Spooky Tunes for a Swinging Halloween
Speaking of Halloween on the radio, OTRCat.com, purveyors of old-time radio programs, are offering an assortment of spooky shows free of charge (they offer many more collections of shows that you can pay for, if you’re so inclined). The free shows run the gamut from adventure to mystery, horror—even comedy.
Inner Sanctum: “Wailing Wall” (first aired November 6, 1945; 27 min, 7 sec.)
Happy 113th Birthday, Annette Hanshaw!
Today marks the 113th anniversary of the birth of Cladrite Sweetheart Annette Hanshaw, so we thought we’d celebrate by revisiting this post, which originally appeared on January 14, 2010.
Annette Hanshaw, one of the most revered performers in the Cladrite Radio pantheon, was a very busy gal for a few years in the late 1920s and early ’30s. She recorded dozens of memorably jazzy pop sides (or were they poppy jazz?) between 1926 and 1934, under a variety of names and for several record labels (as was so often the norm in those days), and made innumerable radio appearances between 1932 and 1935. In fact, the readers of Radioland magazine voted Hanshaw, known in those days as “The Personality Girl,” their favorite singer of 1935.
Tommy Dorsey himself once called Hanshaw “a musician’s singer.”
So it was a huge loss to the world of pop and jazz music when Hanshaw retired from show business after marrying Pathé Records executive Herman “Wally” Rose. She made her last record in 1934 and appeared on the radio for the final time in 1937.
In recent years, much of Hanshaw’s recorded output has made its way to CD, boosting her current popularity and keeping her in the public eye. Her songs are even featured prominently in director Nina Paley’s 2009 animated film Sita Sings the Blues.
Though a rumored pair of mysterious demo records, cut many years after her retirement when Hanshaw was said to be considering a comeback, have never been released to the public, some “homemade” recordings Hanshaw did surface on YouTube.
The person who posted the recordings offered the following background:
These two selections are the best sounding of a batch of homemade recordings that Annette Hanshaw did. Her husband copied them onto a tape for a friend of mine. I don’t know when they were made but on one of the records she refers to “Steve Cochran’s looks”. He was a big movie star for a couple of years around 1950. So that’s a hint. Unfortunately the sound on the others is pretty bad.
For Hanshaw fans, these recordings, even lacking as they admittedly are in fidelity and clarity, are an unexpected and delightful gift. They make us wish our Annette had mustered her courage and taken the plunge on that 1950s comeback. And for those who have somehow not been yet exposed to Hanshaw’s delightful stylings of the 1920s and ’30s, just keep listening to Cladrite Radio. You’ll quickly become very familiar with her work.
In Their Words: Happy Birthday, Carole Lombard!
Monday, October 6, marks the 106th birthday of the divine Carole Lombard. As you probably know, she was taken from us far too soon, dying in 1942 in a plane crash outside Las Vegas, Nevada. She was returning to Los Angeles after participating in a war bonds rally in her home state of Indiana. She was only 33.
One of the reigning queens of screwball comedy, Lombard was said to have been a great dame, with the colorful vocabulary of a sailor and a courageous and joyous spirit. Too bad she never appeared in a Preston Sturges comedy; what a team they’d have made.
Turner Classic Movies is airing Lombard pictures from 8 a.m. till 7:45 p.m. ET on Monday. We’re of the opinion that they’re underselling her, frankly; she deserves some prime-time love. But we won’t look a gift horse in the mouth, and neither should you. We suggest that you call in sick or, if you must go to work, that you clear some space on your DVR, enough for nearly 12 hours of classic cinematic entertainment.
Happy birthday, Ms. Lombard, wherever you may be!
Happy 124th Birthday, Groucho Marx!
Today marks the 124th anniversary of the birth of the great Groucho Marx.
Most, if not all, of the books he wrote are available, too.
So it’s up to you how you do it, but really, don’t you think you should spend some time with Groucho on his birthday?
We think so, too.
Career Woman-Housewife of the Year: Arlene Francis
We recently stumbled across a pristine edition of the inaugural issue (February 1955) of Chic, a diminutive publication touted as “the Purse Size Magazine for Women.” We usually think of 1955 as just a bit outside our era of focus, but this cute little pub has a number of fun stories in it, so we’ll be sharing them with you sporadically in the coming days and weeks. First up, a small tribute to one of our favorite gals, Miss Arlene Francis…
Full-time career woman, Arlene Francis, star of NBC-TV’s daily show Home, is the wife of producer-actor Martin Gabel and mother of 7-year-old Peter Gabel. Arlene’s two men demand a good deal of her time and what’s more, they get it in spite of her heavy schedule. It takes some doing to be both a full-time career woman and housewife, but she does it by careful planning. For, she maintains, “I find that the more I have to do, the more I am able to do. By properly organizing my time, I can accomplish more than I otherwise would if I had plenty of it. The more free time we have, the more, I think, we all tend to procrastinate and put off till tomorrow what we really could do today more efficiently.”
Here is Arlene’s daily stint:
7:00 to 7:45—Breakfast with Peter, who reads her the latest sports news. he attends classes around the corner at New York City’s Hunter School for Advanced Children. Orders food for the day and plan dinner menu.
8:00—Arrives at studio for Home rehearsal.
11:00—On the air.
12:00—Takes a break for lunch and for interviews with the press, sponsors, photographers.
1:30—Goes into rehearsal for next day’s show.
5:00—Leaves studio for home and dinner preparations.
5:30—Dinner with Peter and Martin
7:00—Martin leaves for his job in Broadway play Reclining Figure. Arlene and Peter play together and watch TV or red aloud.
Friday is a special evening. She meets Martin after the show for a midnight movie.
Saturday she shops, plans menus, catches up with household chores and goes to the park with Peter. Sunday is the family’s day together until 6:00 p.m. when she leaves to rehearse for Soldier’s Parade on ABC-TV, on the air at 9:30 (EST). Then she dashes to the CBS-TV studio for What’s My Line? which goes on at 10:30 (EST).
Old Father Time checked, so there'd be no doubt,
Called on the north wind to come on out,
Then cupped his hands, so proudly to shout,
"La-de-da, de-da-de-da, 'tis Autumn!"
The trees say they're tired, they bore too much fruit,
Charmed all the wayside, there's no dispute,
Now shedding leaves, they don't give a hoot!
La-de-da, de-da-de-dum, 'tis Autumn!
Then the birds got together
To chirp about the weather,
After makin' their decision
with birdie-like precision,
Turned about and made a bee-line to the south.
Oh, holding you close is really no crime,
Ask the birds, the trees, and Old Father Time,
It's just to help the mercury climb.
La-de-da, de-da-de-da, 'tis Autumn!
Lyrics and music by Henry Nemo, 1941