Tag Archives: Quiet Please

26 January: The individualistic fantasist

Quiet, Please,” writes an unnamed author at Digital Deli,was promoted by both the Mutual Broadcasting System and Wyllis Cooper as a ‘new-type psychological drama with the listening audience slated to become part of the program’.”

Wyllis Cooper.

Wyllis Cooper.

That description sums up virtually all of the scripts that Wyllis Cooper ever wrote for radio during the Golden Age. Wyllis Cooper, arguably more than many of his contemporaries, viewed his radio audience as individuals. He wrote to individuals. He crafted most of his scripts from an individual point of view. Personal dilemmas, personal foibles, personal obsessions, and personal terrors formed the basis for the overwhelming body of his work.

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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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24 November: Deadpan, dead on

Nancy Sheridan plays Bernadine tonight. (Unknown publicity photo.)

Nancy Sheridan plays Bernadine tonight. (Unknown publicity photo.)

Wyllis Cooper has had two only annoyances since launching Quiet, Please earlier in 1947, according to John Dunning in due course: He isn’t fond of people comparing this show to his earlier radio creation, Lights Out, by those who remember only that Arch Oboler took it over and built a career upon that beginning. And, he can’t stand “acting.” “The (Quiet, Please) cast was told to play it straight . . . he wanted it related with a deadpan sense of ‘here’s how it happened’.”

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13 September: Character counts

Dragnet: The Big Waiter (NBC, 1951)

Jack Webb (lowest right) preparing for a Dragnet transcription. Co-announcer Hal Gibney, upper right. (Photo: NBC.)

Jack Webb (lowest right) preparing for a Dragnet transcription. Co-announcer Hal Gibney, upper right. (Photo: NBC.)

No less than The Commonweal, the lay Catholic intellectual journal of opinion, is impressed that Dragnet leaves a number of heretofore intractable radio crime drama stereotypes behind:

[N]o stereotypical hoodlums with congenital inability to voice the tongue-point dental fricative; no dem’s and dose’s. If intelligence can be measured as the number of shades visible between black and white, Dragnet is an intelligent program. Character is not subordinated to the arbitrary requirements of an action-packed script.

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Beer barrels and literary panels: Old-time radio listening, 9 January

There’s no such thing as too much Fred Allen . . .

Texaco Star Theater with Fred Allen: Hit By a Beer Barrel (CBS, 1944)—Guest Ed Gardner is little help when a brewery truck backs up to the sidewalk near the infamous Duffy’s Tavern, a barrel conks Fred (Allen) on the head, knocking him cold outside the dive, and it all ends up in small claims court with Fred accused of hijacking; meanwhile, Fred and Portland (Hoffa) ponders the latest point assignments and livestock exhibitions, and the Alley irregulars (Jack Smart, John Doe, Minerva Pious, Charles Cantor—who also plays his Duffy’s Tavern role of Finnegan), Alan Reed) address New York’s worst snowstorm (until the next one, of course). Announcer: Jimmy Wallington. Music: Al Goodman Orchestra; Hi, Lo, Jack and the Dame. Writers: Fred Allen, possibly Bob Schiller.

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