NEWSLETTER | VOL. 34, February 2024
Welcome to this month’s edition of The Hollywood 360 Newsletter, your place to get all the news on upcoming shows, schedule and interesting facts from your H360 team!
by Carl Amari
Happy February everyone! Here’s the Hollywood 360 newsletter, February 2024 / Vol. 34. As someone on our mailing list, you’ll receive the most current newsletter via email on the first day of every month. If you don’t receive it by the end of the first day of the month, check your spam folder as they often end up there. If it is not in your regular email box or in your spam folder, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll forward you a copy. The monthly Hollywood 360 newsletter contains articles from my team and the full month’s detailed schedule of classic radio shows that will air on Hollywood 360. The week of February 3rd, we’ll present a LOST episode of Inner Sanctum starring Myron McCormick, produced by the legendary Himan Brown. Here’s an article on Mr. Brown and the iconic horror series he created, Inner Sanctum.
by Carl Amari
Did you know that radio series have persisted into the age of podcast?
By the early 1960s, most listeners had turned to watching television. But in the 1970s, a few radio dramas returned — Rod Serling’s The Zero Hour and General Mills Radio Adventure Theater. National Public Radio produced radio treatments of Star Wars and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
CBS Radio Mystery Theater originally aired from 1974 until 1982 and produced 1,399 episodes. Hosted by E.G. Marshall and Tammy Grimes, it was created by the legendary radio producer Himan Brown. Each episode opened and closed with the ominous sound of a creaking door slowly opening at the beginning of each broadcast and slowly closing at the conclusion.
Brown first used this sound effect on his earlier horror series Inner Sanctum Mystery, which ran 511 episodes between 1941 and 1952. The squeaking, creaking door became the trademark for both shows, ushering radio listeners into a terrifying domain.
CBS Radio Mystery Theater ran weeknights in 45-minute installments and was pitched originally as a bit of nostalgia for old-time radio buffs. The show soon attracted younger listeners caught up in the ’50s nostalgia fad inspired by the movie American Graffiti.
Years ago, I had the great pleasure of dining with Himan Brown in New York and we talked, at length, about both series. “A door to a basement studio groaned and creaked whenever anyone opened it, so I decided to make that door a star,” Himan said.
Inner Sanctum Mystery gave its audience a weekly diet of thrills, chills and black humor. Screen icons Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Raymond Massey, Lon Chaney, Jr. and many others with the necessary sepulchral tones appeared before the microphone, their creepy voices projected into listeners’ homes through a glowing radio speaker.
The celebrated boogeyman of Inner Sanctum Mystery was Raymond Edward Johnson, a horror host with a unique delivery that set him apart from other show hosts. His standard introduction on every episode included ghoulish jokes with a sinister chuckle. “We received hundreds of letters each week from listeners and soon learned that fans of the show were more drawn to the host than the creepy stories” said Brown.
I asked Himan who the biggest star to appear on Inner Sanctum Mystery was. He said that that he once cast Frank Sinatra in a 1949 Christmas broadcast. The future Chairman of the Board portrayed Sir Benjamin, a mischievous Yuletide ghost.
Note from Carl Amari: I recently licensed Bold Venture from the estate of Frederic W. Ziv and transferred all 78 episodes (including 18 lost episodes not heard in 70+ years) directly from Ziv’s master 16-inch discs and have them available on 39 Audio CDs or via digital download links in pristine sound quality. If you’d like to purchase all 78 episodes of Bold Venture, call 815-900-7535. If a live operator does not answer, please leave your name and return phone number and you will receive a call back asap.
HELP SAVE THE BOSTON BLACKIE RADIO SERIES!
by Carl Amari
We successfully saved the Bold Venture radio series thanks, mostly, because of YOU the Hollywood 360 listeners so THANK YOU! We are now attempting to save the radio series Boston Blackie (my personal favorite!).
I recently licensed this series from the estate of Frederic W. Ziv so If you would like to help us transfer all 218 Boston Blackie half-hour radio episodes (this is the complete syndicated series produced by Frederic W. Ziv and starring Dick Kollmar, including more than 100 lost episodes not heard in more than 70 years) please go to our Kickstarter website and pledge any amount. Depending on the amount you pledge, you can receive some or even ALL 218 Boston Blackie radio episodes in pristine sound quality on Audio CDs or via digital download. All of the information is available at our Kickstarter website. Simply search: “Boston Blackie” “Kickstarter” in your search engine or click here to be taken directly to the Boston Blackie Kickstarter website:
If you have trouble pledging on the Kickstarter website or would like to learn more by talking to a live operator, please call 815-900-7535. If a live operator does not answer your call, please leave your name and return phone number and you will receive a call back asap.
LEND ME YOUR EARS by Lisa Wolf
NOTHING FROM NOTHING, by Billy Preston
Preston started writing this one night in the dressing room of an Atlanta nightclub where he was performing. “The saloon piano gave it character and I had a feeling it would be a hit because it was a sing-a-long kind of thing.” ~ Billy Preston
Billy Preston, often hailed as the “fifth Beatle” for his collaborations with the iconic band, was a musical prodigy. Born in Houston, Texas in 1946, Preston’s early years were marked by an innate talent for the keyboard. His gospel roots and contributions to artists like Ray Charles and The Beatles shaped his distinctive sound. By the time he released “Nothing from Nothing,” Preston had already solidified his reputation as a virtuoso musician.
“Nothing from Nothing” is a blend of funk, soul and pop, showcasing Preston’s prowess on the piano and his soulful vocals. The piano-driven melody sets the stage for a musical journey that transcends genres. The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy lyrics make it an instant mood lifter, contributing to its enduring popularity.
One notable moment featuring “Nothing from Nothing” is in the 2003 movie “Elf,” starring Will Ferrell. The song’s inclusion in the film adds a layer to the whimsical tale of Buddy the Elf navigating the human world.
The song was also featured on the stage of the iconic “Saturday Night Live”, a testament to its cultural significance. The show, known for its musical guests and comedic sketches, featured Preston’s performance, further solidifying its place in the annals of SNL history.
The song not only earned Billy Preston a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, but it also remains a testament to his ability to create timeless, universally appealing music.
As we continue to rediscover and appreciate the classics, “Nothing from Nothing” remains a reminder of the power of music to uplift and connect. Its integration into the visual medium of film and television ensures that new generations will continue to discover and enjoy the magic of Billy Preston’s musical creation.
NEW WORLD A-COMING: Local Series Promotes African-Americans
by Karl Schadow
One of the finest dramatic anthologies broadcast during the mid-1940s focused on African-Americans: New World A-Coming. It was based on the book New World A-Coming: Inside Black America by journalist Roi Ottley who wrote for the Black-owned newspaper, The New York Amsterdam News. Of note, is that the program was the brainchild of the station’s Caucasian owner at the time, the innovative Nathan Straus who financed it to promote race relations. He worked with the City-Wide Citizens Committee on Harlem to produce the series. New World A-Coming debuted on New York’s independent station, WMCA, Sunday, March 5, 1944, as a 27-minute, weekly venture.
There was a mixture of races among the cast and crew with Mitchell Grayson serving as director and Canada Lee as narrator. In an interview (Afro-American, November 18, 1944) Lee stated: “We’ve got a tough time with that radio program. It seems that you can’t always hit people straight in the face with the truth. Sometimes you shock them, or antagonize them, and they don’t want to listen to you.” He continued: “On the other hand, if you go ahead and soft-soap the issues, you’ll find yourself getting nowhere, and steering clear away from the idea you want to put over.” His concluding remarks noted: “I guess that’s true in almost everything. It’s just hard to find a middle way, and still do right by yourself. That’s what we’re up against when we go on the air.” Theme music was composed by Duke Ellington.
New World A-Coming addressed many problems encountered by African-Americans during and after World War II including housing, discrimination and access to health care but also demonstrated the accomplishments of entertainer Hazel Scott and physician Charles Drew. The program continued with summer breaks through the spring of 1949. It was the recipient of numerous awards.
Sunday News (March 5, 1944)
HOLLYWOOD 360 Broadcast Schedule for February 2024
INNER SANCTUM MYSTERY 11/8/48 Front Page Murder (A Lost Show!)
PHILCO RADIO TIME 1/8/47 w/ Bing Crosby and Mickey Rooney
X MINUS ONE 5/8/55 Mars is Heaven
THE ADV. OF RED RYDER 3/26/42 Trouble in Pepperwood
MY FRIEND IRMA 4/18/47 Prize Fighter
2/10/24 (Valentine’s Day)
OUR MISS BROOKS 2/4/51 Mr. Davis and the Love Triangle
FATHER KNOWS BEST 2/14/52 Valentine Party
HAVE GUN-WILL TRAVEL 8/16/59 The Lady
THE LUM & ABNER SHOW 12/12/48 Lum’s Elopement
FIBBER McGEE & MOLLY 2/10/42 Valentine’s Candy
2/17/24 (President’s Day)
SUSPENSE 3/8/54 Circumstantial Terror
COLUMBIA WORKSHOP 4/6/46 The Last Speech
THE JIMMY DURANTE SHOW 4/14/48 w/ President Truman 5-minute speech
ACADEMY AWARD 7/10/46 Young Mr. Lincoln
CHAMELEON 9/8/48 Mr. Chameleon’s Pet Murder Case
THE BLACK MUSEUM 1952 The .22 Caliber Pistol
THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM 12/11/49 Texas Benefit
THE ADV. OF ELLERY QUEEN 10/8/42 The World Series Crime
BOX THIRTEEN 10/31/48 Suicide or Murder
ROGUE’S GALLERY 1/3/46 Murder at Minden
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