Tag Archives: Alan Reed

21 September: Radio ad absurdium

Karl Swenson, at the height of his renown as Lorenzo Jones. (Photo: CBS.)

Karl Swenson, at the height of his renown as Lorenzo Jones. (Photo: CBS.)

Of two charming programs airing tonight in 1948, one is a series premiere. Picking the leadoff between them here is something akin to choosing between lobster fra diavolo and chicken cordon bleu for dinner, so I decided to pick according to age.

There’s no question but that Frank and Anne Hummert are old-time radio’s king and queen of the soaps, with misery, disaster, melodrama, and heartbreak their quadruple specialties. But even they seem to have needed a little relief from the afternoon anxieties to which their usual audiences repaired. They forayed into musical programming now and then (the couple were passionate music lovers, though Anne Hummert won’t have time for further indulgence until she retires upon her husband’s death) and a prime-time crime drama here and there.

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3 March: Allen’s Alley days

Fred Allen (left) with the Alley demimonde (l to r): Minerva Pious, Alan Reed, Kenny Delmar. (Photo: NBC.)

Fred Allen (left) with the Alley demimonde (l to r): Minerva Pious, Alan Reed, Kenny Delmar. (Photo: NBC.)

Fred Allen has returned to full-time network radio in 1945-46, following a one-year sabbatical under his doctor’s orders; the satirist’s hypertension had hit height enough for alarm during his four-season run under the Texaco Star Theater banner for CBS.

That run has provided a series of refinements, not always to Allen’s liking at first, including the paring back to a half-hour show. But it also provided the beginnings of what would prove his best-remembered element: the transformation of his long-time, formerly groundbreaking newsreel satires into “Allen’s Alley,” which has now rounded into its most enduring shape:

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