Search results for: the-great-radio-comedians

The Great Radio Comedians

Author : Jim Harmon
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Harmon's classic on radio funnies is coming back - newly expanded!

Fred Allen s Radio Comedy

Author : Alan Havig
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"A notable example of radio at its best." --Back Stage/SHOOT In 1954, James Thurber wrote: "You can count on the thumb of one hand the American who is at once a comedian, a humorist, a wit, and a satirist, and his name is Fred Allen." Several decades after his death and more than forty years since his radio program left the air, Fred Allen's reputation as a respected humorist remains intact. In this book, Alan Havig explores the roots of his comedy, the themes it exploited, the problems and challenges that faced the radio comedy writer, and Allen's unique success with the one-dimensional medium of radio. Tracing a career that lasted from 1912 into the 1950s and encompassed vaudeville, Broadway revues, movies, radio, and television, Havig describes the "verbal slapstick" style that was Fred Allen's hallmark and legacy to American comedy. More than a biography of Fred Allen, this is a study of the development of the radio industry, a discussion of American humor, and the story of how one relates to the other. Using a wide variety of published and unpublished sources, including the Allen Papers, Havig analyzes Allen's radio comedy of the 1930s and 40s within the context of the peculiar advantages and limitations of radio as a medium for comedy. He argues that Allen did not merely transfer vaudeville routines to a non-visual medium as did Eddie Cantor, Ed Wynn, and others. Allen developed a comedic style that depended on word play, sound effects, and on his audience's ability and readiness to imagine a visual world in which his eccentric characters operated. Havig illustrates his story with numerous examples of Allen's humor, with fascinating anecdotes, and excerpts from radio broadcasts. In accounting for the comedian's success, he deals with vaudeville, comedy writing, sponsor's demands and censorship of material, and the organizational world of radio broadcasting companies. Describing radio as "an instrument of wit," Fred Allen wrote: "on radio you could do subtle writing because you had access to the imagination...that was why I liked radio. we had some fun." Readers will also have some fun remembering or discovering for the first time Allen's Alley and the magic of radio comedy in its prime. "Fred was one of the greatest of vaudeville and radio comedians. Anyone even casually concerned with the state of American humor will be well advised to give his work, as Mr. Havig presents it, careful study." --Steve Allen "Alan Havig has done an intelligent, careful and exhaustive research job. This is a well-written, solid performance-biography." --J. Fred MacDonald, Curator of the Museum of Broadcast Communication, Chicago

Treadmill to Oblivion

Author : Fred Allen
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Fans of classic comedy and Old Time Radio will be enthralled by Fred Allen's autobiographical tale of his early days in radio. From the host of a small comedy-variety show to national fame with Allen's Alley, here is the story of his trials, tribulations, and ultimate successes as one of the great radio comedians -- not to mention one of the great wits -- of the 20th century!

The Great Radio Soap Operas

Author : Jim Cox
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This reference work contains exhaustive histories of 31 of network radio’s most durable soap operas on the air between 1930 and 1960. The soap operas covered are Aunt Jenny’s Real Life Stories, Backstage Wife, Big Sister, The Brighter Day, David Harum, Front Page Farrell, The Guiding Light, Hilltop House, Just Plain Bill, Life Can Be Beautiful, The Light of the World, Lora Lawton, Lorenzo Jones, Ma Perkins, One Man’s Family, Our Gal Sunday, Pepper Young’s Family, Perry Mason, Portia Faces Life, The Right to Happiness, Road of Life, The Romance of Helen Trent, Rosemary, The Second Mrs. Burton, Stella Dallas, This Is Nora Drake, Today’s Children, Wendy Warren and the News, When a Girl Marries, Young Doctor Malone, and Young Widder Brown. Included for each series are the drama’s theme and story line, an in-depth focus on the major characters, and a listing of producers, directors, writers, announcers, casts, sponsors, ratings, and broadcast dates, times and networks. Profiles of 158 actors, actresses, creators and others who figured prominently in a serial’s success are also provided.

The Great Radio Heroes rev ed

Author : Jim Harmon
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In 1967, Jim Harmon published the first edition of The Great Radio Heroes to great acclaim. Thirty-three years later comes an illustrated, corrected, revised and greatly expanded new edition... Once there was a time--and it was not so long ago--when radio listening, especially to the dramas, was one of the most important events in many a young person's life. People developed a love affair with the radio, and though the old times are now gone forever, the love affair continues. The heroes and settings of radio drama spurred the imagination to supply its own and much better images than visual media provided. There were no padded shoulders on the Lone Ranger, Superman flew with no jiggly trick photography, and the Martians whom Orson Welles helped attack the Earth were more convincing than anything the movies can provide. For those who have been under the thrall of radio's alluring call, your new host Jim Harmon provides reminiscences of the heyday of radio programming, with insights on such radio dramas as I Love a Mystery, Gangbusters, The Shadow, Inner Sanctum, Batman and Robin, Superman, Tom Mix, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, Adventures by Morse and a couple of dozen more. Photographs, a bibliography, and an index are included to enhance the reader's journey into a past time when radio was the favorite pastime.

Radio Comedy Diary

Author : Gary Poole
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This book is a real find—for those who enjoy radio nostalgia but more importantly for scholars of broadcasting. From 1947 to 1950 while listening to such voices as Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Milton Berle, Jack Benny, Fred Allen, and Jimmy Durante, and shows like Fibber McGee & Molly, Amos ’n’ Andy, Blondie, and You Bet Your Life, the author was writing down jokes, gags, one-liners and quotations. In that short time he had filled 11 spiral notebooks. Fifty years later in a labor of love, the author painstakingly transferred those childhood notes into this invaluable—in fact, undoubtably unique—record of a boom time in American radio. This is an unexpected treasure for radio scholars, who have long lamented the lack of recordings for the majority of radio programming. Television researchers as well will benefit—here are root sources of television comedy. It is a revelation to find that what we are laughing at today often was first done on radio over 50 years ago. The author has also included a notes and comments section which includes background material on all the radio programs in this book.

The Road to Comedy

Author : Donald W. McCaffrey
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Although Bob Hope has been the subject of many biographies, no book yet has fully explored the comic persona he created in vaudeville and radio, brought to fruition in dozens of films from the 1930s through the 1960s, and made a lasting influence on comedians from Woody Allen to Conan O'Brien. Now, in The Road to Comedy: The Films of Bob Hope, noted film comedy authority Donald W. McCaffrey finally places Hope in his well-deserved position among the highest rank of film comedians of his era. Drawing on archival materials and interviews with collaborators, McCaffrey analyzes each major film in depth, with due attention to particular sequences that reveal how Hope created a unique comic personality that lasted over dozens of very popular films, from the Road movies with Bing Crosby through such underrated classics as Son of Paleface, Monsieur Beaucaire, and Casanova's Big Night. In so doing, McCaffrey introduces readers to a Bob Hope now overshadowed by his own reputation. We see here that Hope's significance has been greater than any USO appearance or television special might suggest. Because many of these movies have recently been made available on DVD--the first time in decades that they've been easily available to the general public--the volume will also serve as an excellent introduction for those wanting to see these films for the first time.

Jack Benny and the Golden Age of American Radio Comedy

Author : Kathryn Fuller-Seeley
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"Jack Benny became one of the most influential entertainers of the 20th century--by being the top radio comedian, when the comics ruled radio, and radio was the most powerful and pervasive mass medium in the US. In 23 years of weekly radio broadcasts, by aiming all the insults at himself, Benny created Jack, the self-deprecating "Fall Guy" character. He indelibly shaped American humor as a space to enjoy the equal opportunities of easy camaraderie with his cast mates, and equal ego deflation. Benny was the master of comic timing, knowing just when to use silence to create suspense or to have a character leap into the dialogue to puncture Jack's pretentions. Jack Benny was also a canny entrepreneur, becoming one of the pioneering "showrunners" combining producer, writer and performer into one job. His modern style of radio humor eschewed stale jokes in favor informal repartee with comic hecklers like his valet Rochester (played by Eddie Anderson) and Mary Livingstone his offstage wife. These quirky characters bouncing off each other in humorous situations created the situation comedy. In this career study, we learn how Jack Benny found ingenious ways to sell his sponsors' products in comic commercials beloved by listeners, and how he dealt with the challenges of race relations, rigid gender ideals and an insurgent new media industry (TV). Jack Benny created classic comedy for a rapidly changing American culture, providing laughter that buoyed radio listeners from 1932's depths of the Great Depression, through World War II to the mid-1950s"--Provided by publisher.

First Cut

Author : Gabriella Oldham
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First Cut offers an opportunity to learn what film editing really is, and to learn from the source. Gabriella Oldham's interviews with twenty-three award-winning film editors give a full picture of the complex art and craft of editing a film. Filled with animated anecdotes and detailed examples, this is the first book to provide a comprehensive treatment of both documentary and feature film editing.

The Comic Offense from Vaudeville to Contemporary Comedy

Author : Rick DesRochers
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The Comic Offense from Vaudeville to Contemporary Comedy examines how contemporary writer/performers are influenced by the comedic vaudevillians of the early 20th century. By tracing the history and legacy of the vaudeville era and performance acts, like the Marx Brothers and The Three Keatons, and moving through the silent and early sound films of the early 1930s, the author looks at how comic writer/performers continue to sell a brand of themselves as a form of social commentary in order to confront and dispel stereotypes of race, class, and gender. The first study to explore contemporary popular comic culture and its influence on American society from this unique perspective, Rick DesRochers analyzes stand-up and improvisational comedy writing/performing in the work of Larry David, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and Dave Chappelle. He grounds these choices by examining their evolution as they developed signature characters and sketches for their respective shows Curb Your Enthusiasm, 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and Chappelle's Show.

The A to Z of Old Time Radio

Author : Robert C. Reinehr
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The term Old Time Radio refers to the relatively brief period from 1926, when the National Broadcasting Company first began network broadcasting, until approximately 1960, when television became the dominant communication medium in the United States. During this time, radio was as popular and ubiquitous as television is today. It was amazingly varied in the types of programming it offered; many characters and programs were so popular that virtually everyone was familiar with them. Even today, recorded versions of these programs are still extremely popular and widely available, both from commercial outlets and from hobbyists. Behind the production of these programs was a complex technological and financial infrastructure that had to be developed virtually from scratch in a world unaccustomed to the rapid communication and technological marvels that we take for granted today. The A to Z of Old Time Radio provides essential facts and information on the Golden Age of Radio. This is accomplished through the use of a chronology, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and hundreds of cross-referenced dictionary entries on the radio networks, programs, directors, producers, writers, actors, radio series, and radio stations. Entries on your favorite shows The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Dragnet, and Suspense and actors Bob Hope, George Burns, Gracie Allen, and Edgar Bergen will have you jumping from one entry to the next as you relive old favorites and discover hidden treasures from the Golden Age of Radio."

Popular Culture

Author : Marcel Danesi
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What is pop culture? Why do we so often hate to love it and love to hate it? What makes us embrace parts of it and not others? Marcel Danesi explores our human desire for meaning and the need to symbolize it in music, language, art, and other creative forms. He offers a variety of perspectives to help us understand the products of popular culture_from music and websites to fads, celebrities, and more_tapping into the fun of pop culture without making us feel guilty for enjoying it.

Jewish Comedy Stars

Author : Norman H. Finkelstein
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From vaudeville to viral comedy on the web, here are more than 40 short biographies of Jewish comedians who heavily influenced the entertainment industry in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Sorted chronologically into chapters like "On Stage," "On Air," "On Fire," and "Comedy 2.0," this book profiles Jewish comedians from George Jessel to Sarah Silverman.

George Burns

Author : Lawrence J. Epstein
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Having entered the world in 1896 as a poverty-stricken child named Naftaly (Nathan) Birnbaum, George Burns rose from New York’s Lower East Side to the uppermost heights of celebrity in the entertainment industry. His storied romance with Gracie Allen led to their success in vaudeville, films, radio and television as one of the greatest comedy teams in history. Burns experienced both tragedy and triumph during his 100-year lifespan, ultimately recovering from the death of his beloved Gracie in 1964 to re-emerge as a solo performer and an Oscar-winning actor. This all-inclusive biography explores George Burns’s career against the backdrop of American entertainment history in the 20th century. His loves, his close friendship with Jack Benny, his rivalry with Groucho Marx, and his latter-day success in films are all carefully detailed.

Stand up Comedians on Television

Author : Museum of Television and Radio (New York, N.Y.)
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Describes specific forms of television comedy, looks at top television comedians of the past, and shares reminiscences and brief selections from comedy routines

Nature of Roman Comedy

Author : George E. Duckworth
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This book provides the most complete and definitive study of Roman comedy. Originally published in 1952. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Our Movie Houses

Author : Norman O. Keim
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Conventional screen histories tend to concentrate on New York City and Hollywood in chronicling the evolution of American cinema. Notwithstanding both cities’ tremendous contribution, Syracuse and Central New York also played a strategic—yet little-known—role in early screen history. In 1889 in Rochester, New York, George Eastman registered a patent for perforated celluloid film, a development that would telescope the international race to record motion by means of photography to the immediate future. In addition, the first public film projection occurred in Syracuse, New York, in 1896. Norman O. Keim and David Marc provide a highly readable and richly detailed account of the origins of American film in Central New York, the colorful history of neighborhood theaters in Syracuse, and the famous film personalities who got their start in the unlikely snow belt of New York State. Lavishly illustrated, this book will be treasured by both film buffs and Central New Yorkers.

A Companion to Film Comedy

Author : Andrew Horton
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A wide-ranging survey of the subject that celebrates the variety and complexity of film comedy from the ‘silent’ days to the present, this authoritative guide offers an international perspective on the popular genre that explores all facets of its formative social, cultural and political context A wide-ranging collection of 24 essays exploring film comedy from the silent era to the present International in scope, the collection embraces not just American cinema, including Native American and African American, but also comic films from Europe, the Middle East, and Korea Essays explore sub-genres, performers, and cultural perspectives such as gender, politics, and history in addition to individual works Engages with different strands of comedy including slapstick, romantic, satirical and ironic Features original entries from a diverse group of multidisciplinary international contributors

Raised on Radio

Author : Gerald Nachman
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Radio broadcasting United States History.

Make Em Laugh

Author : Steve Allen
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The success of Steve Allen's How To Be Funny led first to the republication of that book, and now occasioned a companion volume, Make 'Em Laugh. This new how-to book about the art of comedy includes an even richer assortment of examples of the author's unique humor. In Make 'Em Laugh, Allen laces his formal instruction with hilarious ad-libs, written jokes, TV comedy sketches, satires, song parodies, humorous essays, amusing autobiographical reminiscences, one-act plays, witty speeches, and stand-up monologues from his comedy concerts. Noel Coward called Steve Allen the most talented man in America, and he is probably the most borrowed-from comedian of all time. The perceptive reader will recognize many of the comic ideas that Allen originated during the "Golden Age" of television comedy - ideas that are still influential in the 1990's. If there were a college course in creating and performing comedy, Make 'Em Laugh would be the ideal textbook.