Now let's turn back the clock to World War II with another entry in the Armed Forces Radio Network variety series, "Mail Call", that brought the top stars from movies and radio to perform for the troops.
This is a pretty amazing little half-hour program. Program 93 features hostess Paulette Goddard introducing W.C. Fields, Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd with Edgar Bergen, Virginia O'Brien, Borrah Minnevitch and the Harmonica Rascals and the King Sisters. The announcer for the show is Don Wilson.
The program is dedicated to armed forces personnel from the State of Kentucky, so there's something of a Kentucky Derby theme going on, at least in the program's opening and first number by the orchestra, "Kentucky". The King Sisters sing the War themed tune, "Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet" and the Harmonica Rascals do a wonderful arrangement of "Brazil". (I'm a fan of the Harmonicats, so this was a real treat.)
The highlight of the show is the sketch with W.C. Fields and Edgar Bergen. They're in rare form, with Fields and Bergen tossing in adlibs as Fields gets lost in the script.
The show was transferred from an original AFRS vinyl transcription. According to the log of the series at otrsite.com, it was recorded May 24, 1944.
By the way - do you recognize the theme the orchestra plays after the intro of Paulette Goddard? It would turn up years later as a main theme used on "The Big Show". Was this some kind of stock cue in the music score library at NBC?