Mea maxima culpas for being away from the blog for so long but I’m in the homestretch of completing a project for the good people at Radio Spirits…which will open up endless possibilities to invest in a little DVD-age—particularly a new VCI release that’s in the hopper, the 1945 “lost” Columbia serial Brenda Starr, Reporter and a pair of Warner Archive releases that will be difficult to say no to: a five-DVD collection of Tim Holt westerns (I saw a few of Tim’s oaters on Encore Westerns sometime back and they are really first-rate B-pictures) and the long-awaited DVD release of TDOY fave Stars in My Crown (1950; I just wish they hadn’t deemed this a MOD project). The great thing about RS is that they are generous about sending me a few freebies of the finished products I had a hand in, as witnessed by the last successful giveaway I held on the blog, a nice collection of Great Gildersleeve broadcasts. (I use the term “successful” because judging by the response on the Bridge on the River Kwai giveaway that went over like a fart at a funeral.)
When Radio Spirits CEO Mark Tepper first asked me to contribute liner notes for these collections it was when he was still running his company Radio Again and the sets I worked on were 2-disc collections containing broadcasts from popular radio programs of the past that nevertheless didn’t have as many shows circulating around due to the ravages of time and neglect. For example, one of the first collections was a series called Mayor of the Town—a very popular program in its day (1942-49) that was heard on all four radio networks (NBC, CBS, ABC and Mutual) and starred Lionel Barrymore as the mayor of a small town with Agnes Moorehead as his devoted housekeeper and Conrad Binyon as a young boy named Butch, who was his ward. Surviving broadcasts of this pleasant comedy-drama are few and far between, so RS put out a small collection of four shows to allow OTR fans the opportunity to check out a wonderfully written and acted show that, sadly, has seen most of its transcription legacy turn to dust.
The Mayor of the Town set could be purchased separately but if you bought it in tandem with two other collections (The Jimmy Durante Show and The Halls of Ivy) you’d receive a copy of the liner notes for all three CD sets, and after completing this project I’d go on to contribute to additional releases for such shows as The Sealtest Variety Theatre, Information Please, and The Railroad Hour. While working on the Great Gildersleeve “Baby” release Mark asked me if I was interested in doing the notes for another Radio Spirits Presents trio and because I’m a fan of the shows chosen—A Date with Judy, Meet Corliss Archer, and My Friend Irma—I told him to deal me in.
Each one of these new Radio Spirits Presents collections contains four broadcasts from Radio’s Golden Age and in several cases, they contain previously uncirculated broadcasts. It’s also interesting to note that all three of these programs were popular enough to inspire movie adaptations: M-G-M turned Judy into a movie in 1948 (starring Jane Powell as Judy with Wallace Beery and Elizabeth Taylor) and Columbia brought the book that inspired Meet Corliss Archer, Kiss and Tell, to the silver screen in 1945 with Shirley Temple as the teen heroine. (Temple would reprise the part in a sequel released by United Artists four years later, A Kiss for Corliss.) My Friend Irma, the third show in this collection, made the biggest splash on the big screen with a 1949 vehicle that we now remember for introducing the comedy team of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis; the film was so successful that Dean & Jer (as well as Irma’s Marie Wilson) did a sequel the following year in My Friend Irma Goes West. In addition to all this big screen action, all three transitioned to the boob tube for brief runs in various forms (live and taped) during the Golden Age of Television
So what I’m trying to say in my typically long-winded fashion is that I have two of these combos (a $26.26 value) to give away…and if you’d like a chance to own one, all you need to do is send me an e-mail with “Judy-Corliss-Irma Giveaway” in the subject header (that way I’ll know you’re not some member of the Nigerian royal family who needs my help) and address it to igsjrotr(at)gmail(dot)com. I’ll choose two winners next Thursday (the deadline for entry is Wednesday at midnight EST) by random number generation and whisk the prizes out to these lucky people with the compliments of both TDOY and Radio Spirits. You don’t have to put your snail-mail address in the e-mail unless you’ve been informed that you’re a winner; all you have to do is write something pithy like “Yes, I’d very much like to win one of these” or “It has been my fondest wish to spend the rest of this bitterly cold winter by a blazing fireplace listening to the antics of Judy, Corliss and Irma” or stuff like that there. There is one tiny stipulation: if you’ve been fortunate to win some swag from me within the past thirty days you might want to sit this one out just as a gentlemanly (or gentlewomanly) gesture to allow someone else to be lucky. Enter today!