Category Archives: old-time radio

9 December: The aftermath, continued . . .

The Jordans and their sponsor went to war in their unique ways . . . (Photo: NBC.)

The Jordans and their sponsor went to war in their unique ways . . . (Photo: NBC.)

Fibber McGee & Molly: Forty Percent Off (NBC, 1941)

The aftermath of Pearl Harbour continues apace, and aboard old-time radio in particular. And one of the earliest counter-volleys to America now being yanked into the war comes from one of NBC’s biggest successes.

Fibber McGee & Molly is now long established as the network’s  Tuesday night mainstay and powerhouse. The network announces it will deliver the latest war news before every network program, while McGee sponsor S.C. Johnson & Son throws a gauntlet straight down toward all radio advertisers, by way of a message from the wax maker’s president offered in lieu of its usual show-opening commercial:

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8 December: Immediate aftermath

FDR before Congress, the day after . . . (Photo: National Archives.)

FDR before Congress (and a small crowd of radio microphones), the day after . . . (Photo: National Archives.)

PEARL HARBOUR: THE IMMEDIATE RESPONSES

Many Americans have hoped to avoid it, and enough Americans were said to embrace the prospect, but now the United States begins rounding into shape enough to respond to the Pearl Harbour attacks, the reality of the Axis, and the arduous path of international war.

Again, we seek not to judge retroactively but merely to listen and analyse in the context of its own time and place.

 

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7 December: The date still lives in infamy

Pearl Harbor PEARL HARBOR: The News Breaks

Seventy-four years later, the questions still animate, intrigue, trouble, and inspire, from historians of all stripes to simple students who become fascinated with the era.

The debates will always continue as to whether Pearl Harbour was a genuine sneak attack or an act of retaliatory desperation following months of maneuvers and blockades. So will the debates as to whether the possibility was known in advance enough of its terrible actuality.

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5 December: The mean widdle man-kid

Red Skelton---discredit where credit was due? (Photo: CBS.)

Red Skelton—discredit where credit was due? (Photo: CBS.)

The Red Skelton Show: People Who Brag (CBS, 1951)

Tonight’s installment could be considered a kind of loaded weapon, considering one way in which the star could be called a shameless braggart, in contrast to his on-air persona as a nice guy with a lot of little boy in him.

Richard Bernard Skelton cannot bear to give anyone else credit for whatever success he’s having as one of radio’s least likely successes. Like Milton Berle and Lucille Ball, Skelton is a predominantly visual comedian. Unlike them, Skelton has a secret weapon, a collection of distinct and goofy voices.

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21 November: Freed fall

Freed at work. Perhaps coincidentally, the stack of records is topped by a release from Roulette Records---whose corrupt mastermind Morris Levy was Freed's patron in more than one way . . . (Photo: ABC.)

Freed at work. Perhaps coincidentally, the stack of records is topped by a release from Roulette Records—whose corrupt mastermind Morris Levy was Freed’s patron in more than one way . . . (Photo: ABC.)

Alan Freed: The Final Words on ABC (WABC, 1959)

This is not goodbye, it’s just good night. Alan Freed’s customary on-air sign-off carries an ominous tone tonight. He may or may not know it as he says it, but his career as a radio big-timer is about to end, six years before his life itself will.

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