Saturday, December 8, 2018

Re-designed Website

We re-designed our website today to be easier to use our players on smartphones. Now you will find our pop up players on a separate page. Just use the tab above.

I also need to make our home page bigger and wider so the search engines can crawl our website better without errors. (just a pain in the you know what) Doing all this stuff is not what I like or enjoy doing. That GOD for youtube!! You can always find out how to do anything. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Whistler

WHISTLER, crime melodrama. 

BROADCAST HISTORY: May 16, 1942–Sept. 8, 1955, CBS, West Coast regional network for Signal Oil, 1943–54; various 30m timeslots. (The sponsor, Signal Oil, operated only in the West. Only two attempts were made to split the show, with separate sponsorship in the East: July 3–Sept. 25, 1946, CBS, Wednesdays at 8 for Campbell Soups, substituting for Jack Carson; and March 26, 1947–Sept. 29, 1948, CBS, Wednesdays at 10 for Household Finance. Signal continued West Coast sponsorship throughout these times.) CAST: Bill Forman as the Whistler, mysterious teller of murder stories. Gale Gordon and Joseph Kearns as the Whistler in earliest shows. Marvin Miller as the Whistler while Forman was in the Army. Bill Johnstone as the Whistler, 1948. (Everett Clarke as the Whistler in a 1947 Chicago series.) Supporting casts from Hollywood’s Radio Row, players who appeared so often they were known as “Whistler’s children”: Cathy and Elliott Lewis, Joseph Kearns, Betty Lou Gerson, Wally Maher, John Brown, Hans Conried, Gerald Mohr, Lurene Tuttle, Donald Woods, Gloria Blondell, John McIntire, Jeanette Nolan, Frank Lovejoy, Jeff Chandler, Joan Banks, Mercedes McCambridge. ORCHESTRA: Wilbur Hatch, who also composed the eerie mood music, as well as the theme that was whistled at the beginning and end. WHISTLER: Dorothy Roberts, who weekly for 13 years whistled the 37 notes (13 at the beginning, 11 leading into the story, 13 at the end); composer Hatch estimated that only one person in 20 could whistle the exact melody. PRODUCER-DIRECTOR: George Allen (from ca. 1944). WRITER-PRODUCER: J. Donald Wilson. WRITERS: Many freelancers; final scripts by Harold Swanton and Joel Malone. ENGINEER: Robert Anderson. SOUND EFFECTS: Berne Surrey; also, Gene Twombly, Ross Murray. Despite its regional status for most of its days, The Whistler had one of radio’s best-known crime-show formats and one of the longest runs. The signature ranks with radio’s greatest, playing perfectly into the host’s “man of mystery” role. Like the Shadow before him and the Mysterious Traveler yet to come, the Whistler was a voice of fate, baiting the guilty with his smiling malevolence. The show opened with echoing footsteps and a lingering whistle, destined to become one of the all-time haunting melodies. The whistle got louder, then louder, finally blending with the orchestra in a high-pitched sting. Then the Whistler spoke: I am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, many secrets hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes, I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak… The unstated theme that ran the distance was “this could happen to you.” The Whistler told stories of the everyday gone haywire, of common men driven to murder and then being tripped up in a cunning double-twist. These were not mysteries: the identity of the killer was never in doubt, from the first hint that the deed must be done until the moment when the killer trapped himself. The stories were told by the Whistler from the killer’s viewpoint, the narration done in the unusual second-person, present tense. In the earliest days, producer J. Donald Wilson sometimes had the Whistler engage in open dialogue with the characters, the host playing Conscience, arguing with the murderer and goading him to the inevitable doom. The final act was not played out but was summarized by the Whistler in an epilogue as, like the Shadow, he laughed and sealed the killer’s fate with a few terse lines of plot twist. One of the first changes made by George Allen when he arrived as director in 1944 was to fully dramatize that closing turnabout. This was far more satisfying. The Whistler remained the great omniscient storyteller of the air, for the Shadow had long since become his own hero, and the Mysterious Traveler never packed quite the same punch. The voice was an unforgettable tenor, the message dripping with grim irony. It all worked out so perfectly, didn’t it, Roger, he would coo, while listeners waited for the shoe to drop. This would come in “the strange ending to tonight’s story,” the little epilogue when the finger of fate struck, some fatal flaw of character or deficiency in the master plan that was so obvious that everyone had overlooked it. The classic example was the story Brief Pause for Murder. A newscaster had decided to kill his wife. His alibi was perfect: he had cut a recording of his 10 o’clock newscast and had blackmailed a felon working at the station into playing it on the air at the exact moment of the murder. The chief of police would be listening; Roger had made sure of that. And with his wife’s body still warm on the floor, the news came on as scheduled, in his own voice. It all worked out so perfectly, didn’t it, Roger?… until the needle hit a flaw, and repeated … and repeated … and repeated … Allen rotated his stock company depending on the needs of his scripts. He found Joe Kearns “adept at the goodbrain-plotting-his-moves type of part.” Cathy and Elliott Lewis were both full-range players: Elliott “can sound like the average guy under pressure, and he builds emotion fast and holds it at a peak; Cathy has the same qualities as Elliott, the female counterpart of the average guy in her ability to sound absolutely genuine.” Betty Lou Gerson he used in “parts that convey mental superiority; she’s perfect for women who have catty, fencing dialogue.” Wally Maher “makes a perfect blowtop.” John Brown “brings all his fine comedy technique in pacing and dialogue into play,” and Hans Conried was “a marvelous straight lead with tangents, a lead with two faces, a split personality.” Gerald Mohr was used in parts requiring extreme sophistication or as an out-and-out thug. Lurene Tuttle, said Allen, “can be anything: she may change her performance on the air as she finds another facet of the character; she picks out the parts of her characterization that didn’t ring right in rehearsal and corrects them.” In the show Death Sees Double, Tuttle was given the role of identical twins—murderer and victim—to be done in identical voices. At one point she had six unbroken pages of double dialogue, using two microphones and letting distance and pitch tell the listener who was Mona and who was Martha. As for the Whistler, his identity was a loosely kept secret for a decade. In November 1951, Bill Forman was introduced as the actor who had given voice to the character for so long. His was the perfect voice for a murder show that contained little on-mike violence. What there was was “velvet violence,” murder by implication.

listen to our Detective Channel. Click link Below:

Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (p. 720). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.   

Sunday, November 25, 2018

My Friend Irma

BROADCAST HISTORY: April 11, 1947–Aug. 23, 1954, CBS. 30m, Fridays at 10:30 until mid-June 1947; Mondays at 8:30 until Aug.; at 10, 1947–51; Sundays at 6, 1951–52; at 9:30, mid-1952; Tuesdays at 9:30, 1952–54. Lever Brothers for Pepsodent, 1947–51; Ennds Chlorophyl Tablets (“to stop Triple O—odors of body, odors of breath, odor offense”), 1951–52; Camel Cigarettes, 1952–53; various thereafter. CAST: Marie Wilson as Irma Peterson, the last word in “dumb blonde” radio comediennes. Cathy Lewis as her best friend and roommate, Jane Stacy. Joan Banks as Jane Stacy, ca. early 1949, while Lewis was ill. John Brown as Irma’s boyfriend, Al. Jane Morgan initially as Mrs. O’Reilly, owner of the rooming house where Irma and Jane lived. Gloria Gordon as Mrs. O’Reilly for most of the run. Hans Conried as Professor Kropotkin, who lived in the apartment upstairs. Alan Reed as Mr. Clyde, Irma’s boss. Leif Erickson as Richard Rhinelander III, Jane’s boss and the love of her life. Myra Marsh as Richard’s mother. Mary Shipp as Kay Foster, Irma’s roommate from ca. 1953. Richard Eyer as Bobby, Kay Foster’s nephew. ANNOUNCERS: Carl Caruso, Bob LeMond, Frank Bingman, etc. SOUND EFFECTS: James Murphy. ORCHESTRA: Lud Gluskin. CREATOR-WRITER-PRODUCER-DIRECTOR: Cy Howard. WRITERS: Parke Levy, Stanley Adams, Roland MacLane. THEME: Friendship, by Cole Porter. Secondary theme and midbreak bridge: Street

In October 1947, a Time critic described My Friend Irma as a follower in the “artfully stumbling footsteps of Gracie Allen, Jane Ace, and other attractive dunderheads.” But Irma had neither the malapropian qualities of Ace nor the dubiously screwy logic of Allen. She was naively friendly, with a blue-eyed innocence that managed to come across through nothing more than a voice. She was dumb indeed. Only Irma would answer a question about compulsory military service by saying that “a girl shouldn’t have to go out with a sailor unless she wants to.” Irma was so dumb she thought flypaper was the stationery used on airlines. She was a stenographer by trade, and heaven help her understandably crusty boss, Mr. Clyde. Her roommate, Jane Stacy, was her dyed-in-the-wool opposite—completely sane, logical, dependable in every way that Irma was not. Jane narrated the stories with weary resignation, infusing the narrative with exasperation and love. Jane carried an unrequited torch for her boss, the millionaire Richard Rhinelander III. “Wouldn’t it be great,” she asked Irma one night, “if I wound up being Mrs. Richard Rhinelander the third?” Without missing a beat, Irma said, “What good will that do if he’s got two other wives?” But Jane always had Irma’s best interests at heart; thus she tried to discourage Irma’s relationship with the Brooklyn hustler, Al. “Hi-ya, Chicken,” Al would say in his weekly greeting, and the troubles of Irma Peterson

would begin to magnify. Good for one walk-on per show was Professor Kropotkin, the violinist at the Paradise Burlesque, who carried on a running battle of insults with the landlady, a fierce Irish battleaxe named Mrs. O’Reilly. His entrance was always marked by a soft knock and a sheepish Russian accent: “It’s only me, Professor Kropotkin.” The show was created by Cy Howard, a reformed introvert who would also produce Life with Luigi, a year later. Howard had worked in local radio, from KTRH, Houston to WBBM, Chicago. He arrived at CBS in 1946, with Irma on his mind and a sense that the casting would make or break it. He tested for the two leads but found no suitable actresses until Cathy Lewis arrived to read for Jane Stacy. Lewis was then one of radio’s busiest talents, and Howard would long remember her impatience to get on to her next job. With her first words, “All right, all right, five minutes, that’s all,” Howard felt he had found Jane. The critical title role followed shortly, when he saw Marie Wilson in Ken Murray’s Blackouts, doing a part so unlike Irma but packed with the precise naive bewilderment he was looking for. Wilson, Lewis, and Gloria Gordon took their roles to television in 1952, for a CBS series that ran two seasons. Lewis resigned midway through it, and it was decided not to try recasting a role so strongly identified with one actress. Jane was written out of both the radio and TV shows, sent off to live in Panama. Irma’s new roommate, Kay Foster, moved in with her 7–year-old

nephew. Though the show made Marie Wilson a national figure, it typecast her beyond redemption. Far from stupid, Wilson was constantly compared to her fictitious alter ego by critics and her fellow cast members. “She has that same touching sincerity, the same steady wide-eyed gaze,” said Radio Life. “she can keep an admirable poker face through the most idiotic conversations. … She loves everything and everybody, and there isn’t a person in the world that she doesn’t call ‘honey’ with sincerest regard.” Howard agreed. “She’s so much like Irma that I have to rewrite the things she says to make them believable.” The Hooper rating was consistently healthy, peaking at 20–plus. In 1949, Irma was brought to the screen by Hal Wallis. Wilson made the transition, but the film was mainly a launching pad for the careers of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The radio show, meanwhile, continued on through the TV run.

Listen to the show on our A.M. America OTR Comedy Channel. Click Link Below:

Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (p. 473). Oxford University Press. 

My Favorite Husband

MY FAVORITE HUSBAND, situation comedy. BROADCAST HISTORY: July 23, 1948–March 31, 1951, CBS. 30m, initially Fridays at 9; frequent time changes, with Fridays at 8:30 (1949–50) its most sustained timeslot. General Foods. CAST: Lucille Ball and Richard Denning as Liz and George Cooper, “two people who live together and like it.” (Lee Bowman as George in the premiere episode only.) Gale Gordon as George’s boss, the short-tempered banker, Rudolph Atterbury. Bea Benaderet as Iris, Atturbury’s wife. Ruth Perrott as Katie, the Coopers’ maid. PRODUCER: Jess Oppenheimer. WRITERS: Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Pugh. My Favorite Husband was based on the novel Mr. and Mrs. Cugat, by Isabel Scott Rorick. The Cugats became the Coopers (the name sounding much less ethnic), and they lived “in a little white two-story house” at 321 Bundy Lane, “in the bustling little suburb of Sheridan Falls.” Lucille Ball was a zany housewife; Richard Denning was a typical addled radio husband—sometimes forgetful, sometimes lovable, always stereotypically male. There were many male-vs. female plots, with George and his boss, Atterbury, against their wives. The best-remembered line on the show was Atterbury’s catchphrase, “Ah, Liz-girl, George-boy.”

You can listen to the show on our A.M. America OTR Comedy Channel. Click Link Below:

Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (p. 472). Oxford University Press. 

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes; Petri Wine sponsored in this timeslot for a full season when Holmes did not return; subsequently, Tuesday, Monday, Saturday, and Sunday timeslots. Jan. 25–Aug. 31, 1950, ABC. 30m, Wednesdays at 8:30; Tuesdays at 8 beginning in May. Also, two shows, Oct. 3, 10, 1951. CAST: Gale Gordon as Gregory Hood, a San Francisco importer and amateur detective. George Petrie also as Hood, early in the run. Elliott Lewis as Hood as of March 1, 1948. Jackson Beck as Hood, ca. 1949. Also, Paul McGrath and Martin Gabel as Hood. Bill Johnstone initially as Hood’s sidekick Sanderson “Sandy” Taylor. Howard McNear as Sandy as of March 1, 1948. DIRECTORS: Ned Tollinger, Frank Cooper, Lee Bolen, etc. WRITERS: Anthony Boucher and Denis Green; Ray Buffum. SOUND EFFECTS: Art Sorrance. The Casebook of Gregory Hood was in some ways an extension of Sherlock Holmes. Basil Rathbone had left his Holmes role, but the Holmes scripters, Anthony Boucher and Denis Green, continued their collaboration on Hood. It was a long-distance partnership, Green living in Los Angeles and Boucher in San Francisco. Boucher, a Conan Doyle devotee, had worked out the Holmes plots, while Green, less enraptured by “the master,” had dialogued Boucher’s plots from a detached perspective. It was Boucher and Green who suggested Gregory Hood as the replacement series when Rathbone left Holmes in 1946. Richard Gump, a real-life San Francisco importer, became the prototype for Gregory Hood, serving also as a consultant “whenever they get stuck on a bit of importing business.” The artifacts found by Hood and his pal Sandy in the stories usually had intriguing histories and were invariably linked to some present-day mystery.

You can listen to the show on our Crime Fighter Detectives Channel. Click Link Below:

Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (p. 140). Oxford University Press. 

Boston Blackie Detective

BOSTON BLACKIE, detective drama. BROADCAST HISTORY: June 23–Sept. 15, 1944, NBC. 30m, Fridays at 10. Summer replacement for The Amos ’n’ Andy Show. Rinso. CAST: Chester Morris as Boston Blackie, a private detective described as “a modern Robin Hood, a little on the gangster side, wise to all the tricks but always reversing to do a lot of good.” Richard Lane as Blackie’s would-be nemesis, Inspector Faraday of the police. Lesley Woods as Blackie’s girlfriend Mary Wesley. ANNOUNCER: Harlow Wilcox. April 11, 1945–Oct. 25, 1950, transcribed syndication by Frederic W. Ziv (dates are New York); various network outlets, mostly Mutual. Many 30m timeslots. CAST: Richard Kollmar as Boston Blackie. Maurice Tarplin as Inspector Faraday. Jan Miner as Mary. More than 200 episodes produced. Boston Blackie was billed as “enemy to those who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friend.” His specialty was making fools of the police, a simple task with Inspector Faraday heading the official investigations. Chester Morris initiated the role on the screen and played in 14 Blackie films.

You can listen to the show on our Crime Fighter Detectives Channel. Click Link Below:

Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (p. 110). Oxford University Press. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

OTR Christmas

Tonight on our comedy channel we will be live playing some great Christmas OTR  comedy starting at 11pm central time usa.

Re-designed Website

We re-designed our website today to be easier to use our players on smartphones. Now you will find our pop up players on a separate page. ...