Category Archives: serial

31 July: A washed-up soap pioneer

(L to R) Louise Starkey, Isobel Carothers, Helen King, the once-irrepressible Clara, Lu & Em. (Unidentified publicity photo.)

(L to R) Louise Starkey, Isobel Carothers, Helen King, the once-irrepressible Clara, Lu & Em. (Unidentified publicity photo.)

Arguably, Clara, Lu & Em was radio’s first known soap opera and should have been left to its rest when—at the height of its popularity and influence—co-creator/ writer/performer Isobel Carothers (Lu) died unexpectedly in 1936.

The 37-year-old Carothers had been hospitalised with strep complicated by pneumonia. Her grieving co-conspirators, Louise Starkey (Clara) and Helen King (Em), yanked their creation off the air almost at once, refusing to continue without their partner and friend.

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30 July: Restrengthening the Dollar

Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar, re-invigorating the should-have-been-exhausted character. (Photo: CBS.)

Bob Bailey as Johnny Dollar, re-invigorating the should-have-been-exhausted character. (Photo: CBS.)

His early life isn’t much known or recorded. But Bob Bailey, yet another alumnus of Chicago’s fertile 1930s radio community, went from “born in a trunk” (as most sketchy biographies of the actor phrase it) to “the man with the action packed expense account” at a time when Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar needed either a shot in the head or a kick in the ass to deliver it from the near-banality in which it was mired since its uncertain birth in 1949.

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7 June: D-Day, Day Two

Day two of Operation Overlord, the official name of the D-Day invasion, launches—so far as classic radio lovers should be concerned—with an immortal eyewitness report.

George Hicks---His report from the Ancon becomes immortal radio. (Photo: NBC.)

George Hicks—His report from the Ancon becomes immortal radio. (Photo: NBC.)

TUNE IN TODAY: D-DAY, DAY TWO—ABOARD SHIP

Live News: Aboard the USS Ancon (Blue Network)—The unforgettable eyewitness report—by George Hicks, who will stay aboard the former NBC Blue as it becomes the new ABC—of a period during day two of Operation Overlord, Hicks describing vividly but modestly the continuing landings on the beaches and air sorties above the area in support of the landing troops, even as the Ancon itself appears to come under fire during the operation and fights back.

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26 April: A crime

L to r: Bill Idelson (Rush), Art Van Harvey (Vic), Bernadine Flynn (Sade), with, presumably, mastermind Paul Rhymer seated in the background. (Photo: NBC.)

L to r: Bill Idelson (Rush), Art Van Harvey (Vic), Bernadine Flynn (Sade), with, presumably, mastermind Paul Rhymer seated in the background. (Photo: NBC.)

Customarily, the only thing anyone wants when listening to Vic & Sade is more, more, more. Thanks to the abject stupidity of sponsor Procter & Gamble, alas, about three thousand discs would be destroyed after World War II. Those that survive the eventual demise of the great comedy will miss their openings and closings and be in dubious sound quality that doesn’t erode the performances or the writing but makes it arduous for a 21st Century listener.

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22 April: Tangled web-weaving with a flourish

Lurene Tuttle is a murderous would-be heiress tonight . . . (Unknown publicity photo.)

Lurene Tuttle is a murderous would-be heiress tonight . . . (Unknown publicity photo.)

Only The Whistler could get away with setting you up to know who did it right out of the chute, simply because it rarely got better than that for taking you through the labyrinths the bad guy or girl traveled before committing the crime in question . . . most of the time. Sometimes, of course, people as well as things aren’t quite as they seem at first.

On the other hand, tonight the bad girl learns the hard way about tangled web weaving . . .

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