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.

Saturday, November 3, 2018


I will be finishing up Gunsmoke this weekend. We will have all the episodes on our wild west otr channel. All original episodes copied from the original master. So the audio quality will be fantastic. Thanks to your support we were able to purchase these expensive copies.  

New Old Time Radio Channel

We have added a new old time radio channel.