Tag Archives: The Aldrich Family

If horses were wishes: Old-time radio listening, 14 April

Fibber (left) horsing around? (Photo: NBC)

Fibber (left) horsing around? (Photo: NBC)

We’ll lead off today with a man who definitely lacks horse sense but doesn’t lack for a horse in a crucial parade . . .

 

CHANNEL SURFING . . .

Comedy

Fibber McGee & Molly: Spring Festival Parade (NBC, 1942)—Almost by default, since he’s (Jim Jordan) the only one in town with access to a white horse, guess who thinks he’s going to be grand marshal? Molly/Teeny: Marian Jordan. Mrs. Uppington: Isabel Randolph. The Old-Timer/Wimpole: Bill Thompson. La Trivia: Gale Gordon. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King’s Men. Writer: Don Quinn.

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A star over Pine Ridge: Old-time radio listening, 23 December

Lum & Abner: Christmas Story (CBS, 1938)

Chester Lauck (left) and Norris Goff, the irrepressible Lum & Abner. (Photo: CBS.)

The Pine Ridge philosophickers, unafraid to step just slightly beyond their serial element for the right occasion, have just that in this holiday classic. And if you think you can smell the potbelly stove burning, hear the occasional clatter of store wares, or even sense what Gerald Nachman would call a horsefly crawling across a sack of feed, when you listen to this quiet, rustic, but hardly dull-witted rural slice-of-life, just wait until you smell and sense the snow and the occasional brisk, slicing shaft of wind tonight.

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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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Regarding Henry: Old-time radio listening, 21 October

The Aldrich Family: Babysitting; or, Losing Nine-Year-Old Willie (NBC, 1948)

Ezra Stone (right, with co-star Jackie Kelk as Homer), the one-of-a-kind (thank God!) adolescent threshing machine known as Henry Aldrich. (Photo: NBC.)

In a script slightly modified from its original performance of 11 May 1944, the last thing Henry (Ezra Stone) wants is to babysit a nine-year-old boy in sister Mary’s (Barbara Robbins) stead, and he discovers only soon enough how right he was to be wary of the idea in the first place. Buy the premise, buy the show, as the late Marvin Kitman would come to say often enough in television synopses. Better still to go with John Dunning’s eventual summation:

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