Tag Archives: My Friend Irma

The Sunday slugging: Old-time radio listening, 8 March

This was more the way it really was with Benny and Allen off mike: the two comedians were actually good friends and mutual admirers. (Photo: NBC.)

This was more the way it really was with Benny and Allen off mike: the two comedians were actually good friends and mutual admirers. (Photo: NBC.)

The mock Jack Benny-Fred Allen feud is about to shift to overdrive now that one of the combatants has moved to Sunday nights . . .


The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny: From San Diego Marine Base E (NBC, 1942)

. . . and Sunday night will never be quite the same on old-time radio, now that Fred Allen has moved there . . . at a time late enough to hear him first and zap in kind.

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A Depression farce: Old-time radio listening, 30 November-1 December

Lux Radio Theater: A Man’s Castle (CBS, 1 December 1941)

Early and elemental Tracy . . . (Photo: Unknown publicity photo)

Spencer Tracy reprises one of his earliest—and most arresting—film roles in a performance that’s just about as arresting even with the requisite radio adaptation and editing.

As millions are jobless in the Great Depression, a squatter’s camper (Tracy) takes in a homeless young lady (Ingrid Bergman, in the Loretta Young film role). He feeds her as she makes him a castle inside a shack and falls in love with him despite his restless nature. There’s just one little hitch: when he discovers she’s pregnant, he wants nothing more than to hop the first freight train out of town.

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Arthur’s Alley: Old-time radio listening, 18 October

Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen: Les Miserables (CBS; War Department Special Services rebroadcast, 1942)

Not quite ready for prime time? (Photo: CBS)

Unusually, Fred Allen acts as his own announcer to open the show, from a nod to the increasingly swift movements of Allied forces across Europe to the introduction of the first orchestral number—before he brings forth actual announcer, Arthur Godfrey.

Godfrey is something of a rising radio star thanks to his morning exercises out of Washington and, as John Dunning (in On the Air) would describe it, there is sufficient buzz in the press over the folksy-sounding capital ad-libber teaming up with network radio’s long-established master ad-libber and satirist.

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