Speaking of Radio

Chuck Schaden's Conversations with the Stars Who Made it Golden

Interview Listings *


Don Ameche – December 7th, 1971 – 26 Minutes

Versatile actor/host who worked with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy and, later, as the long-suffering husband on The Bickersons sketches with Frances Langford.  Born May 31, 1908, he was 63 at the time of our conversation backstage at the Pheasant Run Playhouse in St. Charles, Illinois.  He died December 6, 1993 at age 85.

Don Ameche was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1992.

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Eve Arden – January 31st, 1975 – 23 Minutes

Actress who created the role of Connie Brooks for the long-running Our Miss Brooks on both radio and television. She was born April 30, 1912 and was 62 when we met backstage at the Drury Lane Theatre in Evergreen Park, Illinois. She died November 12, 1990 at age 78.

Eve Arden was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.

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Jack Benny – September 3rd, 1970 – 16 Minutes

Mr. Benny was in the Chicago area for a series of concert appearances at the Mill Run Playhouse in suburban Niles, Illinois when we met to talk about his radio career. We were backstage following his short rehearsal with the band and just a few hours before his opening night performance. He was born February 14, 1894 and was 76 at the time of our visit. He died December 26, 1974 at the age of … 39.

Jack Benny was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.

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Edgar Bergen- February 20th, 1975 – 46 Minutes

Ventriloquist who took his act to radio in 1936 and entertained listeners for nearly twenty years. We met in his Sunset Boulevard office in Hollywood, California to talk about his long and distinguished career. Near the end of our visit we were joined by Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. Charlie and Mortimer were ageless, but Mr. Bergen was 72 at the time of our conversation. He died September 30, 1978 at age 75.

Edgar Bergen was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1990.

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Tommy Cook – May 17th, 1991 – 27 Minutes

Former child actor who appeared on Lights Out, Red Ryder, Blondie, Life of Riley and many other shows during radio’s golden age. He was born in 1930 and was 61 when we met poolside at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, California prior to a meeting of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters.

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Ivan Ditmars – May 17th, 1991 – 15 Minutes

Composer, musical director and organist on hundreds of radio broadcasts in the golden era and beyond.  He was age 84 when we spent a little time with him at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, California shortly before a meeting of the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters.  He was born April 12, 1907 and he died on September 10, 1997 at age 90.

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Howard Duff – August 25th, 1975 – 29 Minutes

Actor who was the star of The Adventures of Sam Spade, he helped supply stateside radio programs for military listeners during World War II, he appeared in movies and on TV in addition to his radio work. He was born August 24, 1913 and had turned 62 the day before our conversation at his beach house on Sea Level Drive, just north of the Malibu Colony along the Pacific Ocean in Southern California.  He died July 8, 1990 at age 76.

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Irving Fein – January 29th, 1976 – 21 Minutes

In a 28-year association with Jack Benny, Mr. Fein was the comedian’s publicist, producer and manager. We met him in Chicago at the Whitehall Hotel where he was staying while in town to promote his book, “Jack Benny – A Intimate Biography.” He was born June 21, 1911 and was 65 years old at the time of our conversation.

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Betty Lou Gerson – August 6th, 1976 – 17 Minutes

Chicago actress who appeared opposite Don Ameche on First Nighter, Chicago Theatre of the Air and later on such Hollywood-based programs as Lux Radio Theatre and Adventures of Sam Spade. She was born April 20, 1914 and was 62 years of age when my wife Ellen and I met her and her husband, Lew Lauria at the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood, California.

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Marty Halperin – May 28th, 1994 – 32 Minutes

Director of Acquisitions for the Pacific Pioneer Broadcasters he was instrumental in helping us arrange many of the interviews we conducted at PPB meetings and venues on the West Coast over the years. We met in the organization’s club house for a conversation about his days in the U. S. Army when he worked for the Armed Forces Radio Service.

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Phil Harris – June 15th, 1988 – 51 Minutes

He had a major musical career with his own big band before joining the Jack Benny cast on radio and later becoming co-star of his own program with his wife, actress Alice Faye. He was born January 24, 1904 and was 83 at the we visited him at the Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert, California. He spoke fondly of his music days and of his comedy broadcasts. He died August 11, 1995 at age 91.

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Bob Hastings – June 20th, 1988 – 42 Minutes

Title star of Archie Andrews on radio in a career that began in Chicago on the National Barn Dance. He was born April 18, 1925 and was 63 at the time of our conversation in the outdoor garden of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where he spoke fondly of his radio days.

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Jim Jordan – July 3rd, 1973 – 66 Minutes

He was Fibber McGee on radio for 25 years. He was born in Peoria, Illinois on November 16, 1896 and was 76 when we met in his home on Tower Road in Beverly Hills, California to talk about his outstanding broadcast career, providing many anecdotes about Fibber McGee and Molly. He died April 1, 1988 at age 91.

Jim Jordan and his wife Marion were inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.

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Phil Leslie – December 13th, 1973 – 44 Minutes

He spent a great many years writing scripts for Fibber McGee and Molly and other radio and television shows. He was born in 1909 and was 64 when we found ourselves working together at Radio Recorders, in Hollywood, California. We took advantage of the occasion to talk about his stellar writing career. He died September 23, 1988 at age 79.

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Elliot Lewis – August 27th, 1975 – 47 Minutes

Actor, writer, producer, director during the golden years. He co-starred on the Phil Harris – Alice Faye Show as Frankie Remley and did a great amount of radio work before the microphones and behind the scenes. He was working on some special writing projects when we met at his office on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood, California. He was born November 28, 1917 and was 57 at the time of our interview. He died May 20, 1990 at age 72.

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Vincent Price- September 8th, 1971 – 16 Minutes

The versatile actor who “loves to talk about radio” was in Chicago representing Sears, Roebuck and Company’s fine art collection when we met him at the studios of WLS-TV. His radio credits include any number of appearances on such programs as Lux Radio Theatre, Screen Guild Theatre and Suspense. He starred as the title character on The Saint. He was born on May 27, 1911 and was 60 when we interviewed him. He died on October 25, 1993 at age 82.

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Anne Seymour – August 3rd, 1976 – 33 Minutes

Actress appearing in hundreds of roles throughout a long rewarding career that included such radio programs as Grand Hotel, The Story of Mary Marlin, Inner Sanctum and Magnificent Montague on radio, plus scores of film and TV appearances. She was born September 11, 1909 and was 67 when she invited us into her Wilshire Boulevard apartment in West Hollywood, California to talk of her radio days. She died December 8, 1988 at age 79.

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Kate Smith – November 11th, 1975 – 25 Minutes

Singer who had a career that began on the stage in 1927 and continued with success on records, in radio, motion pictures and television. She was born May 1, 1907 and was appearing at the Mill Run Theater in suburban Chicago when we had a chance to talk with her about her show business career. She was 68 years old. The evening before we met for this conversation, we were part of a sold-out audience that saw her sing “God Bless America” stood up, sang along with her, then cheered her performance. She died June 17, 1986 at age 79.

Kate Smith was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1999.

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John Scott Trotter – May 10th, 1972 – 30 Minutes

Musician and long-time orchestra conductor for Bing Crosby’s radio shows throughout the Golden Age and on many of the crooner’s recordings. He was born June 14, 1908 and was 63 when we met in Chicago for a talk about his days working with Bing. He died October 29, 1975 at age 67.

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Herb Vigran – March 20th, 1984 – 42 Minutes

Character actor who performed thousands of roles on radio, television and films over a 50-year career. On radio he appeared with most of the big comics including Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Bob Hope and Jimmy Durante. He starred on his own series, Sad Sack, as well as in many dramatic roles. He was born June 5, 1910 and was 73 when we talked with him in West Hollywood, California. He died on November 29, 1986 at age 76.

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Paula Winslowe – June 17th, 1988 – 26 Minutes

Actress whose best known radio role was that of Peg Riley, the long-suffering wife of Chester A. Riley on Life of Riley. Over a 30-year career she appeared in hundreds of roles on radio and TV and became a supporting actress in films as well. She was born March 23, 1910 and was 78 when we talked with her in her Hollywood, California apartment. She died March 7, 1996 at age 85.

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Willard Waterman – March 17th, 1984 – 49 Minutes

Actor who starred as the Great Gildersleeve for eight years. His career began in Chicago in 1935 and he subsequently had roles in various radio soap operas and kids’ shows before going to Hollywood to appear in scores of dramatic broadcasts before being cast as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve after Harold Peary left the role in 1950. He was 69 at the time of our conversation and he died February 2, 1995 at age 80.

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* Audio accessible for the visually impared
NOTE: We will be adding to this list of interviews on a ongoing basis.


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