Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lighthouses on Old Time Radio - Lighthouse Twelve from John Steele, Adventurer (1949)

Here is the sixth entry in my lighthouses on old time radio series.  I hope you are enjoying all these great old time radio programs with a lighthouse theme.  This entry is from a program that is not as well known, John Steele Adventurer.  But the topic is sadly very well know now.  While it did not call it out by name, this episode deals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  As a mental condition, PTSD remains a difficult situation for people, especially veterans.  Here is a great write-up from the Veterans Administration which tracts the history from the Civil War to the present.  More about the program later.

John Steele, Adventurer is a program that aired on the Mutual Network from 1949 through 1956.  The end date came from Swartz and Reinehr's Handbook of Old-Time Radio.  The Mutual Network had a series called John Steele in 1939 - I will want to figure out if they are connected.  While I have not found a great number of write-ups for this series, I found a tremendous review from Billboard (November 4, 1950, p13):

Mutual seems to have a real sleeper in this show, which has been on and off the web a couple of times.  At least the edition caught has some good touches, both in scripting and production, and would seem to make the program worth another look on the part of a sponsor casting about for a comparatively inexpensive dramatic opus.

The adventurous John Steele, who give his name to the airer's title, actually serves no function other than to tie unrelated scripts together into one series.  Each week's program is supposedly culled from characters who Steel has run across in the course of his life.   

The review goes on to discuss a episode that explores the tragic lives of those struggling with alcohol.  The review, using the terms of the day, referred to "drunks, bums and panhandlers."  If using the lighthouse episode that I write about today as an example, they address many issues that others would not have touched.

325/365/2151 (May 2, 2014) - Sacre Bleu's 10:30am run from Mackinac Island to St. Ignace (Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry - May 2, 2014)

Round Island Lighthouse (Mackinac Island, Michigan) - May 2, 2014

Airing for the first time on Halloween (October 31), 1949, Lighthouse Twelve tells the story of Peter Rawlings and his wife, Jan.  Peter was a former Navy man who came from a family with a long tradition of being on the sea.  So being in the Navy made good sense for Peter when war broke out.  After being injured during the war, Peter spent 6 months in the hospital.  Jan married Peter on his release of the hospital and they went off to his new assignment, as the keeper of Lighthouse Twelve. So similar to the earlier profiled episode The Sinister Lighthouse, early in the story, a bride groom carries his bride into a lighthouse.  The only person they met while out on the lighthouse was John Steele, who ran the supply boat for the Coast Guard, that delivered the LH12 (as they called it).  As mentioned above, John Steele is an ancillary character in the story.

And while Peter loved Jan and there was a cloud that hung over Peter.  He mentioned the trauma of being on the water and the uneasy feelings he felt there.  He tried to hide it from Jan, but one day by the shore caused it all the snap.  She dragged him into the water and he desperately tried to get out.  Jan was trying to keep him in the water, and he slapped her.  Finally, he told her about the problems he was facing.  When in the Navy, Peter served on a submarine that was attacked by a torpedo.  He was caught underneath as the sea came rushing into the sub.  That gave him his new fear of the water.  He was convinced that he needed to get "back on the horse" and that is why he accepted a position in the Lighthouse service.  And while he felt good that he told her about his feelings, the first months of marriage were very rocky for the young couple.  When a storm swept towards the lighthouse on their three month anniversary, a distress signal forced him to finally face his demons head on.

The people behind the show include Robert Monroe (producer), Elliot Drake (director), and Lois Landauer (writer).  Don Douglas stared as John Steele.  John Larkin, a very accomplished radio actor,  stared as Peter.  And playing Jan was the OSCAR winning actress Eva Marie Saint.  She was a young, but accomplished actress working on TV before her 1954 breakthrough role as Edie Doyle in On The Waterfront, a performance that would earn her an Academy Award.  In 1959, she would also play Eve Kendall in Hitchcock's North by Northwest, my favorite movie of all time.  According to Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs, she would do a few more episodes for this series.

This story does a great job of showcasing PTSD and the issues that comes home when the solders return from war.  It also does a great job of placing the lighthouse and the life of a keeper front and center in a great radio drama.

Lighthouse Number 12 (October 31, 1949)

Please enjoy these great episodes.  This is a real treat and a great way to continue my Lighthouse Old Time Radio series.  I will have another entry in about a week!

Here are some links to programs relating to Old Time Radio and John Steele, Adventurer:
Lighthouses on Old Time Radio:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lighthouses on Old Time Radio - Captain January on Lux Radio Theater (1941 & 1946)

Here is the fifth entry in my Lighthouses on Old Time Radio series.  With the Oscars broadcast next Sunday, it seems like the perfect time to showcase one of the great radio series of all times.  Also, one of the two broadcasts showcased here was first heard over the air 69 years ago today on February 18, 1946.

The Lux Radio Theater was a long-running series that brought the movies to homes in the years before television, VCRs, DVDs, and streaming services.  The series ran on the NBC Blue (later ABC), CBS and NBC from 1934 through 1955.  The vast majority of time was on the CBS Radio Network including the two episodes featured today.  No matter what network it aired over, it was where the stars came to radio.  It was also where the stars came home to America.

The Lux Radio Theater was an hour-long weekly show that originally provided adaptations of books and Broadway plays.  In 1936, the program changed by providing adaptations of the best motion pictures in theaters across America.  The adaptations would normally be on the Lux Radio Theater a few years after the theatrical release.  When possible, the original cast was used for the broadcast. And when the original actors were not available, a who's who of radio actors were called to the microphone.  The hosts for the show were Anthony Stanford (1934-1935), Cecil B. DeMille (1935-1945), William Keighley (1945-1951), and Irving Cummings (1951-1955).   Of these great hosts, Cecil B. DeMille (or C.B.) is one of the greats of the early days of motion pictures and added a sense of respectability to the show.  The show was sponsored by Lux Soap and recorded in front of a live audience.  At the end of the show, the stars always chatted with the host, often about the inside world of Hollywood.

With the quick ability for people to get movies in many different formats from physical media to streaming, it is amazing to think about a time when the movies were a special experience that primarily took place in the theater.  Shows like the Lux Radio Theater enabled listeners all across the country, and the world through the Armed Forces Radio Service, to relive the movies with the stars that made them great.

Point Montara Lighthouse (Montara, California)

Point Montara Lighthouse (Montara, California) - April 22, 2013

On two occasions, the Lux Radio Theater broadcast a radio adaptation of the 1936 ,movie Captain January.  Both of these were when they were on the CBS Network.  The movie was based on the Laura Richards 1890 story, The Lighthouse at Cape Tempest.  The movie stars Shirley Temple in one of her most famous roles.  She plays Star, a girl who, as a baby, survives a shipwreck.  Sadly, in the same wreck, she lost her mother.  All she had from her mother was a locket.  The ship washed ashore near a lighthouse during a storm.  Captain January, who worked as the lighthouse keeper and was played by Guy Kibbee, offers to take the girl in as her own.  She was raised learning the ways of the sea and how a lighthouse works.  When it is noticed that she is not going to school, they question her upbringing.  But in the end, the precocious young Star impresses everyone with her knowledge and smarts, especially as it relates to shipping and lighthouse life.  And while the Captain was all the family she needed, she found out that he had more relatives that she thought.  The movie also starred Buddy Ebsen and he sang, with Shirley Temple, the song "At the Codfish Ball."  Captain January is a sweet movie and it translates very well to radio.  A great lighthouse themed program for this series.

The first broadcast of Captain January aired on January 27, 1941 and starred Shirley Temple in the role she created five years earlier.  Also starrting in the movie was Charles Winniger as Captain January and other actors including Gene Lockhart, Bob Burleson, Bobby Winkler, Charles Seel, Duane Thompson, Earle Ross, Griff Barnett, and others.

Captain January (January 27, 1941)

The second broadcast of Captain January aired on February 18, 1946 (69 years ago today).  Taking the role of Star was Margaret O'Brien, one of the leading child actors on radio.  Radio legend Lionel Barrymore plays Captain January.  Also in the cast are Cliff Clark, Griff Barnett, Duane Thompson, Noreen Gammill, Tommy Cook, and Howard McNear, McNear is another radio legend who was a staple of CBS broadcasts.  Most famously, he played Doc on Gunsmoke.

Captain January (February 18, 1946)

Please enjoy these great episodes.  This is a real treat and a great way to continue my Lighthouse Old Time Radio series.  I will have another entry in about a week!

Here are some links to programs relating to Old Time Radio and Lux Radio Theater:
Lighthouses on Old Time Radio:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lighthouses on Old Time Radio - Boston Blackie's Lighthouse Ghost (1947)

Here is the fourth entry in my Lighthouses on Old Time Radio series.  It seems that I am getting these done once a week - when my article (on libraries) is done, I will try to get this done more quickly!

One of my favorite Old Time Radio series is Boston Blackie.  These crime stories always leave the police, especially Police Inspector Farraday, frustrated and befuddled.  But to the rescue is Boston Blackie - who always solves the crime and saves the day.  Each of episodes starts the same way - with this phrase that says everything you need to know about Boston Blackie:

"Enemy of those who make him an enemy,
 friend to those who have no friend."

Remember that phrase!  Boston Blackie moves effortlessly on both sides of the law, but is primarily interested in doing what is right.  If that means working with the police, then so be it!  The character was created by author Jack Boyle, Boston Blackie was a safecracker who served time in prison before turning his attention to making things right.  The most well known episodes were syndicated by Frederic W. Ziv to Mutual and other networks after World War II.  Staring in the role as Boston Blackie was Richard Kollmar.  Mary Wesley (his constant companion) was played by Jan Miner.  Maurice Tarplin plays Police Inspector Farraday, who starts off most episodes with the belief that no matter what the crime was, Blackie was involved.  Tarplin is also know as the voice of the Mysterious Traveler and The Strange Dr. Weird.  

Barnegat Lighthouse (Barnegat Light, Long Beach Island, New Jersey) - August 8, 2014

Barnegat Lighthouse (Barnegat Light, Long Beach Island, New Jersey) - August 8, 2014

In the Lighthouse Ghost episode of Boston Blackie (which aired over ABC Network on September 10, 1947), a rash of shipwrecks turns out to be more than just bad luck.  Captain Ross was piloting a ship in the fog as the episode opens.  The Captain knows the geography of the shore well and was relieved to see the Rocky Island Lighthouse through the fog.  He knew that the channel they needed to enter was just north of the light.  So when he spotted it - they were set for a safe arrival of their ship, its crew and its cargo.  But when they turned to what they thought was the channel, they grounded and crashed their ship instead.  And amazingly, they were well south of the channel...and the Rocky Island Lighthouse.  

When Captain Ross visited ship owner Charlie Kingston, he insisted that the ship was north of the Rocky Island Lighthouse.  He could not explain how it seemed that the lighthouse moved.  Was it a 'lighthouse ghost?' They were interrupted by a call from Mr. Lawrence of the salvage company.  Not only did they get the job to clean up the wreck, but they got to keep 60% of whatever they are able to salvage.  This had been an all too common occurrence for Charlie Kington - it was the 4th ship he lost that year.  She he decided to call his friend, Boston Blackie.  Think about that, Boston Blackie was "friend to those who have no friend." mind is blown!

Anyway, Charlie, Mary Wesley and Blackie head up to the lighthouse.  While Mary is thrilled to be at the lighthouse and the amazing view.  However, she lets Charlie and Blackie climb to the top of the lighthouse to see the keeper.  While they are climbing to the top, they hear someone fall from the top of the lighthouse.  It turns out that it was the keeper and he was hanging on the outside of the light.  Why was he trying to hide from Blackie and Charlie?  Inspector Farraday arrives on the scene as Boston Blackie solves the riddle of the 'moving' lighthouse.

Please enjoy this great episode.  This is a real treat and a great way to continue my Lighthouse Old Time Radio series.  I will have another entry in about a week!

Lighthouse Ghost (September 10, 1947)

Here are some links to programs relating to Old Time Radio and Boston Blackie:
Lighthouses on Old Time Radio:

Monday, February 9, 2015

Business Resources from the Michigan eLibrary: Help is Closer than it Appears

238/365/2429 (February 4, 2015) - Squirrels on a Snowy Winter's Day at the University of Michigan (February 4, 2015)

Here are links to resources for my program titled "Business Resources from the Michigan eLibrary: Help is Closer than it Appears" at the Saline District Library on February 10, 2015.

Thinking of starting or growing a business? The Michigan eLibrary has great resources that you can use to help you succeed. Corey Seeman, librarian at the Ross School of Business at Michigan, will showcase the business resources that are available at no cost to you. Presentation at the Saline District Library (Saline, Michigan) on February 10, 2015.

There are three good reasons to go if you run or would like to run a business:

  1. You are using some of the same tools that a business consultant would use - but without the hefty bill.
  2. Learn what these resources can do to provide your business or business idea with the information to let them grow and thrive. 
  3. Learn where to get help and support as you are finding out about your market and the opportunities (or lack there in) available there.

Links and Resources

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Lighthouses on Old Time Radio - The Woman on Lime Rock from The Cavalcade of America (1947)

Here is the third entry in my Lighthouses on Old Time Radio series.  It seems that I am getting these done once a week - when my article (on libraries) is done, I will try to get this done more quickly! The Woman on Lime Rock from the great series The Cavalcade of America is one of three episodes that depict lighthouses.  I will be featuring the other two over the course of this series.

The Cavalcade of America is a great series sponsored by DuPont.  The purpose of the program has been one of great study and I am definitely glad that I have a few episodes to talk about it.  The long-running show ran from 1935 to 1953 and then had a second life on television.  Starting first on the CBS Network, it moved to NBC in 1939.  This 30 minute program provided a great platform to showcase some of the lesser known incidents and people who made the country great.  Not only was this series a great source of historical dramas, there were numerous fictional stories brought in as well.  From the Internet Archive page (see link below),  "The company's motto, 'Maker of better things for better living through chemistry,' was read at the beginning of each program, and the dramas emphasized humanitarian progress, particularly improvements in the lives of women, often through technological innovation."

Absecon Lighthouse (Atlantic City, New Jersey) - August 8, 2014

Absecon Lighthouse (Atlantic City, New Jersey) - August 8, 2014. OK, Not Rhode Island by hundreds of miles, but it is located on Rhode Island Avenue in Atlantic City - That will have to work for now!

Ida Lewis was one of the most famous lighthouse keepers in United States history.  While much of her fame might be attributed to the fact that she was a woman working in a career dominated by men, it was her heroism as a lifesaver at Lime Rock that gave her the greatest notoriety.  She is credited with saving 18 lives directly, and countless more by virtue of keeping the light going.  There are wonderful biographies of Ida Lewis below.  Also, you can get the 2002 book, The keeper of Lime Rock : the remarkable true story of Ida Lewis, America's most celebrated lighthouse keeper by Lenore Skomal (this link will take you to Worldcat to find the book in a library near you).

The account of Ida Lewis' story on Cavalcade stars Shirley Booth, who would later star on the TV show Hazel.  The episode opens with an editor of the New York Herald, Will Carver, dictating an obituary of Ida Lewis to his secretary.  Carver decides that he needs a break and thinks about the woman who had just died.  Not only was she a nationally known figure at her death in October 1911, she was the woman that Carver courted his whole life.  The story starts when they were both about to make their way in the world.  He was heading to New York to become a newspaperman and she was determined to a teacher.  So determined that she turned down Will's hand in marriage.  But when Ida is called from the schoolhouse to see her father, she learned that he had a stroke and would never be able to work the lighthouse again.  Ida immediately pitched in and lit the light that first night and many more afterwards.  She was the assistant keeper while her father lived, but she did all the work. The story continues through her father's death when the decision was made if a woman could be a permanent keeper at a lighthouse, despite the fact that she has essentially been doing the job for years.

As with other episodes from Cavalcade, an entire life is boiled down to a few minutes.  So the authors took liberties, left out characters, and told the story that they wanted to tell.  And while it is a historical drama, it captures some of the drama and difficulty in running a lighthouse in the 19th Century.

Please enjoy this great episode.  This is a real treat and a great way to continue my Lighthouse Old Time Radio series.  I will have another entry in about a week!

The Woman on Lime Rock (January 6, 1947)

Here are some links to programs relating to Old Time Radio and Cavalcade of America:
Lighthouses on Old Time Radio: