Monday, October 20, 2014

Radio Show

I've been the host of a weekly talk show on "Radio Once More," the Old-Time Radio and nostalgia-oriented Internet station, since the spring of 2011.

The radio station and I have now parted ways.  I enjoyed, immensely, being a part of the station, and I wish "Radio Once More," and its listening audience, the very best.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Morgan White, Jr., and Mel Simons

I've written previously, in this space, about my friends Morgan White Jr., and Mel Simons.  Both are trivia experts, authors, and entertainers; both have appeared for years--Morgan as a host, Mel as a guest--on Boston's WBZ Radio.

Since November of 2013, Morgan has been the host of The Morgan Show, heard Saturdays on WBZ, from 10 p.m. to midnight (Eastern time).  This week, Mel will be his guest.  The program will feature Mel's "Audio Clip Trivia Quiz," in which listeners are asked to identify well-known voices (as heard, for example, on records, or radio and television programs).  Mel will also be discussing his just-released book, The Comedians Trivia Book.  It is the 11th title he has written for BearManor Media.

To listen to The Morgan Show, please visit this link:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, and collector Rick Payne

The ninth Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention will be taking place this week (from Thursday to Saturday), in Hunt Valley, Maryland.  The convention  is organized each year by Martin and Michelle Grams.  

This year's convention will, once again, feature celebrity appearances (by Connie Stevens, Piper Laurie, George Lazenby, and others).  The convention's lectures/seminars will include a history of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer;  the film work of “Buffalo Bill” Cody;  and a presentation about W.C. Fields (featuring Dr. Harriet Fields, Fields' granddaughter, and film historian Rob Farr).

Many nostalgia-oriented vendors will also be setting up shop at the convention.  I'd like to put in a word for one of them:  collector Rick Payne (who has appeared on my "Radio Once More" talk show, and is a friend).   Rick is an immensely knowledgeable and discerning collector (and preserver) of Americana.  

He has a very beautiful collection of tickets to old radio and television shows (which he has presented, on several occasions--via webinar--to the audience of "Radio Once More"). He also collects vintage movie/radio/television magazines, and newspaper comic strips; sheet music; premiums from radio and television programs; movie posters; radio transcriptions; vintage toys and games; and a great deal more.  

I have enjoyed talking with Rick, over time, about his life as a collector. I like the fact that he does not only collect popular culture artifacts, and souvenirs--though that would of course be perfectly fine, on its own; his collection would still be remarkable.  He is also, however,  a student of history.  He studies the items he finds, the artifacts he locates--gathers information about them, and items like them--and seeks to situate the artifacts, seeks to understand them, within the broader cultural and historical realm.  He is also, I must add, unusually eloquent in discussing his sense of the domain, and the meaning, of collecting.

He will be at the convention on Thursday and Friday, and while I don't know what items he will be offering for sale, I can guarantee that they will be worth looking at.

Here, for your reference, is Rick's store on the auction site ebay:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

(Photograph, circa 1978; used by permission of artist Jenny Lynn.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Boston television magazine, 1960

This is a January, 1960 issue of Television Week, a Boston television guide.

My mother, featured on the cover, was, at the time, the host of Cinema 7, a Sunday afternoon movie show on Boston station WNAC (Channel 7). As is noted on the cover, she was beginning her third year with the program.  She was host of the show until the close of 1960.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tony Charmoli, and "Your Hit Parade"

In the prior post, I wrote about the choreographer and director Tony Charmoli. The photograph, above, is of Mr. Charmoli (during the time he was the choreographer and stager of NBC's Your Hit Parade), and Hit Parade dancer Virginia Conwell.  The photograph appeared in the June, 1953 issue of Dance Magazine.

The caption refers to the Peabody Award given to the Hit Parade in 1953 (for the year 1952). Among the other Peabody recipients, that year, were Martin Agronsky, of ABC Radio, for his news coverage and analysis; CBS Radio, for its New York City Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra program; NBC-TV, for the programs Meet The Press, and Mister Peepers (which starred Wally Cox); and The Johns Hopkins Science Review, produced at Baltimore's WAAM-TV, which was carried on the Dumont Network.

Here is the citation accompanying the award to the Hit Parade:

"A long merited award for consistent good taste, technical perfection, and unerring choice of performers. When a hit song must be used for as often as 16 consecutive weeks, unusual ingenuity is required to keep the program fresh and original. This is a challenge which has never once defeated 'Your Hit Parade,' a model of charm and good taste, appealing to every age group. A credit to producers, sponsors, and the entire television industry."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Television Advertisement, 1949

This advertisement, for a television set, is from a May 9, 1949 issue of Playbill magazine.  The Playbill was for Love Life: A Vaudeville, which starred Nanette Fabray and Ray Middleton.

The Broadway play, which would have its final performance five days later, had its premiere in October of 1948. Its book and lyrics were by Alan Jay Lerner, and its music by Kurt Weill; the director was Elia Kazan, and Michael Kidd was the choreographer.

One of the play's performers was the dancer Tony Charmoli.

In 1949, while performing on Broadway, Charmoli became the choreographer for the ABC television show Stop The Music.  Then, in 1950, when NBC's Your Hit Parade came to TV, Charmoli was hired as the program's choreographer.  He was also the show's stager; he staged all of the performances of the singers and supporting actors/performers in each of the show's musical numbers. The program featured dramatizations of each week's hit songs.

In addition to his quick rise to prominence as a television choreographer--he received an Emmy nomination in 1955 for his choreography on Your Hit Parade, and was awarded an Emmy the following year, for his work on the program--Charmoli later became a noted television director.  From the 1960s to the 1990s, he received eleven Emmy nominations, for both directing and choreography.  Two of those nominations, in the 1970s, led to Emmy Awards, for choreography; one was for Gypsy in My Soul, the 1976 special which starred Shirley MacLaine (which he also directed).  Charmoli was also the director of the much-admired 1977 television production of the American Ballet Theater's The Nutcracker, starring Mikhail Baryshnikov.

The above advertisement, from the 1949 Playbill, is for an Emerson TV.  I enjoy its name--that it was a "Long Distance" television set.  (As the ad noted:  "No matter where you live--city, suburb or country, you'll get finer reception with an Emerson Long Distance Television Receiver.")  I also like the name of the store where the television could be purchased.  Television, in 1949, was still a new entity in American life; the Emerson TV set was available at "Willis Radio Stores," in the Bronx.