My Friend Irma - The Air Conditioner
It's time for the girls' annual vacation and Jane flips her lid when she finds out that lovable moron Irma has blown their savings on a malfunctioning a/c unit. Not to fear, the Professor and his Gaelic would-be-frau come to their rescue with a fixed raffle (and a scary kissing booth) via a block party. I believe that I used the term 'that girl is stoopid' at least three times during the listening of this episode. ;)
Lux Theater - Blood On the Sun
James Cagney and Sylvia Sidney reprised their film roles in this good production of the pre-war story set in late 30's Japan. Jimmy's a newspaper editor, Syl's caught up in anti-war intrigue, complete with loads of hissing Asian stereotypes. Kind of a shame considering that Cagney's valet in one of his early 30's musical flicks was a very un-stereotypical Keye Luke I think.
The Big Show - Episode 1
This one was killer, with Jimmy Durante and Fred Allen especially on their best behavior with host Tallulah Bankhead, particularly in the episode-ending skit. Ethel Merman sang three numbers from the then (November 1950) recently-opened Call Me Madam. Danny Thomas did his thing, which also included surprisingly good singing. Other singers Frankie Laine and Mindy Carson did forgettable numbers, but it's kinda hard getting Merman out of your head. ;)
Biography in Sound - Mary Martin
This late-50's bio of the South Pacific star dragged on for an hour when half would have been fine, but I recommend it for fairly-full sound clips of Martin singing some of her biggest B-way hits, including My Heart Belongs To Daddy and I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair. There's also some choice tidbits about Martin's on-again/off-again friendship with Noel Coward.
Dimension X - The Professor Was A Thief
Another newsroom-set episode features a constipated editor, a hotshot reporter, and NYC landmarks that keep mysteriously disappearing. The culprit: a shrimp of a genius prof with a nifty device that could revolutionize the travel industry, not to mention lay easy waste to our enemies.
Old time radio blog.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
If you like more eclectic or non-fiction programming, try CBS Rado Workshop and You Are There. The former was a mid-'50s omnibus similar to the network's later TV show, CBS Sunday Morning, except that some shows are given over to dramatizations of smarter fiction, like John Cheever's The Enormous Radio, and a Colloquoy With Shakespeare. The non-fiction pieces take looks at various world cities like Paris, London, and Rome, or focus on specific cultural works like the Noh Plays of Japan. YAT was a great drama series that put you right in the middle of the action of famous events in world history, like the Spanish Armada, Joan of Arc burned on the stake, the Salem witch trials, the Declaration of Independence, and so on with a news reporter as your guide. The series was revived for television in the 1970's; I remember most vividly the one about Amelia Earhart's disappearance over the Pacific. Sadly, it only lasted for one season, if that.