Loud, proud, and liberated: Old-time radio listening, 18 September

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show: Phil Returns from Vacation (Season premiere; NBC, 1949)

Keeping hands off their writers until rehearsal run-through and air time worked wonders with Phil Harris and Alice Faye . . .

The writing,” John Dunning (in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio) wrote of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, “was razor sharp; the scripts by Ray Singer and Dick Chevillat were so raucous that four-to-five minute cuts were often necessary to allow for audience laughter. The principle of contagious laughter was maximised in the overhead placement of audience microphones, making it one of the loudest shows on the air. Some of the brilliance went out of the scripts when Singer and Chevillat departed . . .”

And tonight’s season premiere is evidence that every word of the first and last sentences above is true: While the band rounds up to rehearse for the first show of the season, Phil (Harris) is delayed returning from his Canadian fishing trip, giving Alice (Faye), Willie (Robert North), and the girls (Jeanine Roos, Anne Whitfield) a chance to give him the business—which is nothing compared to the business Scott (Gale Gordon) gives him when the sponsor fears he has nothing with which to premiere.

Remley: Elliott Lewis. Julius: Walter Tetley. Announcer: Bill Forman. Music: Walter Scharf, Phil Harris Orchestra. Director: Paul Phillips. Writers: Ray Singer, Dick Chevillat.




The Jack Benny Program: Edward, My Son (CBS, 1949)—Jack (Benny) thinks the cast isn’t respecting him quite enough, Mary (Livingstone) revels in being picked as one of the ten best dressed women in America, Mel (Blanc) angles to get into the key sketch, and the cast thus lampoons the current hit film. Rochester: Eddie Anderson. Announcer: Don Wilson. Music: Mahlon Merrick Orchestra, Dennis Day, the Sports Men. Writers: George Balzer, Milt Josefsberg, Sam Perrin, John Tackaberry.

Life with Luigi: Midget Radio Lawsuit (CBS, 1949)—Luigi (J. Carroll Naish) sends his mother in Italy a new midget radio, but first he has to settle a little hash about it—the seller from whom he’s buying it is suing over a mistaken missing $20 payment. Pasquale: Alan Reed. Schultz: Hans Conried. Alderman: Joseph Kearns. Rosa: Jody Gilbert. Additional cast: Unknown. Announcer: Bob Stevenson. Music: Lud Gluskin. Director: Mac Benoff. Writers: Mac Benoff, Lou Derman.

Bob & Ray Present the CBS Radio Network: A Navy Ship Contest (We’re dredging it up, 1959)—Sgt. Ben Royster (Bob Elliott) covers the Army Amateur Hour competition in the drill talent category featuring Seaman Holly Lester and Vice Adm. Hector Ravenwood Parsley (both Ray Goulding). Also: The Bob & Ray Bird pecks on the window; Mary McGoon (Goulding) updates her changing entertainment fare; and, Wally Ballou (Elliott) covers a Long Island Sound boat sinking. Writers, according to the indictment papers: Bob Elliott, Ray Goulding.


Crime Drama

Nightbeat: A Full Load of Hate (NBC, 1950)—A too-well-known gambling racketeer who recently beat a murder rap turns up dead, and the earlier victim’s sister (Betty Moran) wants to sell Stone (Frank Lovejoy) an exclusive about the killer. Additional cast: Peggy Webber, Lawrence Dobkin, Lou Krugman, Jack Kruschen, Sam Waxman. Announcer: Unknown. Music: Frank Worth. Director: Warren Lewis. Writer: Marty Wilkinson.


World War II: The Sudetenland Crisis, Continued

Special Report: Refuting Propaganda (Czech Radio, 1938)—Czechoslovakia’s English-speaking radio station denies Czech pressure against German-born citizens being restricted or under unrest as Nazi and Hungarian propaganda broadcasts have charged, observing as well Il Duce, Benito Mussolini of Italy, calling for a plebiscite to resolve the Sudetenland crisis, a plebiscite the Czech government fears will not resolve the crisis or the question of nationality relations within the nation.

Special Report: “Czechoslovakia Wants to be Seen as a Reliable Negotiator in Peace” (Czech Radio, 1938)—In a speech read for English-speaking listeners at home and abroad, Czechosolovakia’s Premier Hodza talks desperately on behalf of securing continuing, serious negotiations to resolve the crisis, rebuking the full-tilt Nazi propaganda machinery against the Czech government, and lamenting the martial law proclamation of President Benes, unaware that the Sudetenland crisis will be resolved soon enough . . . without direct Czech representation, and to Czechoslovakia’s peril. 

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