NEWSLETTER | VOL. 5, SEPTEMBER 2021
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
Hello everyone – here’s the Hollywood 360 newsletter, September 2021 Vol. 5. 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 email@example.com 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 we will be airing on Hollywood 360. Each month I’ll write an article on one of the classic radio shows we’ll present on Hollywood 360. The week of September 25th, 2021 we’ll be airing an episode of THE SIX-SHOOTER starring James Stewart so here’s an article on the Hollywood legend and this great Western series.
James Stewart: The small-town boy who flew higher than Hollywood
by Carl Amari and Martin Grams
James Stewart started out as a tongue-tied small-town boy from Indiana, Pennsylvania. He studied architecture at Princeton, joined a summer theater troupe in Cape Cod, befriended Henry Fonda and learned the craft of acting through Broadway before signing with MGM. While becoming a star with You Can’t Take It With You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and The Philadelphia Story (1940), Stewart appeared before the radio microphones many times. He starred in adaptations of The Philadelphia Story alongside Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn and carried the lead role on such prestige programs as The Lux Radio Theater.
Shortly after Pearl Harbor, he performed with Orson Welles, Edward G. Robinson, Walter Huston and Lionel Barrymore in the all-network radio program We Hold These Truths, “dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the Bill of Rights.” Stewart, an accomplished pilot, then enlisted for service. He was inducted into the Army on March 22, 1941, months before the U.S. entry to the war, becoming the first major American movie star to wear a military uniform in World War II. From 1941 to 1945, James Stewart never made a movie. He was busy overseas fighting the good fight. In the summer of 1943 he was promoted to Captain and appointed a squadron commander. In August 1943, Stewart was assigned to the 445th Bomb Group as operations officer of the 703rd Bombardment Squadron. He continued on numerous bombing missions, awarded numerous medals for service. Following the war, Stewart rarely spoke about his wartime service, even when prompted on radio. Upon his return to Hollywood in 1945 Stewart discovered he was no longer welcome at MGM and made a transition to Universal Studios. His first movie would be his third and final for Frank Capra, It’s a Wonderful Life. On his return from the war, James Stewart had a clause inserted in most of his Hollywood contracts prohibiting the production companies from mentioning his military service in any publicity.
On the evening of November 4, 1945, James Stewart made a triumphant return to radio, co-starring in an adaptation of Destry Rides Again with Joan Blondell. A few days later, Stewart made a guest appearance on The Cavalcade of America in a wartime drama, “The Sailor Who Had to Have a Horse.” On the evening of December 1, 1949, Stewart appeared on Suspense in a post-war drama focusing on the rehabilitation of war veterans, “Mission Completed.” During the fall of 1953, NBC radio premiered The Six Shooter, a weekly Western starring James Stewart as Britt Ponset, a drifting cowboy during the final days of the Wild West at the turn of the century. The Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company was interested in underwriting the radio program, but under contract James Stewart had first rights of refusal and denied the firm’s participation, believing the habit of smoking cigarettes did not coincide with his public image. As a result, after the 39 half-hour productions concluded, NBC dropped the program. (The Six Shooter did return to television but under a different title and with a different star – The Restless Gun, with John Payne.)
Presently you can visit the James Stewart Museum located in his home down of Indiana, Pennsylvania. On display are a number of items from his radio career including a 16-inch transcription disc for his appearance on Guest Star.
LEND ME YOUR EARS | THIS MONTH’S SONG: THIS MONTH’S SONG: HOTEL CALIFORNIA, BY THE EAGLES
by Lisa Wolf
The working title of “Hotel California” was “Mexican Reggae.” Though it has since become synonymous with the dark underside of Los Angeles, the album’s title track took shape in a surprisingly idyllic setting. Don Felder had rented a beach house in Malibu. “I remember sitting in the living room on a spectacular July day with the doors wide open,” he told Guitar World in 2013. “I had a bathing suit on and was sitting on this couch, soaking wet, thinking the world is a wonderful place to be.”
“Hotel California” is the Eagles’ most iconic song. It sold over 16 million copies in the U.S. alone and was on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 19 weeks, peaking at No. 1. In 1978, the song won a Grammy award for Record of the Year. While there have been many theories that contemplate what the song represents, the Eagles’ band members have revealed the true meaning behind “Hotel California”: “It’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about,” Henley said in a 2002 interview with “60 Minutes.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, named “Hotel California” as one of the songs that shaped rock and roll. The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and all seven former and present members of the group performed “Hotel California” together on stage.
The producer behind Taxi Driver and Close Encounters of the Third Kind wanted to turn “Hotel California” into a movie. Julia Phillips proposed adapting the song into a film, but the members of the Eagles disliked the idea and it never came to fruition.
Vince’s Verbiage: My Brush with Death
by Carl’s Crabby Brother Vince
Happy September to all of you! Hopefully this newsletter finds you healthy, happy and safe. Speaking of safe, have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were in danger for your life? Well, let me tell you about a situation my friend and I found ourselves in when we were 20 years old. My friend Clyde and I had car problems. He couldn’t afford one and mine was in the shop with a blown engine. So, to get around we would do a very stupid thing — hitch-hike. One Summer night we wanted to go bowling in Harwood Heights, Illinois. After a couple of hours of fun we decided to hitch a ride home. After standing on the corner of Lawrence and Harlem Avenues for a few minutes, a black late model Oldsmobile pulled up along side us. The car had spotlights on it and we thought “Yikes, this is a cop! We are in trouble now.” But alas, it wasn’t a cop, the heavyset driver rolled down his window and offered us a ride. So Clyde and I both hopped into the back seat. The driver asked us where we were going so we told him Schiller Park (where we lived) and to continue west on Lawrence Avenue. After driving a few blocks, I noticed the guy kept looking in his rear view mirror at us and acting jittery. Then he said “which one of you can I drop off first?” Quickly, I said — “You can drop us both off at the corner of Lawrence and Michigan Avenues because we both live on the same block.” After I said that, he looked a little dejected for some reason. That made me feel very uncomfortable, so I never took my eyes off of him for the rest of the ride. Eventually, he dropped us off together near our homes. I thought about that unsettling ride for a long time after that, and because it frightened me so, I had this man’s face etched in my mind. Fast forward a few years: I’m watching the news and see a man being arrested for a series of grizzly murders. For many days, authorities were searching his home and finding more and more remains of young men and boys buried in the crawl space of his home. Seeing close up pictures of his face on TV I realized this was the man that gave us a ride that hot summer night! Who, I thought, was this person? Then they showed his name. It was John Wayne Gacy dubbed The Killer Clown. He would subdue and torture his victims before killing them. In all, he was convicted of murdering 33 young men and boys. Gacy lived at 8213 W. Summerdale, Avenue, Norwood Park Township, a mere 5-minute car ride from the bowling alley he picked us up at. When they showed his car on TV, it was the same black Oldsmobile with police spotlights on it. That’s when I realized how close my friend and I came to an unspeakable demise. I think if Clyde and I were dropped off at different locations, the one remaining in his car would have become one of his first victims. Gacy murdered that first young boy in 1972 when I was either 20 or 21. After an ordeal like this, I have sage advice for everyone that is reading this: Tell all your loved ones what can happen to them and to NEVER hitch-hike a ride from anybody.
Observations on the Obscure: Actor Now Identified Who Portrayed Jimmy Barton in The Cinnamon Bear.
by Karl Schadow
One of most baffling mysteries involving Radio’s Golden Age has been solved: the actor has been discovered who voiced Jimmy Barton of the highly-beloved Christmas series, The Cinnamon Bear. Created by Glanville and Elizabeth Heisch, the transcribed/syndicated program of twenty-six, 15-minute episodes, debuted during the 1937 Christmas Season and has remained a favorite for many years. Despite the grand efforts of the late Dennis Crow, Chuck Schaden, members of SPERDVAC, and many others, the person who portrayed Judy’s twin brother in their quest to locate the Silver Star in Maybeland had remained in anonymity for decades. However, before his identity is disclosed, the process by which this epiphany was achieved will be briefly summarized.
To properly document the history of a given radio program, one will scour trade periodicals and newspapers seeking clues, but most importantly, a list must be compiled of all possible players (both organizations and individuals) of said venture who may have retained pertinent material such as recordings, photos and other promotional items, as well as printed matter including scripts, correspondence, contracts, etc. Moreover, the broadcast holdings of major archives, libraries and museums must also be investigated. In the case of The Cinnamon Bear, the sources for cast and crew and also the stations, sponsors and advertising agencies had been thoroughly examined and frustratingly, failed to divulge those elusive performer credits. The final entry on the players list was the entity that originally produced the enterprise: Radio Transcription Company of America, Ltd. affectionately known in the trade and in the OTR community as TRANSCO.
Currently held by the Library of Congress, the corporate records of this former Hollywood-based firm include components detailing many of the original productions in addition to items from later series distributors, Lou Winston, Bruce Eells & Associates and the related Broadcasters Program Syndicate. This assemblage contains elements encompassing all major materialistic categories as noted in the previous paragraph. Thus, while it is not a surprise that individual program cast lists were located among the voluminous treasures of this collection, the name of Bobby La Manche who enacted the Jimmy Barton role is a welcome addition for the radio historian.
Who is Bobby La Manche? He lacks entries in all of the OTR print and online references consulted by this author. Moreover, he has received little notoriety in trade publications and newspapers. To date, his earliest foray into radio occurred as a regular cast member of the weekly Gilmore Circus program on NBC (Oakland Tribune, November 10, 1933). On December 21st of that year, he was a featured singer on the International Women’s Club broadcast (Hollywood Citizen-News, December 20, 1933). A review in Daily Variety (February 27, 1936) states that he was a boy delivering telegrams on the Mary Pickford show. In the radio adaptation of the 1923 Pulitzer Prize winning play, Icebound, he portrayed 10 year-old Orin Fellowes (The Sacramento Bee, June 16, 1938). In addition to his co-starring role in The Cinnamon Bear, he was a member of the supporting cast in numerous TRANSCO productions including Jerry of the Circus, Jerry at Fair Oaks, and That Was the Year. He appeared in two 1934 films, Kid Millions and The House of Rothschild.
Noteworthy is that Bobby La Manche was the stage name for Robert Lomench, born May 11, 1924 at Cleveland, Ohio. The reason he utilized an alias as a youth is unknown. During World War II he served with the U. S. Army Air Force as a P-39 pilot. Earning an honorable discharge in September 1945, he returned to Los Angeles where he continued to reside for several years. However, his occupation during that period is unknown. He is not currently listed in the Social Security Death Index.
In addition to Bobby La Manche, there are also several newly recognized performers on The Cinnamon Bear. The following inventory comprises the entire group in approximate order of appearance: John Hiestand (announcer), Barbara Jean Wong (Judy), Verna Felton (Mrs. Barton), Jack Lewis (Stork), Joseph Kearns (Crazy Quilt Dragon and King Blotto), Joseph Franz (Captain of Inks), Edwin Max (assistant executioner), Rolfe Sedan (Samuel Seal), Lindsay MacHarrie (wailing whale, Bos’n), Elvia Allman (Penelope the Pelican), Elliott Lewis (Mr. Presto and Mudley), Cyrus Kendall (Captain Taffy), Arthur Van Slyke (first pirate), Ed Porter (policeman), Ted Osborn (Prof. Whiz the Owl), Leone Ledoux (Fraidy Cat), Joseph DuVal (Fe Fo the Giant), Cliff Carpenter (Rhyming Rabbit), Martha Wentworth (Wintergreen Witch), Rosa Barcelo (Queen Melissa), Hanley Stafford (Snappersnick the Crocodile), Gale Gordon (Oliver Ostrich), David Kerman (MacMudd), Howard McNear (Slim the Cowboy), James Blaine (Indian), Gene Reynolds (Nicky Froodle), Clayton Post (snowman), Lou Merrill (Santa Claus), Fred Harrington (Jack Frost) and Frank Nelson (Captain Tin Top).
This current troupe contains thirty-two names, which includes the newly chronicled dozen. A vast majority were also employed in other TRANSCO programs with several achieving distinguished entertainment careers. On account of a possible AFRA union rule regarding voice usage, June Foray had been suggested as portraying Queen Melissa. However, the actress filling that role has been definitively confirmed as Rosa Barcelo. Though most of the production crew has been documented, the sound effects artists and engineers involved with the program are still to be determined.
Have questions concerning The Cinnamon Bear? Contact the author via email firstname.lastname@example.org
MartinGrams.biz: BILL SCOTT, FOREST RANGER
by Martin Grams
One of the more obscure radio programs of the 1940s is Bill Scott, Forest Ranger. For years I have had four episodes, each 15-minutes in length, and very little was documented to help assist in learning exactly how many episodes were recorded and broadcast, who the cast was, and other information. One thing I was certain of, however, was that I enjoyed listening to them.
So imagine my surprise when, a few years ago at a recorded sound conference in San Antonio, Texas, a slide show seminar focused on preservation of this obscure Mark Trail-style radio program. The central hero is Ranger Bill, affectionate name of Bill Scott, ranger of the Beaver Dam National Forest. Along with his niece, June Cameron, they meet two boys named Sam Freeman and Joe McGuire who, while employed as dishwashers in a summer logging camp, get lost in the woods, fight a forest fire, and participate in many tense adventures while at the same time educate the listeners on the importance of forestry and forest conservation.
Produced by the radio staff at WNYE and the Board of Education of the City of New York, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and state conservation and forestry departments, a total of 16 episodes were recorded for the purpose of syndication.
The program received a special citation at the Tenth School Broadcast Conference on October 28, 1947. The contest judges commended the programs for their effective combination of “exciting” forest drama with practical conservation messages.
The programs were written by Bill Bergoffen of the U.S. Forest Service, produced by many of the student actors in the New York City’s School Radio Workshop, under the skillful supervision of Van Rensselaer Brokhahane, production manager for station WNYE.
Syndication was a means in which the episodes would be duplicated on transcription discs and then sent out to radio stations across the country to air during their convenience. Supposedly premiering over WTAW in Bryan, Texas, in April of 1947, the program was also heard over KWSC in Seattle, Washington in the summer of that year. Initially only six episodes were recorded but it quickly became apparent that the reason so few stations agreed to air the programs was because six episodes were not enough. So a year later an additional ten episodes were recorded including a four-part adventure. This second run began in January 1949 over WEBQ in Harrisburg, Illinois, and Lafayette, Louisiana; WWHG in Hornell, New York and WCMD in Denton, Maryland, in the spring of 1949; WRHP in Tallahassee, Florida in the summer of 1949, and WHA in Madison, Wisconsin; and WABE in Atlanta, Georgia, in autumn of 1949. You get the idea.
The Texas A&M Forest Service Radio Broadcasts Collection presently features over 27 hours of digitized wildfire prevention radio public service announcements from the late 1940s through the 1950s. The collection, spanning over sixty 16” radio transcription discs, was digitized to commemorate the 100thanniversary of the Texas A&M Forest Service in 2015.
Now you can listen to all 16 episodes of Bill Scott, Forest Ranger, from the Texas A&M website, along with other intriguing syndicated radio programs including The Singing Woodsman and the Sons of the Pioneers, Tales of Texas and Smokey Visits the Stars. The latter program featured a number of Hollywood celebrities including Clint Walker, Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore, Dale Robertson, Hugh O’Brian, Roy Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Broderick Crawford, Ward Bond, James Arness, Danny Thomas, Dick Powell, Raymond Burr, Michael Ansara, Andy Devine, George Montgomery, James Garner and others.
You can visit the website through the link below and listen to all these programs for free. Whether you enjoy country music from the Sons of the Pioneers, stories of the Texas Rangers, children’s programs such as Bill Scott, Forest Ranger or simply want to hear a bunch of vintage public service announcements with Hollywood stars (television stars to be exact), there is something for everyone to listen to.
Hollywood 360 Schedule
The Jack Benny Program 5/16/54 Jack Takes a Date to Underground Restaurant
Somebody Knows 7/6/50 The Gladys Kern Murder
Fibber McGee & Molly 11/9/48 Voting Day
Strange Wills 7/13/46 Treasure to Starboard
The Kraft Music Hall 8/26/48 starring Nelson Eddy
My Favorite Husband 11/27/48 Is There a Baby in the House?
I Was a Communist for the FBI 10/13/52 No Second Chance
The Whistler 4/2/47 Seven Steps to Murder
Have Gun, Will Travel 12/14/58 The Outlaw
Gang Busters 4/10/48 Case of the High School Hot Shots
Fort Laramie 5/6/56 Never the Twain
The Charlie McCarthy Show 5/23/43 w/ guest, Charles Boyer
Candy Matson, Yukon 28209 1/2/50 NC9-8012
The Big Story 11/26/47 The Case of the Unfinished Love Song
Our Miss Brooks 12/11/49 Cereal Bowl Game
The Six-Shooter 11/22/53 Gabriel Starbuck
The Adv. of Frank Race 5/15/49 The Istanbul Adventure
Duffy’s Tavern 4/20/49 w/ guest, Cass Daley – Will Miss Duffy Marry?
T-Men 1950s The Case of the Subtle Approach
Dimension X 8/18/50 The Martian Chronicles
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