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A spiraling cluster of news & events from distant decades

The Roving Retro Reporter reports on the current scene:

May 1952 - SCOOP! When Clark Gable appeared on television at the "Ike" Eisenhower rally at Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago, he really tore the place down. And when the executives at the M-G-M studios in Hollywood heard about it, they practically tore their hair out. In Gable's contract it specifically-but definitely-says "No television." Mr. G. had refused to start his next movie because he didn't like the script, and he had been placed on suspension by the studio for the first time in his long career. So inasmuch as he was vacationing in New York when he was approached to appear at the televised Eisenhower rally, and was mad at his bosses anyway, he just said, "Okay," and went ahead and did it. However, "The King" is still Mr. Big at the box office, so it's a safe bet that Gable and the Metro brass have made up by now.

Give and Take, which has been a popular audience-participation radio show since 1945, has just become a television show too. The video version is seen on Thursdays over CBS, with virtually the same format as the Saturday radio program. John Reed -King remains as the master of ceremonies. There's a brand-new daytime serial on ABC, Monday through Friday, called Whispering Streets. It's a dramatic Series, based on the life and experiences of Hope Winslow, a sophisticated author and world traveler, whose journeys have taken her over many interesting and exciting avenues. Gertrude Warner has the lead on this new serial, playing the role of Hope. This is a change of character for Gertrude, who is also heard as Pamela, on Marriage for Two, over the same network.

Comedienne Joan Davis has just signed an exclusive radio-TV contract with NBC. Joan will make her television debut with a variety-situation comedy show which the network is now working on. They plan to do an audition kinescope sometime next month, with the public seeing the finished product shortly thereafter. Eventually Joan will have her own air series too, but for the time being will make guest appearances on radio, as she has been doing on The Big Show.

Did you ever wonder why radio directors get ulcers? Take the case of Carl Eastman, who directs the CBS serial, Perry Mason. Last fall he had his cast all set for "The Case of the Martyred Mother," with Helen Shields playing May Grant, Ian Martin as Bill Grant, Anne Burr doing the minor roles and of course John Larkin, Perry Mason, and Joan Alexander, Della Street. Everything was going along fine when Helen got a wonderful part in Maxwell Anderson's play, "Barefoot in Athens," and had to leave New York for the out-of- town tryouts of the show. So Eastman had to get a new May Grant and chose Inga Adams, whose voice closely resembled Helen Shields'. Inga was thrilled with the rote because she had a chance to play opposite Ian Martin, who is her real-life husband. All went smoothly for a while until Inga was taken ill. The doctor prescribed complete rest and she had to relinquish her part. Once again Eastman needed another May Grant. This time, he picked Anne Burr to pinch-hit because she was used to the cast and the character, inasmuch as she continually played the bit parts on the program. Meanwhile, after a short run on Broadway, "Barefoot in Athens" closed, and Helen Shields once again became May Grant. Now that Helen is back, Eastman is wondering how many sharp listeners were aware of the changes each time they happened. And he's hoping he won't have any more.




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