Tag Archives: Lionel Barrymore

20 September: The unlikely plainsman

The Six Shooter: Jenny (Series Premiere; NBC, 1953)

James Stewart, who made a singular Britt Ponset. (Photo: NBC.)

James Stewart, who made a singular Britt Ponset. (Photo: NBC.)

James Stewart, who’s done enough guest shots to know, should have been a natural for network radio. His laconic vocal style and ability to immerse himself in even the lightest characterisation should have added radio star to his resume. The problem was, when he finally finds a regular vehicle for his gifts, it comes a decade too late.

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On the threshold: Old-time radio listening, 24 December

Yuletide without Barrymore? Bah! Humbug! (Photo: CBS.)

For all who celebrate, and for anyone sorely in need of extra cheer this and any such season, today’s offerings are dedicated.

Columbia Workshop: The Plot to Overthrow Christmas (CBS, 24 December 1942)

Set in hell, delivered in verse (some of it, admittedly, is a little on the awkward side but the archness of the delivery and the quality of the bulk makes up for it), some of history’s most notorious villains to that point convene to plan Christmas’s demise—as soon as they can quell this little, ahem, family squabble. (Sit down, Haman—for I am Ivan the Terrible! Brother Ivan is a demagogue/with the brain like a fly and the manners of a hog.)

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Hard-boiled laughs: Old-time radio listening, 20 September

Richard Diamond, Private Detective: The Bald Head Case (NBC, 1950)

Powell (right, with Ed Begley) as Richard Diamond—finally cracking his tough-guy/song-and-dance personae . . .

Dick Powell wanted to break both his tough-guy and his song-and-dance film images, so he took on Rogue’s Gallery, which turned out to be an underrated pilot fish (he left the show after three years; it endured for a few more without him) for his real radio starmaker, the breezier, livelier, funnier, and no less realistic Richard Diamond, Private Detective . . . and did precisely what he wanted.

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