Category Archives: drama/dramatic anthology

31 December: Here’s to the New Year

It could have been better . . . it certainly could have been worse . . .  but now let’s say goodbye to 2015 the auld-time radio way, beginning (perhaps this will become a tradition in this space, too) with a legendary New Year’s Eve music special for American and other troops still scattered ’round in the immediate wake of World War II . . .

 

Various Artists: New Year’s Radio Dancing Party (Armed Forces Radio Service, 31 December 1945)

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24 December: ‘Tis the night before Christmas

Norman Corwin. (Photo: CBS.)

Norman Corwin. (Photo: CBS.)

Columbia Workshop: The Plot to Overthrow Christmas (CBS, 24 December 1942)

One or another way, Christmas Eve broadcasts over classic (1927-62) network radio will survive to be heard by generations who weren’t alive when radio was the world’s primary conductor of home entertainment. These can be considered some of the finest gifts the era bequeathed, even unto generations jaded enough by video and cinematic excess and ubiquity that you fear their inability to appreciate what one radio show’s customary introduction called “the theater of the mind.”

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20 December: From Macy’s to Dickens on the plains

Edmund Gwenn, nonpareil Santa. (Photo: 20th Century Fox.)

Edmund Gwenn, nonpareil Santa. (Photo: 20th Century Fox.)

Lux Radio Theater: Miracle on 34th Street (CBS, 1948)

Darryl F. Zanuck thought releasing Miracle on 34th Street as summer 1947 was born would be a clever idea because, well, he thought more people go to the movies in summer. Lux Radio Theater thinks tonight’s the more appropriate time to present its radio adaptation. In a small piece of poetic justice, the broadcast won’t injure the film at the next Academy Awards, where Edmund Gwenn will win Best Supporting Actor for the role he reprises tonight.

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20 November: A twin triumph for Lurene Tuttle

Tuttle as twins, somehow. (Photo: CBS)

Tuttle as twins, somehow. (Photo: CBS)

The Whistler: Death Sees Double (CBS, 1944)

Yes, this is the same as the 6 November 1944 episode known first as “The Twins.” The  original performance was pre-empted, allowing CBS’s national network to carry a speech by Republican presidential aspirant Thomas E. Dewey, the former New York governor challenging Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the first of Dewey’s two failed White House bids.

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4 November: It’s Miller time

Joe Miller's Jests Future collectors of classic network radio will become very familiar with the name Joe Miller. Fred Allen wasn’t the first and wouldn’t be the last to make Miller fodder for fresh jokes in the network radio era. The eighteenth-century British actor inspired a published collection of jokes that became synonymous on radio with old, time-worn, corny jokes.

The irony is that Miller himself wasn’t exactly a laugh-grabber. He’s said to have told extremely few of the jokes gathered in Joe Miller’s Jests. And the volume wasn’t even published in Miller’s lifetime. Dramatist/anthologist John Mottley (don’t tempt me!) collected the original edition in 1739; what does it tell you that he published it pseudonymously? (As Elijah Jenkins, Esq.)

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