    This particular edition offers a well-composed talk by Vera Micheles Dean, the director of the Institute's Research Department, on the topic "Russia's Role in the World Conflict." Coming fifteen months after the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, this was a lively subject for a radio lecture, but Dean avoids a sensationalistic treatment, offfering instead a strongly pragmatic view of what the USSR hoped to gain thru that agreement, and what it expects in the long term. One particularly interesting argument points out that Russia and Germany have a long history of mutual assistance, coupled with a long history of mutual distrust -- and she is quite emphatic in pointing out that neither side should be seen as particularly friendly toward the other, no matter what the paperwork says. Dean was herself of Russian ancestry, and her pragmatic view of her ancestral country would lead her to take a position after WWII as a leading American opponent of the Cold War, a position which put her under FBI surveillance for the rest of her life.

    Programs like "America Looks Abroad" don't get a whole lot of attention from the OTR crowd, but for those interested in the flow of 20th century history they're a fascinating window into public thought that gives you a much more immediate view than you get from a history book. They're well worth your attention.
     
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  15. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

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    The Sense of Wonder, from X Minus 1, April 1956. A small civilization lives aboard a space ship. No spoilers here, have a listen to good science fiction presented in a, sadly, dying medium by the time of this broadcast.
     
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  16. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Tuned in last night to the September 29, 1936 edition of "The Bakers' Broadcast," featuring Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra and "Believe It Or Not -- Bob Ripley!" The "Believe It Or Not" format is one of the most enduring in broadcasting history -- Ripley was first on the air with a regular series in 1931, and the franchise has continued with new reworkings down to the 21st Century. Usually the radio versions feature Ripley offering oddball guests and telling dramatized "Believe It Or Not" stories with the bandleader and vocalist of the moment playing the "straight man" role. Ozzie Nelson's bland geniality works well with Ripley's bombast, and the band's peppy collegiate-style dance music makes for enjoyable interludes -- although in this particular broadcast Harriet Hilliard is off the show to have a baby (David, to be specific), and her place as vocalist is taken by generic contralto Shirley Lloyd, who conspicuously doesn't do any of Harriet's cutie-pie duets with Ozzie.

    The Believe It Or Nots here are fun -- the theme is "strong women," and Ripley trots out three: a "lady blacksmith," a "lady bouncer" as in "bar bouncer," and finally a "lady boxer," who is not only a prizefighter but is also rather elderly. The blacksmith shoes a live horse on the stage, and then bangs her anvil as Ozzie and the band play "The Anvil Chorus," the bouncer demonstrates her strength by lifting the anvil and carrying it around, and the boxer talks about how she used to use her husband as her sparring partner, but he's too old for it now. Perhaps Mr. Ripley would care to go a round? Ahhh, no such luck.
     
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  17. Trenchfriend

    Trenchfriend I'll Lock Up

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    Deutschlandfunk (DLF). ;)

    One of the best, if not even the best of all german radio-stations.
     
  18. Julian Shellhammer

    Julian Shellhammer Practically Family

    Messages:
    532
    The Mysterious Traveler, Murder in Jazz Time, from April of 1948
    Mystery is My Hobby, Death Asks Questions, from November of 1947, a Mutual network product, with silky baritone Glenn Langan doing Tom Conway/Vincent Price/Les Tremayne.
    For a change of pace, The Alka Seltzer Show (or Program) from October 1953, featuring fifteen minutes of duets by Martha Tilton and Curt Massey. Like the sponsor, light and bubbly, in the best way.
     
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  19. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    First rehearsal for the next Strand On The Air broadcast!

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    On the air Sunday December 8th at 5pm EST over WRFR, Rockland, and online at http://www.wrfr.org.

    (We don't actually broadcast from the lobby, but the stage was set up for another event so we had to make do...)
     
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  20. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    "The World in Song" documentary, play, something else?
     

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