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Great Beginnings: “It’s Town Hall Tonight!” March 31, 2007

Posted by William Spear in >> Great Beginnings, >> Radio Drama.
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Fred Allen was on CBS and NBC from 1932 to 1949 with sponsors ranging from Hellman’s Mayonnaise to Texaco Oil Company to Ford Motor Company. Along with the talents of Portland Hoffa, Walter Tetley, Charlie Cantor, John Brown, Minerva Pious, Kenny Baker, Wynn Murray, Alan Reed, and Parker Fennelly, the show featured the music of Ferde Grofe’s Orchesta, Lennie Hayton’s Orchesta, and Al Goodman’s Orchestra.

As if that wasn’t enough, the show also enjoyed some of the greatest Announcers of all time: Kenny Delmar, Ken Roberts, and Harry von Zell.

In the midst of Allen’s run was Town Hall Tonight. From 1934 – 1940, Allen and Company offered a weekly 60-minute show of humor, satire, and music.

. . .

MUSIC: UP AND QUICKLY ESTABLISH: THEME. UNDER TO BED.

ANNOUNCER: An hour of smiles, it’s Town Hall Tonight, folks. Sixty minutes of fun and music brough to you by Ipana toothpaste and Sal Hepatica. Ipana for the smile of beauty; Sal Hepatica for the smile of health. Fun with our star comedien Fred Allen. Music with Peter Van Steeden. New features, new laughs. It’s Town Hall Tonight!

SFX: UP AND QUICKLY ESTABLISH: CROWD CHEERING. UNDER TO BED.

MUSIC: LET THEME BREATHE. UNDER TO BED.

ANNOUNCER: Here they come – Dionne Quintuplets . . .

LADY: Aren’t the babies on exhibition this evening, Doctor?

DOCTOR: No madam. The little tots are busy at their radios. It’s Town Hall Tonight.

SFX: LET SFX BREATHE.

MUSIC: LET THEME BREATHE.

ANNOUNCER: . . . Farmer . . .

FIRST FARMER: What’s the idea of putting a radio in your henhouse, Clem?

SECOND FARMER: Hen’s can learn plenty about laying eggs from that Allen, Zeb. It’s Town Hall Tonight.

SFX: LET SFX BREATHE.

MUSIC: LET THEME BREATHE.

ANNOUNCER: . . . G-Men . . .

G-MAN: But this is hardly a case for the G-Men, lady.

LADY: It sure is. Those thieves stole my radio, Mr. Hoover, and it’s Town Hall Tonight.

SFX: UP AND OUT.

MUSIC: UP AND OUT.

. . .
Fred Allen was quoted as saying “A telescope will magnify a star a thousand times, but a good press agent can do even better.”

He needed neither for the world to recognize his brilliance.

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Comments»

1. V. E. G. - October 25, 2010

Kenny Delmar’s real name is Kenneth Frederick Fay Howard to Frederick Fay and Evelyn (Efstratiadis) Howard. Delmar is part Greek!


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