Tag Archives: Arthur Godfrey

13 November: Manhattan requiem

Godfrey (left) asked LaRosa to sing "Manhattan" for him . . . right before firing him on the air. (Photo: CBS.)

Godfrey (left) asked LaRosa to sing “Manhattan” for him . . . right before firing him on the air. (Photo: CBS.)

Richard Rodgers once said “Manhattan,” often known colloquially as “I’ll Take Manhattan,” was the song that “made” himself and Lorenz Hart as a songwriting team once and for all. The song also helped make the atmosphere of one of latter-day network radio’s most respected crime dramas in a time when it also helped break singer Julius LaRosa.

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Final farewells and a grisly revelation: Old-time radio listening, 15 April

FDR's funeral train steams along the Hudson River toward his burial at his Hyde Park home. (Photo: National Archives.)

FDR’s funeral train steams along the Hudson River toward his burial at his Hyde Park home. (Photo: National Archives.)

A nation, if not a world choked with grief, says final farewells and offers tributes to President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

They include, and we begin with, a soon-to-be nationally famous broadcast entertainer whose later reputation for petulance and off-mike tyranny will astonish those who know him on air as the folksy, almost neighbourly type—who turns out to have been far more beholden to FDR than anyone knows at the time.

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Arthur’s Alley: Old-time radio listening, 18 October

Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen: Les Miserables (CBS; War Department Special Services rebroadcast, 1942)

Not quite ready for prime time? (Photo: CBS)

Unusually, Fred Allen acts as his own announcer to open the show, from a nod to the increasingly swift movements of Allied forces across Europe to the introduction of the first orchestral number—before he brings forth actual announcer, Arthur Godfrey.

Godfrey is something of a rising radio star thanks to his morning exercises out of Washington and, as John Dunning (in On the Air) would describe it, there is sufficient buzz in the press over the folksy-sounding capital ad-libber teaming up with network radio’s long-established master ad-libber and satirist.

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