Beer barrels and literary panels: Old-time radio listening, 9 January

There’s no such thing as too much Fred Allen . . .

Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen: Hit By a Beer Barrel (CBS, 1944)—Guest Ed Gardner is little help when a brewery truck backs up to the sidewalk near the infamous Duffy’s Tavern, a barrel conks Fred (Allen) on the head, knocking him cold outside the dive, and it all ends up in small claims court with Fred accused of hijacking; meanwhile, Fred and Portland (Hoffa) ponders the latest point assignments and livestock exhibitions, and the Alley irregulars (Jack Smart, John Doe, Minerva Pious, Charles Cantor—who also plays his Duffy’s Tavern role of Finnegan), Alan Reed) address New York’s worst snowstorm (until the next one, of course). Announcer: Jimmy Wallington. Music: Al Goodman Orchestra; Hi, Lo, Jack and the Dame. Writers: Fred Allen, possibly Bob Schiller.

The Fred Allen Show: Literary Panel (NBC, 1949)—Fred (Allen) joins a satiric radio literary panel discussing H. Allen Smith’s newest volume (Smith, it should be noted, is a huge fan of Fred Allen’s); meanwhile, the Main Street motley (Kenny Delmar, Parker Fennelly, Minerva Pious, Alan Reed) speak about ways to be happy. One of the better last gasps of the longtime Allen magic. Announcer: Kenny Delmar. Music: Al Goodman Orchestra, the Five DeMarco Sisters. Writers: Fred Allen, Bob Weiskopf, Bob Schiller.

FURTHER CHANNEL SURFING . . .

Comedy

Amos ‘n’ Andy: Andy Learns to Work the Hotel Desk (NBC, 1933)—Earnest Andy (Charles Correll) advises the hotel’s new efficiency expert (Freeman Gosden, who also plays Amos) over Brother Crawford’s gullibilities with his wife running their business, Amos’s distractions over Ruby, and Kingfish’s shiftiness. Writers: Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll.

The Bob Hope Show: From Pomona College with Tyrone Power (NBC, 1945)—Pomona College students give Mr. Jokes, Inc. a rousing reception and plenty of laughter, even as you have to think a bit about a telescope’s smoke; meanwhile, Power, freshly returned from a wartime stint in the Marine Corps, jokes about his return to civilian life and Hope’s Oscar chances; and, Power, Hope, and Langford make the scene at a local student haunt. About what you’d expect, including a lot of the hackneyed jokes. Announcer: Wendell Niles. Music: Skinnay Ennis Orchestra, Frances Langford. Writers: Unknown. (Note: Original file mislabeled as showing the guest star to be Pat O’Brien.)

Life With Luigi: First Date with an American Girl (CBS, 1949)—Luigi (J. Carroll Naish) is under a challenge from Pasquale (Alan Reed)—get himself a date with an American girl this very night . . . or take Rosa out—and three guesses which option Luigi far prefers, especially when Miss Spaulding (Mary Shipp) gives him an idea he hadn’t considered before. Rosa: Jody Gilbert. Betty: Sandra Gould. Announcer: Bob LaMond. Music: Lyn Murray. Director: Mac Benoff. Writers: Hy Kraft, Cy Howard.

Our Miss Brooks: Broken Furnace; a.k.a. Heating System (CBS, 1949)—Complaints from Walter (Richard Crenna) about the chilly gymnasium, Harriet (Gloria McMillan) about the chillier domestic science room, and Boynton (Jeff Chandler) about the chilliest biology lab prod Connie (Eve Arden) into soliciting Conklin’s (Gale Gordon) possibly unlikely approval for immediate furnace repairs, considering he’s thinking aloud about a major economising wave. Mrs. Davis: Jane Morgan. Announcer: Bob LaMond. Music: Wilbur Hatch. Writer/director: Al Lewis.

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show: The Engagement Ring (NBC, 1949)—Willie (Robert North) is walking in the clouds over his new romance with his assistant at Rexall, so much so that Alice (Faye) urges her usually penurious brother to bring her to dinner so he can present the engagement ring he’s bought already—assuming Phil can get it off his finger, after he slips it on for a private laugh, and then out of the drain into which it falls when he does. Little Alice: Jeanine Roos. Phyllis: Anne Whitfield. Remley: Elliott Lewis. Julius: Walter Tetley. Announcer: Bill Forman. Music: Walter Scharf, Phil Harris Orchestra. Director: Paul Phillips. Writers: Ray Singer, Dick Chevillat.

Fibber McGee & Molly: Mailing Circulars (NBC, 1951)—The Sap of 79 Wistful Vista (Jim Jordan) falls for a classic get-rich-from-home plan, doing mail-order circulars for a kitchen gadget company. The Old-Timer: Bill Thompson. Doc Gamble: Arthur Q. Bryan. Olie: Richard LeGrand. Orson: Cliff Arquette. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King’s Men. Director: Max Hutto. Writers: Don Quinn, Phil Leslie.

Crime Drama

Box 13: The Professor and the Puzzle (Mutual, 1949)—He’s a friend (John Beal) of Dan (Alan Ladd), who visits eagerly enough until the professor asks him to probe the suicide of his now-former fiancee’s (Lurene Tuttle) uncle—who had no apparent reason to want to kill himself—while the woman has since become engaged to her uncle’s older, rather unpleasant, and suddenly dead assistant. Suzy: Sylvia Picker. Additional cast: Possibly Luis van Rooten, Frank Lovejoy. Announcer: Vern Carstensen. Music: Rudy Schrager. Director: Richard Sandhill. Writer: Russell Hughes.

Fantasy

Quiet, Please: Portrait of a Character (ABC, 1949)—A musician (Ernest Chappell, who narrates) speaks disturbingly about his colleagues who flagrantly, and often amorally, disregard their boss. Effective mini-portrait of several characters of varying likeability. Woman: Athena Lord. Man: Charles Emerson. Music: Albert Buhrman. Writer/director: Wyllis Cooper.

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