Tag Archives: Phil Harris

18 September: A razor sharp season premiere

Alice Faye, Anne Whitfield, Phil Harris, and Jeanine Roos at the mike. (Photo: NBC.)

Alice Faye, Anne Whitfield, Phil Harris, and Jeanine Roos at the mike. (Photo: NBC.)

“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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27 June: Two finales, two transitions, for Jack Benny

Benny knew how to handle unexpected transitions. (Photo: NBC.)

Benny knew how to handle unexpected transitions. (Photo: NBC.)

A pair of season enders eleven years apart tonight, shows Jack Benny in two different kinds of transition.

The 1936-37 season has been a transitional one for Benny as it was. The good news is that he was joined by Phil Harris at the season’s beginning and Eddie Anderson as the irrepressible Rochester near season’s end. The bad news is that he lost his main writer, Harry Conn, before the season began. Conn—who later sues Benny but settles out of court—came to believe he was the number one reason for Benny’s radio success and made contract demands accordingly. The net result was Conn’s head on a plate.

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11 March: Rochester’s enduring stand

Eddie Anderson, the irrepressible Rochester. (Photo: NBC.)

Eddie Anderson, the irrepressible Rochester. (Photo: NBC.)

Eddie Anderson was the son of a minstrel performer and one of the extremely few black high-wire artists. His father objected to his traveling up and down the west coast as a teenage entertainer. But he eventually became the first black performer hired for a permanent radio cast spot and almost as much of a radio institution as the man who hired him in the first place.

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26 February: Zing went the strings of her heartburn

Alice Faye and Phil Harris. (Photo: NBC.)

Alice Faye and Phil Harris. (Photo: NBC.)

Ever after Alice Faye walked off the 20th Century Fox lot never to return, over a perceived deliberate slight from studio chieftain Darryl F. Zanuck—whom she believes undermined her in favour of Linda Darnell—Faye and her husband Phil Harris could never resist an occasional zinger at Zanuck on their own hit radio show.

But at least once the congenial couple—who throve on radio because it enabled to spend their weeks raising their children quietly in Palm Springs while doing the show work on the weekends—dedicated an entire episode to a Zanuck zing. Sort of.

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2 November: Hit shampoo goes down the drain

Alice Faye and Phil Harris pore over a script. Their breakout success inadvertently helped sink a once-venerated shampoo maker. (Photo: NBC.)

Alice Faye and Phil Harris pore over a script. Their breakout success inadvertently helped sink a once-venerated shampoo maker. (Photo: NBC.)

An Iowa shampoo and soap manufacturer whose signature variety program has shifted little by little toward straight comedy, plus one of Jack Benny’s longtime sidekicks, give NBC its biggest win by a comparatively new program in the 1946-47 radio season. Except that the company’s win helps prove its own loss, kind of.

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