Tag Archives: World War II

Hard-boiled laughs: Old-time radio listening, 20 September

Richard Diamond, Private Detective: The Bald Head Case (NBC, 1950)

Powell (right, with Ed Begley) as Richard Diamond—finally cracking his tough-guy/song-and-dance personae . . .

Dick Powell wanted to break both his tough-guy and his song-and-dance film images, so he took on Rogue’s Gallery, which turned out to be an underrated pilot fish (he left the show after three years; it endured for a few more without him) for his real radio starmaker, the breezier, livelier, funnier, and no less realistic Richard Diamond, Private Detective . . . and did precisely what he wanted.

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Loud, proud, and liberated: Old-time radio listening, 18 September

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show: Phil Returns from Vacation (Season premiere; NBC, 1949)

Keeping hands off their writers until rehearsal run-through and air time worked wonders with Phil Harris and Alice Faye . . .

“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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