21 August: Boiling a little more softly

Eve Arden (center) with Richard Crenna (left) and Gale Gordon. (Photo: CBS.)

Eve Arden (center) with Richard Crenna (left) and Gale Gordon. (Photo: CBS.)

Stealing the show in The Doughboys (1944), where she played a Russian guerilla with a knack for fractured English and for suggestive gestures with her rifle, wasn’t enough to break Eve Arden out of the stereotype she came to despise, whether on stage, in films, or in her earlier radio life aside the like of Jack Haley, Jack Carson, and Danny Kaye—the tart, cynical best friend.

“I just don’t like that dame,” she once told a reporter. “She is hard boiled, unsentimental, and just not me.”

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17 August: How Paar broke his biggest break

Paar (left) with patron Benny: The younger comedian would learn the hard way how not to repay the man who gave him his arguable biggest broadcasting break. (Photo: NBC.)

Paar (left) with patron Benny: The younger comedian would learn the hard way how not to repay the man who gave him his arguable biggest broadcasting break. (Photo: NBC.)

There were few bigger or better breaks to be had during old-time radio’s peak years than to know that Jack Benny had your back or wanted it in the first place. And there were fewer worse breaks to be had than biting Benny’s hand if it happened to have fed you just about anything.

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15 August: The celebration continues . . .

Celebrating in Times Square . . .

Celebrating in Times Square . . .

The celebrations and cautions at the end of World War II continue in earnest . . .

V-J DAY, CONTINUED

The Emperor Surrenders (NHK, 1945)

Cloudy but brief and pointed announcement to the Japanese people by Emperor Hirohito—indeed he did accept, at last, the Allied surrender terms.

Special Report: “The Last of Our Enemies is Laid Low” (BBC, 1945)

Winston Churchill’s successor, Clement Atlee, announces the surrender to the British.

Special Report: King to Empire (BBC, 1945)

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14 August: The end of a war

Ben Grauer (here interviewing a boy during World War II) was among those reporting the end of the war and the reactions. (Photo: NBC.)

Ben Grauer (here interviewing a boy during World War II) was among those reporting the end of the war and the reactions. (Photo: NBC.)

At long enough last, the second World War is over.

At long enough last, the United States and the world celebrates—even if there will be those, in America and elsewhere, who tremble behind their celebratory visages, over their postwar prospects or possible lack thereof, having gone to war, seen more world than they might have imagined growing up at home, and managed to live through the battles.

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9 August: Easy is in the ear of the beholder

Bernadine Flynn, as captured by legendary Chicago portraiturist Maurice (Zeldman) Seymour.

Bernadine Flynn, as captured by legendary Chicago portraiturist Maurice (Zeldman) Seymour.

What, Jean Shepherd once asked Bernadine Flynn, was the hardest thing about portraying half the title of Vic & Sade?

Well, son, I’ll tell you. The hardest thing was to keep a straight face. Sometimes those scripts were so funny that we had to fight all the way through the show just breaking up. And the more we rehearsed, the funnier it got. Why, I remember one day having to turn my face to the wall while Uncle Fletcher was telling me about a trip he took to Cairo, Illinois, in the company of one of his friends. The engineer was on the floor, the announcer had to leave the room, and I can tell you it wasn’t easy.

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