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If you can’t beat him: Old-time radio listening, 21 June

Town Hall Tonight with Fred Allen: Crisis on the Showboat (NBC, 1939)

Fred Allen's Town Hall Tonight, as Al Hirschfeld sketched it, in a cartoon used for the cover of the republished Treadmill to Oblivion.

Fred Allen’s Town Hall Tonight, as Al Hirschfeld sketched it, in a cartoon used for the cover of the republished Treadmill to Oblivion.

The last-surviving installment of Fred Allen’s seminal Town Hall Tonight will just so happen to be the next-to-last show of the 1938-39 radio season. And a good thing, sort of, because Allen is about to be divested of the title that has enabled him to a comfortable presentation of his realistic hybrid between the better of vintage vaudeville and his own forward-looking satire.

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