Radio Stars On The Job
|North Carolina's Own (in retirement) Kate Smith Makes With the Music|
Airwave Magic From Long Ago
A single reel slice of heaven that's included in the Warner box, Big Band, Jazz, and Swing: Short Subject Collection (six discs). Jerry Wald as a harried promoter in Rambling Round Radio Row #1 was the same Wald who'd tote up unbroken success with the studios as writer/producer until death took him in 1962 at age 50. But for that untimely event, Wald's name might tower among ones who could spot good properties and guide them to high dollar finish. You could argue he was a most valuable man Warners had next to Wallis. Wald began at radio reportage for a New York sheet and used contacts from that to take creative hold of broadcast-based shorts WB did from Gotham, the tyro playing himself and doing behind-scene work without credit. Rambling became a series to last several years, radio a warmest commodity thanks to viewer curiosity of what voices off the crystal set were like when not disembodied. Wald was chummy with talent and roped most before cameras, using a mock-up broadcast studio as backdrop.
Such footage is priceless from OTR standpoint. Where else could we see Colonel Stoopnagle and Bud (above) pulling air shift replete with sound FX and ad-libbery? How accurate this reflected their daily bit might be debated, but toward capture of radio personalities in action, these Rambling shorts couldn't be bettered. There's oddity of the Boswell Sisters (at right) harmonizing and kibitzer Abe Lyman stepping in to say they're lousy, him sans orchestra and us wondering why. Did Abe come too high with music accompany, or just pop in the