The Have Gun — Will Travel radio show broadcast 106 episodes on CBS between November 23, 1958, and November 22, 1960. It was one of the last radio dramas featuring continuing characters and the only significant American radio adaptation of a television series.
John Dehner (a regular on the radio series version of Gunsmoke) played Paladin, and Ben Wright usually (but not always) played Hey Boy.
Virginia Gregg played the role of Miss Wong, Hey Boy’s girlfriend, before the television series began featuring the character of Hey Girl. Unlike the small-screen version, in this medium, there was usually a tag scene back at the Carlton at both the beginning and the end of the episode.
Have Gun – Will Travel – Lady Kane, The Silver Queen (59/05/17)
Initially, the episodes were adaptations of the television program as broadcast earlier the same week, but eventually, original stories were produced, including a finale (“Goodbye, Paladin”) in which Paladin left San Francisco, apparently forever, to claim an inheritance back East. The radio version of the show was written by producer/writer Roy Winsor.
Have Gun – Will Travel – Bitter Vengeance (59/11/29)
Stories revolved around gun-for-hire with principles, Paladin (his real name was never revealed). Though Paladin, played on the radio by John Dehner, preferred to try to work out problems without violence if possible, he worked for people who he felt were wronged and could pay. Occasionally, if he felt people who couldn’t pay were in a really hard situation with bad guys, he worked for free. If, during the course of his work, he discovered his employer turned out to be shady, Paladin would turn on his employer.
Listen out for episodes of this fantastic show on the Drama and Western Channel from the ROK Classic Radio Old Time Radio Network.
Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen (July 26, 1895 – August 27, 1964), known as Gracie Allen, was an American comedian who became internationally famous as the zany partner and comic foil of husband George Burns.
Gracie Allen was born in San Francisco, California, to George Allen and Molly Darragh, who were of Irish Catholic extraction. She made her first appearance on stage at age three and was given her first chance On Air by Eddie Cantor. She was educated at the Star of the Sea Convent School and during that time became a talented dancer. She soon began performing Irish folk dances with her three sisters, who were billed as “The Four Colleens.” In 1909 Allen joined her sister, Bessie, as a vaudeville performer. At a performance in 1922 Allen met George Burns and the two formed a comedy act. The two were married on January 7, 1926, in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Burns and Allen act began with Allen as the straight man, setting up Burns to deliver the punchlines — and get the laughs. In his book Gracie: A Love Story Burns later explained that he noticed Allen’s straight lines were getting more laughs than his punchlines, so he cannily flipped the act over —- he made himself the straight man and let her get the laughs. Audiences immediately fell in love with Allen’s character, who combined the traits of stupidity, zaniness, and total innocence.
In the early 1930s, like many stars of their era, Burns and Allen graduated to radio. The show was originally a continuation of their original “flirtation act” (as their vaudeville and short film routines had been). Burns realized that they were simply too old for that material (“Our jokes were too young for us”, he later remarked) and changed the show’s format in the fall of 1941 into the situation comedy vehicle for which they are best remembered: a working show business married couple negotiating ordinary problems caused by Gracie’s “illogical logic,” usually with the help of neighbors Harry and Blanche Morton, and their announcer, Bill Goodwin.
Around 1948 Burns and Allen became part of the CBS talent raid. Their good friend (and frequent guest star) Jack Benny had decided to jump from NBC over to CBS. William S. Paley, the mastermind of CBS, had recently made it openly clear that he believed talent and not the network made the difference, which was not the case at NBC. Benny convinced Burns and Allen (among others) to join him in the move to CBS. The Burns and Allen radio show became part of the CBS lineup and a year later they also brought their show to television. They continued to use the formula which had kept them longtime radio stars, playing themselves only now as television stars, still living next door to Harry and Blanche Morton. They concluded each show with a brief dialogue performance in the style of their classic vaudeville and earlier radio routines.
Allen retired in 1958, and Burns tried to soldier on without her. The show was re-named The George Burns Show with the cast intact except for Allen. The locale of the show was changed from the Burns home to George Burns’ office, with Blanche Morton working as Burns’ secretary so she could help Allen keep an eye on him. Allen’s absence was only too obvious and impossible to overcome. The renamed show barely lasted a year.
Gracie Allen fought a long battle with heart disease, ultimately dying of a heart attack in Hollywood in 1964. She was interred in a crypt at the Freedom Mausoleum at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Burns was interred at her side when he died 32 years later. (“Gracie Allen and George Burns—Together Again,” reads the engraving on the marker.
Born on May 30th 1908, Mel Blanc was an American voice actor and comedian. He began his six-decade-long career performing in radio commercials, but Blanc is best remembered for his work with Warner Bros. during the “Golden Age of American animation” (and later for Hanna-Barbera television productions) as the voice of such well-known characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Wile E. Coyote, Woody Woodpecker, Barney Rubble, Mr. Spacely, Speed Buggy, Captain Caveman, Heathcliff, Speedy Gonzales, Elmer Fudd and hundreds of others. Having earned the nickname “The Man of a Thousand Voices,” Blanc is regarded as one of the most influential people in the voice-acting industry.
Blanc was born Melvin Jerome Blank in San Francisco, California, to Frederick and Eva Blank. He grew up in Portland, Oregon, attending Lincoln High School. He claimed that when he was 16, he changed the spelling from “Blank” to “Blanc” because a teacher told him that he would amount to nothing and be, like his name, a “blank”. Blanc joined The Order of DeMolay as a young man, and was eventually inducted into its Hall of Fame.
Blanc began his radio career in 1927 as a voice actor on the KGW program The Hoot Owls, where his ability to provide voices for multiple characters first attracted attention. He moved to KEX in 1933 to produce and host his Cobweb And Nuts show which lasted for two-years.
Blanc then moved to KFWB in Hollywood, California, in 1935. He joined The Johnny Murray Show, but the following
year switched to CBS Radio and The Joe Penner Show. Blanc was a regular on the The Jack Benny Program in various roles, including voicing Benny’s Maxwell automobile (in desperate need of a tune-up), violin teacher Professor LeBlanc, Polly the Parrot, Benny’s pet polar bear Carmichael, the tormented department store clerk, and the train announcer .
One of Blanc’s most memorable characters from Benny’s radio (and later TV) programs was “Sy, the Little Mexican”, who spoke one word at a time. The famous “Sí…Sy…sew…Sue” routine was so effective that no matter how many times it was performed, the laughter was always there, thanks to the comedic timing of Blanc and Benny.
Benny’s writers would regularly try to “stump” Blanc by asking him to perform supposedly impossible vocal effects and characterizations, such as an “English horse whinny” and a goldfish. For the latter, Mel walked up to the microphone and pursed his lips several times, making no noise.
The Mel Blanc Show
Blanc’s success on The Jack Benny Program led to his own radio show on the CBS Radio Network, The Mel Blanc Show, which ran from September 3, 1946, to June 24, 1947. Blanc played himself as the hapless owner of a fix-it shop, as well as his young cousin Zookie (who sounded quite a bit like Porky Pig).
Many episodes required Mel to impersonate an exotic foreigner or other stranger in town, ostensibly for carrying out a minor deception on his girlfriend’s father, but of course simply as a vehicle for him to show off his talents. Other regular characters were played by Mary Jane Croft, Joseph Kearns, Hans Conried, Alan Reed, Earle Ross, Jim Backus, Bea Benaderet and The Sportsmen Quartet, who would supply a song and sing the Colgate Tooth Powder commercials. (Blanc would later work with Reed and Benaderet on The Flintstones.) Shows usually adhered to a predictable formula, involving a date with his girl Betty Colby (Mary Jane Croft) and trying to either impress her father or at least avoid angering him. However, Mr. Colby (Earle Ross) usually had occasion to deliver his trademark line, “Mel Blanc, I’m going to break every bone in your body!”
Blanc also appeared frequently on The Great Gildersleeve, the Abbott and Costello Show, Burns and Allen, and as August Moon on Point Sublime.
For his contribution to radio, Mel Blanc has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6385 Hollywood Boulevard.
Blanc died on July 10, 1989 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California of heart disease and emphysema. He was interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California. Blanc’s will stated his desire to have the inscription on his gravestone read, “THAT’S ALL FOLKS.”
Blanc’s death was considered a significant loss to the cartoon industry because of his skill, expressive range, and sheer volume of continuing characters he portrayed, which are currently taken up by several other voice talents.
Indeed, as movie critic Leonard Maltin once pointed out, “It is astounding to realize that Tweety Bird and Yosemite Sam are the same man!”
Listen to the amazing voices of Mel Blanc on the American Comedy Channel from the ROK Classic Radio Old Time Radio Network.
The Thanksgiving Party from the 26th November 1946