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PostPosted: Jun Sat 12, 2010 1:21 pm 
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I agree with Gale Gordon, who played so many prominent starring roles that it's hard to keep track of. Starting with Mayor LaTrivia, he was also the principal of Our Miss Brooks -- and of course most people remember him today as Mr. Mooney, the banker, on The Lucy Show on TV. Trying to remember all of his radio roles, makes my head hurt -- he was everywhere. Oh yes, he was the original star of Green Acres -- as John Granby.

But there's another very funny actor that was just as versatile -- and hilarious: Frank Nelson. On The Jack Benny Show he played several parts, nearly always using his own name. He was the floorwalker at the department store, the ticket agent at the train station, the announcer whenever Jack turned on a radio, and any number of other cameos. He also appeared as cameos on a lot of other shows; you never mistook his voice however.

Another interesting voice was that of Walter Tetley. Having some medical condition that stunted his growth, his voice never changed and this allowed him to play the perfect "little boy" role in several shows. Most notably Leroy in The Great Gildersleeve.

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PostPosted: Jun Sat 12, 2010 3:35 pm 
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Gary Tayman wrote:
Another interesting voice was that of Walter Tetley. Having some medical condition that stunted his growth, his voice never changed and this allowed him to play the perfect "little boy" role in several shows. Most notably Leroy in The Great Gildersleeve.

And Julius on the Phil Harris/Alice Faye show. He was great in that role.

Larry

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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Dec Thu 06, 2018 1:10 am 
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There are many Actors and Actresses from the Golden Age of Radio that made their marks during the Golden Age of Radio.

William "Bill" Conrad performed in over 7,500 radio shows during his radio career, not to forget the movies he was in and his role as "CANNON" on television. I doubt that number can be matched by any other radio Actor. In the early 1980's William Conrad played on television the role of Nero Wolfe which had been made famous years earlier on radio with "Sydney Greenstreet" who had to give up his movie and radio roles due to ill health. His career started late in his life, but certainly made its' mark in both movies and radio during that last period of his life. A similar fate occurred with Lionel Barrymore, who was very active in radio, especially in his last years. I think both "Sydney Greenstreet" and Lionel Barrymore passed away in 1954.

It is generally considered Orson Welles, William Conrad and Mel Blanc were the most versatile and best male voices during the Golden Age of Radio

But as for truly memorable character Actors, I will always think fondly of Howard McNear most notably Doc Adams on "Gunsmoke" and later as Floyd the Barber on "The Andy Griffith Show" on television. Also Parley Baer[/b, especially the [b]"ESCAPE" episode of "The Second Class Passenger" with Parley Baer, and also "A Shipment of Mute Fate", also on "ESCAPE" which due to its' popularity was aired three times with three separate Actors, most notably Jack Webb.

As for the great writers during the Golden Age of Radio which are rarely mentioned, Lucille Fletcher and John Meston received the most critical acclaim. Lucille Fletcher for probably conceiving the most performed and well-known dramatic radio script ever written, "Sorry, Wrong Number",[b] "The Hitch Hiker"[/b] (and many others) and John Meston for his unusually brilliant and well written stories for "Gunsmoke", primarily the radio shows of "Gunsmoke" and "ESCAPE" and to a lesser extent the television shows of "Gunsmoke" which he for the most part also wrote or had editorial approval over. "Gunsmoke" was the last dramatic show from the Golden Age of radio aired from Hollywood on CBS radio in 1961.

As for the great musical composers and musical themes for the many radio shows, including the Organist's, singer's and Orchestra's, that is a topic that can be covered in another blog. I will note that radio's most famous script writer Louise Fletcher was married to the talented Bernard Herrmann, who in addition to his enormous work in radio went on to television and the movies, most notably with his music for Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho".

"Gunsmoke" during its run on radio from April 26, 1952 until 1961 won practically every year, every Award radio had to give through the Radio Association of America. However, with all those Awards, the writer and creator of "Gunsmoke", writer John Meston was unfortunately ignored and never received an official Award although he was highly regarded by his peers in the Industry.

"Sorry, Wrong Number" was so popular, Agnes Moorehead performed it 8 times on SUSPENSE from its' first airing in 1943 until it' last airing in 1961. She always performed the 30 minute version on "SUSPENSE". This one show is probably the most famous dramatic show in radio History.

Miriam Hopkins in the early 1950's flew to Sydney, Australia and performed the rarely heard 60 minute version of "Sorry, Wrong Number" on the Australian LUX Radio Theatre and it is a great performance standing up well against the many 30 minute episodes performed by Agnes Moorehead. The story is longer and developed more than the 30 minute versions.

The rarely heard 60 minute version of "Sorry. Wrong Number" on Australian radio is only available in the Archive Treasures (I think Volume 22) offered by the Radio Archives group out of Spokane, Washington.

"Sorry, Wrong Number" SUSPENSE, "The Second Class Passenger" ESCAPE. "The Hitch Hiker" SUSPENSE, and "A Shipment of Mute Fate" ESCAPE are probably the most fondly remembered specific individual dramatic shows from the Golden Age of Radio and were the most requested at the time for a re-airing.

As for variety and musical entertainment programs during the Golden Age, "The Big Show" has no comparison both in regards to guests, time limit (it ran a full 90 minutes every Sunday evening) and was the most expensive show ever aired on radio. With Tallulah Bankhead as Hostess (ably assisted in over half the shows by her friend Fred Allen) and Meredith Willson as the musical Director, with every major entertainer and Actor alive from both Continents and still active in and around 1950 employing practically every significant writer in radio at the time, costing over $200,000.00 per show, and that was a lot of money in 1950!

NBC was willing to put out the money at the time in hopes it would revive and re-interest people in listening to radio, but they evidently did not realize the impact television was to exert as more sets were made available to the American public by 1960. All the episodes of "The Big Show" were made in New York except for three, one in Hollywood, one in Paris and one in London. "The Big Show" certainly lived up to its' name and was the radio industry's last major attempt in maintaining an audience against the burgeoning assault on radio by the new medium of television.

"The Big Show" was truly the biggest, most varied and the longest show (time-wise) in radio History filling a full 90 minute slot and running from 1950 until 1952 with a total of 57 episodes. Tallulah Bankhead was awarded 1951's Woman of the Year Award by the Radio Association of America for her exceptional work in NBC's last great variety show, "The Big Show". No previous radio show ever ran for a full 90 minutes in prime-time on Sunday evenings with a roster of stars that would rival MGM's famous quote, "There are more Stars at MGM than there are in the Heaven's".

There was no way even "The Big Show" could compete with the up and coming new medium of television which eventually ended the Golden Age of Radio by the late 1950's and early 1960's. Radio had reached its' end.


Last edited by ZenithStratosphere on Dec Mon 31, 2018 9:29 pm, edited 19 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Dec Thu 06, 2018 3:47 am 
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Not exactly old time radio, but CBS' Evie Juster:

https://www.cbsrmt.com/actor/10-juster-evie.html

First heard her in the telling for "A Christmas Carol" (my brother found it by accident on WTAR radio) and I followed through the early 80s, with my favorite being "The Last Days of Pompeii" series....

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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Dec Thu 06, 2018 5:23 am 
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I think "A Christmas Carol" was first aired in the early 1930's (forget the Actor) and later in 1937 with Lionel Barrymore. The next year due to the untimely death of Lionel Barrymore's wife, his brother John Barrymore filled in for his brother. Thereafter, "A Christmas Carol" with Lionel Barrymore (on several occasions narrated by Orson Welles) was a yearly event on radio and an expected event by radio's listening audience. Even 78 RPM and later 45 RPM and 33 1/3 record sets were popular with the public at Christmas time.

I know there is a very popular version aired occasionally on radio during the early years with Ronald Colman, but the most popular version was always with Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge. The radio aired the version with Lionel Barrymore until probably the late 1950's. What had been a looked forward to event by radio audiences for over 20 years had come to an end.


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Dec Fri 14, 2018 8:21 pm 
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Australian Radio also produced many great radio shows including their counterpart of LUX Radio Theatre which equaled the American version with the great Cecil B. DeMille. Australian radio's production of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and [b]"Imperial Leader- the story of Sir Winston Churchill" [/b]were exceptionally well done. The specific programs in their complete form with opening and closing commentary is available through Radio Archives out of Spokane, Washington. Many of the American Stars from Hollywood would fly over to Sydney, Australia as the Guest Star for the "Australian LUX Radio Theatre", most notably Miriam Hopkins in the rarely heard 60 minute version of "Sorry, Wrong Number".

b]Miriam Hopkins[/b] opened the second seasons of both the American version of LUX Radio Theatre in "Seventh Heaven" in 1934 and also many years later opening the second season of the Australian LUX Radio Theatre in 1955 with the 60 minute version of "Sorry, Wrong Number". She was also starring in episodes of the LUX Video Theatre on the new medium of television.

"Sorry, Wrong Number" is probably the most famous radio drama ever written and by the noted writer Lucille Fletcher who also wrote the famous radio dramatization, "The Hitch Hiker" which was performed on "SUSPENSE" in the United States and both starring Orson Welles

"Sorry, Wrong Number" was performed 7 or 8 times LIVE in slightly varying versions even a West Coast and and East Coast Version (from 1943 until 1961) on the United States radio version of SUSPENSE with Agnes Moorehead in the 30 minute version. Miriam Hopkins performed it once on the LUX Australian Radio Theatre about 1955 and the version is available in the restored version from Radio Archives out of Spokane, Washington in their Archives Treasures series, I think it is the first CD in Volume 23 of the Archives Treasures. That version with Miriam Hopkins is exceptionally well performed in the 60 minute version as the plot has more time to be developed and she is ably assisted by the creme of Australian radio actors of the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Jan Fri 04, 2019 7:08 am 
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Orson Welles in the early 1950's produced in London a radio show "The Adventures of Harry Lime" (in the States it was called "The Lives of Harry Lime") which is a very well written and rather unorthodox show that was quite popular at the time. The radio shows came about to continue on with the success of the late 1940's movie, "The Third Man" which was directed by the noted British Director Carol Reed. As Harry Lime was killed in the sewers of Vienna in the movie, the later radio show deals with Harry Lime recounting his very unorthodox life prior to his time and eventual death in Vienna.

Radio Archives was able to get many of the original transcription discs from the Estate of Orson Welles and have restored this series back to a level of exceptional sound and tonal quality that would rival it when first aired on radio many years earlier. It is available in CD Volumes or direct download from Radio Archives out of Spokane, Washington.

Orson Welles pulls it off quite well and the stories are for the most part well written and somehow make the listener actually come to like the scoundrel Harry Lime really was in all of his previous adventures out to get money in the most unscrupulous ways anyone could possibly conceive and still have the audience like the protagonist, who of course was played as Harry Lime by Orson Welles.

He hams it up more in this radio series than just about in any performances he ever did in his life (even his performances as "The Shadow"), but then his whole life was rather "over the top" from beginning to end. Orson Welles was truly a most unusual individual and in the end getting credit for the supposed greatest movie ever made (Citizen Kane) and also receiving both the BFI (British Film Institute) and the AFI (American Film Institute Award) for the best male Actor of the last Century. Not to forget his "The War of the World's" radio broadcast which really put Orson Welles on the map and then his famous Mercury Theater of the Air radio show. Sadly his radio work gets overshadowed by his work in the movies (both as writer, director and actor).
Hopefully his radio work in the future will receive the attention it deserves, as in many ways he excelled in the radio work in which he was involved, especially his "Mercury Theater on the Air"

As Orson Welles was also a magician, those Awards just may have been the greatest trick he ever pulled off!

Orson Welles generally ended most of his radio broadcasts with the quote, "I remain obediently yours" and I suppose he did.


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Mon 18, 2019 1:46 am 
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I would like to nominate the less well known voice talent of John Brown -a gifted actor, perhaps best known for his wonderful performances as Broadway in Damon Runyon theater. But he was also Al, Irma's ne'er do well boyfriend in My Friend Irma. You probably remember the running gag where he would ring his friend Joe for help with his crazy schemes. ' Hey Joe.....Got a Problem...'

And who can forget Riley's friend 'Digger O Dell...the Friendly Undertaker ' ? A hilarious source of black humor and the perfect foil for William Bendix in 'Life of Riley'.

A great talent, his career was cut short like so many during McCarthyism.

Largely overlooked when discussing OTR, he does not get the recognition he deserves

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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Mon 18, 2019 3:53 am 
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Glad you brought up the name of John Brown and the radio show. I have recently purchased a boxed set of "The Damon Runyon Theater". I have only listened to one of the episodes, but will definitely pay closer attention to the actors and the stories especially John Brown. This is evidently the Broadway named actor who from the Damon Runyon script speaks only in present tense (and without contractions) in his dialogue. Sounds strange, but it is unique and does work quite well.

Many of the fine and talented radio actors lost their jobs and careers (Tom Collins is a good example. In the case of Tom Collins, he left Hollywood for New York as radio began to wane in Hollywood and the new medium of television was taking over, hoping to get work in television. Unfortunately, he evidently did not have the contacts or whatever would have been needed to find work in New York and he ended up financially stricken and having to take just about any job he could find ending with an early death.

Similar situations existed when the silent films ended as so did the careers of many actors having worked in silent film. Many of the powers in Hollywood felt talking pictures could never supplant the silents, but they were not alone in such thinking as with the advent of television, many in the radio industry felt the little screen could never overtake radio. We all today know what happened. With the ending of CBS's radio version of "Gunsmoke" in June of 1961 it also ended the Golden Age of Radio. "Gunsmoke" was the last dramatic radio show to air from Hollywood. Luckily for the radio cast, most stayed on and did quite well. William Conrad became an Executive at Warner Bros, then later his successful "Cannon" television show. Howard McNear (who was the original Doc Adams) went on to a successful run as Floyd the Barber on "The Andy Griffith Show". Most seemed to have found work in television.

I know other comparison's could be made, but such circumstances in various work and varying social and economic environments has probably always existed and are certainly existing today with the computer take-over of just about everything, certainly the "brick and mortar" stores such as Sears, Roebuck and Company, once one of the leading stores in the United States.


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Tue 19, 2019 7:15 am 
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The Actor Pat O'Brien played the part of "Broadway". The later transfer is confusing, but Alan Ladd with his Mayfair Productions took over the newer version of The Damon Runyon Theater Radio show with John Black playing the part of "Broadway".

The stories are well written and on the sentimental side, especially as they relate to the City of New York and the surrounding areas with residents having that unique pre-1950 personality which no longer exists. The part of "Broadway" is played well by both Pat O'Brien and later John Black. John Black speaks slower and overall I like his interpretation of "Broadway" the best.
Damon Runyon wrote the stories all in present tense using no contractions making for a very unique and successful writing style. Restorations of the radio shows have been completed by Radio Spirits and a small boxed set of about 6 hours can still be found occasionally on various Internet Auction sites including Ebay.


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Tue 19, 2019 8:07 pm 
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Jack Webb for hard boiled drama
Gracie Allen for comedy
Orson Wells for his voice

For those that did not appear much on radio, the stars of Bold Venture:
Humphrey Bogart
Lauren Bacall


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Tue 19, 2019 8:49 pm 
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After listening to some Gunsmoke programs I am convinced the William Conrad is the best radio actor bar none.


Last edited by Merrill Bancroft on Feb Tue 19, 2019 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Tue 19, 2019 9:08 pm 
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Conrad also had a wonderful radio face Image


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Tue 19, 2019 10:43 pm 
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The "Gunsmoke" radio and television programs were written and developed by the noted radio writer John Meston who is probably the least known. John Meston wrote for many other radios including ESCAPE.
His writing talents were well known to the radio and television industry. He wrote most of the episodes on "Gunsmoke" or had editorial approval over the other writer's for many of the later episodes on both the radio and television versions. The 1992 CBS television movie "Gunsmoke: To the Last Man" is dedicated to the memory of John Meston.

"Gunsmoke" had a lot going for it, mainly the fact that it was the first adult Western show on radio that continued on television until I think 1975 and it had 4 very sympathetic characters just about anybody could relate to in their various circumstances. They were very protective and supportive of each other in a very genuine way. "Gunsmoke" won practically every major Award for many of those years it aired from the Radio Association of America.

Each of the main characters were very protective of each other and would give their life for each other as was the story line in one episode titled "No Greater Love", but that theme ran through all of the episodes. The closely knit relationship between the 4 main characters was a great part of the program's charm and resulting popularity. Most radio shows relied on just one main character or possibly two, but not in the case of "Gunsmoke".

The characters worked well together including William Conrad, Howard McNear, Georgia Ellis and Parley Baer. That carried over into their personal lives which helped to make it more believable on the radio show. The characters were also developed slowly in the first few episodes (taken from earlier similar types of Western radio shows) and the History of "Gunsmoke" can present a vital part of the History of radio at the end of the Golden era.

If you can find the 5 hour PBS Documentary on "Gunsmoke" from the 1970's, I recommend it highly. The radio show ran conjunctively on both radio and television with the radio show ending in June of 1961 and the television show for many years longer. For the most part, radio actors and actresses had those "Million Dollar Voices" which is why so many were successful on the air waves versus the Silver Screen, although that was not always the case.

"Gunsmoke" was the last dramatic show to air from Hollywood and signaled the end of the "Golden Era of Radio". Television had successfully taken over the medium just as the "talkies" overtook silent film.


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Thu 21, 2019 2:34 am 
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For a long time Milburn Stone and James Arness held the record for continuous years being n the cast continuously in a television series (Weaver had quit and Amanda Blake was the 2nd Miss Kitty on the show).

James Arness, Dennis Weaver, and Milburn Stone would be admitted together in 1981 into the Hall of Great Western Performers.

Amanda Blake had already been enshrined in 1968, thirteen years earlier! Actually she was the third performer to be inducted, behind Tom Mix (1958) and Gary Cooper (1966).


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Thu 21, 2019 9:51 pm 
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Amanda Blake certainly made her mark as "Miss Kitty" on the television version of "Gunsmoke". Georgia Ellis had played the part in the radio version, and the character type regarding the personality of "Miss Kitty" continued on primarily because of John Meston's writing and editorial approval for the "Gunsmoke" episodes, many of which were repeated on the television show. Georgia Ellis was married to another well known person to radio, Antony Ellis who was noted for his writing and acting on many varied radio shows.

The photograph is of William Conrad and Georgia Ellis working before the radio microphone, probably for either a "Gunsmoke", "Escape" or another vintage radio show.


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Last edited by ZenithStratosphere on Feb Fri 22, 2019 7:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Thu 21, 2019 10:01 pm 
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" 4 very sympathetic characters just about anybody could relate to in their various circumstances. They were very protective and supportive of each other in a very genuine way. "Gunsmoke" won practically every major Award for many of those years it aired from the Radio Association of America. "

They don't even try to make good shows like that any more. My second favorite was High Chaparral (with Linda Cristal winning Emmys for it).


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Fri 22, 2019 12:37 am 
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Quote:
They don't even try to make good shows like that any more. My second favorite was High Chaparral (with Linda Cristal winning Emmys for it.


The 5 hour PBS Documentary dealing primarily the radio version of “Gunsmoke” is available (and has been restored) through Radio Archives in their Archives Treasures Volume #2. It may possibly be on some of the other Internet sites. The Documentary is not only insightful as to the history of radio’s “Gunsmoke”, but it also gives insight as to the Network powers that seemingly changed the Industry overnight with the advent of television.

At the end of the television run of "Gunsmoke" in 1975, Los Angeles Times columnist Cecil Smith wrote: "Gunsmoke was the dramatization of the American epic legend of the west. Our own Iliad and Odyssey, created from standard elements of the dime novel and the pulp Western as romanticized by [Ned] Buntline, [Bret] Harte, and [Mark] Twain. It was ever the stuff of legend."

For one example, when producer Norm Macdonnell (sp?) (and Parley Baer) discuss when “Gunsmoke” was abruptly pulled from the air waves (in June of 1961), he previously could meet with radio executives and get a new program approved faster than it later took for him to go up an elevator to meet with the new executives in regards to any new programming.

Just about everybody on the radio version of "Gunsmoke" including Rex Koury (who was the musical director and wrote the theme music for "Gunsmoke") give extensive commentary on the show with information heretofore not well known. The only person not to be interviewed was Howard McNear who had passed on by the time the Documentary was completed. But he is discussed at length by the others who were interviewed including Norman McDonnell, William Conrad, Georgia Ellis, Parley Baer and many of the other regular other actors relate personal stories that are as fascinating as they are emotionally touching, especially when Parley Baer discusses working with Howard McNear. Parley Baer gave the Eulogy at the Funeral of Howard McNear.

So much of the creativity and trust that had previously existed amongst the older employees at CBS Radio and the other networks, seems to have diminished and taken over greatly by newer employees, newer executives and was much more about greed than the creativity and camaraderie (that has existed previously) involved in a particular radio show, which has continued over the years as is predominately the case today. :(

I highly recommend listening to this fascinating Documentary titled “The Story of Gunsmoke” from the mid-1970’s for the insight it gives to the time period when the Golden Age of Radio gave way to the new medium of television and how the circumstances completely changed for those working within the Industry.

The photograph is of Howard McNear, the first "Doc Adams" on "Gunsmoke" and later "Floyd the Barber" on "The Andy Griffith" television show. The second photograph is of the sound effects men on "Gunsmoke" Ray Kemper and Tom Hanley and Norm McDonnell (holding a pen) the director of "Gunsmoke" and worked on many other shows such as "ESCAPE".


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Feb Sun 24, 2019 9:04 pm 
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James Arness, Dennis Weaver, and Milburn Stone would be admitted together in 1981 into the Hall of Great Western Performers.

Amanda Blake had already been enshrined in 1968, thirteen years earlier! Actually she was the third performer to be inducted, behind Tom Mix (1958) and Gary Cooper (1966).


This is quite a complement and honor to Amanda Blake (television's "Miss Kitty"). in being the 3rd person inducted ((in 1968) behind Tom Mix and Gary Cooper into the Hall of Great Western Performers.


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 Post subject: Re: Best actor, actress in OTR
PostPosted: Apr Sun 28, 2019 8:15 pm 
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+1 on William Conrad, definitely one of the radio greats!

Also Orson Welles, I'd say he was "THE" voice of radio, the Mercury Theatre on the Air is one of my favorites to listen to, along with the Black Museum.

Tom

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