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THE RADIO HALL OF FAME - PHILCO RADIO HALL OF FAME

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OLD TIME RADIO - 4 CD-ROM - 96 mp3

Total Playtime: 79:11:34

The Radio Hall of Fame, also as know as Philco Radio Hall of Fame and Philco Summer Hour during 1944 summer, ran from 1943 to 1946 and was a variety show that starred the greatest performers of the 1940's, such as Bing Crosby, Groucho Marx and the Andrews Sisters, just to name a few. The show featured the very best in comedy, drama and music.

From The Billboard's Decmber 18th 1943 review of The Radio Hall of Fame's premiere broadcast:

Once again, seeking an excuse for a variety show, a sponsor has turned to the idea of paying tribute to the top performers in showbiz.    Calling their potpourri Radio Hall of Fame, the Philco Radio Corporation, with an assist from Variety, trade weekly will bring together a group of performers each week, with continuity saluting the artists for their past accomplishments in the entertainment fields.

     Showbiz could profit from a real Hall of Fame, some form of Pulitzer award for individual performers.  Unfortunately, the title is once again being used as a come-on to "ennoble" only the actual broadcast and the trade paper that's paid to suggest the acts.  Several years ago the sponsor of this program suggested such a Hall of Fame thru its publicity agent, Tom Fizdale, and the sheet that is now part of the broadcast presentation took the idea apart in a big way.  At that time they saw all the gimmicks in the idea.  Everything is apparently different now that there is a largesse from the job for the sponsor instead of being free to editorialize upon it.  Also, if this reviewer's memory is correct, all the Halls of Fame are dedicated to the dead, or at least to the inactive.  That goes for the Hall of Fame at New York University, as well as the Baseball HOF at Cooperstown, N.Y., and the other tributes to immortals which are scattered around the world.

     For the record, there were no dead ones on the premiere broadcast, which was entertainment out of the drawer on top of the top drawer.  The hour was full of fast-moving microphone-worthy diversion, well routined and socko.  From the climax of Broadway's Winged Victory, with the original AAF cast, to the sign-off by Bob Hope, there wasn't a dull moment, except perhaps some of the Deems Taylor song and dance spiels.  Taylor was, to say the least, a longhair lost behind the mike.  George Faulkner, scripter who strung the words together for the RHOF, hasn't written for the Taylor type before and so may be excused if his words didn't "flow" for the annotator.  However, Faulkner must be warned that despite the fact the hour is a salute, the best salvo is still the performance, not the treasurer's report.

     Only one performer on the program came from radio's "First Fifteen" (Hooperating or CAB); that was Bob Hope.  The other personalities--Hildegarde, Jimmy Durante, Maurice Rocco and Quentin Reynolds--are on the air but none of them has been able to sell his "unique abilities" consistently thru broadcasting.  They were at their best on the RHOF, which may indicate that they're just natural guest artists.  When nitery personalities air, perhaps it's best that they test-sample their wares, rather than star on a program.  Hildegarde and Durante topped their usual air stints, altho Schnozzola milked his Umbriago clarinet routine so that there wasn't any cream in the last few toots.  Someday they'll build a microphone able to deliver Jimmy at his best and then the audiences will be happy.  As it is now, he's still a shouting personality and mikes are still whispering mediums.

     The dramatic interlude, the Winged Victory climax, was superb air-stuff and was just as superbly done by Lee J. Cobb, Mark Daniels and Edmund O'Brien.  Some legit excerpts, in fact most of them, fall flat on their face in a radio program, but not only did Victory clear this hurdle, but it took the program by its bootstraps into the realm of things as we'd like to have them.  It rated the $25,000 donation which Philco presented to the Army Emergency Relief.  The Winged Victory chorus was thrown in for the 25Gs.

     Deems Taylor announced that there'd be a "new" name presented each week to RHOF audiences.  The tee-off's new name was Maurice Rocco, straight from the Club Zanzibar and the Capitol Theater.  Rocco did his usual boogie-woogie, sans a piano stool.  It's good visual stuff but Philco didn't have its television station skedded to scan the program and what came into the home was just fair pianistics.  Rocco is a likeable performer who has never pictured himself a great air personality and his "discovery" on this program won't rate the "talent selector" any laurel wreath.

     Paul Whiteman is a natural for the podium, and besides he's the musical director of the Blue Network over which the program is heard.  He has the background, personality and authority that gives a stable quality to the show.  When he paid tribute to Sgt. Dave Rose, who arranged and directed the music for Winged Victory the recognition meant something to listeners who know that in the popular field, there's no one who pretends to top P.W.  The piece given the palm was Holiday for Strings.

     The program topper was, of course, Bob Hope (piped in from Hollywood), who seems to come thru every time.  He didn't have a new one to tell--but how he told his old ones!  Typically Hope, he ran overtime, so that the final Hope gag topped the final Whiteman fanfare as the program signed off.  Hope has made the permanent Radio Hall of Fame in the hearts of his listeners.  He doesn't need a bogus Hall to tell the fact to the world--but anyone who brings him to the air rates a long deep salaam.

     Forgetting the bogus pitch, the new Philco show is the best that has occupied the Sunday 6 to 7 slot since broadcasting began.  The combination of DeVere Engelbach, producer, and George Faulkner writer, is almost unbeatable, given a reasonable amount of talent with which to play.  At this hour the show has no competition.  At its midway mark it hits The Great Gildersleeve.  Hal Peary's show has been gathering a bigger audience each week.  The first RHOF show neatly by-passed the dial twisters by spotting the Winged Victory spot so that it ran from just before the half hour to 6:40, thus making it tough to tune away from the Blue Net at the time that Gildy went on the air.  If they're able to do that every week, they're going to make Peary's hair turn white with loss of Hooper and Crossley points.

     Credit the premiere of Fame with another first.  Neither the Blue nor the Philco prexy labored verbally on the program to produce a pipsqueak.  As a matter of fact, except for the Deems Taylor words, there was less non-show business gab on this hour than any of the other recent commercial debuts.

     If they can keep the pace, Radio Hall of Fame will establish a hard-to-follow standard for all Sunday evening slot-fillers.  It's a shame, however, that they had to put a false front on a great show.  Some day someone is going to produce a typical Palace Theater program on the air, without an alibi, or a formula, and it's going to be a success because it has the necessary talent.  After it's a success everyone's going to say, "We knew all the time that all you needed on the air was a great show."

     Lacking a sock line-up every week, they are going to need a personality to emsee the show.  Deems isn't it.  He's been annotating all his life and he's still doing it, and an annotator is at the best a bridge for a stage wait.

     A Radio Hall of Fame ought to pay tributes to the stars it enshrines.  It's a shame that this great show has to packhorse its formula and its talent picker.  It deserves better.


Joe Koehler.

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SHOWS LIST

Radio Hall of Fame 43-12-12 (002) Carmen Jones
Radio Hall of Fame 43-12-26 (004) New Year's Message
Radio Hall of Fame 44-01-02 (005) First Song - Valencia
Radio Hall of Fame 44-01-09 (006) Moonlight
Radio Hall of Fame 44-01-23 (008) First Song - Oh What A Beautiful Morning
Radio Hall of Fame 44-02-06 (010) First Song - Beso Mucho
Radio Hall of Fame 44-02-13 (011) Jane Eyre
Radio Hall of Fame 44-03-05 (014) First Song - Take It Easy
Radio Hall of Fame 44-04-02 (018) First Song - Lady Of Spain
Radio Hall of Fame 44-04-30 (022) No Uncommon Clay
Radio Hall of Fame 44-05-07 (023) Moral Victory
Radio Hall of Fame 44-05-14 (024) In The Fog
Radio Hall of Fame 44-05-21 (025) Times Square
Radio Hall of Fame 44-06-04 (027) Take It Easy
Radio Hall of Fame 44-06-11 (028) First Song - Salt Water Cowboy
Radio Hall of Fame 44-06-18 (029) First Song - Louise
Radio Hall of Fame 44-06-25 (030) Don't Sweetheart Me
Radio Hall of Fame 44-07-02 (031) Stars And Stripes Forever
Radio Hall of Fame 44-07-09 (032) Lady Of Spain
Radio Hall of Fame 44-07-16 (033) Make Way For Tomorrow
Radio Hall of Fame 44-07-23 (034) First Song - I Want To Be Happy
Radio Hall of Fame 44-07-30 (035) Suzy
Radio Hall of Fame 44-08-06 (036) Is You Is
Radio Hall of Fame 44-08-13 (037) Sweet And Lovely
Radio Hall of Fame 44-08-20 (038) Take It Easy
Radio Hall of Fame 44-08-27 (039) Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are
Radio Hall of Fame 44-09-03 (040) Blue Room
Radio Hall of Fame 44-09-10 (041) Lady Be Good
Radio Hall of Fame 44-09-17 (042) Dance With The Dolly
Radio Hall of Fame 44-09-24 (043) All Star, All Request Program
Radio Hall of Fame 44-10-01 (044) Wilson
Radio Hall of Fame 44-11-05 (049) The Evil War
Radio Hall of Fame 44-11-12 (050) Condemned In Paris
Radio Hall of Fame 44-11-19 (051) Brooklyn Dodgers
Radio Hall of Fame 44-11-26 (052) The Two Mrs Carrolls
Radio Hall of Fame 44-12-03 (053) A Bell For Adano
Radio Hall of Fame 44-12-10 (054) First Anniversary Show
Radio Hall of Fame 44-12-17 (055) Judy Garland
Radio Hall of Fame 44-12-24 (056) The Happy Prince
Radio Hall of Fame 44-12-31 (057) Showboat
Radio Hall of Fame 45-01-07 (058) Now And Then
Radio Hall of Fame 45-01-14 (059) Thank Dixie For Me
Radio Hall of Fame 45-01-21 (060) Breakfast In Hollywood
Radio Hall of Fame 45-01-28 (061) Evelani
Radio Hall of Fame 45-02-04 (062) Experiment Perilous
Radio Hall of Fame 45-02-11 (063) Victor Herbert Tribute
Radio Hall of Fame 45-02-18 (064) First Song - How Deep Is The Ocean
Radio Hall of Fame 45-02-25 (065) Earl Carroll Tribute
Radio Hall of Fame 45-03-04 (066) The Tell-Tale Heart
Radio Hall of Fame 45-03-11 (067) Believe It Or Not
Radio Hall of Fame 45-03-18 (068) Vic And Sade
Radio Hall of Fame 45-03-25 (069) The Strange Case Of Robert Rappaport
Radio Hall of Fame 45-04-01 (070) The Ringling Brothers Circus
Radio Hall of Fame 45-04-08 (071) The Case Of The Perfect Frame-up
Radio Hall of Fame 45-04-15 (072) Music Loved By All The World
Radio Hall of Fame 45-04-22 (073) Alter Ego
Radio Hall of Fame 45-05-06 (075) Paul Whiteman Salute
Radio Hall of Fame 45-05-13 (076) Mother's Day Special
Radio Hall of Fame 45-05-20 (077) Major General Maurice Rose Tribute
Radio Hall of Fame 45-05-27 (078) George Gershwin Salute
Radio Hall of Fame 45-07-08 (084) Guest - Sophie Tucker
Radio Hall of Fame 45-07-15 (085) Guest - Judy Canova
Radio Hall of Fame 45-07-22 (086) Everytime
Radio Hall of Fame 45-07-29 (087) Guest - Gloria Agostini
Radio Hall of Fame 45-08-05 (088) Landing Craft Musical
Radio Hall of Fame 45-08-12 (089) The Navajo Trail
Radio Hall of Fame 45-08-19 (090) Special Day Of Prayer And Thanksgiving
Radio Hall of Fame 45-08-26 (091) Georgia Gibbs' Birthday Party
Radio Hall of Fame 45-09-02 (092) I Want To Be Happy
Radio Hall of Fame 45-09-09 (093) Deep In The Heart Of Texas
Radio Hall of Fame 45-09-16 (094) School Days
Radio Hall of Fame 45-09-23 (095) One Road Mary
Radio Hall of Fame 45-11-04 (101) Unveiling The New Philco Products
Radio Hall of Fame 45-11-11 (102) Honoring Oscar Levant
Radio Hall of Fame 45-11-18 (103) Honoring Gene Kelly
Radio Hall of Fame 45-11-25 (104) Honoring The Metropolitan Opera
Radio Hall of Fame 45-12-02 (105) Guest - Kate Smith
Radio Hall of Fame 45-12-09 (106) Guest - Eddie Cantor
Radio Hall of Fame 45-12-16 (107) Guest - Judy Canova
Radio Hall of Fame 45-12-23 (108) Christmas Program
Radio Hall of Fame 45-12-30 (109) Guest - Sophie Tucker
Radio Hall of Fame 46-01-06 (110) Guest - Ralph Bellamy
Radio Hall of Fame 46-01-13 (111) Guest - Don McNeill
Radio Hall of Fame 46-01-20 (112) Annual Film Critics Award
Radio Hall of Fame 46-01-27 (113) Guest - Red Skelton
Radio Hall of Fame 46-02-03 (114) Guest - Abbott And Costello
Radio Hall of Fame 46-02-10 (115) Guest - Jerry Colonna
Radio Hall of Fame 46-02-17 (116) Guest - Jack Haley
Radio Hall of Fame 46-02-24 (117) Guest - Jimmy Durante
Radio Hall of Fame 46-03-03 (118) Guest - Bob Crosby
Radio Hall of Fame 46-03-10 (119) Guest - Hedda Hopper
Radio Hall of Fame 46-03-17 (120) Guest - Lionel Barrymore
Radio Hall of Fame 46-03-24 (121) Guest - Agnes Moorehead
Radio Hall of Fame 46-03-31 (122) Guest - Walter Pidgeon
Radio Hall of Fame 46-04-07 (123) Guest - Larry Storch
Radio Hall of Fame 46-04-14 (124) Guest - Roland Young
 


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This product was added to our catalog on Friday 04 January, 2013.

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