Tag Archives: Suspense

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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16 September: Nibbling the hand that can’t feed you

The Milton Berle Show: Salute to Radio (NBC, 1947)

Milton Berle, who never got vaudeville out of his blood. (Photo: NBC.)

Milton Berle, who never got vaudeville out of his blood or his brain. (Photo: NBC.)

It seems perversely appropriate that the nation’s Uncle Miltie-to-be delivers a good-natured satire of radio a year before he becomes Mr. Television. For all his radio years, Milton Berle will probably be the luckiest man alive to land his Texaco Star Theater television job and legend—because he’s actually known as old-time radio’s biggest prolonged failure.

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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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Suspense’s right number: Old-time radio listening, 25 May

Suspense: Sorry, Wrong Number (CBS, 1943)

Agnes Moorehead giving one of seven live Suspense performances of Lucille Fletcher's "Sorry, Wrong Number." (Photo: CBS.)

Agnes Moorehead giving one of seven live Suspense performances of Lucille Fletcher’s “Sorry, Wrong Number.” (Photo: CBS.)

Bernard Herrmann, already composing so much of the music that helps make Suspense a bellwether among old-time radio dramas, probably had no idea that an illness in his own life would help produce perhaps the best-remembered among numerous high-profile Suspense offerings.

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Whistle three times: Old-time radio listening, 14 January

Today’s a triple-header for fans of The Whistler . . . and a dramatic reimagination for those who maintain interest in one of America’s most notorious murder cases.

THREE WALKS BY NIGHT . . .

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