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Entries Tagged as 'variety'

Dennis Day - Pgm 198

March 15th, 2009 · Comments

It's been awhile seen we heard from singer, comedian and "Jack Benny Show" cast member Dennis Day on the blog.  Here, we offer up another rare example of a comedy variety show featuring Dennis that was broadcast in the mid-1950s, probably on NBC (according to Goldin).

transcription label

The program was likely heard September 18, 1955 (the date on the AFRTS transcription vinyl trail-off) and was distributed as program 198 in the "Dennis Day" series.  Dennis starts off the show with a rendition of "April Showers" and Mel Blanc, a regular guest on the series, performs "The Pussy Cat Parade".  Also, guest Anna Maria Alberghetti gives us "The Italian Street Song" and the troop performs a comedy sketch that's a Western done as an opera.

The show was transferred from an original AFRTS vinyl transcription set.


Tags: music · comedy · variety · Dennis Day Show

Spike Jones - Pgm 3

March 15th, 2009 · Comments

Here's a rarity that took a bit of detective work to figure out.  It's "The Chase and Sanborn Program" from June 17, 1945, originally broadcast on NBC.  The series was a replacement for "The Pepsodent Show" when Bob Hope went on a USO tour.  It sounds more like it's hosted by Francis Langford, rather than Spike Jones, but it was distributed by the Armed Forces Radio Servce as program 3 in the "Spike Jones" series.  (You can see other examples of the program at the RadioGOLDindex.)

transcription label

This episode is  a remote from a military hospital in Santa Barbara, California.  Francis Langford opens the show with "I'm Beginning to See the Light"; Spike Jones and company do "Choo Choo Polka", "Laura" and "You Always Hurt the One You Love", a parody of the Ink Spots.  The program features Frances Langford, Spike Jones, Ken Carpenter and guest Garry Moore.

The sound can be a little rough at times, but the original vinyl AFRS disc of this previously lost program was in atrocious condition.  I ran the file through some declicker software I found online to see if it would make the program at least listenable.  The date is taken from the disc vinyl trail-off area.


Tags: music · comedy · variety · WW II related

Dinah Shore, Pgm 94

February 1st, 2009 · Comments

Here's another radio show that appears to be "lost".

Originally broadcast January 31, 1946 on NBC, it's "Birdseye Open House" (aka "Dinah Shore's Open House"), and distributed as Program 94 in the "Dinah Shore" series on AFRS.  In this episode, the guest is Groucho Marx.  The cast does a sketch about a gambler (Groucho) on a riverboat and Groucho sings "Hooray for Captain Spaulding".  The site radiogoldindex.com lists the network version of the show, but only the last fifteen minutes survive of that recording.

transcription label

"Bird's Eye Open House" was a well-done musical variety series with Dinah Shore as hostess and Harry Von Zell announcing.  It was broadcast in the mid-40s, originating at KFI in Los Angeles, and is best remembered for Groucho's frequent appearances.  The movie careers of the Marx Brothers were in decline at the time and Groucho was seeking out a great deal of radio work; he can be heard as a guest on several shows from the period including programs such as "Command Performance", just a few years before his rapier wit would be tapped for "You Bet Your Life".

The show was transferred from an original vinyl AFRS transcription.

Updated 2/3/09 - Corrected "Birdseye" name.


Tags: music · comedy · variety

Kate Smith - Pgm 21

December 20th, 2008 · Comments

Originally heard on the CBS network, we offer in this post a special Christmas edition of the "Kate Smith Hour" as broadcast on AFRS, December 25, 1944.

In the show, Kate sings "When My Ship Comes In" and then we hear a sketch by the cast of "The Aldrich Family".  A highlight of the show is a stand-up routine by up and coming comic Jackie Gleason, who impersonates personalities such as Charles Laughton, Petter Lorre and Jimmy Durante and does a routine about falling in love with a jukebox.  Kate wraps things up with "Ave Maria".

transcription label

Goldin lists this as "possibly" an assembled show.  AFRS distributed programs to their stations on vinyl discs that had to be prepared weeks in advance, so this show may have been a mix of material from other Kate Smith programs or a previous Christmas program in the series or some type of rehearsal.

The show was transferred directly from an original AFRS vinyl transcription.

By the way, do you recognize our Santa Claus on the label?  He turns up on other AFRS Christmas issues and, more recently, on the label of one of the Uncle Remus discs featured in the blog last week.  It's an early example of "clip art", I suppose.


Tags: variety · AFRS · Christmas related

Tex and Jinx - September 3, 1947

November 17th, 2008 · Comments

Tex McCrary and Jinx Falkenburg were hosts of an early light entertainment morning program that mixed chat with interesting guests with music, much in the manner of television's "Regis and Kathy Lee".

This program, from September 3, 1947, is from a summer replacement run of the series that was aired in evening primetime on NBC.  The episode features Broadway star Nancy Walker very early in her career; tennis star Jack Kramer; and a Russian actress and singer, Kirov Petroskiva, who was a sniper during World War II and was hoping to make a career in the States.  The show was sponsored by Ipana Toothpaste and Ingram Shaving Cream.

Jinx Falkenberg was a model and actress and, with her journalist and public relations specialist husband Tex McCrary, started their popular morning show in 1946 and published columns in the New York Herald Tribune.  You might remember Nancy Walker from her work in 1970s sitcoms, but I like to recall her only directorial credit, helming the film "Can't Stop the Music, a major studio flop that was a vehicle for the Village People.

The segment with Kirov Petroskiva is quite interesting; she talks about entertainment and life in the Soviet Union in the early days of what we'd later call the Cold War.  Petroskiva was one of a handful to Russian women who married GI's during the War that were being allowed citizenship in this country.  One wonders what happened to her after she immigrated to the US.

The program was transferred from an original line check Audiodisc acetate recorded at an unknown local NBC affiliate.


Tags: music · comedy · variety · Cold War

Nonsense and Melody - Pgm 25

November 10th, 2008 · Comments

Once again we spend another quarter hour with comedians Gill and Doemling as they play host to "Nonsense and Melody", a syndicated Transco program from 1935-36.

In program 25 of the series, the ship's tour is in the Alps, so we get some comedy about yodeling, avalanches and skiing, including a yodeling number by a couple of Swiss kids.

The Jack Tars do a really nice arrangement of "The Object of My Affection" and Jean sings "Your Guess is Just as Good As Mine".

The transfer was made directly from an original red vinyl Bruce Eeels and Associates transcription, probably pressed for re-release of the series in the 1940s.


Tags: music · comedy · variety · Nonsense and Melody · Transco

Komedy Kingdom, Pgm 1

October 10th, 2008 · Comments

"Komedy Kingdom" was produced by Transco in 1937 using many of the performers and material used on "The Blue Monday Jamboree", a program running locally on KFRC in San Francisco, and later on CBS and Mutual-Don Lee, from 1927 to the mid-1930s.

In Program 1 in the series, titled "Royalty", comedian Joe Blow tries out for the position of Court Jester.  The Rhythmettes perform "The Queen Was in the Parlor,"  Broader and MacDonald sing "The India Rubber Man," and  "Love is King" is sung by Tony Romano.

The First Generation Radio Archives has assembled a wonderful restored collection of the programs and has a detailed web page about the series.  This MP3 was transferred directly from a blue shellac Transco disc from my collection.  It hasn't gone through the CEDAR audio restoration process done on the First Generation Radio Archives set - so, if you enjoy the series, I encourage you to buy the CD set they're offering of the series.


Tags: music · comedy · variety · Transco · Komedy Kingdom

The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street, July 19, 1952

October 10th, 2008 · Comments

"The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street" was a fun program that ran on NBC for several years in the late 1940s and early 50s dedicated to live jazz performances - "barrelhouse, boogie-woogie and the blues", as they say in the program.
The episode of July 19, 1952, the last program of the series, appears not to be in circulation and may have been previously lost.  The host of this particular show is the quirky actor Orson Bean and guests include Erskine Hawkins and Buddy Johnson; the first song in the show is "Riverboat Shuffle".

The program was transferred from original NBC reference acetate recorded from a network feed of the program; the recording includes an opening bumper advertising NBC's coverage of the Democratic convention and the NBC chimes at the end.


Tags: music · variety

The Dennis Day Show, AFRTS Pgm 191

October 3rd, 2008 · Comments

Here's another episode of a series of Dennis Day variety shows that I've not been able to dig up much info on.

In program 191, as broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, the guests are Vera Ellen and Johnny Mercer.  Dennis sings "The Best Things in Life are Free" and Mercer sings his new song "Lonesome Polecat".  The comedy sketch is "This is Your Past, Y'all!", the life story of Johnny Mercer.  The date July 31, 1955 is stamped on the disc label, which may indicate when it was broadcast by a local AFRTS station.

The show was transferred from an original set of vinyl AFRS transcription discs.


Tags: music · variety · AFRS · Dennis Day Show

The Dennis Day Show - AFRS Pgm 185

September 18th, 2008 · Comments

This week, I'm offering up another rarity that I haven't been able to dig up much information on.  It's the "Dennis Day Show", distributed as program 185 in the series by the Armed Forces Radio Service.

You may be familiar with Dennis Day from his appearances on the "Jack Benny Show" and you may have heard a sitcom that ran in the late 1940s featuring Day that's sometimes called "A Day in the Life of Dennis Day".  This program, however, is from a musical variety series done by Dennis Day in the mid-1950s.  I recently found this episode, along with two others in this series and a previously lost 1946 episode of the "Dennis Day Show" in a group of discs I purchased from another collector.

In program 185 in the series, the guests are Mel Blanc and Patty Andrews.  Dennis sings "It's a Grand Night for Singing" and Blanc performs "I Tawt I Taw a Putty Tat".  The main comedy sketch is a parody that looks at what radio would sound like in Ireland and includes satires of "Dragnet" and "Old Doctor Malone".

The show may have been on June 19, 1955, a date which is noted on the disc label; the content of the programs does definitely date it to 1954 or 1955.  Does anyone have information on this series and which network it was broadcast on?

The show as transferred from a set of original vinyl AFRS transcription discs.  The other two episodes from the series, along with other finds, will be going on the blog soon.


Tags: music · comedy · variety · AFRS · Dennis Day Show