The Jack Benny show made Phil a huge star. Even though Phil would go on to do more films and have his own radio shows, and tour the country with his band, and appear on television and build a real estate empire he would always be known first and foremost for his Jack Benny years.
What you are about to hear are a series of musical selections Phil and his orchestra played live on Jack Benny’s Jello program in 1938.
Some are instrumentals and some feature Phil’s distinctive vocals, but all of them bring a joy and a bounce that will carry you through your day. So much fun to listen to. Enjoy Phil Harris and his orchestra playing live from 1938.
Born Edward Israel Iskowitz in 1892 to a poor family of recent immigrants, through sheer tenacity and talent street urchin Eddie Cantor became a show biz giant for half a century. Starting out in vaudeville in 1907, starring on Broadway, a movie star in both silents and talkies, and a radio and television pioneer.
For three Generations Every household in America knew the name Eddie Cantor as well as they knew their own names.
Eddie was many things, actor, songwriter, comedian, humanitarian, patriot, Union president, father, and all around thoughtful, decent, kind, and generous human being.
Old Time Radio’s Jack Benny show was a sitcom disguised as a variety show.
The cast used their real names, or rather their real stage names, but they all played characters unlike themselves. Characters of diverse comic points of view, each character contrasted with the others. Each funny in their own way and all together a delightful mix of contrasting attitudes and motivations.
rJack Benny was the center of this comic universe. He portrayed a cheapskate, self centered scardy cat who imagined himself a rugged ladies man.
Jack’s real life wife, Mary Livingston, played Jack’s sassy gal pal, boy crazy but not easily impressed by the rich and famous.
Band leader Phil Harris was cast as a drunken, womanizing, musical man about town. More talent than brains and care free.
Tenor vocalist Dennis Day presented as a simple minded momma’s boy. Innocent and child like.
Announcer Don Wilson was the adult in the room, often the object of fat jokes, but treating all with affection and respect. Almost a big brother figure.
The formula for the show was to move back and fourth between the world of putting on a half hour musical/variety radio show and the interpersonal world between the characters.
As you might expect, these characters endeared themselves to their listeners. It was fun listening to the real Jack Benny playing the radio character Jack Benny who was portraying some character in a radio play. It was fun to hear radio Phil Harris pretend to not know anything about music. It was funny when radio Dennis Day believed everything he was told, or Radio Mary recounted the story of a disastrous date.
These moments were broken up with songs from Phil and Dennis, sometimes Mary, and comical Jello commercials from Don. Sometimes sketches with guest stars who in most cases also played themselves in encounters with radio Jack Benny, like the time Barbara Stanwyck rehearsed a radio play with Jack or the time Orson Welles came by to give Jack acting lessons.
In truth, the characters the cast portrayed became so well known and loved that they could stand alone, outside the variety show world.
In early 1940 Jack and his writers did just that. For an entire month, the Jack Benny radio characters were sent on a fictional ski vacation to Yosemite.
The Jack Benny Radio shows February 4, 11, 18, and 25 1940 presented the trip to and the adventures at Yosemite starring the Jack Benny Gang.
Although presented episodically because of Jack’s half hour time slot, these four shows are a single radio play running approximately 80 minutes. It is a radical break from the Jack Benny formula, and adds layers of nuance to the characters as these actors get to really act in the longer more sustained narrative involving these characters.
And that’s what you are about to hear, the entire radio play cut together with commercials etc. edited out in order to focus on the story and maintain pacing.
Believe me, this is good stuff. Jack Benny and the Gang go to Yosemite parts 1, 2, 3, & 4.
Best known today as the third angle in the Bob Hope Bing Crosby road pictures romantic triangles, or perhaps as the sarong wearing eye candy in several other films, Dorothy Lamour started out as a big band singer.
Appearing weekly on the Charlie McCarthy show afforded Dorothy opportunities to remind audiences of her musical roots, and her lovely expressive voice.
And that’s what this episode is all about. For your enjoyment, Here is a delightful collection of tunes sung live by Dorothy Lamour on the radio in 1938.
This is the second year in a row that Charlie McCarthy has proven himself the greatest lover in Hollywood, or anywhere else for that matter.
Among those that Charlie McCarthy charmed are the some of the most accomplished and beautiful women of his time. Some of them tried to resist, some didn’t bother, in the end they were all putty in Charlie’s hands. The previous year, 1937, Charlie McCarthy had earned quite a reputation as an irresistable bounder and cad. His list of conquests included Olympic Skater turned film star Sonya Henie as well as famous movie stars Carol Lombard, Glenda Farrell, and Bette Davis. Charlie’s torrid affair with Sex Siren Mae West and her guest appearance on his show caused a great scandal, resulting in Mae West being banned from network radio for many years. Charlie emerged a more infamous lover than ever. Such is society’s unfair double standard.
The Fred Allen material you are about to hear is from his radio show, Town Hall Tonight, in 1938.
Fred Allen was unique in the radio world of corny set up/punchline type snappy patter his former vaudeville and current radio peers like Eddie Cantor, Ed Wynn, Georgie Jessel, the Marx Brothers, and others favored.
Oftentimes Fred’s comic voice is compared to that of Mark Twain. All American and homespun wisdom disguised as jokes.
Fred ‘s wit focused on social commentary, gently poking fun at the foibles and eccentricities of human nature. Fred was gruff but mostly cheerful with a small town attitude, advocating common sense but tolerant of the mistakes of others.
Two of Fred’s greatest strengths were his ability to relate to regular people, and his improvisational skill. Very comfortable going off script and usually much funnier off the cuff than what was on the script.
These two factors influenced the head writer of Fred Allen’s show, a fellow by the name of Fred Allen, to put himself in situations on the radio where he could interact with people from all walks of life. And that’s what you are about to hear, Fred interviewing regular, not in show business folks, in a segment of his show entitled “I know You Didn’t Expect to Meet…..”.
The unexpected folks interviewed live in 1938 for this Podcast are:
Judy Garland was born Frances Gumm in 1922, and soon revealed a talent for song and dance. Her first public performance was when she was just 2 and a half years old, singing jingle bells at a Christmas pageant.
Her father was a successful vaudevillian with Judy and her sisters following in his footsteps, touring a singing act “The Gumm Sisters” in the waning days of Vaudeville.
When sound came to movies, so did song and dance acts like the Gumm sisters. The act moved to the big screen in early Vitaphone musical revues with seven year old Judy sometimes billed as Baby Gumm.
Fast forward to 1938, now 16 years old and being groomed for film stardom recently starring with Mickey Rooney in the very popular “Love Finds Andy Hardy “.
Judy, as a rule, did not appear on radio. She was too busy and important for that.
Except for The Good News program, which was created by Judy’s film studio MGM to feature MGM stars, movies, songs, and to convince their listeners to see MGM films in the theater.
As one of MGM’s newest stars, Judy dutifully appeared on a handful of the Good News programs in 1938 as their musical guests.
This collection of songs is from those appearances, 16 year old Judy Garland and her magnificent voice performing live 1n 1938. You are in for a treat.
Its time again to celebrate the holiday season and all it stands for with a Christmas stocking full old time radio yuletide magic.
This very special episode stars Phil Harris, Bing Crosby, Alice Faye, Jack Benny, Mary Livingston, Don Wilson, Kenny Baker, Joan Bennett, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Rudy Vallee, Andy Devine, and many other makers of Christmas magic
And magic it is. The magic of celebrating Christmas with old friends from 1938. The magic of our imagination. The magic of the golden age of radio. The magic of Santa Claus. The magic of the Jesus story. The magic of the subtle changes within ourselves, all of a sudden thinking and acting more like santa than scrooge. At least for a little while.
This podcast is a montage of excerpts from old time radio shows performed live and broadcast December 14 to December 30, 1937.
Starring : Dr Arthur C. Christie, Dr Gilbert W Hague, Dr Kingsley Roberts, Rudy Vallee, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Jack Benny, Fred Allen, Cecil B DeMille, Slim Hoffman, Brian Ahern, Madge Evans, Fibber McGee, Myrt and Marge, Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Wallington, Jack Buchanan, Winston Churchill, Marlene Dietrich, and more.
Featured songs include Rudy Valle “Down with Love”, Gracie Allen “I love you from Coast to Coast”, and Marlene Dietrich “Lilli Marlene”
Halloween approaches – the night when the boundaries between the living and the dead, reality and imagination dissolve. Evil witches mount flying brooms. Brain starved Zombies, restless spirits, supernatural spooks, savage monsters and all forms of malevolent miscreants shamble across the earth creating terror among the hapless and tasty human populace.
Above all, Halloween is the best time for scary stories. In that tradition welcome to When Radio Ruled episode 56, Spooky Halloween Special 2022.
The show is going to give you a couple of spine tinglers to get you in the spooky Halloween frame of mind. The first one is entitled “Til Dead” and was originally broadcast February 2, 1943. It is a great example of the Suspense Genre that was so successful throughout the era of old time radio.
The second story is called “The Hitchhiker” and stars Orson Welles. It’s a classic supernatural tale, full of tension and mystery. It was performed by Welles multiple times over the years by popular demand, this performance was broadcast September 2, 1942.
So hang the garlic in the door to keep away the vampires, put a crucifix in your pocket just in case, lock the doors and windows, shut out the lights and brace yourself for When Radio Ruled Spooky Halloween Special 2022.
This podcast is a montage of excerpts from old time radio shows performed live and broadcast November 29 to December 12, 1937.
Starring Cecil B Demille, Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Wallington, Rudy Vallee, Tommy Riggs and Betty Lou, Frank Case, Andy Devine, Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone, Kenny Baker, Don Wilson, Fibber McGee, Don Ameche, Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen, Nelson Eddy, Mae West, Pinky Tomlin and more.
This podcast is a montage of excerpts from old time radio shows performed live and broadcast November 8 to November 28, 1938.
Starring Bing Crosby, Jimmy Wallington, Eddie Cantor, Fibber McGee and Molly, Benny Goodman, Colonel Stoopnagle and Budd, Don Wilson, Jack Benny, Phil Harris, Mary Livingstone, Orson Welles, and more.
Featured Songs include Eddie Cantor, “Getting some fun out of Life”, Bing Crosby “I’m Humming”, Some smoking Benny Goodman Swing Instrumentals and the Benny Goodman orchestra featuring vocalist Martha Tilden “Mama that moon is here again”, Pinky Tomlin “The Lady who couldn’t be Kissed” and Phil Harris “You can’t stop me from dreaming”
This podcast is a montage of excerpts from old time radio shows performed live and broadcast October 11 to October 18, 1937.
Starring Fibber McGee & Molly, President Franklin Roosevelt, Eddie Cantor, Pinky Tomlin, Benny Goodman, Don Ameche, Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen, Clark Gable, Dorothy LaMour, Nelson Eddy, The Stroud Twins, Cecil B. DeMille, Jimmy Starr, Madge Evans, Fred MacMurry, and more.
Featured Songs include Eddie Cantor “Laugh Your Way Through Life” and “Keep it Over There”, Benny Goodman “The Old Apple Tree”.
This podcast is a montage of excerpts from old time radio shows performed live and broadcast September 5 to October 10, 1937.
Starring W.C. Fields, Charlie McCarthy, Don Ameche, Edgar Bergen, Fibber McGee and Molly, Al Jolson, George Jessell, Eddie Cantor, Bette Davis, Cecil B. DeMille, John LeRoy Johnston, Rudy Vallee, The Stroud Twins, Orson Welles, Agnes Moorehead, Jack Benny, Mary Livingston, and more.
Featured Songs include Al Jolson “Tootsie”, Eddie Cantor “Now’s the time to fall in love” and “Love is on the Air Tonight”, The Connecticut Yankees with an unidentified female vocalist (possibly Annette Hanshaw) “Basin Street Blues”, Eddie Cantor and Pinky Tomlin “Sweet Varsity Sue”
This podcast is a montage of excerpts from old time radio shows performed live and broadcast August 22 to August 27, 1937.
Starring Harlow Wilcox, Fibber McGee & Molly, Benny Goodman and his Orchestra, Don Ameche, Charlie McCarthy, Glenda Farrell, Edgar Bergen, Dorothy LaMour, W.C. Fields, American Refugees from Japan’s invasion of Shang Hai,and more.
This podcast is a montage of excerpts from old time radio shows performed live and broadcast June 21 to July 11, 1937.
Starring Cecil B. DeMille, Don Wilson, Phil Harris, Jack Benny, Mary Livingston, Jimmy Wallington, Pinky Tomlin, Don Ameche, Charlie McCarthy, Edgar Bergen, Sonya Hennie, W.C. Fields, Dorothy Lamour, Robert Armbruster, Zasu Pitts, Hoagy Carmichael, and more.
Featured Songs include Mary Livingston with the cast of the Jack Benny Show “The Love Bug”, Pinky Tomlin “As Far As Your Concerned”, The cast of the Charlie McCarthy Show with Hoagy Carmichael, “I love you like my old felt hat”
Eddie was a multi-talented entertainer who was a huge star in vaudeville, and on broadway, and in silent film, and in radio, and in talking pictures, and in television.
Eddie Cantor is a true show biz Legend with a vast body of work spanning decades.
But this podcast is going to focus on Eddie Cantor the singer of songs old and new as recorded live on the Eddie Cantor radio show in 1937.
Eddie’s musical recording career began in 1917 and he had several hit songs throughout the 1920’s.
When these songs were recorded live on his radio show in 1937, Eddie Cantor was still a very popular singer, selling out concerts and charting records in addition to being at the very top of the radio ratings.
This podcast is a montage of excerpts from old time radio shows performed live and broadcast May 31 to June 11, 1937.
Starring Fibber McGee and Molly, the Cast of Texaco Town, Pinky Tomlin, Don Wilson, Jack Benny, Rochester, Kenny Baker, Mary Livingston, Phil Harris, Don Ameche, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Dorothy Lamour, W.C. Fields, Constance Bennett, Ray Middleton, Natalie Bucknell, Cecil B. Demille, Errol Flynn, Frances Farmer, Chico Marx, Groucho Marx, and more.
Featured Songs include Pinky Tomlin “Tetched in the Head”, and Dorothy Lamour, Charlie McCarthy and Don Ameche with a Gilbert and Sullivan Medley.
This podcast is a montage of excerpts from old time radio shows performed live and broadcast January 17 to January 31, 1937.
Starring Don Wilson, Jack Benny, Andy Devine, Mary Livinston, Buck Jones, The Cast of The March of Time, Cecile B DeMille, Rudy Vallee, Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, The Charioteers, Phil Harris, Eddie Cantor, Basil O’Connor, Jimmy Wallington, Charlie Butterfield, Irving Berlin, and more.
This one is a short subject, about 15 minutes long, starring Jim Jordan as Fibber McGee as in Fibber McGee and Molly.
Classic Fibber and Molly episodes featured jokes, gags, and situations that often repeated from episode to episode and became running gags that listeners looked forward to each week.
One of my favorite running gag is because Fibber can ever admit ignorance on any subject, When invariably asked if he knows anything about this or that occupation, Fibber not only knows all about it, he used to do it professionally and was the best ever at it.
And he bragged about his professional success using alliteration to great comic effect.
You’ll see what I mean.
Here, just because why not, is Fibber’s resume, 1937
This podcast is a montage of excerpts from old time radio shows broadcast January 1 to January 6, 1937.
Starring Eddie Cantor, Cecil B. DeMille, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Jack Benny, Phil Harris, Mary Livinston, Kenny Baker, Don Wilson, Al Jolson, Harry Von Zell, Jimmy Wallington, Edith Head, opening day of the 75th Congress of the United states, Tony Martin, Dinah Shore,
The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour – Rudy Vallee – Franklin Roosevelt – The March of Time -The Hour of Smiles – Fred Allen – The Jack Benny Program – Milton Berle – George Burns – Gracie Allen – Portland Hoffa – Mary Livingston – And More!