Let me say a few words about who should really take credit for this book and the two volumes that will soon follow it.
It all began over twenty five years ago when I was looking for some way to enhance my radio show which I called Life in the Past Lane. At the time I was doing much the same thing that many others have done. I was simply replaying radio shows of the past and talking about them. I got to thinking about the many performers and technicians who made them and were still around at that time. Why not call them up, talk with them and then play the results on the air?
To make a long story short, I developed a sort of Hollywood and New York underground and managed to get access to some hard to come by phone numbers. Much to my surprise, those folks were all more than willing to talk at length about their careers and their lives.
It went so well that I decided to expand the project and include theatre, movies, early television and some fine musicians. The end result was that, over a two year span I was able to record over eighty extensive interviews with some of the people who made media history. Therefore—they are the ones who wrote this book. All I did was pull it together.
1) True Boardman-child actor in silent films
& long time writer, producer and director for radio and television.
2) Irving Fein-personal manager and agent for both Jack Benny & George Burns.
3) Susan Sackett & Cheryl Blythe-Biographers of George Burns & Gracie Allen.
4) Dick Jurgens-Swing Band Leader.
5) Frank DeVol-Musician, Arranger and actor.
6) Lina Romay-Singer with Xavier Cugat.
7) Joan Peyser-Biographer of Leonard Bernstein.
8) Janet Waldo-Many radio roles-Voice of Judy Jetson.
9) Mel Blanc-Man of 1000 voices.
10)Ralph Bellamy-Over 80 film roles.
11)Evelyn Keyes-Many movies including Gone With the Wind.
12)Bill Dakota-Director of the James Dean Foundation.
13)Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee-Inherit the Wind, Mame and many other plays.
14)Arch Oboler-Writer, Producer and director of over 800 plays
15)John Houseman-Federal Theatre plus, plus.
16)Elliott Lewis-Mr. Everything in radio.
17)William N. Robson-Radio pioneer and risk taker.
18)Norman Corwin and his Biographer, R. Leroy Bannerman (Both)
“Jason has done his usual great job interviewing these celebrities. I highly recommend this book.”
—MEL SIMONS, author and host of Audio Clip Trivia Quiz CBS,
WBZ NewsRadio 1030, Boston
“Chicago’s SAG-AFTRA Senior Radio Players have dedicated themselves to preserving the Golden Days of radio with authentic performances of voice & sound effects. Jason has been a valuable supporter with his knowledge of the shows we perform and those who originally made them happen. His engaging conversations and humor definitely make it difficult to put his books down. We are quite fortunate. Thank you, Jason!”
—CONNIE FOSTER, SAG-AFTRA Senior Radio Players’ actress,
director, producer & Steering Committee member, Chicago
“The book drew me in so much that I carried it from room to room as I steadily fed on bite-sized chapters.”
—MICHAEL JAMES KACEY, editor, Memos to a New Millennium:
The Final Plays of Norman Corwin
“Some people say that the third time is the charm. In this case it is definitely not the case. Each of his books has been terrific. Jason continues to peel back the glint and glimmer of "The Golden Age of Radio" and shows that all that glitters is not golden.”
—ANTHONY N. NAZAROWSKI, performer with Those Were the Days Radio Players
and instructor of the History of the Golden Days of Radio, Chicago
“Jason's focus is on old time radio and early television. He showcases personalities, who are dear to our hearts, and we're glad to be learning about.”
—MARK ANDERSON, Radio Recall, Washington, DC
"Strongly recommended to anyone who
enjoys OTR or golden age popular culture."
- Radio Recall
In a continuation of the popular Life in the Past Lane, author and radio veteran Jason Hill reveals a series of extensive interviews transcribed from his Life in the Past Lane radio show. Guests include many of the multi-talented folks who made radio tick.
Max Geldray on The Goon Show.
Alan Young on Mr. Ed and Allan “Rocky” Lane.
Radio pioneers from Chicago, such as Willard Waterman from The Guiding Light, Ma Perkins, First Nighter, The Halls of Ivy, The Lone Ranger, and The Great Gildersleeve.
Les Tremayne on radio show, such as The Romance of Helen Trent; Betty and Bob; Jack Armstrong The All American Boy; Ma Perkins; Chandu the Magician; The Kate Smith Show; Inner Sanctum; Grand Central Station; and One Man’s Family on television.
Olan Soulé on Orphan Annie;Bachelor’s Children; Captain Midnight; First Nighter; Grand Hotel; Amos ‘n’ Andy.
Jim Jordan on The Smith Family; Air Scouts; Smackout; Fibber McGee and Molly.
Fran Allison on Gary Moore’s Club Matinee; Clara, Lu, and Em; The Peabodys; and Kukla, Fran, and Ollie.
Also hear from Harry Morgan; Arthur Godfrey; Fred Allen; Spike Jones; Arnold Stang; Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding of Bob and Ray; John Dehner of Have Gun, Will Travel and many other radio and television Westerns; Parley Baer on radio as Chester on Gunsmoke; Ann Sperber; and Lewis Paper on William S. Paley.
The book is divided into three sections: The British Are Coming, The British Have Come, and Bridges Up, concluding with an Afterword, a Bibliography, and an Index. Also includes script excerpts and nearly 80 photos that recapture the excitement of Old Time Radio and Classic TV.
“I loved the organization . . . it is like an escorted journey through media history. –Dave White, KSAV Internet Radio, host of Dave White Presents, California
“What an important resource this will be . . . important to future researchers and chroniclers.” –Annette D’ Agostino Lloyd, author of Harold Lloyd: Magic in a Pair of Horn-rimmed Glasses
“Jason has done his usual great job interviewing these celebrities. I highly
recommend this book.” –Mel Simons, author and CBS, WBZ NewsRadio 1030, Audio Clip Trivia Quiz, Boston
“Thank you for including me in your wonderful book, as well as including my late husband, Bob Lee and our late mutual friend, Norman Corwin. –Janet Waldo, American radio, television, animation, and live-action film actress, best known as the voice of Judy Jetson.
“It was a guided tour of memories from entertainment’s Golden Years. Always entertaining. Each interview Jason shares makes me feel as if I am in the room with him and his special guest. One could not ask for a nicer diversion.” –Michael James Casey, Editor, Memos to a New Millennium: The Final Radio Plays of Norman Corwin