Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jean Arthur's voice

Feeling sorry for myself because I'm a quiet-loving introvert in a noisy world full of Facebookers commenting on each others status, whatever the hell that means, I googled Introverts Anonymous.  Is there such an unlikely group?  There is.  It put me onto a grand story about Jean Arthur.  She belongs here  because this blog is mostly about voices, radio, media and such. It was apparently her voice that not only gave her an easy transition from silent films to talkies, but helped to make her a big star.   She was terribly shy, tormented, hated the star system, might have been lesbian or bisexual. Said to be more reclusive than Garbo, which I did not know was possible.   I don't think I have seen any of her films, not even "Shane."  I will get around to it one of these years.
I hope friend Harry Heuser will do something about her if he hasn't already done so. There is no greater tosser of words or turner of phrases and I await what he might make of Jean Arthur, her films and her life.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Great Detroit Radio

I feel privileged to have grown up in the Detroit area, listening to the great radio that came from the Motor City.    "The Lone Ranger," "Challenge of the Yukon," The Green Hornet,"  "The Hermit's Cave." Stations identified themselves with,   WJR, the Goodwill Station in the Golden Tower of the Fisher  Building. Or   WWJ, the Detroit News.   I don't recall if  WXYZ,  which  originated the Ranger, the Hornet and the story of Yukon King had an identifying phrase. .  I seem to have a  recollection that they might have identified it as being in the Maccabees Building.  Those were the days when radio had class.
Any Detroit kid from that era can still name many of  the Detroit Tigers play-by-play announcers.  I remember Ty Tyson,  who served from before I was born on  into the '40s. That's when the Tigers played at Briggs Stadium.  There was Harry Heilmann and Paul Carey. The greatest of all was the late Ernie Harwell , currently being eulogized  throughout the baseball world. He was at the Tigers microphones for more than 40 years.    I was never a baseball fan but Ernie was a superb radio broadcaster and that's what I cared about.
When I got into the radio business  I spent many hours "riding gain" on the Tigers games.  That's radio talk for sitting at the control board, listening to the game and inserting local station breaks and commercials when the play-by-play men called for them. I literally fell asleep at the switch  at least once and let the Detroit call letters get on the air on the Flint Station.  I  never heard about it, so I assume the boss wasn't listening. 
The best part of the pre-game line checks that were sent to the stations  was listening to Tigers engineer Howard Stitzel  with his off the cuff chit chat and comments about the babes in the stands.. The listeners didn't hear that, but I'm sure Howard  had lots of fans at the stations.  As of last July, Howard , then 92, was the grand marshal at the parade in Southfield.  .  He said he plans to be 100.  I hope he makes it.  It was from Howard that I first heard that  most descriptive and colorful report of  the weather in the ballpark.  ....
"It's colder than a witch's tit!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dead animals, new babies and big ratings

Pardon my cynicism.  You know it's sweeps time when TV ratings that determine advertising revenue are being taken.  Kindly Dr. Phil shows off his first grandkid and properly horrifies us with graphic animal abuse pictures.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"24" is obscene

The award winning  Fox show "24" is filled with sickening, gratuitous violence.  So why have I watched it if it's so bad?  My wife likes it.  Let us hope she never gets seriously made at me. 

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Facebook is so political!

The political commentary on Facebook leaves me reeling. How about "When I wake up in the morning I'm so glad that Barack Obama is President."
When I wake up in the morning I'm just glad that I woke up!