Tag Archives: Amos ‘n’ Andy

2 January: Jumpin’ Jack’s splash

CBS couldn't wait to put Jack Benny at the head of its Sunday night class. (Photo: CBS.)

CBS couldn’t wait to put Jack Benny at the head of its Sunday night class. (Photo: CBS.)

Now comes the time for Jack Benny and CBS to put Bill Paley’s money where the comedian’s mouth is. The question before the houses of Paley and NBC emperor David Sarnoff is whether the jump proves bonanza or bust.

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4 March: Miss Brooks’s measured climb

Eve Arden (center) rehearses with Richard Crenna (left) and Gale Gordon (right). (Photo: CBS.)

Eve Arden (center) rehearses with Richard Crenna (left) and Gale Gordon (right). (Photo: CBS.)

It’s not that anyone is going to complain, mind you. But maybe, just maybe, network radio’s most beloved high school English teacher might be even more of a hit—even allowing that television is now cutting radio ratings severely—with a slightly more advantageous scheduling.

Since luring Amos ‘n’ Andy and Jack Benny from NBC, CBS has built a formidable Sunday night lineup. Putting Eve Arden’s cheerfully sardonic but hopelessly romantic English teacher on Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. after Our Miss Brooks spent 1948 rounding into shape didn’t exactly get her suspended from school—she finished 1949-50 with an 11.0 Hooper, enough to secure her seventh place on Sunday night—but CBS could have provided her a powerful choice of lead-ins.

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25 November: One Black Friday, seven executions

Julie Stevens incurs her final catastrophe as too-long-beleaguered Helen Trent. (Photo: CBS.)

Julie Stevens incurs her final catastrophe over the too-long-beleaguered Romance of Helen Trent. (Photo: CBS.)

In 21st Century America, Black Friday will be the annual day of retail hell. In the America that knows the world doesn’t begin or end at the mall, of course, Black Friday is a day of mourning for old-time radio lovers. Fifty-three years later, it will still seem surreal, thinking of the day on which aired the final first-run programs of a once-venerated, once-groundbreaking comedy duo and six once-venerated (depending upon yourpoint of view) soap operas.

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If you can’t beat him: Old-time radio listening, 21 June

Town Hall Tonight with Fred Allen: Crisis on the Showboat (NBC, 1939)

Fred Allen's Town Hall Tonight, as Al Hirschfeld sketched it, in a cartoon used for the cover of the republished Treadmill to Oblivion.

Fred Allen’s Town Hall Tonight, as Al Hirschfeld sketched it, in a cartoon used for the cover of the republished Treadmill to Oblivion.

The last-surviving installment of Fred Allen’s seminal Town Hall Tonight will just so happen to be the next-to-last show of the 1938-39 radio season. And a good thing, sort of, because Allen is about to be divested of the title that has enabled him to a comfortable presentation of his realistic hybrid between the better of vintage vaudeville and his own forward-looking satire.

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Beer barrels and literary panels: Old-time radio listening, 9 January

There’s no such thing as too much Fred Allen . . .

Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen: Hit By a Beer Barrel (CBS, 1944)—Guest Ed Gardner is little help when a brewery truck backs up to the sidewalk near the infamous Duffy’s Tavern, a barrel conks Fred (Allen) on the head, knocking him cold outside the dive, and it all ends up in small claims court with Fred accused of hijacking; meanwhile, Fred and Portland (Hoffa) ponders the latest point assignments and livestock exhibitions, and the Alley irregulars (Jack Smart, John Doe, Minerva Pious, Charles Cantor—who also plays his Duffy’s Tavern role of Finnegan), Alan Reed) address New York’s worst snowstorm (until the next one, of course). Announcer: Jimmy Wallington. Music: Al Goodman Orchestra; Hi, Lo, Jack and the Dame. Writers: Fred Allen, possibly Bob Schiller.

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