Category Archives: quiz show

24 November: Deadpan, dead on

Nancy Sheridan plays Bernadine tonight. (Unknown publicity photo.)

Nancy Sheridan plays Bernadine tonight. (Unknown publicity photo.)

Wyllis Cooper has had two only annoyances since launching Quiet, Please earlier in 1947, according to John Dunning in due course: He isn’t fond of people comparing this show to his earlier radio creation, Lights Out, by those who remember only that Arch Oboler took it over and built a career upon that beginning. And, he can’t stand “acting.” “The (Quiet, Please) cast was told to play it straight . . . he wanted it related with a deadpan sense of ‘here’s how it happened’.”

Posted in classic radio, comedy, crime drama, drama/dramatic anthology, fantasy, old-time radio, quiz show | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

16 November: The third Marjorie

Mary Lee Robb, the beauty who gave up radio for her children. (Unknown publicity photo.)

Mary Lee Robb, the beauty who gave up radio for her children. (Unknown publicity photo.)

The longest-serving Marjorie Forrester on The Great Gildersleeve had the least radio experience among the three women who played her. But Mary Lee Robb also had one of the swiftest departures from radio acting, though it had nothing to do with her ability.

The legendary Lurene Tuttle gave birth to Marjorie when The Great Gildersleeve spun off Fibber McGee & Molly in 1941, and Louise Erickson took the role in 1944. Erickson was already something of a radio star thanks to playing the title role in A Date with Judy, and Robb was actually a close friend of hers. They were practically the same age, and Robb often stood in for Erickson at Gildersleeve rehearsals when Erickson was committed elsewhere.

Posted in comedy, crime drama, drama/dramatic anthology, mystery/thriller, old-time radio, quiz show | Leave a comment

14 November: Shirley Mitchell, RIP—”Awww, Thrawwwk-mawwtinnnnn!”

Shirley Mitchell as Leila Ransom, bewitching and befuddling hapless Harold Peary as Gildersleeve. (Photo: NBC.)

Shirley Mitchell as Leila Ransom, bewitching and befuddling hapless Harold Peary as Gildersleeve. (Photo: NBC.)

Shirley Mitchell was thatclose to giving up on Hollywood entirely when she landed the old-time radio supporting role of a lifetime in the early 1940s.

Aawww, Thrawwwck-mawwtinnnnn!

The Toledo, Ohio native—who died of heart failure on Veteran’s Day, a week after she celebrated her 94th birthday—suddenly found herself a valuable supporting player as Southern widow Leila Ransom, who couldn’t seem to decide whether to marry or mangle The Great Gildersleeve. Indeed, Leila became (in John Dunning’s words) “such a strongly negative character that at one point a California women’s club picketed NBC, urging Gildersleeve with their signs not to marry her.”

Posted in comedy, crime drama, drama/dramatic anthology, fantasy, History/Documentary, old-time radio, quiz show | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

8 November: Ol’ Ski Nose gets a tootsie-frootsieing . . .

Chico sometimes did his fabled "Tootsie-Frootsie Ice Cream" bit in radio guest shots . . . (Photo: MGM)

Chico sometimes did his fabled “Tootsie-Frootsie Ice Cream” bit in radio guest shots . . . (Photo: MGM)

When the Marx Brothers (minus Zeppo) signed to MGM, their producer Irving Thalberg decided it was time to go back to the future, kind of.

The Marxes were at loose ends following the expiration of their Paramont Pictures contract with 1933′s Duck Soup. And Thalberg, the youthful producer/director who loved the team personally, reached to the team’s roots in vaudeville and on Broadway for part of his master plan to install the brothers into well-enough-plotted stories.

Posted in classic radio, comedy, crime drama, mystery/thriller, old-time radio, quiz show, Western | Leave a comment

2 November: Hit shampoo goes down the drain

Alice Faye and Phil Harris pore over a script. Their breakout success inadvertently helped sink a once-venerated shampoo maker. (Photo: NBC.)

Alice Faye and Phil Harris pore over a script. Their breakout success inadvertently helped sink a once-venerated shampoo maker. (Photo: NBC.)

An Iowa shampoo and soap manufacturer whose signature variety program has shifted little by little toward straight comedy, plus one of Jack Benny’s longtime sidekicks, give NBC its biggest win by a comparatively new program in the 1946-47 radio season. Except that the company’s win helps prove its own loss, kind of.

Posted in comedy, crime drama, mystery/thriller, quiz show, World War II | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments