Old Time Radio

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Harry Ackerman Produced Our Miss Brooks, Gunsmoke on Radio

Harry Ackerman Harry Ackerman, long-time executive at CBS radio died Feb. 3, 1991. He worked on many of network radio's successful shows, including Our Miss Brooks and Gunsmoke. After graduating from college in 1935, Ackerman became an assistant to Raymond Knight and appeared as part-time announcer and comic poet on Knight's Cuck Coo Hour at NBC. Later he became the assistant director of the Phil Baker Show. From New York he moved to Detroit, where he was hired as agency producer for ... (read more)

For Police Detective Danny Clover, Broadway is My Beat

Larry Thor as Danny Clover in Broadway is My Beat With the musical refrain of "I'll Take Manhattan," and the sound of impatient car horns in the background, another episode of Broadway is My Beat begins. New York police detective Danny Clover informs us that "Broadway is my beat. From Times Square to Columbus Circle -- the gaudiest, the most violent, the lonesomest mile in the world." Homicide detective Clover, played by Larry Thor, narrates the introduction to each program's plot. In ... (read more)

World's First Scheduled Radio Broadcast Came from Pittsburgh

Logo used by KDKA in the 1920s The National Broadcasting Company's Silver Jubilee celebration on November 15, 1951, brings to mind another, even earlier, November day when the world's first scheduled broadcast was heard over KDKA, Pittsburgh, pioneer radio station. Presentation of this inaugural broadcast on November 2, 1920, came about as the result of several strange and seemingly unrelated circumstances. It all began in 1915 with a Westinghouse engineer, Frank Conrad. Westinghouse had ... (read more)

Catching Up with the Cast of Straight Arrow

Howard Culver, star of the Straight Arrow radio show My former agent just forwarded to me the letter you wrote inquiring as to my present whereabouts. As this letter will attest, I'm alive and well, continuing to ply my craft in southern California. You must have a great ear for voices to have remembered mine over a span of some 25 years. Since the demise of Straight Arrow I continued to work in television, theatrical movies and radio, until drama disappeared from the audio waves. ... (read more)

Algiers Was Hedy Lamarr's First Performance on Radio

Hedy Lamarr and Joseph Calleia in the movie Algiers (1938) Since Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's picture Come Live With Me with Jimmy Stewart, little has been heard from Hedy Lamarr, one of Hollywood's most glamorous ladies who broke into screen fame with her rather unclad part in Ecstasy, a European picture. It was therefore with interest that the editors of Movie-Radio Guide observed that Hedy (she likes it pronounced Hay'-dee) was booked by the DeMille Radio Theater to co-star with Charles Boyer ... (read more)

Amanda Snow: From a Nightclub to Gospel Radio

Gospel singer Amanda Snow Hymns have always been joyous and inspirational music to Amanda Snow, NBC's newest singing personality. Perhaps that is why she is now a radio star. To begin with, Snow sang in the Rockford, Illinois, Mission Tabernacle and its Bethesda Church. She later sang in the First Swedish Baptist Church of Minneapolis before coming to New York. And when she finally came to the Big City, she didn't forget her hymns. When Snow came to New York for an audition, she was ... (read more)

How Fred Allen and Portland Hoffa Fell in Love

Fred Allen and Portland Hoffa on the February 1935 Radio Stars magazine The day of which I write was approximately five years ago. It was behind the scenes of The Passing Show, a fleshy, flashy piece of rhinestone entertainment on pre-Depression Broadway. It was one of those days on which stars have headaches, hoofers get runs in their stockings, and comedians look as full of joie de vivre as Egyptian mummies. It was a day on which a tall young man called Fred Allen, despondently leaning ... (read more)

Some of the Unsung Heroes of Radio

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Betty Lou Gerson, Star of Arnold Grimm's Daughter

Betty Lou Gerson in the movie The Red Menace (1950) When a little six-year-old kid named Betty Lou Gerson stopped the show back in Birmingham eighteen years ago during an amateur performance, the home folks predicted that someday she'd blaze her name along the footlight trails. And they might have been right about this child of the southland -- except for the fact that radio snatched her up before she had her feet firmly planted on the theatrical stage. For more than four years now, this ... (read more)

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)