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Aldrich Family

The Aldrich Family, a popular radio teenage situation comedy (1939-1953), was also presented in films, television and comic books. In the radio series' well-remembered weekly opening exchange, awkward teen Henry's mother called, "Hen-reeeeeeeeeeeee! Hen-ree Al-drich!", and he responded with a breaking adolescent voice, "Com-ing, Mother!" The creation of playwright Clifford Goldsmith, Henry Aldrich began on Broadway as a minor character in Goldsmith's play What a Life. Produced and directed by George Abbott, What a Life ran for 538 performances (April 13, 1938 to July 8, 1939). The Broadway cast included Eddie Bracken, Betty Field and Butterfly McQueen. The actor who brought Henry to life on stage was 20-year-old Ezra Stone, who was billed near the bottom as the 20th actor in the cast. Stone was also employed as the play's production assistant.

Blondie

Blondie is a radio situation comedy adapted from the long-run Blondie comic strip by Chic Young. The radio program had a long run on several networks from 1939 to 1950. After Penny Singleton was cast in the title role of the feature film Blondie (1938), co-starring with Arthur Lake as Dagwood (the first in a series of 28 produced by Columbia Pictures); she and Lake repeated their roles December 20, 1938, on The Pepsodent Show starring Bob Hope. The appearance with Hope led to their own show, beginning July 3, 1939, on CBS as a summer replacement for The Eddie Cantor Show. However, Cantor did not return in the fall, so the sponsor, R.J. Reynolds' Camel Cigarettes chose to keep Blondie on the air Mondays at 7:30pm. Camel remained the sponsor through the early WWII years until June 26, 1944.

Burns & Allen

Burns and Allen, an American comedy duo consisting of George Burns and his wife, Gracie Allen, worked together as a comedy team in vaudeville, films, radio and television and achieved great success over four decad

Challenge of the Yukon

Challenge of the Yukon was a radio series that began on Detroit's station WXYZ (as had The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet), and an example of a Northern genre story. The series was first heard on February 3, 1938. The title changed from Challenge of the Yukon to Sergeant Preston of the Yukon in November 1951, and remained under that name through the end of the series and into television. The program was an adventure series about Sergeant William Preston of the North-West Mounted Police and his lead sled dog, Yukon King, as they fought evildoers in the Northern wilderness during the Gold Rush of the 1890s. Preston, according to radio historian Jim Harmon, first joined the Mounties to capture his father's killer, and when he was successful he was promoted to sergeant. Preston worked under the command of Inspector Conrad, and in the early years was often assisted by a French-Canadian guide named Pierre.

Duffy's Tavern

Duffy's Tavern was a popular American radio situation comedy which ran for a decade on several networks (CBS, 1941–1942; NBC-Blue Network, 1942–1944; NBC, 1944–1951), concluding with the December 28, 1951 broadcast. The program often featured celebrity guest stars but always hooked them around the misadventures, get-rich-quick schemes and romantic missteps of the title establishment's malaprop-prone, metaphor-mixing manager, Archie, portrayed by Ed Gardner, the writer/actor who co-created the series. Gardner had performed the character of Archie, talking about Duffy's Tavern, as early as November 9, 1939, when he appeared on NBC's Good News of 1940.[1]

Great Gildersleeve

The Great Gildersleeve (1941–1957), initially written by Leonard Lewis Levinson,[2] was one of broadcast history's earliest spin-off programs. Built around Throckmorton Philharmonic Gildersleeve, a character who had been a staple on the classic radio situation comedy Fibber McGee and Molly, first introduced to FMAM on Oct. 3, 1939, ep. #216. The Great Gildersleeve enjoyed its greatest success in the 1940s. Actor Harold Peary played the character during its transition from the parent show into the spin-off and later in a quartet of feature films released at the height of the show's popularity.

Jack Benny Program

Jack Benny first appeared on radio as a guest of Ed Sullivan in 1932.[3] He was then given his own show later that year, with Canada Dry Ginger Ale as a sponsor —The Canada Dry Program, beginning May 2, 1932, on the NBC Blue Network and continuing there for six months until October 26, moving the show to CBS on October 30. With Ted Weems leading the band, Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933.[1] Arriving at NBC on March 17, Benny did The Chevrolet Program until April 1, 1934. He continued with The General Tire Revue for the rest of that season, and in the fall of 1934, for General Foods as The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny (1934–42) and, when sales of Jell-O were affected by sugar rationing during World War II, The Grape Nuts Flakes Program Starring Jack Benny (Later the Grape Nuts and Grape Nuts Flakes Program)[4] (1942–44). On October 1, 1944, the show became The Lucky Strike Program Starring Jack Benny, when American Tobacco's Lucky Strike cigarettes took over as his radio sponsor, through the mid-1950s. By that time, the practice of using the sponsor's name as the title began to fade. The show returned to CBS on January 2, 1949, as part of CBS president William S. Paley's notorious raid of NBC talent in 1948-49. There it stayed for the remainder of its radio run, which ended on May 22, 1955. CBS aired repeats of previous 1953-55 radio episodes from 1956 to 1958 as The Best of Benny[1] for State Farm Insurance, who later sponsored his television program from 1960 through 1965.

Meet the Meeks

Saturday mornings with The Meeks became a household tradition in the late 1940s. Families sat together at 11 a.m. each Saturday to listen as brow-beaten Mortimer Meek, wife Agatha, daughter Peggy and Uncle Louie burst their seams open with laughter. This situation comedy is a continuation of an earlier series, Meet Mr. Meek, which aired from 1940 through 1942.

My Favorite Husband

My Favorite Husband is the name of an American radio program and network television series. The original radio show, co-starring Lucille Ball, was the initial basis for what evolved into the groundbreaking TV sitcom I Love Lucy. The series was based on the novels Mr. and Mrs. Cugat, the Record of a Happy Marriage (1940) and Outside Eden (1945) written by Isabel Scott Rorick, which had previously been adapted into the Paramount Pictures feature film Are Husbands Necessary? (1942), co-starring Ray Milland and Betty Field.

Stand By For Crime

This show from the early 1950s is a good example of the true story style of delivery made popular in radio's classic crime shows Gangbusters and Mr. District Attorney.

The Life of Riley

The radio program starring William Bendix as Riley initially aired on the Blue Network, later known as ABC, from January 16, 1944 to June 8, 1945. Then it moved to NBC, where it was broadcast from September 8, 1945 to June 29, 1951. The supporting cast featured Paula Winslowe portraying Peg, Riley's wife, as well as John Brown, who portrayed not only undertaker "Digger" O'Dell but also Riley's co-worker Jim Gillis. (Brown also played the character of Waldo Binny.) Whereas Gillis gave Riley bad information that got him into trouble, Digger gave him good information that "helped him out of a hole," as he might have put it. Brown's lines as the undertaker were often repetitive, including puns based on his profession; but, thanks to Brown's delivery, the audience loved him. The program was broadcast live with a studio audience, most of whom were not aware Brown played both characters. As a result, when Digger delivered his first line, it was usually greeted with howls of laughter and applause from surprised audience members.

The Saint

Several radio drama series were produced in North America, Ireland, and Britain. The earliest was for Radio Eireann in 1940 and starred Terence De Marney. Both NBC and CBS produced Saint series during 1945, starring Edgar Barrier and Brian Aherne. Many early shows were adaptations of published stories, although Charteris wrote several storylines for the series which were novelised as short stories and novellas. The longest-running radio incarnation was Vincent Price, who played the character in a series between 1947 and 1951 on three networks: CBS, Mutual and NBC. Like The Whistler, the program had an opening whistle theme with footsteps. Some sources say the whistling theme for The Saint was created by Leslie Charteris while others credit RKO composer Roy Webb.