Tag Archives: The Fred Allen Show

30 May: Celebrating a perfect 110

Mr. Allen, still at the height of his career. (Photo: NBC.)

Mr. Allen, still at the height of his career. (Photo: NBC.)

We’ll let the man’s own recollection, shortly before his death, speak for itself here:

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21 March: Ford inadvertently parks Fred

There'd be no stopping the music for Bert Parks and company . . . for a couple of years, anyway . . . (Photo: ABC.)

There’d be no stopping the music for Bert Parks and company . . . for a couple of years, anyway . . . (Photo: ABC.)

Henry Ford, ABC, NBC, and CBS inadvertently band up to put paid to the radio career of one of its most legendary satirists, and the entire megillah begins on tonight’s date in 1948.

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3 March: Allen’s Alley days

Fred Allen (left) with the Alley demimonde (l to r): Minerva Pious, Alan Reed, Kenny Delmar. (Photo: NBC.)

Fred Allen (left) with the Alley demimonde (l to r): Minerva Pious, Alan Reed, Kenny Delmar. (Photo: NBC.)

Fred Allen has returned to full-time network radio in 1945-46, following a one-year sabbatical under his doctor’s orders; the satirist’s hypertension had hit height enough for alarm during his four-season run under the Texaco Star Theater banner for CBS.

That run has provided a series of refinements, not always to Allen’s liking at first, including the paring back to a half-hour show. But it also provided the beginnings of what would prove his best-remembered element: the transformation of his long-time, formerly groundbreaking newsreel satires into “Allen’s Alley,” which has now rounded into its most enduring shape:

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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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Twelve children and an iron will: Old-time radio listening, 19 October

The CBS Radio Workshop: The Legend of Annie Christmas (CBS, 1956)

Amanda Randolph brings the mythological Annie Christmas to staggering life . . . (Photo: CBS)

A New Orleans legend of a tall tale that once inspired generations of black children, and possibly no few white children, is given an unforgettable radio treatment tonight.

Picking up where the legendary Columbia Workshop left off several years earlier, The CBS Radio Workshop may be destined for a single season. If it may have arrived too late to rescue network radio from its irrevocable fadeaway, its transcendent bicoastal efforts—the series alternates weeks between East Coast and West Coast productions—produce numerous highlights including and especially “The Legend of Annie Christmas.”

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