Tag Archives: John Crosby

23 March: A Dope Diamond jubilee

Ralph Edwards (left), with prizes and (we presume) a willing victim. (Photo: NBC.)

Ralph Edwards (left), with prizes and (we presume) a willing victim. (Photo: NBC.)

Reality programming’s old-time radio great-great-great-grandfather, of which fans would speak in terms of plain old mad fun and critics would speak of plain old madness, premieres seventy-five years ago tonight on NBC, dedicated shamelessly to the proposition that, humans being as they are, they—or a significant number among them—will do absolutely anything, short of murder, for money, prizes, or both.

Created and hosted by jovial journeyman CBS announcer Ralph Edwards, Truth or Consequences –an idea he has derived from the forfeits game he played during his farmland childhood—becomes either a national habit or a national guilty pleasure, depending upon how you take the show.

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24 November: Not so quietly hers . . .

Wyllis Cooper---characters before plot?

Wyllis Cooper—characters before plot?

Tonight’s Quiet, Please offering will receive more listener requests for copies of its scripts than any program in Mutual’s lineup. It’s a phenomenon that will continue when the show moves to ABC. It will also inspire a book of the show’s scripts to be published despite the early misgivings of their author.

“My scripts are not intended to be read,” Wyllis Cooper protests. “They’re intended to be listened to.”

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5 November: Pushed, pulled, nicked, and nicked

Should Henry Morgan have been a bigger radio star? John Crosby, the heralded radio critic of the New York Herald-Tribune, probably thought so as he wrote for 13 September 1946, after the new show premiered:

1946-47 ad for Morgan's half-hour hash . . . (Photo: ABC.)

1946-47 ad for Morgan’s half-hour hash . . . (Photo: ABC.)

Some time ago I expressed the wish that Henry Morgan, one of radio’s original wits, would some day be given a big half hour program of his own with entertainers, an orchestra and all the trimmings. Well, he’s got one now, The Henry Morgan Show, and you’ll find him, in the East, on the American Broadcasting Company network.

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4 February: The big plotz

Tallulah Bankhead (center) proved a formidable hostess for a formidable flop. (Photo: NBC.)

Tallulah Bankhead (center) proved a formidable hostess for a formidable flop. (Photo: NBC.)

Tallulah Bankhead might seem the least likely of such catalysts. But in 1950-51 the stage diva becomes the out-of-the-left-field-bullpen choice to spearhead what would come to be known as NBC’s most desperate bid to try cleaning up the damage done the network after Jack Benny and Bergen & McCarthy (who moved on Benny’s suggestion) defected to CBS.

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Death of a notion; or, we’re (fifty years) late, so good night, folks: Old-time radio listening, 30 September

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar: The Tip-Off Matter (CBS, 1962)

Suspense: Devilstone (CBS, 1962)

Mandel Kramer, the final Johnny Dollar, launching old-time radio’s final first-run broadcast hour . . . (Photo: CBS)

Perhaps it depends upon whom you read and how you interpret what they say. By the time tonight’s offerings finish their first-run performances, at 7 p.m. Eastern time 30 September 1962, the absolute last in both these series and in regularly-scheduled network radio as once a nation (and much of a world) knew it, will it feel as though network radio died of swift natural causes, a long and often painful illness, protracted suicide, murder . . . or, all of the above?

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