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Being an Old Time Radio fan, I noticed several of my OTR favorites while watching Broadway Melody of 1936. Besides Jack Benny, I immediately recognized his announcer Don Wilson in the opening scenes (who was uncredited). Frances Langford, of course, was also known as playing Blanche in "The Bickersons" (with Don Ameche). And several others.

Of course, lots of stars did crossovers between radio, movies, live stage, and later TV. Being an OTR fan since I was about 10 (CBS Radio Mystery Theatre had just come out, which piqued my interest in old radio shows) I'm familiar with nearly all the stars. But for those just getting introduced to these stars and haven't discovered OTR yet, I thought it'd be interesting to start a thread on radio stars that appear in any of these featured musicals. Those who had their own OTR shows, or at least appeared on them. It'd bring another dimension to this study.

A great resource for free OTR shows is at archive.org but there are other great online streaming sites, and free phone apps as well.

[edit] p.s. Another upcoming TCM musical for June 12, Cabin in the Sky, stars two more from Jack Benny's radio show. Eddie "Rochester" Anderson was one of his co-stars in both radio, film, and TV. Butterfly McQueen who, though largely known for her role in Gone With the Wind where Anderson also appeared, was in several Jack Benny radio episodes where she played Mary Livingstone's maid.

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I love OTR myself.  I "found" OTR when we were on a family camping trip in Cabada.  Where we were we didn't get good tv reception.  We were in a trailer, so we had were what is now known as glamping.  ....I saw a board by the iffice that listed radio stations and shows, it lusted "The Shadow".  I listened and was hooked. 

Later I worked at a care facility and came across a book about OTR.  I read alot of it, and found the history interesting.  

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Now I'm watching Born to Dance (1936). Besides Frances Langford again, Virginia Bruce (who plays Lucy Powell) was another who was prominent in OTR, as well as Una Merkel (appeared quite a bit in The Great Gildersleeve). Jimmy Stewart also had a western radio series for awhile, The Six Shooter. All these can be found online.

As a side note about Born to Dance, I was trying to place the little girl that plays Gunny and Jenny Saks' daughter Sally. Had to look at IMBD, then I did an "ah, I remember where I saw her." Two years before this movie, Juanita Quigley played Claudette Colbert's daughter in Imitation of Life. According to IMDB she passed away last October.  ?

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More OTR personalities that connect to these past two weeks of musicals we've studied:

Alice Faye and her 2nd husband Phil Harris had their own radio show (after Phil had been on Jack Benny's program many years). https://archive.org/details/audio?and[]=phil+harris  I first knew Alice's husband Phil as Baloo the Bear in Disney's 1967 Jungle Book and tomcat Thomas O'Malley in Disney's 1970 Aristocats. (Alice's first husband Tony Martin was singer for Burns & Allen's radio show in late 1930s. After Tony and Alice divorced, Tony married Cyd Charisse, another performer we've seen in these musicals.)

Fannie Brice (whom Barbra Streisand portrayed in Funny Girl) not only had records https://archive.org/details/audio?and[]=fannie+brice&sin=  but was mostly known in OTR (as my parents were growing up) as "Baby Snooks": https://archive.org/details/audio?and[]=baby+snooks&sin=

Meredith Willson (The Music Man) appeared regularly on George Burns and Gracie Allen's radio show, being their musical director in addition to being a character on the show (1945-1948). Which is how I became acquainted with Meredith and his music. His "trademark" on the show was reminding everyone he was from Mason City, Iowa. https://archive.org/details/audio?and[]=burns+%26+allen&sin=

Gene Kelly made a guest appearance in a 1949 episode of the Burns & Allen radio show https://archive.org/details/490127BurnsAndAllen018GeorgesBirthday

Years ago I'd first heard of Oscar Levant after hearing him in his 1944 and 1946 guest appearances on Fred Allen's radio program:



And, of course, besides having guest appearances on others' shows, Bing Crosby https://archive.org/details/audio?and[]=bing+crosby&sin=&and[]=subject%3A"OTR" and Bob Hope https://archive.org/details/audio?and[]=bob+hope&sin=  each had their own radio show.


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A nice overview of radio performers who were in our movie musicals.

        One minor correction relating to Alice Faye and Phil Harris. They started their own duo work on radio while Phil was still on the Jack Benny Show. They had two shows. First was the "Fitch Bandwagon," from 1946 to 1948, then "The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show," from 1948 to 1954. Harris remained the band leader on the Benny show until the start of the 1952-1953 season, when he was replaced by Bob Crosby, the younger brother of Bing.  We saw Bob Crosby in a cameo in "Road to Bali."

More radio connections to our movie musicals:

          The aforementioned Jack Benny made a brief appearance in "Gypsy" and was a star in "Broadway Melody of 1936;" his longtime radio Announcer, Don Wilson also appeared with him. We also saw Eddie Anderson in "Cabin in the Sky; He played the character "Rochester" from 1937 until the end of the Benny show (on TV) in 1965.

         Three important radio personalities appeared in "Bathing Beauty." Red Skelton had a popular show that lasted from 1939 to 1953, when he moved over to TV for the next 20 years.  Basil Rathbone was the definitive Sherlock Holmes, with the incomparable Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson, in over 200 episodes of "The Adventures (and "The New Adventures") of Sherlock Holmes" and fourteen movies, from 1939 until 1946 (TV Aside: a later Sherlock had a role in "My Fair Lady;" Jeremy Brett, from the Granada series of the 1990's, was Freddy Einsforth Hill). And, Bill Goodwin was a popular announcer/character on both "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" and "The Bob Hope Show" during the forties and early fifties.

         We saw Gracie Allen in "Two Girls and a Sailor," along with another radio favorite, Jimmy Durante, who was also in "Two Sisters from Boston." Another alumnus from "The Bob Hope Show," was Doris Day, who sang and performed comedy with Bob and Bill Goodwin. Bing Crosby would guest on this show several times through the years, and Bob would reciprocate by appearing on Bing's shows: "The Kraft Music Hall," "Philco Radio Time," and "The Bing Crosby Show."  Another frequent guest through the years was Judy Garland. Band leader Paul Whiteman ("Strike Up the Band"), for whom Crosby was a vocalist in the late twenties, was one of the first hosts of the Kraft show (several years before Crosby took over in 1936). Whiteman, who debuted Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue in Carnegie Hall in 1925, was also seen in the bio-pic, "Rhapsody in Blue," with Robert Alda (father of Alan Alda of TV's M*A*S*H*) as George Gershwin. 

        The long running "Chase and Sanborn Hour" had several stars in the early to mid thirties: Maurice Chevalier ("The Love Parade," "The Merry Widow," and "Gigi"), Eddie Cantor ('Strike Me Pink"), Jimmy Durante (above), and Bert Lahr ('The Wizard of Oz"), before Don Ameche took over as star and ended up playing host to radio ventriloquist Edger Bergen and his dummy, Charlie McCarthy. We saw Ameche in "Moon Over Miami," with Betty Grable. In the late thirties, Nelson Eddy (sans Jeanette Mac Donald) was a regular on the show. He later had a run on "The Kraft Music Hall" in the Crosby years.

         J. Carrol Naish starred in the series, "Life with Luigi" from 1948 to 1953, in which he played an Italian immigrant adjusting to life in America. In "That Midnight Kiss," with Mario Lanza, he played the same kind of character with his unmistakable "Luigi" voice.

         And finally, Perry Como, whom we saw in "Words and Music," was the resident vocalist on the "Fibber McGee and Molly," when he was with the Freddie Carlone Orchestra in the late thirties. In the forties, he was one of the stars of "The Chesterfield Supper Club," before getting his own show, "The Perry Como Show," which ran from 1953 to 1955, before moving to Television.

         I'm sure there are more, but that's all for now. 


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