Old Time Radio

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The Home Life of Jack Benny

Jack Benny's former home in Beverly Hills Under one roof: a house for everybody, and for everybody a house of his own. This is Mary Livingstone's recipe for a harmonious family life, and it works like a talisman -- even in Hollywood where (despite the well-paid efforts of half the psychiatric brains in the country) more marriages explode in the headlines than go on year in year out in a sort of a miraculous serenity. Of course, if you're living in Quonset hut with your bride and her ... (read more)

What Happened on Radio Soaps in March 1953

Ad for The Romance of Helen Trent featuring Julie Stevens Aunt Jenny: All kinds of people pass before Aunt Jenny's experienced, understanding eyes as she surveys the lives of her neighbors in the small town of Littleton. But seldom has she known a personality like Sam Cutler, who deliberately set out to ruin his sister-in-law because she had defied him. What happened to Sam made the unexpected climax of this story one of those recently told by Aunt Jenny. 12:15 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, ... (read more)

Phillips Lord Gives Voice to Bums of the Bowery

Seth Parker portrayer and creator Phillips Lord Criminals, bop-heads, panhandlers and other breeds of down-and-outers of New York's Bowery have combined with one of radio's best-known characters to present a series of programs over National Broadcasting Company networks, hailed as one of the unique broadcasts of the year. America's radio audience demanded variety, and Phillips H. Lord, 28-year-old creator of Seth Parker and His Jonesport Neighbors, supplied it. In a dingy, smoke-filled ... (read more)

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)

Don Ameche's Lucky Break in 1930

Don Ameche and Hildegarde Knef in Silk Stockings on Broadway Don Ameche armed himself with some letters of introduction, and set out. He wasn't afraid of New York. "I didn't have enough sense to be afraid," he said, with a wry grin. He delivered all the letters on his first day in New York, and like most letters of introduction, they didn't do any good. He was turned away politely, instead of brusquely; that was all. On his third day of job hunting, he met another young actor on the ... (read more)

Frances Lee Barton's Cooking School of the Air

Frances Lee Barton from a General Foods Cooking School of the Air mailing Thousands of women all over the country know Frances Lee Barton and her broadcasts from the General Foods Cooking School of the Air. Heretofore, Barton's broadcasts have dealt entirely with baking, cooking demonstrations, menu making, proper use of recipe ingredients, kitchen hints and the related material that has made her Cooking School of the Air programs of invaluable service to housewives everywhere. From now on, ... (read more)

Inside Kate Smith's Kitchen

Kate Smith on CBS radio in 1943 "Hello, everybody. This is Kate Smith." How often you've heard that cheery greeting! The rich, friendly tones of the speaker's voice bring instant recognition apart from the spoken words and you find yourself responding as you would to the warm handclasp of an old friend. Well, after all, this is an old friend I am presenting to you here, this Catherine Elizabeth Smith, who for years has been bringing the moon over the mountain and into your living room. ... (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)

Radio Jingle Moves 1 Million Barrels of Burgermeister Beer

Burgermeister, Burgermeister It's so light and golden clear, Burgermeister, Burgermeister It's a truly fine pale beer This jingle has proved to be worth about $4 million a word so far. Sung to the tune of "Clementine" on a host of California radio stations, it has impelled thousands of Californians to switch to Burgermeister. Sales for 1951 are up 33% over 1950 with annual sales of close to one million barrels. That wasn't the situation in 1944 when 55-year-old German-born Henry E. ... (read more)

WDAF Nighthawks and the Merry Old Chief

"Station WDAF, the Kansas City Star Nighthawks, just doing a little hawking" is a phrase familiar to radio listeners all over the United States and other parts of the world. For when the Merry Old Chief starts to dispense his happiness and good cheer at 11:45 p.m., fans invariably dial for Kansas City. The Merry Old Chief is the most popular feature of the Nighthawks program. His original style of announcing, his ready wit, his million-dollar laugh and his unusual singing voice have ... (read more)