Friday, August 11, 2017

WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS: 'The Circle' has its short radio run

By Steve Crum


A buncha stars gather in 1939 for an NBC radio broadcast, The Circle: (from left) Groucho Marx, Cary Grant, Lawrence Tibbett, Chico Marx, Ronald Colman (host), and (in front) Carole Lombard. The one hour show had different famous guests every week discussing current events and the arts in a round-table format. Sponsored by Kellogg's, The Circle is considered one of radio's celebrated failures, struggling for listeners from 1939-40. High pay for guests + low ratings tells the story.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS: The House That Jolson Built

By Steve Crum

Showgirl in Hollywood was a huge hit at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City during 1930. From 1928-33, the legendary live stage theatre was leased to Warner Brothers to show their early talkies. The Winter Garden had been one of Broadway's leading stages since the Shuberts owned it beginning in 1911. It reverted back to being a live stage venue in 1934.


Al Jolson and Ruby Keeler make a cameo appearance in Showgirl in Hollywood. Jolson, of course, is forever associated with the Winter Garden since he headlined several hit productions there in the 1910's-20s. It was Jolson who had a runway built down the center of the Winter Garden so he could essentially be among his audience while performing. His audiences reportedly went wild when Jolie ran and danced its length while singing.