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I return to to Rob Kelly's Film and Water Podcast to discuss the film version of the Broadway hit, 1776. Starring William Daniels at John Adams, Howard Da Silva as Ben Franklin, Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson, and Blythe Danner (Gwyneth Paltrow's mom; can you tell from the cheekbones?) as Martha Jefferson. A musical about the writing of The Declaration of Independence? You bet! Actually, it's about something we as Americans never learn about in school and seldom give any thought to: the argument over whether the colonies should even separate from Great Britain. Independence was far from a forgone conclusion during that long, hot summer in Philadelphia. Check it out here.


Temple of Bad: Icetastrophe

The Syfy channel just loves to smoosh things together to make new things. This time it's Ice and Catastrophe: Icetastrophe. Ostensibly a Christmas movie (HA!), this CGI wonder answers the burning (or is that freezing?) question: What happens when a meteorite hits a small town and starts tossing up giant ice crystals that cause people to freeze solid? I dunno. What does happen? Find out for yourself. God bless us, every one.

I've been listening to Rob Kelly's Film and Water Podcast for a while, and when I got a chance to talk to him about a subject of mutual interest: musicals, the obvious choice was Meet Me In St. Louis. The 1944 MGM film starring Judy Garland and Margaret O'Brien is a holiday classic featuring such tunes as "The Trolley Song", "The Boy Next Door", and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." But there's a lot more going on than just a good time. Rob and I take an in-depth look at one of the greatest movies ever made. Check it out here.

The United States was only a couple months into World War Two when tonight’s episode of the classic comedy The Great Gildersleeve takes place. In an effort to raise money for war-time relief, Gildy gets dragged into posing as a (female – what else?) fortune teller. Despite the standard sit-com set-up, this takes some very funny twists and turns. Then Orson Welles returns as Harry Lime in The Lives of Harry Lime. Not quite the psychopathic murderer he was in the movie The Third Man, where he originated the role, here Welles’ Lime is more a charming, ne’er-do-well con man. Tonight, has he met his match in a pair of similarly-charming con artists? Check it out here.

Dragnet returns with a tale of the drug trade. In 1951 marijuana was available for 75 cents a joint. Detectives Friday and Romero are on the track of the kingpin behind the narcotics racket, “The Big Tomato.” Then Friday himself, Jack Webb, guest stars on The Bob Hope Show. After Hope’s timely comedy monologue, he joins Sgt. Joe Friday in a homicide investigation. Even if the only stiff Bob’s ever seen stretched out was one on New Year’s Eve, with a nose like his, you bet he can smell a crime a mile away. Check it out here.

Temple of Bad: "Patch Town" (2014)

Patch Town is the ambitious tale of a grown up Cabbage Patch doll breaking out of the gulag-like factory where he’s enslaved to find the little girl who loved him many years ago.

In facing the German-expressionist production style of a Tim Burton, a Sovietesque mise-en-scene, a bit of Cronenberg body-horror, and lashings of Danny Elfman-like musical comedy(?!), the regular Temple of Bad team of Andrea Lipinski, Orenthal Hawkins, Kevin Lauderdale, and Dan Persons bring all of their kung fu to this admittedly impressive and frankly weird picture.

Check it out here.

Information Please was the greatest quiz show in the history of Old Time Radio. In this episode, there’s a lot of talk about the upcoming 1940 presidential election, plus yet another reference to the Dione quintuplets. Then, in honor of the start of the baseball season, it’s time for an episode of X Minus One, the science fiction anthology program. The 21st Century Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team find themselves at of the bottom of the standings. How on earth – make that how on Mars – will they ever make it to the playoffs? Listen to "Martian Sam." Click here to listen.

The Romance of the Ranchos was one of the more unusual series to be broadcast during the Golden Age of Radio. Sponsored by the Title Insurance and Trust Company of Los Angeles, each episode traced the history of a certain district of Southern California from the days of the Ranchos – when everything was still owned by Spain and Mexico in the 1700s – up to then-contemporary times, the 1940s. Through a series of vivid historical vignettes, listeners would hear how these areas changed and grew to become well-known cities and neighborhoods. This episode centers on the discovery of the La Brea Tar Pits, that bubbling pool of crude oil where mastodon and saber-toothed tiger bones were found at the start of the 20th Century. Then Groucho Marx returns in another episode of the greatest comedy radio quiz show of all time, You Bet Your Life. You’re sure to enjoy not only Groucho’s bon mots, but the true story of Bob von Kuznick, whose adventures in the Korean War amaze to this day. Check it out here.

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Bobby Benson and the B-Bar-B Riders was a kid’s radio show set in “the modern West.” Bobby was a 12-year-old who had inherited a Texas cattle ranch, the B-Bar-B. He and his ranch hands struggled against rustlers and other sorts of appropriately western, but mid-20th-Century, hazards. This episode prominently features a young Don Knotts playing crusty old-timer Windy Wales. In Windy, you’ll hear the roots of Knotts’ Nervous Man character, who eventually morphed in Deputy Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show. Then Bing Crosby hosts the The Kraft Music Hall, the radio program that solidified his place in radio history. Crosby hosted the variety show for a decade, singing standards and popular tunes of the day as well as cracking wise with plenty of guest stars. This time, he hosts young Donald O’Connor, who’s about to go into the Army. Bing open with the post-war classic “San Fernando Valley,” then he and O’Connor mix it up with “Small Fry.”

Check it out here.


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We start off the new year with The Jack Benny Show. Jack, Mary, and the gang are celebrating the change-over from 1938 to 1939. They survey the previous year, which included Howard Hughes flying around the world and “Wrong Way” Corrigan, who left New York for California, but ended up flying to Ireland. Then before Jack Webb was Sergeant Joe Friday on Dragnet, he was the titular hero of Pat Novak, For Hire. Pat was a sort of un-detective. He ran a boat rental place on the San Francisco Bay, but solved crimes and problems to raise extra cash. Pat’s tough guy, hard-boiled lingo is a far cry from Friday’s “Just the Facts” persona. Check it out here.