Tuesday, December 23, 2014

25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas: Day 23 - Christmas with The Mel Blanc Show

Working on sending out one blog entry each day in December to showcase great Old Time Radio for the Christmas season.  Here is a link to all the entries.  Here is day 23 - Christmas with The Mel Blanc Show.  There are so many, many great shows to put in here, but I thought I would connect this with the Christmas Shopping with Jack Benny stories and revisit one of the great character actors of radio history.  As a boy growing up in New Jersey, Mel Blanc was practically the soundtrack of my afternoons - watching Bugs Bunny cartoons on TV.  I did not realize at the time that he was one of the most prolific voice actors on radio.  He even had his own show for a while - and that is what I want to write about now.

If you have Sirius/XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#82). He has a number of great programs available throughout the month of December on his great show.  You can also get a large number of these programs at a variety or resources on the web. One place to find these shows is the 500 OTR Christmas Shows from the Internet Archive. This is a great resources for many of these wonderful radio shows!

Scenes from the Warner Brothers Studio Tour (Sunday July 15, 2012)
Bugs Bunny Statue at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour (Sunday July 15, 2012)

Mel Blanc has been a regular on The Jack Benny Show and many others when you needed many voices covered.  This served him well with all the voices he did for Warner Brothers and their Bugs Bunny and Porky Pig cartoons.  In September 1946, he aired the first episode of the Mel Blanc Show.  It was sponsored by Colgate Tooth Powder and ran for one year (only 42 episodes).  The show itself was a formulaic radio comedy - but I think it worked very well with Mel Blanc's wide range of characters.

The show stared Mel Blanc who was the owner of the aptly named 'Mel Blanc's Fix-It Shop,' He had a handyman named Zooky (also voiced by Blanc) who stuttered to no end.  Other characters in the show include his sweetheart and fiance was Betty Colby (Mary Jane Croft), her father (played by Joseph Kearns) and many others.  Besides the Fix-it Show and Mr. Colby's store, many of the scenes focused on the lodge Mel was a member of, The Benevolent Order of Loyal Zebras.  Their password when leaving the company of another Zebra was "Ugga Ugga Boo Ugga Boo Boo Ugga." It all creates a sweet world where comedy lives large. The funny thing is to hear Joseph Kearns in a comedy - something that he normally does do.

As the show only ran one season, there is really only one set of Christmas episodes - but with lucky, they stretched them out into three shows.

Christmas Present (December 10, 1946)

Summary: Kinda a funny episode - it starts out with a song by Mel Blanc singing about his career. The actual show starts a few minutes into this recording.   In this episode, Mel is wondering what to get Betty for Christmas.  He comes up with a great idea to win a present at Mr. Colby's Grocery Store...seems like something too easy to work!

Christmas Shopping (December 17, 1946)

Summary: Not that this has ever happened to me, but Mel thought he was all set for Betty's Christmas gift.  First, he buys perfume - and she tells him she wants a purse.  Then he exchanges it for a purse - and she tells him she wants lingerie.  He keeps heading back to the exchange counter, but he has garnered interest, but not in the way he wants.

Mel Plays Santa Claus (December 24, 1946)

Summary: Mel is talked into playing Santa on Christmas Eve for the Bradley family instead of going to a party at the Colby's house.  Their young son Bobby was having doubt about Santa Claus, and her mother convinced Mel into coming to their house.  It gave him an opportunity to do a few different voices for Santas all over the world.

There are many more episodes out there on shows such as Burns and Allen & Abbot and Costello - but hopefully these are some fun episodes that you can enjoy.  

Here are some links to programs relating to The Mel Blanc Show:
25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas:

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