Comedy

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Jim and Marian Jordan Were the O'Henry Twins

Marian and Jim Jordan of Fibber McGee and Molly on NBC radio The velvet drop concealing the skinny legs of marimba said "Marian and Jim Jordan," and the names sparkled with all the fine, phony brilliance of a dancer's exit smile. The act on stage in this small-town theater was a harmony team -- the girl at the piano, the man leaning debonairly against it and singing a pleasant tenor to the girl's contralto. The keynote was a jaunty good cheer. They sang "When You're Smiling," and a comedy ... (read more)

Fibber McGee and Molly at Home in Chicago

Jim and Marian Jordan perform Fibber McGee and Molly on NBC News of their impending assault on the screen capital had just broken when I called on Jim and Marian Jordan, who are Fibber McGee and Molly as well as sundry other quaint characters on a weekly radio program. I found them at a modest but quite fetching home in Peterson Woods, an attractive, spic-and-span district of Chicago's North Side, neither exclusive nor ritzy. It is the Wistful Vista of the McGee radio script. No ... (read more)

Phil Harris: Why Alice Faye Moved from Movies to Radio

Alice Faye and Phil Harris with daughters Phyllis and Alice Jr. in 1948 Maybe I never should have taken Alice Faye as my bride on that day in May seven years ago. Until then, all this beautiful, big hunk of talent talks about is show business. Then she marries me, gets a house, has babies, and all she wants is to push one of those wire carts around the grocery store. First thing you know I'm not allowed to make tours with my band any more, either. "We're through living by an upside down ... (read more)

Four Radio Shows Hired Les Tremayne to Replace Don Ameche

Les Tremayne, star of The First Nighter radio show For the first six years of my radio career, I was very particular about keeping a daily record of every show I worked -- the date, time, name of show or episode, each character I played (and sometimes there were up to 10 in a single show!), and, later on, pertinent observations and specific comments pertaining to these or made by others, which I felt important enough to record. My career accelerated to such an extend (up to 45 shows a ... (read more)

The Earliest Radio Shows of the 1920s

The Goldbergs creator Gertrude Berg during its radio years By the middle 1920s, it became obvious that radio manufacturers could no longer support free radio time. Fortunately, advertisers were discovering that radio was one of the most effective means of advertising available. So, it didn't take long after that for radio to become big business. Its popularity continued to grow -- until the biggest programs were heard by more than 40 million people. And advertisers were paying up to ... (read more)

Judy Canova: The Queen of Hillbilly Hokum

Judy Canova during her radio years When she was a kid, Judy Canova once wrote that she wasn't a happy child. The only thing that could take her mind off herself and her personal unhappiness was music. Born Julietta, she started singing popular songs on a Jacksonville, Florida, radio station together with her brother Zeke and her sister Anne when she was just 12. When she sang she would forget her troubles. Although her mother took her three children to the Carolina hills for the summer, ... (read more)

Feet First Into Fame: Red Skelton

Red Skelton mural at 12 S. 3rd St. in Vincennes, Indiana Some people think J. Edgar Hoover ought to nab Red Skelton before he completely sabotages the FBI's crime-doesn't-pay drive. When the average fellow "puts his foot in it," that's his misfortune. But when this human electron puts his foot in it, fame and fortune come his way. Even Lady Luck has to smile. Skelton gets a fourfold chance at blundering around in his current radio program. He's not only the headliner in Red Skelton and ... (read more)