Tag Archives: Harry Von Zell

Joanie, we barely knew ye: Old-time radio listening, 22 October

Joanie’s Tea Room: Will Andy Russell Make a Movie? (CBS, 1945)

Joan Davis, at the height of her old-time radio career. (Photo: CBS)

In most ways, Joan Davis will be done a disservice, from her coming out as a bona-fide radio comedy lead to her premature death fourteen years later.

Bad enough that Joanie’s Tea Room introduces her, invariably, as “America’s queen of comedy,” a title that sounds just a little too smugly pretentious attached to a woman who hasn’t exactly won it, by acclaim or otherwise. Worse is that the introduction and the show itself are accompanied by a somewhat smarmy publicity campaign not of the ill-fated star’s own making.

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Allen’s quarterback sneak: Old-time radio listening, 11 October

The Fred Allen Show (Hour of Smiles): Satire on Surveys and Polls (NBC, 1939) 

Fred Allen probably found entanglement in microphones child’s play compared to tangling with myopic advertising agencies . . . (Photo: NBC)

Fred Allen wasn’t necessarily thrilled when a change in the advertising agency handling his sponsor’s account compelled a title and slight format adjustment away from his groundbreaking Town Hall Tonight.

The new agency was governed, Allen would write (in Treadmill to Oblivion) by a former college football quarterback who “could never recognise one of [his former teammates] until he had asked him to bend over.”

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