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Mail Call – Victor Borje. 1945 (retro469)

Posted by Keith on July 19, 2014

Opens with a tune by the Charioteers, Goucho Serenade.

Normally, the show has a variety of acts, but Victor carries the whole show with his unique style of humor and excellent concert piano playing.

Victor talks about his childhood and family. He then shuffles together some of the great composers for a clever arrangement of Schubert and the Blue Danube.

The Johnny Green orchestra plays a medley, and the show is wrapped up by a closing number of the Charioteers, Lilly Belle.

Bonus Tracks:
Spike Jones – William Tell Overature.
Jimmy Durante – , with Bob Hope.

PS: Please leave a comment, or email by using the web page. Retro Radio Podcast. While there, check out the new SpeakPipe widget, and leave an audio message.

Retro OTR Diary 11 Jack Paar Comparrison to Jack Benny.

Posted by Keith on July 14, 2014

Looking at the first appearances of both comedians, we see their flair for dry humor, and using topics in the headlines. Easy to do, but often it doesn’t hold up well over time. Not without the growing need to be a history buff.

Jack Paar used some of his own innovative ideas, such as his bits where we get a glimpse into what the characters are really thinking. A couple snippets of his first guest star, Dennis Day demonstrate this.

Both comedians worked with sketch humor. I didn’t showcase any of Jack Benny’s, he moved away from topical humor, and the sketches and spoofs were what he had become most known for by this time. Instead, a sketch of a Western is demonstrated. It might also be compared to early Buck Benny installments, the use of the horse in a take of of a bit done by Mel Blanc as Jack Benny’s horse. Still, Paar is a little more edgy in some inuendo that Benny isn’t likely to have touched.

It’s not a super detailed side by side comparrison. I wanted to include some listener comments, and observations, and stick to just the minimal. Thanks to those who offered insights, and it’s not too late to add yours. I have a commentting system. I’d love to do a sequel on this topic if it’s something you want to hear about.

Retro OTR Diary 10 Gunsmoke – Little bird 580511

Posted by Keith on July 10, 2014

Before getting started, Keith shares a story about how, in a later interview, William Conrad tells of an autograph seeker and fan of Gunsmoke. The obliging voice actor stopped on his way inside the studio to talk to the man, but the man went away disappointed. In the studio, he told his fellow actors, and the production ccrew what just happened to him. What was it that the voice actor couldn’t help the fan out with?

Though the show dealt with serious topics, moral dihlemma’s, rough justice, and the like, it wasn’t withot comic relief. Doc Adams often was critical of the medicine shows that rolled to town from time to time. However, he was also a man of science, and he has a little fun with a demonstration of that technology.

When trouble came to town, Matt was alerted by his friends. Sometimes it was Chester, but among other merits, Miss Kitty could always be trusted to alert him when something suspicious was going down.

It happens often in old movies. There’s a catch phrase that one of the players in the film says that is used as the title of the movie. It doesn’t happen very often at all in the realm of radio shows. But that’s what happens to get the title of this episode.

Of course, Matt goes to confront the bad guy to call him out. He usually hopes the tough guy will take a word to the wise, stop doing what he’s doing, and back down. It seldom works that way, but Matt isn’t opposed to using his hands rather than his pistols, when he needs to.

When the tough guy doesn’t take the message, 6 gun justice has to be applied. Normally it’s Matt who has to act hard and fast. Sometimes its a force of nature. Then again, sometimes a more subtle approach slips past Matt to right the wrongs, and solve a problem.

Leters from Listeners

The Retrobots join in to share a few brief words from listeners, gleaned from emails, and Facebook entries.

Burns and Allen – Pretending To Be Single. 421006 (retro467)

Posted by Keith on July 5, 2014

After a party with friends, Gracie wants to rekindle the romantic spark in her marriage to George. They decide to relive their courting days, and the thrill of their first date.

The deception confuses their friends, neighbors, and even the cabby and soda jerk in the drugstore. Has George made the right decision to relive that first date?

In his efforts to go along with Gracie, will George prove to be just too old and tired? Will Gracie have the will power to resist love’s first kiss? How far are the two going to take this little game of theirs? Stay tuned and don’t miss any of the craziness and jokes.

Bonus Track:
Keith shares a few thoughts about this episode, then shares some ideas about the on air married life of George and Gracie.

TuneWranglers_They Go Wild Over Me
BurnsAndAllen92

Retro OTR Diary 09 Vic and Sade – Five Men from Maine. 410530.

Posted by Keith on June 14, 2014

It’s a typical day in the gook home, and rush tries to relay a telephone message to Vic. The mysterious phone call is about 5 men from Maine who are friends with Mr McDempsey from Oregon.

How did they hear about vic? Are they lodge members, or workers for the Consolodated kitchenware Company? Sade may have an opinion that probably nails it. Jimbo Mason talks more about it.

Crazy names are a feature from Paul Rimer, and Vic has plenty of his crazy names for Rush. Even in recounting a quip from 3rd Lt Stanely, rush gets a new name. We also are privileged with a word from PQ Rivers, who shares his Insights, and observations on crazy names. Special thanks to PK Rivers for the contribution.

Even when the phone isn’t ringing, Rush has to give the graphic details that went down when he answered the call. It’s just not helpful in solving the mystery. As a distraction to the issue at hand, Sade has her own absurd incident to share.

Her opinion of the men from Maine aren’t as as shady as the idea that rush has is it?

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Retro OTR Diary 08 Mama Bloom

Posted by Keith on June 5, 2014

Though the entire series has now been posted on the site, Keith finally takes time to talk about this show. This short run, 25 episode soap opera is in mostly good quality, with some speed variation from show to show.

The Blooms are Jake and Becky, or papa and mama as they’re called by their teenage girls Sara and Yetta. The parents are immigrants from Poland, speak with heavy Yiddish accents, and find it a challenge to move out of their old world traditions. Meanwhile, the girls embrace the sophisticated life in the big city.

The story is one of culture shock, the clash between old world tradition, customs, and style to that of the modern city and the new technologies the 20th century ushered in. The clash is a soft one, with Becky Bloom at the center of it all, playing advocate, and dispensing wisdom to soothe all the troubles that come their way.

Jake is a tailor, and a business man who has sunk deep into his comfortable ways. To hear him complain about his life, his aching feet, being tired, and Becky’s relatives, you might think he was either just a grumpy old man, or an overgrown spoiled boy. OK, maybe he is. He has his tender side. He thinks Becky has grown more beautiful with age, regardless of her few added pounds since they met 23 years earlier. He lavishes gifts on his girls, including a new car as a wedding gift. He complains over the checks he has to write when mama goes overboard in planning Sara’s wedding, but he writes them anyway. Even his attitude towards Sidney, his future son in-law, is like a roller coaster. Jake is aggravated that Sidney might never ask Sara to marry him, he’s upset that Sidney has moved into the business and made changes, spent lavish amounts of money, and added new products to the inventory than just boy’s knee pants. His comfortable life keeps getting out of his control.

We don’t learn a lot about Yetta, the younger sister. She’s always going out on a date, doesn’t seem to have a steady boyfriend, but along with Sara, they wear makeup, and have high maintenance tastes in style. The girls hate their names, and would prefer to be known as Sally and Yvette. They are a little spoiled, they worry over their mom’s lack of clothes in the closet, and the drab colors their mom chooses for herself. They’d like for their mom to join in with their taste in style, loosen up a little and have fun with them, but mama is comfortable in who she has become over the years. Like any teenager, they’re a little embarrassed of their parents, mostly with mama, and the way she is constantly misusing and mispronouncing words.

The focal point in the story becomes Sara and her engagement to Sidney. Jake has his world shaken up with delight over his daughter, and the wedding, but Sidney is proving too much for him. Jake may be OK with Sidney marrying Sara, but he hates the changes in the store, he can’t see why they need to expand the inventory into providing military uniforms to South American countries. Granted, the new insurgence in business has easily tripled the entire net worth of the store in one sale, making Jake happy and proud, but also frustrated at the decisions and changes that Sidney makes. Sidney’s wheeling and dealing ways are more than Jake can comprehend. Mama isn’t the only one who can dispense wisdom, or get a figure of speech a little mangled. In his own way, I think Jake likes Sidney, and he even teaches Sidney a lesson on how to keep shop secrets around the women folk. There’s an episode, Sidney’s Visit At Night where Sidney spills the beans to tell that Jake was goofing off at work, playing cards. The table is turned when Jake gets Sidney in trouble with Sara, by spilling the beans on a late night game of craps.

Mama seems to be a bottomless pit of insights and wise sayings. There never seems to be a situation that she can’t see through, and cut to the source of the trouble. No smoke screen is too thick to throw her for a loop, no emotional drama too serious that she doesn’t know how to stabilize it. You’d think she was super human, and came out of the womb that way. To hear her butcher the English language, and get figures of speech a little mixed up, you might fall into the trap of thinking she was less smart than she really is.

We learn that despite any perceived old world stodginess, that Becky and Jake weren’t beneath playing at kissing games when they were young. Becky tells Sara that she didn’t know it all, and her calm relationships with her in-laws didn’t come without battle scars. Did you ever look back and think of all the things you wished somebody could have taught you as a young person? Becky does just that, as she tells Sara about being even less educated about life when she was Sara’s age.

Mama can be manipulative at times, but not often to be self-serving. She teaches her girls lessons in getting what they want tactfully, how to get the best bargains shopping, how to play detective, judge, and understand all sides of an argument. Mama is observant and a good judge of character. She can read between the lines, and find the solution from unexpected sources. Mama can be frugal, and budget conscious, but when there’s a wedding, she knows when to lavishly dish out the money. When there’s family crisis or conflict, mama is there, and knows the right way to fix the problem. Who wouldn’t like to have a mama like that?

Just to help out, here’s the link to grab all 25 installments: Mama Bloom – Retro Radio Podcast

Extra:
Keith shares a word on changes to the line up of the daily serials on the podcast.

Also a word on the new SpeakPipe widget on the site. Use it and leave a brief voice message. It’s even accessible to folks using mobile devices like iOS or Android. Blind people can even access it using their screen readers.

Casey, Crime Photographer – The Scene Of The Crime 490310 (retro464)

Posted by Keith on June 3, 2014

Audio quality is excellent. It’s evening in the Blue Note cafe as Casey gets a good laugh at Ethylbert’s idea for a career move. The bar tender wants to try his hand at being a detective. Will he get his big chance when Ann Williams enters to announce the latest corpse?

With a replacement to relieve him from his duties, Ethylbert tags along at the crime scene. Surprising both Casey, and the cops, Ethylbert offers a surprise clue, he knows the dead man. What else does Ethyulbert know about the activities that Dave Wilson was involved in:? In the Blue Note, now it’s Ethylbert’s chance to relax and stretch his mind as he shares the clues with Ann Williams. Will Ethylbert’s out dated detective books do any real good as he and Ann return to the scene of the crime? The only prowler he manages to catch is Casey.
Casey goes down a different road in pursuit of the killer, while Ethylbert waits in the wings, trying to apply his new knowledge. The trouble is that Ethylbert’s idea of a criminal face and profile could just as easily match Captain Logan. Usually Ethylbert’s insights are helpful, but when he’s trying to help, things just aren’t clicking as easily. Still, he manages to stumble onto the killer, and finds himself in danger. Can Casey catch up to him in time, and rescue his friend?

Be sure to make one last visit to the Blue Note to see which clues were key in putting an end to the mystery. Will Ethylbert win his detective diploma?

Bonus Track:
None today, just extra comments from Keith on the show.

Also some housekeeping notes about the new SpeakPipe widget to leave a brief voice message, followed by a letter from a listener.

Lum and Abner – Lum Returns 350528 (RV019 retro462)

Posted by Keith on May 30, 2014

Horlicks: If your youngster doesn’t like milk, or just can’t drink it, try Horlicks. It has all the good stuff to help kids grow big and strong. And kids love it.

Recently in Pine Ridge, search parties have been hunting for Lum, after he disappeared. He went missing after the failed unveiling ceremony. Today Abner gets a phone call from Dick Huttleston to announce that Lum has returned.

Abner spreads the word, and sends Cedric to call off the search parties. Grandpap and Abner recount the reasons for Lum’s disappearance, and the prank that Mose Moose played on him. The two are still concerned that Lum may have lost his ambition. Maybe if they push him into a marriage with his gal, Evelina, he’ll regain his spirits.

Just where did Lum go off to? That’s the thing Abner and Grandpap try to figure out. When Lum comes into the Jottem Down store, he tels about his trip he made to Kansas City. After the warm welcome, Lum tells about his new business idea. A picture show business.

Horlicks: Use it for weight control. Lose from 3 to 5 pounds per day, just by substituting the Horlicks plan for your usual lunch.

Note: Check out this episode without the added comments, Lum and Abner – Lum Returns. 350528.

Bonus Track:
Johnny Mercer 1946 Everybody’s Got a Laughing Place.
Keith recaps the show from his back patio, and includes some gaps in the story arc that led to today’s fun in Pine Ridge.

Retro OTR Diary 007 dragnet – the Werewolf 490617

Posted by Keith on May 28, 2014

Chief ed backstrand is back with his booming voice, and presence on the scene along with his cops. The concept of a werewolf is odd enough, but the added reverb when the cops get the description is just not called for. Are they serious? is this a real werewolf? It seems to be. This is just another example of how chief backstrand is the type to get out of the office. He’s on the street with Joe friday, and ready to roll.

Police women became a popular thing in TV shows of the 70′s with Angela Dickonson as the Police Woman. Of course, women were in the police force for a lot longer than that. Though their jobs were usually characterized by being meter maids, working behind a desk, or prison matrons, they sometimes did take to the streets. Sometimes women put themselves in danger to go under cover, as we see portrayed in today’s show. There’s a now forgotten TV show of the 50′s called the decoy. It pretty much told the story of a police woman whose job it was to do just this, go under cover, and be used in sting operations.

Back to the werewolf.

In the midst of the drama, we find a touch of the mundane life in setting a dragnet. Endless repetition, and just the thing jack webb aimed at doing. Not to be treated like a hokey horror movie character, or just a dramatic gimmick, the werewolf is also a smart criminal that gets under the skin of the police force. With a little of that classic dragnet music to set the tone, friday is sure they’re closing in. Murder enters the picture to escalate the importance of stopping the werewolf, and the frustrated chief blows up on Friday.

The drama comes to a head, sure enough, the crime breaks in dramatic, gun shooting, siren blaring fashion. There’s lots of suspenseful drama to hold you to the edge of your seat. However, after all that adrenalin rush, jack webb tosses in a bit of ironic anti climax.

Here’s a point of trivia. Having an appearance of a werewolf is a well documented medical condition, having facial hair that extends to the skin where usually no hair will grow. It seems to be only found in people of Mexican descent. I’ll bet the real name of the criminal was something that was distinctly hispanic, not Walter Barton.

Note: To listen to the complete episode, visit Dragnet – The Werewolf. 490617.

Retro OTR Diary ep06 Seeking God In Old Time Radio

Posted by Keith on May 24, 2014

Inspired by a letter from a listener, Keith takes a look at how God was viewed by a slice of the world in radio, history, and even music.

The Great Gildersleeves was definitely not a religious program, but the comedy proved it could mix well with religion. Check out Great Gildersleeves – Easter Sunrise Service. 520409 to see how they did it in Summerfield. Though Keith doesn’t inclujde it here, besure to listen to the full program to hear Birdie sing a spiritual that says it all. . At least the Good Friday part. The fact they’re participating in a Sunrise service gives a nod to the rest of the story, which is where the real power and hope of Easter resides.

The influence of God was acknowledged in the realm of radio, but historical events that featured God weren’t covered up. There’s some quirky comments from our friends in the small house halfway up the next block. After Russel’s Sunday School teacher flexes her muscle, we get a treat from the Family Doctor. Gossip is a dangerous thing that could lead to more than just hurt feelings. In the end, Doc, and his gossiping patient know the bible better than most. Besides the showcased episode, be sure to give a listen to Family Doctor – The Decision. ep38, 1932 for some soul searching in prayer.

Finally we wrap up with a musical treat from Hank Williams. He wasn’t known for a personal walk with God, but he wrote some amazing hymns, and performed them for his fans who loved them. He rose above any personal discomfort in singing songs like that, and did it for the fans. Now that’s a special kind of dedication. Keith shares a parting word from World War 1 veteran and champion of children’s programming for decades, Smiling Ed Maconnel.