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Radio Spirits Newsletter September 2011

Charles Rector's Weblog; Oct. 3, 2011; By Charles Rector
Type: News

September 2011

This Month's Features


--The Radio Legacy of Phil and Alice and Julius and Frankie


--Stepping Into the Shadows with The Whistler and Dan Van Neste



New Radio Stations
to Broadcast
When Radio Was


Celebrate the 65th Anniversary of The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show on When Radio Was 

--The Shadow Returns to Comic Books


--Radio Stars on the Silver Screen



Meet Greg Bell and Visit Radio Spirits at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention

--More Upcoming Events


--Suspense--Burns & Allen--Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons--Candy Matson


--Fred Allen--Fort Laramie--Fibber McGee & Molly--Dark Fantasy--A New 2011 Christmas Collection


--Play our new OTR and Nostalgia Trivia Game.


--Free Shipping with $30 Purchase for a Limited Time. See details.Featured ArticleCOMEDY TO THE EXTREME: THE RADIO LEGACY OF PHIL AND ALICE AND JULIUS AND FRANKIE 
By Elizabeth McLeod
 The following article is presented in celebration of the 65th anniversary of the radio premiere of The Phil Harris – Alice Faye Show on September 29th.

By the end of the Second World War, subtle radio comedy was becoming as hard to find as an unfurnished apartment, a new pair of nylons, or a porterhouse steak. The war years had brought with them a bold, brassy style of humor that asked no questions and took no prisoners -- with a machine-gun tempo and a Sherman Tank aggressiveness, the radio comics of the early postwar era beat their listeners over the ears with jokes and gags and made them like it.

Phil Harris and Alice FayeThe comedy characters who emerged from this era were every bit as outrageous as the material itself, wild, exaggerated caricatures of every possible human frailty -- the cartoonish, vaudevillian denizens of Allen's Alley, the flyspecked habitués of Duffy's Tavern, the screaming pop-eyed stooges who surrounded Bob Hope and Eddie Cantor and Abbott and Costello. There was nothing realistic or nuanced about these characters -- they had no grounding in the real world. They were caricatures, pure and simple, and the audiences of the time understood them as such, existing only for the sake of laughs. And perhaps no program of the era captured this zeitgeist of unrestrained lunacy quite so well as The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show.

By the time bandleader Phil Harris and his recently-retired movie star wife Alice Faye converted the long-running Sunday night Fitch Bandwagonprogram from a musical variety format to a situation comedy, Phil had been playing a zany comic caricature for nearly a decade as a member of Jack Benny's troupe. Here was the conceited, hard-drinking curly-haired pretty-boy entertainer in all his glory, traits painted in such broad strokes that audiences genuinely believed Phil Harris to be an irredeemable reprobate of the first water -- except he never touched anything so pedestrian as water.

But adapting this caricature to a situation comedy format posed a problem. Harris and Faye proposed to do a family comedy, presenting themselves as a real-life married couple, with two young children. And with kids in the picture, Harris's zany booze-fueled antics suddenly didn't seem so funny. Writers Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher solved the problem by turning Phil into the straight man for an even more outrageous caricature -- the shiftless, scheming, childishly-irresponsible left-handed guitar player Frankie Remley...

Read the the rest of this exclusive article on The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show
by clicking here.

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An Exclusive Radio Spirits Interview by Elizabeth McLeod

STEPPING INTO THE SHADOWS WITH THE WHISTLEREverybody knows that The Whistler walks by night, but does everybody know that the character spawned an 8-film Columbia Pictures series? Author and researcher Dan Van Neste knows...and tells all about it…in his new book from Bear Manor Media, The Whistler – Stepping Into the Shadows: A Columbia Film Series. Covering every aspect of the series - included rare profiles of 50 Whistler filmmakers: actors, directors, writers, and technicians – Van Neste left no shadow unexplored. Fellow broadcast historian Elizabeth McLeod recently had an in-depth conversation with the author about the book and the in-depth research that backs it up.

Read this exclusive interview on The Whistler by clicking here.

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News & InformationNEW STATIONS TO BROADCAST WHEN RADIO WAS! We’re pleased to announce the following new additions to the family of radio stations now broadcasting our nationally syndicated When Radio Was show. Be sure to tune in to support and listen to great classic radio on stations in your area:

KAUS 1480 AM Rochester, MN. Saturday & Sunday, 9pm through Midnight
WTYM 1380 AM Pittsburgh, PA. Wednesday through Friday, 7pm through 9pm
WINI 1420 AM Paducah, KY. Saturday and Sunday, 7pm through 11pm

Air DateProgramEpisode TitleOriginal Air DateMon, 9/5/2011Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show1st Show Of The Season10/1/1950Mon, 9/12/2011Phil Harris-Alice Faye ShowPhil, The Dramatic Actor3/11/1951Sat, 10/1/2011Phil Harris-Alice Faye ShowAlice's Burlesque Act10/8/1950
If you miss a broadcast, you can listen to a free stream of the show the day after each broadcast. Just visit and click the "Listen Now" link under Listen to Our Free Radio Show. Past shows are available for one week after their broadcast date.

THE SHADOW RETURNS TO COMIC BOOKS The ShadowDynamite Entertainment has announced it will begin publishing a new series of The Shadow  comic books. For more information, click here.

RecommendedRADIO STARS ON THE SILVER SCREEN Turner Classic Movies is scheduled to broadcast a number of movies this month that feature favorite classic radio performers. All times are Eastern. 

DateTimeMovie TitleStarringSept. 9th11:30 amBeyond a Reasonable DoubtDana AndrewsSept. 9th8:00 pmI'll See You in My DreamsFrank Lovejoy & Doris DaySept. 11th10:00 am42nd StreetDick PowellSept. 11th11:45 amGuys & DollsFrank SinatraSept. 13th6:00 amMerton of the MoviesRed SkeltonSept. 13th4:15 pmGeorge Washington Slept HereJack BennySept. 14th11:00 pmThank Your Lucky StarsHumphrey Bogart & Eddie CantorSept. 15th3:45 pmRoad to UtopiaBing Crosby & Bob HopeSept. 16th6:45 amDark PassageHumphrey Bogart & Lauren BacallSept. 16th8:45 amKey LargoHumphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall & Edward G. RobinsonSept. 18th8:00 pmCitizen KaneOrson Welles & Agnes MooreheadSept. 22nd8:00 amBetween Two WorldsSydney GreenstreetSept. 24th6:00 amCollege CoachDick Powell & Pat O'BrienSept. 25th8:00 amThe Winning TeamFrank Lovejoy, Doris Day & Ronald ReganSept. 29th1:15 pmThe KillersEdmond O'Brien, William ConradSept. 29th3:15 pmNaked CityHoward Duff

 Greg BellRadio Spirits will be attending The Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Hunt Valley, MD from September 22 – 24th. We invite you to stop by our table to talk with us and take advantage of our special convention pricing. Our table will certainly be the place to be on Saturday, September 24th from 12:00pm – 2:00pm. That’s when Greg Bell, the host of When Radio Was and Sirius/XM’s Radio Classics channel will be making a personal appearance! For more information about the show, We hope to see you there. 

MORE UPCOMING EVENTS OF INTEREST Dragon*Con, September 2 – 5, Atlanta, GA - (Science fiction and fantasy convention) 
For more information visit 

SPX Small Press Expo, September 10 – 11, Bethesda, MD 
For more information visit 

Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, September 22 – 24, Hunt Valley, MD - (TV, movies, radio and nostalgia) 
For more information visit 

Lone Pine Film Festival, October 7 – 9, Lone Pine, CA 
For more information visit 

Friends of Old Time Radio Convention, October 20 – 23, Newark, NJ
For more information visit 

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New Radio Spirits Releases – Available Soon!

Burns and Allen
Burns and Allen:

Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons
Mr. Keen,
Tracer of Lost Persons

Candy Matson
Candy Matson

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Upcoming Radio Spirits ReleasesComing In October

- Fred Allen
- Fort Laramie
- Fibber McGee & Molly
- Dark Fantasy
- A new 2011 Christmas collection 

* Please note all new release dates are subject to change.

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Trivia GameThink you know your old time radio and nostalgia trivia? Play our trivia game and find out! Click here to play an all-new 10 question trivia game!!

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