Tag Archives: Mel Blanc

25 February: Ugga-ugga-doom

The Man of a Thousand Voices (and probably half as many classic  support roles on radio) came up short at the head of his own show. (Photo: NBC/KGO)

The Man of a Thousand Voices (and probably half as many classic support roles on radio) came up short at the head of his own show. (Photo: NBC/KGO)

Maybe one of old-time radio’s great mysteries is how and why Mel Blanc—whose vocal genius was almost as prolific on the air as on Warner Brothers’ already-immortal cartoons—proved unable to cut muster when he landed his own comedy show for the 1946-47 season.

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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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Loud, proud, and liberated: Old-time radio listening, 18 September

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show: Phil Returns from Vacation (Season premiere; NBC, 1949)

Keeping hands off their writers until rehearsal run-through and air time worked wonders with Phil Harris and Alice Faye . . .

The writing,” John Dunning (in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio) wrote of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, “was razor sharp; the scripts by Ray Singer and Dick Chevillat were so raucous that four-to-five minute cuts were often necessary to allow for audience laughter. The principle of contagious laughter was maximised in the overhead placement of audience microphones, making it one of the loudest shows on the air. Some of the brilliance went out of the scripts when Singer and Chevillat departed . . .”

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“Three, four, five, six, seven, eight . . .”: Old-time radio listening, 17 September

Edward R. Murrow: Counting the Parachutes (CBS, 1944)

Talk about going where the action was . . . (Photo: CBS)

In one of his classic broadcasts during World War II, Edward R. Murrow—whose habitual flying aboard bombing runs, married to his legendary rooftop reporting of the earlier London Blitz, prompts many at CBS to wonder if their champion news leader has a death wish—flies such a run during the Allied invasion to liberate the Netherlands from the Nazi grip.

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