On and off the records: Old-time radio listening, 27 April

The CBS Radio Workshop: The Record Collectors (CBS, 1956)

Margaret Whiting and her elder aunt stare down a couple of record Luddites . . . (Photo: CBS)

Margaret Whiting and her elder aunt stare down a couple of record Luddites . . . (Photo: CBS)

A seeming resurgence in interest in classic vinyl records in 2013 seems an appropriate syndrome for reviewing once again one of the most interesting pop culture explorations in old-time radio history.

Biologist Vincent Arbolgast (Howard McNear) and teratologist Titus McFadridge (Lou Houston) stand firmly on the side of vintage 78 rpm shellac records and the more primitive recording technology of the earliest 20th Century, not to mention the popular performers of that period, such as Margaret Young.

They think nothing of disapproving aloud—and to their faces—radio and television conductor Lyn Murray (Your Hit Parade prominent among his credits) and 1950s singing star Margaret Whiting . . . who just so happens to be Margaret Young’s niece, and who presents her recording of “I’ve Told Every Little Star,” a few years before teenage singer Linda Scott will make it a rock and roll hit.

Arbolgast and McFadridge have none of it so far as this modern technology is concerned. Why, the very thought of a long-playing record seems enough to drive them to the nearest Edison cylinder. Which may be enough to make you wonder what they’d think of Les Paul, whose multitracking techniques have taken firm enough hold by the time of this broadcast.

And you think you heard it all during the 1980s and 1990s, when the debates were about the compact disc versus the disappearing vinyl record?

Of course, you may marvel that Arbolgast and McFadridge, proud and unapologetic record Luddites that they are, consented to be presented tonight by way of (drumroll, please) electromagnetic recording.

Former Broadway is My Beat star Larry Thor co-wrote today’s script.

Moderator: John Dehner. Director: William Froug. Writers: William Woodson, Lou Houston, Larry Thor.

 

WORLD WAR II

Special Broadcast: Allies in the Heart of Germany on the Elbe (NBC, 1945)—A news bulletin on President Truman’s remarks after Allied and Soviet forces meet at last in Germany itself, after crossing the Rhine, signifying the nearing end of the war in Europe and the fall of the Third Reich, with Truman crediting the late President Roosevelt’s steadfastness. Includes reports from the First, Third, Ninth, and Twelfth Armies, and transcription of a statement from U.S. Gen. Omar Bradley. Correspondents: John McVane, David Anderson, Roy Porter.

Special Report: Ravensbruck (Mutual, 1945)—Sigrid Schultz reports women faring no better than men in German concentration camps, specifically the camp at Ravensbruck which has just been liberated by the Allies, where—among other atrocities—female prison guards were liable to stomp on women prisoners who had become enfeebled by their imprisonment and conditions, and other women were subject to some of the notorious Nazi medical experiments.

 

FURTHER CHANNEL SURFING . . .

Comedy

Amos ‘n’ Andy: Reviewing Contracts for Lodge Renovations (NBC, 1929)—The boys (Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll) get closer to signing the deal to renovate the Mystic Knights of the Sea Lodge facility, assuming they can unravel the contract details the Kingfish (also Gosden), perhaps unsurprisingly, didn’t much care to discuss. Bear with the scratchy surviving recording. Writer/directors: Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll.

Fibber McGee & Molly: Black Market Meat (NBC, 1943)—The Stooge of 79 Wistful Vista (Jim Jordan) is out of meat ration coupons and horny for a porterhouse, so he’s not exactly unwilling to use hook, crook, or both to get himself some prime beef . . . and he’s certainly not unwilling to share his meaty connections with friends, either, which may worry Molly (Marian Jordan, who also plays Teeny) and others just a tad, in an episode the patriotic couple aimed at discouraging buying black market meat during wartime. Mrs. Uppington: Isabel Randolph. The Old-Timer/Wimpole: Bill Thompson. Doc Gamble: Arthur Q. Bryan. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King’s Men. Writer: Don Quinn.

Duffy’s Tavern: Fish and Fantasy (NBC; AFRS Rebroadcast, 1945)—Worried that a rival saloon’s floor show is cutting into business, Archie (Ed Gardner) wants to start a repertory company for Duffy’s, with fabled film tough-guy John Garfield as the first star . . . of a play Archie’s written, God help one and all. Eddie: Eddie Green. Finnegan: Charles Cantor. Miss Duffy: Sandra Gould. Music: Matty Malneck Orchestra. Writers: Ed Gardner, Abe Burrows, possibly Larry Marks, possibly Larry Gelbart.

Adventures of Maisie: Maisie the Professor; a.k.a. Professor Elliot (Syndicated, 1950)—Nervous enough on her first day on the job, Maisie (Ann Sothern) hires on as secretary to a professor (Gerald Mohr) embittered by war, and she finds herself driving him to finish his planned anti-war book despite his frustration over its continuing rejection. Unusually sensitive entry in this series. Additional cast: Howard McNear, Peter Leeds, Donald Woods, Julius Mathews, Sidney Miller. Announcer: Jack McCoy. Music: Harry Zimmerman. Writer: Arthur Phillips.

 

Crime Drama

Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons: The Woman Who Married a Murderer (CBS, 1950)—Linda Roberts asks Keen (Bennett Kilpack) and Clancy (Jim Kelly) to solve the murder of her former love interest, who had remained a good friend, but who fell out with her jealous husband over financial issues, causing her to fear that her husband’s bitterness over the matter may have involved him in the killing. Considering its radio origin in the Frank and Anne Hummert factory, the understatement of this episode may surprise you. Additional cast: Unknown. Announcer: Larry Elliott. Music: Al Rickey. Director: Richard Leonard. Writers: Frank Hummert, Lawrence Klee, Robert Shaw, Barbara Bates.

Dragnet: The Big Lift (NBC; AFRTS Rebroadcast, 1954)—There’s an organised shoplifting ring operating furiously around town, and Friday (Jack Webb) and Smith (Ben Alexander) finally catch a break when a nervous clerk (Virginia Gregg) gives the first description they’ve had of the two men and a woman who lead the ring. Additional cast: Unknown. Announcers: George Fenneman, Hal Gibney. Music: Walter Schumann. Director: Jack Webb. Writer: Possible Jack Robinson.

Western

Gunsmoke: The Squaw (CBS; AFRTS rebroadcast, 1958)—Matt (William Conrad) and Chester (Parley Baer) break up a Long Branch brawl instigated over an insult twoard usually mild-mannered Culley Tate’s widowed father, who’s taken up with a much younger Arapaho woman he met in Texas. Kitty: Georgia Ellis. Doc: Howard McNear. Additional cast: Unidentified. Announcer: George Walsh. Music: Rex Khoury. Director: Norman Macdonnell. Writer: Unidentified.

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5 Responses to On and off the records: Old-time radio listening, 27 April

  1. Adventures of Maisie and Mr. Keen Tracer of Lost Persons are two shows that aren’t mentioned in old time radio forums, so it was great that you paid tribute to them in your post.

    • Jeff Kallman says:

      Andrew—I had actually led off my 5 April entry with a kind of review of Adventures of Maisie viz-a-viz star Ann Sothern’s career. What I said there still holds: she was a gifted actress who didn’t get the material she was worth, a little too often.

  2. I have always been an Ann Sothern fan. I liked her in Private Secretary and even My Mother The Car had some good shows. The show in which Robert Strauss as a crook holds the family hostage was my favorite.

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