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159 minutes | a day ago
BW - EP112: Drama At NBC (1949 - 1950)
In Breaking Walls episode 112, we finish our five-part mini-series by examining NBC’s business and programming during the 1949-50 radio season in the wake of the CBS talent raids by examining the steps NBC took to regain their footing as the television era began. —————————— Highlights: • Garroway • Frank Sinatra’s Tailspin • Monday Night of Music • Ivy College and their Hallowed Halls • Christopher London vs. Jack Benny • Randy Stone Prowls Chicago’s Night • Dimension X and Arnold Moss • Cloak and Dagger • Vincent Price and Simon Templar • Looking Ahead to Elliott Lewis —————————— The WallBreakers: http://thewallbreakers.com Subscribe to Breaking Walls everywhere you get your podcasts. To support the show: http://patreon.com/TheWallBreakers —————————— The reading material used in today’s episode was: • On the Air — By John Dunning • Network Radio Ratings, 1932-53 — By Jim Ramsburg As well as articles from the archives of: Broadcasting Magazine Radio Daily and Variety —————————— On the interview front: • Ken Carpenter, Dave Garroway, Jim Jordan, Phil Leslie, Vincent Price, Lurene Tuttle, and Herb Vigran were with Chuck Schaden. Hear their full chats at SpeakingOfRadio.com. • Raymond Edward Johnson, Arnold Moss, Vincent Price, and Bill Robson were with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran for WTIC’s The Golden Age of Radio. Hear these at Goldenage-WTIC.org. • Lawrence Dobkin and Elliott Lewis were with SPERDVAC. For more information, go to SPERDVAC.com. • Don Quinn was interviewed by Owen Cunningham in 1951, • Frank Sinatra was with Walter Cronkite in 1965, • Lurene Tuttle spoke with Same Time, Same Station in 1972. —————————— Selected music featured in today’s episode was: • I Can Dream, Can't I — By The Andrews Sisters • Salute to Charlie Christian — By Barney Kessel • Holo Holo Haa — With Lani McIntyre • It All Depends on You — By Frank Sinatra • The Look of Love — By Billy May • Moon Moods — By Les Baxter • Spooky — By Dusty Springfield —————————— Special thanks to The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society https://www.ghoulishdelights.com/series/themorls/ The Fireside Mystery Theatre https://www.firesidemysterytheatre.com/ Terror on the Air https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUbviBTC1CamzamykVCqN0A https://soundcloud.com/terrorontheair https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/terror-on-the-air/id1477581905 https://open.spotify.com/show/63o0AY4Zhv5hQsjGVbMbLk?si=YN_vUk3yTgqvOw73u59BtQ —————————— Subscribe to Burning Gotham—the new audio drama set in 1835 New York City. It’s available everywhere you get your podcasts and at BurningGotham.com. —————————— A special thank you to Ted Davenport and Jerry Haendiges: two radio show collectors who helped supply material for this episode. They’re who the large retailers go to. Ted’s got a Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/otrteddavenport/ For Jerry, please visit http://otrsite.com/ I’d also like to thank Walden Hughes and John and Larry Gassman of SPERDVAC - http://sperdvac.com/ —————————— Thank you to: Tony Adams Steven Allmon Orson Orsen Chandler Briana Isaac Thomas M. Joyce Ryan Kramer Gary Mollica Barry Nadler Christian Neuhaus Aimee Pavy John Williams —————————— WallBreakers Links: Patreon - patreon.com/thewallbreakers Social Media - @TheWallBreakers
2 minutes | 3 days ago
Radio Legend Elliott Lewis Explains Why He Called Ad Execs The League of Frightened Men
In the early 1980s, radio actor/writer/producer/director Elliott Lewis was a guest of John Dunning's Old-Time Radio program for 71K Newstalk Radio in Denver, CO. During the course of the conversation the two were talking about the need for ad execs to be less paranoid and to butt out of the creative process more often.
1 minutes | 5 days ago
Harry Bartell Tells a Funny Jeanette Nolan Crime Classics Story
In 1982, SPERDVAC hosted a panel discussion with some of CBS's well-known Hollywood radio character actors. During the discussion, Harry Bartell told a quick funny story about Jeanette Nolan, who once starred as Lady MacBeth opposite Orson Welles, and who was known for her tremendous vocal range on radio.
2 minutes | 8 days ago
Vic Perrin On The Passing of Barton Yarborough In December of 1951
On May 5th, 1982, actor Vic Perrin was a guest of Neil Ross' for his KMPC program. During the course of the interview, which touched on many subjects, the conversation turned to Barton Yarborough, who passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack in December of 1951 right as his own fame was cresting.
1 minutes | 9 days ago
WOR Chief Engineer Jack Poppele (1898 - 1986) Talks About Launching WOR on 02/22/1922
Radio legend and Chief Engineer Jack Poppele (02.04.1898 - 10.07.1986) recalls his part in the launch of WOR on 2.22.1922 during an interview he gave in 1970. WOR took to the air from Bamberger's department store in Newark, NJ on February 22nd, 1922. The station cost $20,000 to start. It transmitted at 250 watts, and was the nation's sixth licensed radio station. The transmitter had been assembled in Bamberger's by a salesman in the radio department whose specialty was selling crystal sets. When it failed to work, an experienced radio engineer from the Weston Instrument Corp. on Frelinghuysen Avenue, W. Nelson Goodwin, Jr., was called in to help. Goodwin redesigned and rebuilt the transmitter, and got it into working order, enabling WOR to come on the air. The WOR call sign was reissued from the U.S. maritime radio service. The station initially operated limited hours, sharing time with two other stations, WDT and WJY, which also operated on 833 kc. In June of 1923, WOR changed frequency to 740 kc. and shared time with WJY until July 1926, when WJY signed off for good and WOR received full use of the frequency. In December 1924, WOR acquired a studio in Manhattan. On June 17, 1927, as a result of General Order 40, WOR moved to 710 kc., the channel it has occupied ever since.
3 minutes | 11 days ago
Roxy Rothafel, Lew Fields, and Joe Weber Rehearse For the Opening of Radio City's Music Hall in NYC
Impresario Samuel 'Roxy' Rothafel in rehearsal for his radio show to be broadcast from Radio City in New York City, 1932. In this clip, Roxy Rothafel stands at microphone onstage in front of orchestra talking to comic duo Lew Fields and Joe Weber prior to broadcast of The Roxy Hour.
42 minutes | 13 days ago
When Johnny Dollar Solved The Case Of The Burnt Down School
This is a snippet from Breaking Walls Episode 95: Radio And The Classroom (1939 - 1965) _________________________ In the summer of 1955, CBS executives were looking for a way to increase weeknight listenership in a cost-effective manner. They decided to revive a once popular programming format: the fifteen-minute weeknight serial. The show they picked to relaunch was Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. Radio veteran Jack Johnstone, most recently at the helm of Jimmy Stewart’s The Six Shooter, was brought in to direct. The new format allowed for significant character development time. Because the show was unsponsored and CBS cost-sustained, many of Hollywood radio’s affordable best were involved. Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar re-debuted over CBS airwaves at 8:15PM on October 3rd, 1955.
1 minutes | 14 days ago
Jack Johnstone On Writing The Last Episodes of Suspense and Johnny Dollar
In August of 1987, famed radio director Jack Johnstone was a guest of SPERDVAC (www.sperdvac.com) at the Thousand Oaks Library in California. During the course of the conversation on Johnstone's life and career, Johnstone explained that he wrote both the last episodes of Suspense and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, which both aired on September 30th, 1962.
0 minutes | 15 days ago
Have You Been Enjoying Breaking Walls?
Have you been enjoying Breaking Walls? If so, give us a quick rating on whatever platform you listen!
3 minutes | 16 days ago
CBS Dimension: Burgess Meredith Visits the Attic—1960
In the early 1960s, CBS produced a transcribed series of shorts entitled, Dimension. In this grouping, called "American Landscape" Burgess Meredith brought the listener to various American cultural institutions, like this trip to the Attic. This audio is hard to find and was digitized from an original transcription record.
19 minutes | 16 days ago
The Story Behind The End Of Fibber McGee And Molly
This is a snippet from Breaking Walls Episode 94: Radio And The Drugstore/Malt Shop (1940 - 1955) For the full story, listen to Breaking Walls Episode 103: A Weekend at the Malt Shop with Fibber McGee and Molly (1955) _________________________ Jim and Marian Jordan’s Fibber McGee and Molly, was Tuesday at 9:30PM appointment radio. Upwards of forty million people tuned in each week. Fibber’s hall closet became one of radio’s most famous running gags. After television’s proliferation, the program’s audience rapidly shrunk. Longtime sponsor Johnson’s Wax left in 1950 and by January of 1952 the show’s rating was down to 10.7. In 1953 with her health deteriorating, a doctor suggested to Marian Jordan that she take a long rest. She refused. She would continue performing. Production moved to the couple’s home in Encino. The music was pre-recorded and the commercials were no longer built into the show.
56 minutes | 18 days ago
Tex And Jinx: Guest Fred Allen—11/24/1954
At 1PM on a rain-soaked Wednesday before Thanksgiving on November 24th, 1954, Fred Allen appeared on NBC's Tex and Jinx Show out of the flagship WRCA in New York. It was recorded near Peacock Alley at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York city. Allen was there to promote his new autobiography, Treadmill to Oblivion, in which he spoke about his radio career and battles with sponsors, ratings, and network executives. This enlightening interview gives rare long-form insight into a man hailed by peers like Jack Benny and John Steinbeck as a borderline genius. It's a must-listen. Allen would pass away of a heart attack less than two years later on St. Patricks Day, March 17th, 1956.
30 minutes | 19 days ago
Candy Matson: The Devil and the Deep Freeze—09/30/1949
Airing out of KNBC in San Francisco was a ground-breaking lady detective anthology named Candy Matson. Produced, written and directed by Monty Masters and starring his wife, Natalie Masters, Candy Matson debuted on Saturday June 26th, 1949 at 8:30PM Pacific Time on NBC’s west-coast circuit. Natalie was from San Francisco and began her career with the Wayfarers Repertory of the San Francisco Little Theatre Group. The creative couple were locally successful and had nearly fifteen years of experience by 1949. Henry Leff was Police Detective Ray Mallas, with Jack Thomas as Rembrandt Watson. Candy’s number was YUkon 3-8309, and each episode began with a telephone call. The Masters' leaned heavily on their prior associations in the Bay Area. Plots were also reliant on the audience’s knowledge of local San Francisco. Unfortunately, because NBC was sustaining production costs, they moved the show around frequently. They’d often air a program a day or hours ahead its scheduled air date, apologizing later to the growing body of Candy Matson fans. Candy solved almost ninety cases. The series ran until May 20th, 1951.
2 minutes | 21 days ago
Dennis Day Talks About the Various Singers on Jack Benny's Program
During a 1980s Interview with John Dunning for 71KNUS in Denver, Dennis Day explained how he came to be hired by Jack Benny and the interview process. This photos shows Dennis with Jack and Margaret Truman.
30 minutes | 21 days ago
Dragnet: Attempted City Hall Bombing—07/21/1949
By July of 1948 Jack Webb was twenty-eight and bored. After emceeing the short lived Jack Webb Show and One Out of Seven for ABC in San Francisco, he’d collaborated with writer Dick Breen in the cult hit in Pat Novak, For Hire. Early in 1947, Pat Novak’s success took Jack Webb home to his native Los Angeles. With Novak still airing from San Francisco, Webb and Breen teamed up again for Mutual with Johnny Modero, Pier 23. It debuted in April and was Webb’s first coast-to-coast show. Although it only lasted five months, it allowed Webb to work with some of the most talented people in Hollywood radio. He began to act in CBS’ Escape, and was soon doing bit parts for William Spier on Suspense. In July of 1948, Webb was back at it again with writer E. Jack Neuman in Jeff Regan, Investigator. It aired on CBS’ west-coast network into December. However, after playing one hard-boiled P.I. after another, Webb was looking for a role he could really sink his teeth into. That summer, Webb was cast as a forensics specialist in the film He Walked By Night. He became friends with the police technical advisor Detective Sergeant Marty Wynn. Their conversations became the inspiration for a new police procedural—one that would become one of the most famous shows in radio and tv history, and turn Jack Webb into an American icon. Webb spent the entire fall doing his own leg work, He hung out at police stations, took night classes, and rode with detectives on house calls. NBC skeptically green lit an audition. They thought the idea sounded flat. Like with Richard Diamond, booze, innuendo, and shootouts were the spice that made detective shows interesting. To help secure the deal, Webb got cooperation from the LAPD. So long he didn’t go out of his way to portray the department in a negative light, they’d allow him to use closed case files. In January of 1949 Jack Webb intimated to Radio Life that his days playing guys like Novak were almost over. His next character would be “Joe Friday.” Dragnet premiered, coat-to-coast on Friday June 3rd, 1949 at 10PM eastern time over NBC. it was the first of its kind—A realistic, documentational portrayal of the Los Angeles police force at work. NBC sustained production costs for the first thirteen weeks during its Summer run. By the time the seventh episode aired on July 21st, the show had found its rhythm. Barton Yarborough played Sgt. Ben Romero and Raymond Burr was Chief Ed Backstrand. Jack Webb leaned on James Moser for writing and Bill Rousseau for early direction. Vic Perrin was an often-featured guest-star. This episode featured Parley Baer in a masterpiece performance. NBC finally had a hit. It wasn’t long before Liggett and Myers tobacco signed on as sponsor. CBS took notice. A month after Dragnet’s premiere, they shifted Broadway is My Beat to Hollywood and put it under Elliott Lewis’ direction.
29 minutes | 23 days ago
Richard Diamond Private Detective: The Stolen Purse—05/22/1949
Dick Powell was born on November 14th, 1904 in Mountain View, Arkansas. He’d been an A-list crooner in the 1930s, starring in both musicals and comedies at Warner Brothers and Paramount. He was also the emcee of radio’s Campana Serenade. After several attempts, Powell changed his career in 1944 when he was cast as Raymond Chandler’s private eye Philip Marlowe, in Murder My Sweet. The Lux Radio Theater broadcast an adaptation on June 6th, 1945. Two weeks later Powell was starring as Richard Rogue in Rogue’s Gallery on NBC. The series was a summer replacement for the Fitch Bandwagon. When Fitch returned in the Fall, Mutual Broadcasting picked up the show. It lasted for one season on Mutual before returning for a final thirteen weeks on NBC in the summer of 1946. Simultaneously on film Powell made Cornered, Johnny O’Clock, To The Ends of the Earth, and Pitfall. In December of 1948, wanting to get back into radio, Powell recorded an audition for a new CBS series called Yours Truly Johnny Dollar. He was set to take the role when writer and director Blake Edwards called him to star in a new NBC series, Richard Diamond, Private Detective. It premiered on April 24th, 1949. Diamond answered his telephone with atrocious commercial jingles and was a master of the verbal put-down. His relationship with Lieutenant Walt Levinson was abrasive, but affectionate. And he loved to rib Sergeant Otis. Virginia Gregg was Richard’s girlfriend Helen. Ed Begley was Lieutenant Levinson. In this episode from May 22nd, Betty Lou Gerson played the female heavy and Jack Kruschen played one of the hoods. Richard Diamond, Private Detective would find sponsorship with Rexall in April of 1950. ———————— All this week at www.patreon.com/TheWallBreakers I'll be publishing full episodes from Breaking Walls Episode 111: NBC Answers the CBS Talent Raids—1949 (https://soundcloud.com/thewallbreakers/bw-ep111-nbc-answers-the-cbs-talent-raids-1949?in=thewallbreakers/sets/breaking-walls-the-wall) These full episodes will be available with show notes to all Patreon subscribers for $1 per month.
30 minutes | 24 days ago
The Jack Benny Program: First Show for CBS—01/02/1949
This is Jack Benny's first program for CBS after leaving NBC at the end of 1948. It aired, live, coast-to-coast at 7PM eastern time on January 2nd, 1949 from Columbia Square in Hollywood. It was heard in Los Angeles over KNX 1070.
4 minutes | a month ago
William S. Paley Explains How He Bought CBS
On November 20, 1958 head of CBS William S. Paley received an award for his thirty years of work in the field of programming. Paley had purchased a then struggling Columbia Broadcasting System for $417,000 on September 25, 1928. Within those first two years he focused on two things—gaining as many coast-to-coast network affiliates as possible, and putting together the most complete, experimental programming schedule on network radio. In this clip from that speech, he explains how he came to purchase CBS.
1 minutes | a month ago
Lawrence Dobkin On AFRA Taking Cecil B. DeMille's Membership Card
On August 9th, 1986, actor and director Lawrence Dobkin was part of a SPERDVAC ( www.sperdvac.com ) panel along with Don Diamond and Lilian Buyeff to discuss their lives and careers. During the course of the conversation, Dobkin spoke about working for Cecil B. DeMille shortly after AFRA lifted DeMille's membership card. In 1944 DeMille was at odds with the American Federation of Radio Actors because of a ballot proposal called Proposition 12. It threatened unions by making California a “right to work” state. If passed it would have allowed any non-union member to work in radio at a reduced scale. AFRA chose to take one dollar from every Union member to fight the bill. DeMille was sympathetic to union ideals, he just disagreed with being forced to donate to the cause. The argument dragged through late 1944. Eventually, the courts ruled against DeMille and he left the show on January 22, 1945.
1 minutes | a month ago
Elliott Lewis Explains Why A Creator Must Understand All Aspects of the Creative Process
On July 14th, 1979 writer/actor/producer/director Elliott Lewis was a guest of SPERDVAC's to talk about his radio career. This interview was conducted while Mr. Lewis was in the midst of the Sears Radio Theater, a major network attempt at reviving radio drama. In this clip, he spoke about why people involved with creative productions should understand the entire creative process.
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