Tag Archives: The Great Gildersleeve

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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The war effort launches: Old-time radio listening, 9 December

Fibber McGee & Molly: Forty Percent Off (NBC, 1941)

The First Couple of 79 Wistful Vista and their sponsor wasted no time getting behind the World War II effort after Pearl Harbour was bombed . . . (Photo: NBC; S.C. Johnson.)

That’s what a post card offers at the Wistful Vista Wholesale Outlet, a natural lure for a sucker like our man McGee (Jim Jordan). But it’s the program beginning which makes this program particularly significant, especially in light of what this show and its performers will come to mean throughout the war.

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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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Two shades of Lurene: Old-time radio listening, 20 November

The Whistler: Death Sees Double (CBS, 1944)

Radio Life staged this photograph to salute Lurene Tuttle’s jaw-dropping turn as identical twins on The Whistler . . .

Yes, this is the same as the 6 November 1944 episode known first as “The Twins.” Unfortunately, “The Twins” was pre-empted, allowing CBS’s national network to carry a speech by Republican presidential aspirant Thomas E. Dewey, the former New York governor challenging Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the first of Dewey’s two failed White House bids.

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Space odyssey: Old-time radio listening, 19 November

Dimension X: Competition (NBC, 1950)

Les Tremayne, one of the New York actors involved heavily enough with Dimension X . . . (Photo: NBC)

Suspense and Escape dipped into the genre once in awhile. Quiet, Please was a very occasional dipper but focused, as always (and brilliantly), on the psychological fantasy first. Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers were strictly for the kids and often as not insulted even their intelligence. Not until 1950, when Destination Moon becomes a film hit, does old-time radio find an impetus for a full science fiction series, and the first such show, Dimension X, will prove as well to be the best of its breed.

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