Friday, August 31, 2012

Deanna Durbin - Did you know this?

By age 21 she was the most highly paid female star in the world.

Fred Allen

Fred was just downright funny!

Speaking of Te Kanawa

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is a perfect example of the principle that there can be striking attractiveness without classic beauty. Her face is far from being out of the ordinary - except for her eyes. They are mesmerizing, and by themselves they transform her into a memorable sight.

Riddle with Ronstadt and Te Kanawa

There is an interesting study in constrasts in the CDs recorded by orchestra leader Nelson Riddle with Linda Ronstadt (three of them) and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Ronstadt was basically a rock singer, and all things considered she did a remarkable job of making the transition. Still, there is that noticeable inconsistancy in her ranges (belting from the chest in the lower register and significantly weaker when she goes into the higher head tones). Te Kanawa's phrasing is always smooth and very pleasing, but a times you want to say to her, "Loosen up, Kiri." Neither of them is going to make us forget Ella Fitzgerald.

But, as always, there are those impeccable arrangements by Riddle. Lush and rich. He has the remarkable ability to completely feature the singer while at the same time dominating the performance.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dr. Kildare

The old radio show Dr. Kildare was surprisingly good. I thought it would just be a soap opera, but the plots were interesting, and having Lionel Barrymore as a regular in the cast made the episodes somewhat comical and very enjoyable.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mr. & Mrs. North

Barbara Britton, who played Mrs. North on the TV program, was an unbelievable character. She was an air-headed sort, except that she always managed to solve all the mysteries instead of her level-headed husband.

Gene Autry

I know this will bring me in for some abuse, but I really like the old Gene Autry radio shows. Gene was far from a great singer, but he had good musicians behind him, and his stories were interesting - plus his regular sidekicks were funny. It was a well-run program.

More Barry Craig music

I have found another in the increasing list of radio shows that borrowed music from the Barry Craig detective program. The latest if the Carter Brown Mystery Hour.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

One advantage

Ah, the joys of hosting the association - when you do not have to be on the preaching committee.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


The worst thing about voting against Obama is that I would have to vote for Romney. So - I will vote third party, as usual.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Lionel  Barrymore was outstanding as the crusty older doctor on the Dr. Kildare radio series.

I like Lum and Abner

Call me bucolic if you like, but I still really like the old Lum and Abner radio shows, even going back into the mid-30's. They were just well done, and very funny.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Big radio stars

Actors who were big name stars on radio were not always the same as in the movies. One of the most famous cases in point was William Conrad, who was the star of one of the longer-running radio programs (Gunsmoke), and who was very active in guest roles in many programs. Another was John Dehner, who starred in two radio series (Have Gun, Will Travel and Fontier Gentleman), and who likewise was very busy on all sorts of other programs. Both of them were in quite a few movies, but never were big-name stars there like they were in radio.

Monday, August 20, 2012

La Boheme

It worked out that on the way to work I was able to listen to the entirety of the final act of La Boheme performed at the Met in 2002. That has to be one of the saddest and most dramatic endings to any piece of music. And, unlike many operas, the music throughout the final act remains compelling and absolutely beautiful. I still think that Marcello's single word, "Corragio," just before Rodolfo's final "Mimi's", has to be one of the most dramatic words in all operatic literature.

I was reminded of the time Pam and I were able to see La Boheme at the Met in 1985 - with Placido Domingo conducting.


As I drove to work this morning, the fog had settled into the lower spots in the valley north of Washburn ridge. It looked like a cotton blanket.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Why do the opinions of movie stars or musical celebrities matter about anything?

Old age

It ain't what it is cracked up to be. Believe me!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Third try

In old detective movies, when they had to break down a door, it always broke on the third try. Almost every time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gene Autry

Gene Autry was far from the best actor or the best singer in Hollywood history. But he may well have been the best businessman. In 1995 his net worth was estimated at $320 million.

Sgt. Corbett

The dry, pessimistic homicide sergeant of The Falcon radio show was played by Ken Lynch, whose face should be familiar from TV and movies.

Boston Blackie

My wife and I are enjoying watching episodes of the old Boston Blackie TV series. Kent Taylor played the title role, and did a good job with it. His girlfriend, Mary Wesley (I have seen it spelled Westley), was played by Lois Collier, who was always immaculately attired, but who could mix it up if Blackie needed help. Lots of fun. The DVDs we have are not of the best quality, but good enough to follow the program.

New Cuties

I got to meet two lovely young ladies within the last few days. Miss Charlotte Elizabeth Green, my grandniece, the daughter of Seth and Jessica; and Miss Elsie Violet Moseley, my granddaughter, the daughter of David and Leah.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Point to consider

If chickens wore glasses, what would they look like?


A friend of mine was ticketed for smoking in a No Smoking facility. "Don't you know there is no smoking allowed?" the policeman asked. "I wasn't smoking aloud," he answered. "I was hardly making a sound."

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lesson in jazz piano styles

Art Tatum - how good was he?

When Oscar Peterson was still a young boy, his father played him a recording of Art Tatum performing "Tiger Rag". Once the young Peterson was finally persuaded that it was performed by a single person, Peterson was so intimidated that he did not touch the piano for weeks.


I am most thankful for God's mercies in delivering another grandchild safely into the world. Elsie Violet Moseley. Appears to look like her father.

Social issues?

You can tell with this Republican ticket that social issues are definitely on the back burner. Oh, they will say the right things, but that is not their passion. MONEY - that is their passion.

Some choice!

Great! On the one side we have Mr. Obama, and on the other side we have a Mormon and a Catholic. Some choice! I will be voting third party!

Friday, August 10, 2012


One of the most cleverly-written of all the old radio shows was The Halls of Ivy, which starred the husband and wife team of Ronald and Benita (Hume) Colman. It basically was a comedy, with serious overtones, and it featured continual witty banter between the couple and several other regulars on the show.

               The Colmans were also well known on radio as Jack Benny’s neighbors. Some of the very funniest of the Benny shows featured them, including the time that Jack takes them and Mary Livingston (girlfriends on the show, real-life wife) to the Mocambo, and expensive nightclub, where Jack ends up in a fight with the waiter.

               Ronald Colman was, of course, a very skilled dramatic actor who won an Oscar and was nominated three other times, including twice in the same year.

Nice pun

(From "The Halls of Ivy" radio show)

Dr. Hall (growing very frustrated while trying to balance his checkbook): "Vicki, if you should happen to see a passing herpetologist, send him my way. Tell him that I have become a poisonous adder.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Weight lifters

I heard a stop on the radio this morning that noted that weight lifters tend to hard relatively shorter arms and legs than other athletes. Makes sense, since that shortens the distance they have to lift.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Wiggle room

I have often quoted the proverb, "Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill." I may have to reneg on that. I am beginning to wonder if old age can even get out of the chair to be treacherous.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Here's a great monicker!

Algernon William George Evans-Freke, 9th Baron Carbery
One of the most irritating things out of Hollywood is actors trying to sound Southern when they are not really southern. Almost impossible to imitate.