Vic & Sade: The Little Tiny Petite Pheasant Feather Tea Shoppe (CBS, 1942)
The menu includes olive runt, scalded cucumbers, rutabaga shortcake, bent grass ox butter, and beef punkles, when in season. Are them’s eats, or what? Well, sir, it may be around about dinner hour in the small house halfway up in the middle of the next block, but the aforesaid culinary crime den is just where Vic (Art Van Harvey) plans to dine this evening, with three prospective business partners. Which amuses Sade (Bernadine Flynn) profoundly enough, who doesn’t fathom why important wheels would want to round up for a business dinner at such a wheels-off beanery, until she fathoms even less when Vic reveals the wheels-off seating arrangement to which the foursome have agreed.
You don’t have to fathom a bloody thing to enjoy the sweet and salty absurdism and one of the best of what survives of this jewel of wit. All you have to do is listen, let yourself be wafted there, and be thankful that it isn’t your dinner plan, business or otherwise, which is probably just what this show’s mastermind must have been thinking as he sketched it out.
Rush: Bill Idelson. Announcer: Probably Vince Pelletier. Music: Louis Webb. Writer/director: Paul Rhymer.
FURTHER CHANNEL SURFING . . .
Fibber McGee & Molly: A Kite-Flying Contest with Doc (NBC, 1946)—The Sap of 79 Wistful Vista (Jim Jordan) has often wanted to tell Dr. Gamble (Arthur Q. Bryan) to go fly a kite, but this time the self-professed kite expert may regret challenging the tart doc to fly one in a contest. Molly/Teeny: Marian Jordan. Mrs. Carstairs: Bea Benaderet. Wimpole: Bill Thompson. La Trivia: Gale Gordon. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King’s Men. Writers: Don Quinn, Phil Leslie.
The Great Gildersleeve: Leroy is Arrested (NBC, 1947)—In a repeat of a March 1946 episode, Gildersleeve’s (Harold Peary) spunky nephew (Walter Tetley) and his pal Craig take some fresh lumber boards from a new house under construction, but after Gildersleeve ponders sending Leroy to military school he and his Jolly Boys pals ponder further whether mercy can’t temper justice when they remember when they, too, were boys being boys. No wonder the Boys Club of America wanted this one repeated, as noted at the head of the broadcast. Hooker: Earle Ross. Peavey: Richard LeGrand. Floyd: Arthur Q. Bryan. Police Chief Gates: Ken Christy. Announcer: John Laing. Music: Jack Meakin. Director: Possibly Fran Van Hartesveldt. Writers: Probably John Whedon, Sam Moore.
The Jack Carson Show: Jack Writes His Will (CBS, 1947)—The jaunty Jack (Carson) gets sober all of a sudden, when he comes to the deadline of a series of threatening telegrams by “The Mad One” (Herb Vigran) advising he had forty-two days before . . . who knows, but why should that get in the way of writing his will or indulging his fears? Himself: Arthur Treacher. Tugwell: David Willock. Additional cast: Norma Jean Nilsson. Announcer: Del Sharbutt. Music: Freddy Martin Orchestra. Director: Sam Fuller. Writer: Leonard L. Levinson.
Our Miss Brooks: The Burglar (CBS, 1950)—A home break-in by a burglar (Bob Sweeney) who’s out of work and seeking only square meals—and promising to repay every family whose refrigerator he’s raided—prompts compassionate Connie (Eve Arden) to try swinging him a job at Madison High . . . whose faculty is already short of meal money thanks to delayed salary checks, and whose ornery principal Conklin (Gale Gordon) may have been raided for a plate of fried chicken by the same refrigerator raider. Nobody else could get away with this one. Mrs. Davis: Jane Morgan. Harriet: Gloria McMillan. Boynton: Jeff Chandler. Walter: Richard Crenna. Announcer: Bob LaMond. Music: Wilbur Hatch. Writer/director: Al Lewis.
Fibber McGee & Molly: Promoting Business (NBC, 1954)—Managing Quilby’s variety store has proven little but a challenging headache to the Sage of 79 Wistful Vista (Jim Jordan) thus far, but then he gets an idea about putting up fractured winning-number promotional posters, which sounds only slightly less fractured than his—dare we say it–mind . . . until they seem to draw a mammoth throng into the place. Three guesses how this promotion turns out . . . Woman in store: Elvia Allman. Man in store: Bill Thompson. Additional cast: Dick Ryan, Natalie Masters. Molly: Marian Jordan. Doc: Arthur Q. Bryan. Announcer: John Wald. Director: Max Hutto. Writers: Phil Leslie, Ralph Goodman. (Note: Actor Pat O’Brien makes an appearance to present the Jordans with the National Safety Council’s Public Interest Award.)
Richard Diamond, Private Detective: Joyce Wallace (NBC, 1950)—Under the gun to renew his investigators’ licence, Diamond (Dick Powell) is hired by a very nervous woman who collapses onto his office floor—and dies at once, from a powerful drug ingested an hour before she arrived, leading the jaunty sleuth to her heartbroken father, a sober Brooklyn home, a shifty Brooklynite (Sheldon Leonard), and a corpse dragged from the river—riddled with dum-dum bullets of the kind that turn up in the dead woman’s gun tucked in the dead woman’s purse. Helen: Virginia Gregg. Otis: Wilms Herbert. Levinson: Ed Begley. Cabbie: Herb Vigran. Mrs. Bronson: Betty Lou Gerson. Music: Frank Worth. Director: Helen Mack. Writers: John Michael Hayes, E. Jack Newman.
The Whistler: Strange Meeting (CBS, 1950)—A news photographer flies from Lisbon to Paris searching for the woman (Betty Lou Gerson) with whom he couldn’t connect, until she suddenly kissed him goodbye on landing and disappeared into the Parisian mists—leaving him a curious envelope containing a skeletal X-ray in his coat pocket—triggering a surreal chain of events climaxing in a hunt for a notorious fugitive, a double cross, and a triple murder case that isn’t as cut-and-dried as the Parisian police think at first. It tries just a little too hard to be a labyrinthine spellbinder, but it acquits itself well when all is said and done. Additional cast: William Conrad, John Hoyt. The Whistler: Bill Forman. Announcer: Marvin Miller. Music: Wilbur Hatch. (Whistling: Dorothy Roberts.) Director: George W. Allen. Writer: Joel Malone.
Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar: The Clinton Matter, Part One (CBS, 1956)—Dollar (Bob Bailey) receives a wire to probe building irregularities reported by the janitor of a new Clinton, Colorado school building, but Dollar picks up too many hints of more than just irregularities—very deadly and hot hints, especially the fire that destroys the new school; nobody in town seeming to be related to the now-dead janitor or willing to talk deeper about the fire; and, the building’s architect (Herb Ellis)–who may have been sent on an all-paid European vacation to get him away from the actual construction finale—assaulted ferociously . . . by local police and fire officers. Adapted for the series’ serial version from a 1950 episode known as “The Story of the Big Red School House,” and probably given a less cliched treatment now. Stay with it, all week long. Western Union operator: Lucille Meredith. Florie Hawkins: Jeanette Nolan. Additional cast: Carleton Young, Jack Petruzzi, Bob Bruce. Announcer: Roy Rowan. Music: Amerigo Moreno. Director: Jack Johnstone. Writer: John Dawson.
World War II
World News Today (CBS, 1944)—Air sorties against Hamburg, and Soviet troops penetrating further west toward the heart of the Third Reich; updates on the Italian battle fronts including weather-related delays and appeals to keep the war from reaching Rome herself after it couldn’t be kept out of Florence; an interview with an Army Air Force pilot taking part in precision bombing raids, describing the deep preparations and the specific isolated structures to be avoided; another interview with the developer of the so-called six-ton bomb developed for more efficient destruction of Nazi war industry; a desperate German stand; Brazilian alarm over domestic food shortages plus Nazi propaganda, agitation, and even political support around South America; Nazi propaganda minister Goebbels’ recent hasty retreat from an incoming air raid on Berlin, even as Germany boasted full preparation against any major Allied invasion of Europe; troops of the Fourth Marines and Seventh Army talk high morale to a correspondent after a deep raid in the Marshall Islands; a report on Irish stablisation efforts out of Washington; and, an interview with a Navy submarine tracking commander on southern Atlantic operations. Correspondents: John Daly, Charles Shaw, George Fielding Eliot, John Adams, Glenn Stadler, Webley Edwards, Don Prior. Announcer: Webley Edwards. Anchor: Douglas Edwards.