01 January 2018

Happy New Year with Johnny Dollar

In case you are lying around feeling unfit to do much of anything today, take a listen.

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar - Bob Bailey

For over twelve years, from 1949 through 1962 (including a one year hiatus in 1954-1955), this series recounted the cases "the man with the action-packed expense account, Americaâs fabulous freelance insurance investigator, Johnny Dollar". Johnny was an accomplished 'padder' of his expense account. The name of the show derives from the fact that he closed each show by totaling his expense account, and signing it "End of report... Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar".

Terry Salomonson in his authoritative "A Radio Broadcast Log of the Drama Program Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar", notes that the original working title was "Yours Truly, Lloyd London". Salomonson writes "Lloyd London was scratched out of the body of (the Dick Powell) audition script and Johnny Dollar was written in. Thus the show was re-titled on this script and the main character was renamed. Why this was done was unclear â possibly to prevent a legal run-in with Lloydâs of London Insurance Company." Although based in Hartford, Connecticut, the insurance capital of the world, freelancer Johnny Dollar managed to get around quite a bit â his adventures taking him all over the world.

There were some unusual devices used in the show that help set it apart from other shows. There was no partner, assistant, or secretary for Johnny. The character closest to a continuing role was that of Pat McCracken of the Universal Adjustment Bureau, who assigned Johnny many of his cases. Another atypical aspect gave the show additional credibility â frequently, characters on the show would mention that they had heard about Johnnyâs cases on the radio. Johnny often used his time when filling out his expense accounts to give the audience background information or to express his thoughts about the current case.

No fewer than eight actors played Johnny Dollar. Dick Powell, of Rogues Gallery fame, cut the original audition tape, but chose to do Richard Diamond, Private Detective instead. Gerald Mohr, of The Adventures of Philip Marlowe fame, auditioned in 1955, prior to Bob Bailey getting the title role. Through the first three actors to play Johnny Dollar (Charles Russell, Edmond O'Brien, and John Lund), there was little to distinguish the series from many other radio detective series. Dollar was just another hard-boiled detective in a medium that was overloaded with the stereotype. Charles Russell, the first to play the role, would throw silver dollars to bellboys and waiters. Luckily, this trite gimmick did not survive long... - Source

Thanks to Down These Mean Streets podcast for introducing me to Johnny Dollar!
And thanks to the Internet Archive!

31 December 2017

A Mystery for New Year's Eve

Mystery in Swing, 1940

In and around some great blues, swing and jazz music, a very unpopular band-leader. Prince Ellis, is killed in a Harlem nightclub, and, in and around some more great music, a detective finds the lists of suspects is very long, as Prince Ellis was indeed very unpopular with many citizens. - Source

Thanks to the Internet Archive!

26 December 2017

Christmas in London, 1940

BBC radio broadcast from London, England, 1940.

Featuring seasonal greetings from local Londoners and Christmas greetings from the King! - Source

Thanks to the Internet Archive!

25 December 2017

Christmas in the Trenches

 Czech soldiers in WW1 

 Between 2014 and 2018, the world is marking a centenary since the Great War swept across Europe and beyond. There is hardly a family in this country that didn’t have at least one of their male ancestors fighting on one or more of the fronts of the conflict. In this special programme, we look at the ways Czech soldiers in WW1 spent their Christmas in various places around Europe and the Far East. Using authentic documents: letters, journals and memoirs provided by the soldiers’ descendants to Czech Radio, the programme brings a testimony of the very different life our great-grandfathers lived one hundred years ago. RADIO PRAGUE 2015 - Source

 Thanks to the Internet Archive

24 December 2017

A Czech Christmas

The Czech word for Christmas, Vánoce, is of German origin, from the term Weinachten, or holy nights.

Czech Christmas music has a rich tradition, aptly enough in the land of Good King Wenceslas. He lived over a millennium ago and little or no Czech music from his day survives, but there is plenty from the 16th century onwards. - Source

 Thanks to the Internet Archive!

23 December 2017

The Eve of Christmas Eve

Tibb's Eve, also known as Tipp's Eve, Tip's Eve or Tipsy Eve is a celebration held on December 23 originating on the south coast of Newfoundland. Tibb's eve is also widely recognized in other parts of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.Wikipedia

Read more about it here and here.

December 23rd is also St. Thorlak's Day in Iceland and considered there to be the last day of preparations for Christmas.

Also on this date of December 23rd:

1823 "Visit from St Nicholas" (T'was the night before Christmas) by C Moore published in Troy (NY) Sentinel

1888 - Following a quarrel with Paul Gauguin, Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh cut off part of his own earlobe.

1893 - The Engelbert Humperdinck opera "Hansel und Gretel" was first performed, in Weimar, Germany.

1942 - Bob Hope agreed to entertain U.S. airmen in Alaska. It was the first of the traditional Christmas shows.

1943 - "Hansel and Gretel," the opera, was televised on New York's WRBG. It was the first complete opera to be televised.

It's also Festivus.