Tag Archives: Duffy’s Tavern

25 January: A critic’s choices

Taylor, the serious musician and serious critic who feared the serious music world took it too seriously. (Photo: Blue Network.)

Taylor, the serious musician and serious critic who feared the serious music world took it too seriously. (Photo: Blue Network.)

He may be almost entirely forgotten in America by the 21st Century, but in his own time Deems Taylor is something of a personality in the classical music world above and beyond his own chosen work as a composer whose post-Romantic style proves engaging in the moment but (to too many critics) forgettable beyond it.

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A Depression farce: Old-time radio listening, 30 November-1 December

Lux Radio Theater: A Man’s Castle (CBS, 1 December 1941)

Early and elemental Tracy . . . (Photo: Unknown publicity photo)

Spencer Tracy reprises one of his earliest—and most arresting—film roles in a performance that’s just about as arresting even with the requisite radio adaptation and editing.

As millions are jobless in the Great Depression, a squatter’s camper (Tracy) takes in a homeless young lady (Ingrid Bergman, in the Loretta Young film role). He feeds her as she makes him a castle inside a shack and falls in love with him despite his restless nature. There’s just one little hitch: when he discovers she’s pregnant, he wants nothing more than to hop the first freight train out of town.

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Twelve children and an iron will: Old-time radio listening, 19 October

The CBS Radio Workshop: The Legend of Annie Christmas (CBS, 1956)

Amanda Randolph brings the mythological Annie Christmas to staggering life . . . (Photo: CBS)

A New Orleans legend of a tall tale that once inspired generations of black children, and possibly no few white children, is given an unforgettable radio treatment tonight.

Picking up where the legendary Columbia Workshop left off several years earlier, The CBS Radio Workshop may be destined for a single season. If it may have arrived too late to rescue network radio from its irrevocable fadeaway, its transcendent bicoastal efforts—the series alternates weeks between East Coast and West Coast productions—produce numerous highlights including and especially “The Legend of Annie Christmas.”

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