Monday, July 07, 2014

BOGEY and BACALL on Radio

BOLD VENTURE was a great radio series.  What a pair .... as good together on radio as on the screen.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Turn on the bubble machine

Come every Saturday Night I am about to bust out of my geriatric skin from needing to express high praise for those old Lawrence Welk shows.  Laugh at them if you will, and I know you will, but the fellow with the funny accent hired world class performers for his musical family. I am awed at the talent, training, musicianship and showmanship in those shows.  OK, so it's corny and hokey by today's showbiz standards.  What's new ain't always better.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

STRANGE FRUIT

That song, first recorded by Billie Holiday, might be the first social commentary protest song.  Most unusual for 1939 when Ella Fitzgerald did her jazzy version of "a-tisket a-tasket, the old nursery rhyme. Today's generation and probably at least one before it grew up with "message" songs about some social issue.  No so for me.  Songs were for fun and romance. "Strange Fruit" is  about a lynching. The word doesn't appear but but the meaning is there.

RANDOM HARVEST

Random Harvest.  A sweet amnesia story.  Maybe a bit predictable but who cares.  I watched it because TCM host guy  Robert Osborne and guest programmer Gene Wilder said it had two great speaking voices, Ronald Coleman and Greer Garson.  It wouldn't be real hard to work up a tear over the Smithy and Paula tale.  Wilder said it does it for him. Too bad I could not stay up for the next TCM oldie, "The Merry Widow" from 1934.

Monday, April 14, 2014

DORIS DAY IS 90

Another Doris Day film I must see again. "The Glass bottom boat." Arthur Godfrey was her father. Like many broadcasters of my era, I was a huge Godfrey fan and admirer. Once a powerful radio and TV performer, so popular that he could have been elected to high political office if he had chosen to go that way, he became a victim of cultural and media change when folksiness no longer worked.

Friday, March 21, 2014

NIGHT VALE

Have I yet popped off about the quirky town  of Night Vale and its community radio station? At my age, who can remember what got me sufficiently excited to write about it.  But oh there is excitement of a strange, peculiar and weird kind in that town.  It ain't Lake Wobegon, Minnesota.  Nobody, including the people who live there, whether above or under the streets, knows just where it is.  Or if it is.  Attempting to describe  it is pointless.  You must experience Night Vale in a way that only a podcast can do for you.  You will love it  or scratch your head and mumble "What IS this?  Night Vale is for persons of some perspicacity.  Are you perspicacious  enough?  Did I spell that right?

 Just enter "Night Vale.  You will be taken there.  Oh, one more thing.  You might not return.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

NANCY LAMOTT

I guess I should start a blog or sub-blog called "How could I not know."  How could I not know about Nancy Lamott.  I discovered her on Jonathan Schwartz's wonderful Great American Songbook channel on WNYC on the internet. Nancy, from Midland in my home state of Michigan, was called the greatest cabaret singer since Sinatra.  I can't listen to her recordings and think of her story without getting goosebumps, chills, a tear or two and all kinds of strange feelings. She had terrible health problems,  had  an ostomy, continued to sing through it all, was told she needed a hysterectomy.  Put it off, died from cancer at 43.  From her deathbed she asked her boyfriend to marry herA priest performed the wedding 45 minutes before she died. That was ten years ago.  She is still revered by many.  Jonathan Schwartz ends his shows with one of her songs.  How could I not know.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

MARS IS HEAVEN

I listened to Ray Bradbury's old tale, "Mars is Heaven" on an episode of radio's "Escape" series.  Reminds me of the current books by people who say they went there (heaven) and came back to write about it.   According to news stories, it might not be terribly long before we will be shelling out big bucks to visit the red planet and find out for ourselves.
"Escape" especially interests me as one of the very few old radio dramas that has the music played on a pipe organ.  Being a Hammond Freak, in my head I hear organist Ivan Ditmars playing the same great dramatic stuff on a Hammond and it seems more satisfying.  You can say the Hammond was invented for corn and schmaltz, gospel or jazz.  But it also did a magnificent job of musically punctuating radio drama.  There's nothing quite like it.