Category Archives: Adventure

31 January: Valet of Doom

Gene Krupa at the height of his career. (Photo: The David Gladfelter Collection)

Gene Krupa at the height of his career. (Photo: The David Gladfelter Collection)

“The butler did it” was already a cliché by the time Gene Krupa learned the hard way that, once in awhile, the butler, or at least the valet, really does do it. In 1943, Krupa’s valet doing it—by way of a going-away present, then lying on a witness stand in short order while the valet was supposed to be off to World War II—nearly ruined the drumming bandleader’s career.

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26 November: Dummy, up

Film musical star Deanna Durbin (left) gives Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy a hand or two. (Photo: NBC.)

Film musical star Deanna Durbin (left) gives Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy a hand or two. (Photo: NBC.)

Radio’s ultimate in-joke just has to be the very idea of a ventriloquist—who wasn’t exactly much beyond technically competent at ventriloquism—even coming before the microphone unseen, never mind one who becomes a radio institution. Even Rudy Vallee himself, who was responsible for the very idea in the first place, introduced the act (on The Royal Gelatin Hour in 1936) asking that very question.

And just as swiftly, Vallee provided one answer: “Well, why not?”

Posted in Adventure, classic radio, comedy, crime drama, Music/Variety, mystery/thriller, old-time radio | 3 Comments

28 September: Biting the hand that promoted him

The Jack Paar Show: Hair Tonics, Schools, Mail Delivery (Excerpt; NBC, 1947)

Jack Paar, his own cobra's mongoose once too often . . . (Photo: NBC)

Jack Paar, his own cobra’s mongoose once too often . . . (Photo: NBC)

Few people in network radio have received a bigger break than Jack Paar has this summer. And fewer, still, have ever blown themselves up the way Paar will, just a few months after he graduates from summer replacement to regular-season network radio comer.

Posted in Adventure, classic radio, comedy, crime drama, drama/dramatic anthology, History/Documentary, News and comment, old-time radio, World War II | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

12 September: A dubious re-elopement

Fibber McGee & Molly: 15th Anniversary (Elopement) (NBC, 1939)

Fibber McGee & Molly, on the air. Seen far right: announcer Harlow Wilcox. Seen center on podium: bandleader Billy Mills. (Photo: NBC.)

Fibber McGee & Molly, on the air. Seen far right: announcer Harlow Wilcox. Seen center on podium: bandleader Billy Mills. (Photo: NBC.)

Jim and Marian Jordan have actually been married 21 years today. That the childhood sweethearts were married at all probably testifies to their perseverance more than anything else, considering Marian Driscoll’s parents were far less than enthused about a) their daughter’s dreams of a life in the theater; and, b) her romancing by a farm kid with the same wild-eyed dreams.

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Later than he thought: Old-time radio, 2 August

Quiet, Please: It’s Later Than You Think (Mutual, 1948)

Cooper.

Cooper.

Fans of this clever psychological thriller series don’t need reminders of the irony in this episode’s title. It was, after all, the tagline for the earlier Wyllis Cooper creation, Lights Out, which he turned over to Arch Oboler while moving onward to film writing, further radio production (The Army Hour) and, in due course, creating this series.

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