Showing posts from 2015

Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy: Radio Beginnings ...

It seems that every day is the anniversary of something important. And that is especially true when you look at Old Time Radio . However we think that Dec 17 th  is one anniversary that is more than worth remembering. 79 years ago, on Dec 17, 1936, Edgar Bergen brought his companion, Charlie McCarthy , to the radio waves for the first time. The show was  The Royal Gelatin Hour  hosted and directed by Rudy Vallee . Better known as  The Rudy Vallee Show , the program was going through a barely noticeable shakeup of its own. From 1929 Tuesday nights were dedicated to Rudy entertaining radio audiences and pushing Fleischmann's Yeast. Rudy Vallee was one of the earliest "crooners"; his voice wasn't really strong enough to fill theaters before electric amplification, but he was able to use the microphone to create an intimate and appealing (to young women) sound. NBC head of programming, Bertha Brainard, pushed for Vallee to host the show, explaining that "only

Dec 10: Happy Birthday, Dorothy Lamour - Singer and Actress

She was a lady of quality, beauty and class - Bob Hope Dorothy 'Dottie' Lamour may not be that highly appreciated for her talent as an actress but, sure, she was one of those glamorous and most celebrated film stars of her time. Sadly though, only a few, if any, remember her today. Mary Leta Dorothy was born on December 10, 1914 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her mother was twice a divorcee , first when she was still a preteen and second, when she was already in her early teens. She took her mom's second husband's surname from whom her mom divorced later. She witnessed her mom's hardship raising her so she dropped out of school soon after, at the age of 15, by forging the signature of her mother. Her desire to earn her keep landed her in a beauty contest in 1931 which she handily won as Miss New Orleans. She always wanted to become a singer but when her mother moved to Chicago, she ended up as an elevator operator instead, earning a measly $17 a week

It's Time To Smile with rare guest appearance Sidney Toler

Enjoy this 1941 broadcast of It's Time to Smile with a rare appearance by Sidney Toler (best known for his role as Charlie Chan ) If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element

For the Young and the Young at Heart: Big Jon and Sparkie

There is plenty in OTR to keep "serious" listeners busy. By serious, we mean grown ups! The simple fact is that sponsors wanted to put their message (and their money) where it would be heard by the people who had cash to spend. Through the years, this made for some interesting programming decisions. The radio noir and hard boiled detective shows of the post-War era were meant to appeal to the adventurous vets coming back to a humdrum home life. The radio soaps were designed to tug at the heartstrings of the stay-at-home housewife who did most of the shopping for the household. Comedy variety programs were for the whole family. Programming for kids was often an after thought, sustained programs without sponsors, since kids don't buy anything because they don't have any money. However, cereal makers realized that even though the kids were not the ones buying breakfast cereal, they did have a big influence on what Mom picked off the store shelves. Kids may or

Remember Radio Detective: Johnny Dollar!

Radio detective dramas ofte n ne eded a "hook" in order to stand out in the crowded postwar marketplace. Shows of all types used some sort of gimmick to attract listeners. The real trick was to hold enough listeners to get the program renewed for the next season. Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar held listeners until the end of the golden age of radio era. Few detective radio programs had as many gimmicks as Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar . Being smart-mouthed, independent, and tough had appeal for an audience filled with veterans adjusting to work-a-day civilian life, and tough, smart-mouthed, independent detectives filled the airwaves. A popularly gimmick was the method a detective would find his cases. In Box 13 , Dan Holiday, played by Alan Ladd , had a decidedly generalized Want Ad that brought him interesting clients. Frank Sinatra as Rocky Fortune found cases when he went out on temporary employment. There would be no lack of jobs for Johnny Dollar a

Morning Music... Another Start to A Good Day for The Listeners of Old Time Radio

Ah, the melodious voice of a Dennis Day , or Doris for that matter, in the breaking hours of the day. This is what met many American folks as they sat down for their pancakes, eggs and coffee on the radio in the 1940’s and 1950 ’s. The major broadcasters out of Hollywood, Chicago and New York presented such a varied repertoire of soothing crooning and spiritual hymns, that listeners were becoming enthralled with their favorites. The breakfast genre of old time radio did more than fill a segment of the day faithful was a necessity to crack the blues and the doldrums. Whether it was Tex McCrary or Tex Ritter , country music played a major part of early morning radio. The sounds of the Grand Ole Opry did more to educate the masses on what fiddles and Gee’tars could do to stomp out the blues of Americans as they began the race to their 9-5 work day. Of the many forms of melody and verse that greeted millions of people, none had the ability to conquer a day like coun