Tag Archives: Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy

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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12 September: A dubious re-elopement

Fibber McGee & Molly: 15th Anniversary (Elopement) (NBC, 1939)

Fibber McGee & Molly, on the air. Seen far right: announcer Harlow Wilcox. Seen center on podium: bandleader Billy Mills. (Photo: NBC.)

Fibber McGee & Molly, on the air. Seen far right: announcer Harlow Wilcox. Seen center on podium: bandleader Billy Mills. (Photo: NBC.)

Jim and Marian Jordan have actually been married 21 years today. That the childhood sweethearts were married at all probably testifies to their perseverance more than anything else, considering Marian Driscoll’s parents were far less than enthused about a) their daughter’s dreams of a life in the theater; and, b) her romancing by a farm kid with the same wild-eyed dreams.

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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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Stopping the comedy? Old-time radio reflection, 21 March

Before he made a career out of Miss America pageant hosting, Bert Parks was a quiz and game show host who helped knock Fred Allen out of the ratings box. (Photo: ABC.)

There he iiiiiiiiiiiis—Before he became Mr. Miss America, Bert Parks was a quiz and game show host who helped knock Fred Allen out of the radio ratings box. (Photo: ABC.)

21 March 1948—Eventual game show emperor Mark Goodson directs, game show semi-pioneer Louis G. Cowan produces, Harry Salter leads the band, Kay Armen and Dick Brown sing, and Bert Parks—the third host of radio game Break the Bank—hosts here as well.

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