Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Mail call!

I’ve been such an industriously busy beaver the past few days (I’m hoping that the slow guest crawl at the hotel will free up some spare time) so I haven’t really been able to personalize a great many of these posts. But I did get a goodie or two in the mailbox recently, and I thought I would pass it along.

First off, the April issue of the SPERDVAC Radiogram has a wonderful article by Stewart Wright commemorating the greatness that was the late Harry Bartell. Extremely well-written, and worth checking out—but to do that, you must first answer three…no, hold on a second…you must first become a member. This site has all the details. I also read an interesting blurb in the newsletter regarding Penny Singleton’s passing last year—I was not aware that on this year’s Oscar telecast, Penny was noticeably absent from the salute to those great performers who have left this stage for better things. You star in 28 Blondie movie comedies, and you don’t even rate a mention at the Academy Awards®? Inexcusable! Fortunately, there’s this on the Internet…

Speaking of Blondie, Steve Kelez at Radio Showcase has a couple of Blondie broadcasts that are relatively new in circulation, and he’s offering a nice special this month to boot—if you buy five cassettes or CDs, you get two free. (Steve, I honestly had planned to grab those Blondies but the other night, while chatting online with friends, my chum Laura wickedly pointed me to a website where I could order movies like the original Scarface and King Kong on DVD. The siren song was just too powerful to resist.)

Next, I recently became a subscriber to Chuck Schaden’s Nostalgia Digest—and if anyone can come up with a reason why it took me so long to do so, I’d love to hear it. (I’m convinced that it’s because I’m an idiot, and I’m hoping someone else can argue me out of it.) I signed up for it in February, but since Chuck was taking some well-deserved R&R I didn’t get the first issue until now. This is a first-class magazine, folks, no question about it—and there's still hope for me yet, because I went for the two-year deal and I’m not sorry I did. The nice thing about the Digest is that it’s not just limited to OTR, but there are some great articles on the subject just the same; a simply splendid piece on actor fave Frank Lovejoy (Nightbeat) written by this blog’s Goodwill Ambassador, Jim Widner. There’s also an article on the comedy-soap opera Lorenzo Jones, which is excerpted from Jim Cox’s invaluable OTR reference The Great Radio Soap Operas. (I bought this book on sale and I didn’t think I would like it, because I’m not what one would call a big soap fan. This well-written book will make you a convert, it’s that good.) Articles on Louella Parsons, Clint Eastwood, Buddy Ebsen and Katharine Hepburn can also be found in latest Nostalgia Digest as well. (There’s even a program guide for Chuck’s longtime broadcast, Those Were the Days, which is streamed over the Internet for those of us out of the Chicago area.)

I also got my copy of Jack French’s Private Eyelashes, a book that is destined to become the definitive reference on the fabulous female detectives of old-time radio. (I was a little concerned when this book was getting here late; someone told me that Jack had about forty copies of it rooked from his local post office, and I feared that some postal worker/OTR fan had absconded with my copy at mine as well.) I haven’t had the necessary time to crack it open, although I did read the chapter on Sara Berner and her short-lived comedy/detective series, Sara’s Private Caper (there’s a great photo in there, a publicity shot of her as Mabel the telephone operator on The Jack Benny Program). (On the last page of this book are listed some past and future publications from Bear Manor Media, and I definitely plan to grab a copy of the book on The Life of Riley when it sees print.) So with that, we empty the mailbag—I’m going to try my darndest to keep up with things on the blog, but I should point out that I’ve received another assignment from Harlan Zinck at First Generation Radio Archives regarding a Premier Collection that will offered the first of May; if the blog goes blank sometime between now and then, you'll know why.

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