Thursday, August 10, 2017

Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell was a great singer, and a great guitarist.

Here is a very pretty version of his beautiful hit song from 1968, "Wichita Lineman," written by Jimmy Webb.

The performance is from a PBS concert; I believe it was taped in 2001.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

"Garroway at Large"

I recently happened upon this brief video, on YouTube.  It is of Dave Garroway's Chicago-based television variety program Garroway at Large, which aired on NBC from 1949 until 1951. (I don't know the specific date of the telecast.)  Later, at the start of 1952, Garroway became the first host of NBC's Today show.


Garroway was a captivating performer, and personality.  The video, below--or, more precisely, the video made from a kinescope--is less than two minutes long, but it provides, very quickly, a nice sense of Garroway's calm, leisurely, intimate and witty style.   

There is a particularly charming moment, in the video, featuring Faye Emerson, who was one of early television's biggest stars.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Morgan White, Jr., and Donna Halper

My friend Morgan White, Jr., who hosts The Morgan Show, Saturday nights (10 p.m. to midnight) on Boston's WBZ Radio, will be sitting in tonight for host Bradley Jay, on the station's overnight program (midnight to 5 a.m.).

At midnight, his guest will be broadcast historian Donna L. Halper.  She's the author of the 2011 book Boston Radio: 1920-2010.  The book is part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series.

Another of her books is Invisible Stars: A Social History of Women in American Broadcasting. The book's second edition was brought out in 2014 by the academic publisher Routledge. The book was originally released in 2001 by the publisher M. E. Sharpe; in 2014, M.E. Sharpe was bought by Routledge.

Halper--who is an associate professor of Communication and Media Studies at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.--is one of the people behind an excellent Facebook page which has been referred to previously in this space: "New England Broadcasting History":

Monday, July 17, 2017

Martin Landau

I cannot count the number of times I have seen the outstanding 1959 Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest, which starred Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.  The film never disappoints.

One of its great supporting performances was by the wonderful actor Martin Landau, who played Leonard, the right-hand man to James Mason's Phillip Vandamm.  

Mr. Landau died on Saturday, at age 89. 

Another of my favorite performances by Mr. Landau was his supporting role--for which he received an Oscar nomination--in Woody Allen's Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). 

Mr. Landau's obituary in The Washington Post noted this, about his Crimes and Misdemeanors role:  "Newsweek arts writer Cathleen McGuigan spoke for many critics when she wrote that his 'delicate, tortured performance as a successful man caught in the web of his deceits is a tour de force.'"

Here, lastly, is part of a scene from North by Northwest; the scene includes Cary Grant, James Mason, and Mr. Landau.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bill Dana

Bill Dana, who died on June 15th, at age 92, was a very funny comic actor and comedy writer--best known, certainly, for his "Jose Jimenez" character, which he first performed on The Steve Allen Show in 1959.

Here is an enjoyable sketch--or at least part of a sketch--performed in the 1960s by both Mr. Dana and Ed Sullivan, on Mr. Sullivan's television show:

Bill Dana, performing as astronaut Jose Jimenez, with Ed Sullivan, 1960s

There are a couple of very interesting things I learned about Mr. Dana, after he died (via obituaries about him).

I had never known that Mr. Dana--writing material for comedian Don Adams--came up with the idea for Mr. Adams's "Would you believe?" routine, later made famous on Adams's 1960s television series Get Smart;  I also never knew that the routine had been seen on television prior to Get Smart.  

Here, from YouTube, is part of an episode of The Bill Dana Show, which aired on NBC from 1963 until the start of 1965, and featured Mr. Dana as Jose Jimenez; it also featured Don Adams, in a supporting role. (Get Smart would make its debut in September of 1965, eight months after The Bill Dana Show left the air.)  

A "Would you believe?" joke can be seen at approximately 1:30 in the video.  Also seen in the video, in addition to Mr. Dana and Mr. Adams: actor Jonathan Harris, a regular on the program, who later starred on the series Lost in Space. (He appears at about the four minute mark, in the video.)

I also had not been aware, until Mr. Dana's death, that he wrote one of the funniest episodes of the TV series All in The Family (and probably one of the funniest episodes in television comedy history): the 1972 episode which revolved around a visit to the Bunker household by Sammy Davis, Jr. 


Here is the full episode, titled "Sammy's Visit," from YouTube:

Lastly, here is an obituary about Mr. Dana, from The New York Times:

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Latest book by Mel Simons


This is my friend Mel Simons' latest book--the fifth in his Old-Time Radio Trivia series. (That is, of course, comedian Eddie Cantor on the book's cover.)

Here is a page, at the BearManor Media website, featuring the sixteen books by Mel that the publisher has brought out.

Here, too, is Mel's web address:

Friday, May 12, 2017

"Your Hit Parade," Peabody Award video

The following link is for a video, from 1953 (actually, to be more precise, it is from a television broadcast, and so would therefore be a video made from a kinescope), of Dorothy Collins, one of the stars of Your Hit Parade.  In the video, she is accepting the Peabody Award that the Hit Parade was given, for the year 1952, in the entertainment category (along with NBC's Mister Peepers, which starred Wally Cox).