Tag Archives: The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show

18 September: A razor sharp season premiere

Alice Faye, Anne Whitfield, Phil Harris, and Jeanine Roos at the mike. (Photo: NBC.)

Alice Faye, Anne Whitfield, Phil Harris, and Jeanine Roos at the mike. (Photo: NBC.)

“The writing,” John Dunning (in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio) wrote of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, “was razor sharp; the scripts by Ray Singer and Dick Chevillat were so raucous that four-to-five minute cuts were often necessary to allow for audience laughter. The principle of contagious laughter was maximised in the overhead placement of audience microphones, making it one of the loudest shows on the air. Some of the brilliance went out of the scripts when Singer and Chevillat departed . . .”

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26 February: Zing went the strings of her heartburn

Alice Faye and Phil Harris. (Photo: NBC.)

Alice Faye and Phil Harris. (Photo: NBC.)

Ever after Alice Faye walked off the 20th Century Fox lot never to return, over a perceived deliberate slight from studio chieftain Darryl F. Zanuck—whom she believes undermined her in favour of Linda Darnell—Faye and her husband Phil Harris could never resist an occasional zinger at Zanuck on their own hit radio show.

But at least once the congenial couple—who throve on radio because it enabled to spend their weeks raising their children quietly in Palm Springs while doing the show work on the weekends—dedicated an entire episode to a Zanuck zing. Sort of.

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8 January: A Gale force


Gale Gordon. (Photo: NBC.)

Gale Gordon. (Photo: NBC.)

The last thing in the world I should have done was go into the theater because was inordinately shy as a young man,” Gale Gordon—perhaps old-time radio’s most mellifluous blowhard—once said. “I couldn’t open my mouth. At a party, I was the one stuck up against the wall. I was embarrassed about talking. I felt that I couldn’t talk well.”

Tonight we give you three radio episodes that display as well as anything he ever did how profoundly Gordon—whose blowhards such as Mayor La Trivia, Osgood Conklin, and sponsor Scott (The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show)a—overcame that inordinate shyness. But they also present impeccable evidence that, somewhere in the direct run-ups to such classic explosions, is one of the greatest supporting actors radio has ever known.

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18 September: A crisis and a blitz

In 1938, the Sudeten crisis comes to a boil; in 1940, the London Blitz continues apace, with a particularly understated but gripping report from CBS legend Eric Sevareid.


Special Report: Refuting Propaganda (Czech Radio, 1938)

Czechoslovakia’s English-speaking radio station denies Czech pressure against German-born citizens being restricted or under arrest, as Nazi and Hungarian propaganda broadcasts have charged. The broadcast also discusses Il Duce, Benito Mussolini of Italy, calling for a plebiscite to resolve the Sudetenland crisis—a plebiscite the embattled Czech government fears will not resolve the Sudeten crisis or questions about nationality relations within the country itself.

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Gale force: Old-time radio listening, 8 January

If you want to forge a case that Gale Gordon is old-time radio’s premiere slow-burning, pomposity-powered blowhard, you’d have a difficult time finding more solid evidence than the following three entries.

You’d also have a difficult time finding better evidence that, somewhere within the runups to the explosions, there is one of the greatest supporting actors network radio has known.

Fibber McGee & Molly: Fibber Wants to Win a Bean Counting Contest (NBC, 1946)

Kremer’s Drug Store is holding the contest, the proprietor’s mother-in-law won last year’s contest, and McGee (Jim Jordan) thinks he can win it scientifically with his own similar bowl and bean counting at home—never mind who might think he’s full of beans.

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