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This week’s highlights are topped by the 69th Anniversary of radio’s Gunsmoke! Before famously spending 20 years on television it began a decade long radio run on April 26th, 1952. And not only do we celebrate it with a First and Finale Special, but I also bring back a rare and hilarious rehearsal recording.
Around Christmastime 1955, the Gunsmoke cast and crew apparently combined their booze-filled holiday party with a rehearsal of “The New Hotel” episode. It’s a recording featuring flubs, bloopers, uncontrolled laughter, improper sound effects and even some profanity (bleeped out of course for this replay). I will play the rehearsal followed by the actual episode as it later aired in February of 1956.
In addition to Gunsmoke we mark radio debut anniversaries for Lum and Abner (90th); Studio One (74th) plus the radio debut of Jack Benny (89th). We celebrate Jack with a First and Finale Special playing his May 2nd, 1932 debut then his final original episode, which played May 22nd, 1955. As a bonus we’ll also present Ford Theatre’s version of his motion picture “The Horn Blows At Midnight”.
Heading up the birthday celebrants are some radio superstars Eve Arden (Our Miss Brooks); Vic Perrin (Suspense, Escape); Frances Robinson (The Whistler, Brooksie on Let George Do It) and Lionel Barrymore (Mayor Of The Town, Dr. Kildare)
Additional birthday blocks for the following: Dan O’Herlihy (Escape, Suspense and An American Gallery in which he plays famed 19th century Poet Longfellow); Glenn Ford (Suspense as well as Studio One’s version of the thriller “The 39 Steps” the same book was also made into 1935 Alfred Hitchcock directed motion picture); Kate Smith (Command Performance); Ned Wever (Bulldog Drummond); British film star Brian Aherne; Harry McNaughton (It’s Higgins, Sir); Rosemary Rice (Suspense, Archie Andrews) and Ian Martin (Sherlock Holmes).
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