“Words are inadequate”: Old-time radio listening, 16 April

News Special: President Truman Addresses Congress (All networks, 1945)

(Photo: Library of Congress)

(Photo: Library of Congress)

At a time like this, words are inadequate . . . yet, in this decisive hour, when world events are moving so rapidly, our silence might be misunderstood . . . No man can possibly fill the tremendous void left by the passing of that noble soul. NO words can ease the aching hearts of untold millions . . . The world knows it has lost a heroic champion of justice and freedom. Tragic fate has thrust upon us grave responsibilities. We must carry on. Our departed leader never looked backward, he looked forward, he moved forward, and that is what he would have wanted us to do. And that is what America will do.

For the first time since he has succeeded the deceased Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman addresses Congress.

Among other remarks, Truman says an appropriate moment of silence in tribute to FDR might be misinterpreted by wartime enemies, urging a full forward press on the war effort, supports the continuing formation of the United Nations, and warns the Axis powers the U.S. will continue the war effort “until no vestige of resistance remains” and nothing short of unconditional surrender is brought about.




Fibber McGee & Molly: A Big Ink Stain on the Carpet (NBC, 1940)—The Stain of 79 Wistful Vista (Jim Jordan) brings Molly (Marian Jordan, who also plays Teeny) flowers celebrating their fifth anniversary on network radio, Molly remembers the network’s initial trepidation, a collect telegram teases a movie opportunity, the Old-Timer (Bill Thompson, who also plays Boomer) throws in the towel, McGee wants to thank the sponsor long distance, and settles for writing him a letter—until he spills a gob of ink on the carpet. Which doesn’t blot out the deft delivery. Mrs. Uppington: Isabel Randolph. Gildersleeve: Harold Peary. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King’s Men. Writer: Don Quinn.

Here’s Morgan: Catch as Catch Can, Fred Waring (Mutual, 1942)—He’s lamenting who has to leave the game before the ninth, Greater Deep in the Heart of Texas Week, and a new game in which the object is to catch a certain bandleader, among other hits and runs. You just might come to agree that, in many ways, he’ll never be able to top this kind of freewheeling battering-ram wit—even if you know, in his better-known half-hours later in the 1940s, that he gets awfully close, never mind that Old Man Adler (whom Morgan would swear, in his shall we say anti-memoir, experienced a huge bump in store sales and crowds asking to meet Old Man Adler himself after a typical Morgan zinger) may have been a funnier target than the Schick injector razor. Writer: Henry Morgan.

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show: Phil is Cinderella (NBC, 1950)—Sponsor Scott (Gale Gordon) has invited the girls (Jeanine Roos, Anne Whitfield) to his daughter’s birthday party, but he needs Phil (Harris) and Alice (Faye) to help with entertainment when the puppeteer he hired had to back out of the party . . . and Remley (Elliott Lewis) proposes an idea tailor made—to blow up in one and all’s faces, that is. Julius: Walter Tetley. Announcer: Bill Forman. Music: Walter Scharf, Phil Harris Orchestra. Director: Paul Phillips. Writers: Ray Singer, Dick Chevillat.

Bright Star: Patience’s Romance (NBC, 1953)—Susan (Irene Dunne) thinks George (Fred MacMurray) may be the intended target when her housekeeper runs a lonelyhearts ad in the Morning Star—until the ad draws at least five replies. The old and already hackneyed cynic-idealist clash played with unusual class. Sammy: Possibly Richard Crenna. Announcer: Wendell Niles. Writers: Unknown.

Father Knows Best: The Family Getaway (NBC, 1953)—It was just an overnight business trip for Jim (Robert Young)—at first. Here’s one prime stop along your path to understanding why the radio antecedent proves a genuine comedy while its television offspring proves more of a drama than a genuine comedy. Margaret: Dorothy Lovett. Bud: Ted Donaldson. Betty: Rhoda Williams. Kathy: Helen Strom. Announcer: Bill Forman. Writers: Paul West, Roswell Rogers.


Crime Drama

Boston Blackie: The Baseball Player Murder (ZIV syndication, 1946)—A baseball player with no known vices is shot to death while sliding into second with a double, in a game before which he was switched in the batting order . . . and was overheard trying to reach Blackie (Dick Kollmar), who also finds a murdered scoreboard operator later that day, and an ancient motive the day after. Boilerplate but effective, all things considered. Faraday: Maurice Tarplin. Mary: Jan Miner. Shorty: Tony Barrett. Writers: Kenny Lyons, Ralph Rosenberg.

Night Beat: A World All His Own (NBC, 1950)—William Conrad shines as a former boxing champion whom Stone (Frank Lovejoy) has befriended for years, now a destitute, mentally ill shell of his former self, just as desperate to see, once more, the society woman (Lurene Tuttle) who threw him over because of his chosen career. Additional cast: Lawrence Dobkin, Charles Seal, Joe Forte. Music: Frank Worth. Director: Warren Lewis. Writers: Russell Hughes.

This entry was posted in classic radio, comedy, crime drama, History/Documentary, News and comment, old-time radio, World War II. Bookmark the permalink.

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