Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dog days

Since it’s the first day of August, I thought I’d take a little time to announce some items of interest to longtime readers and casual acquaintances of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear—the first being that First Generation Radio Archives has a couple of new Premier Collections that have just rolled off the FGRA assembly line…and a nifty “bonus” that you’ll most certainly want to capitalize on.

I stated in yesterday’s post that I had a hand in one of the newly-announced Collections…unfortunately; I have to wipe a little egg off my face because the company apparently is not releasing the set that I worked on back in mid-July. But technically I’m not passing along erroneous information; one of FGRA’s August releases is entitled Calling All Cars: Volume 3—which contains twenty episodes of the landmark crime drama heard on CBS Pacific network stations from November 29, 1933 to September 8, 1939. (The twenty broadcasts in the collection contain shows from 1935 and 1936.) No one has been given any credit for the Volume 3 notes, but much of the content has been culled from my previous observations from the notes to the first volume and if you doubt me on this, you can compare Volume 1 to Volume 3 and see for yourself. (They did the same thing with Volume 2...the sneaks.) Calling All Cars is an entertaining show; it may sound a little primitive to modern ears but you’ll sure to recognize the early makings of the police procedural, which reached its apex in Jack Webb’s classic radio/TV creation Dragnet.

Also on hand is a collection of AFRS re-broadcasts from a series originally heard on ABC between 1945 and 1946, Date With the Duke—and I don’t mean John Wayne, kiddies…I mean the Man himself, Duke Ellington. I’ll confess I don’t know much about this series…but when Sir Duke’s involved, does it really matter? (“They can feel it all over…they can feel it all over, people.”)

Now here’s the sweet part of the deal…if you purchase two or more Premier Collections this month, you can pick yourself up a set of Old Time Radio Shows: Radio Classics—which contains forty broadcasts from many of radio’s best loved programs—for one cent! No, that isn’t a typo and your eyes aren’t fuzzy from staring at your computer. One penny will allow you to listen to such classics as Fibber McGee & Molly, Fred Allen, Boston Blackie, Richard Diamond and so many more. But to capitalize on this offer you need to buy two or more Premiers—so sprint on over to FGRA for an offer you can’t refuse!

The first of August also ushers in Turner Classic Movies’ Summer Under the Starsthirty-one days of classic film entertainment spotlighting one big name and a collection of their finest movies all day throughout the entire month. TCM kicks off the festival with Henry Fonda, which means you’ll be able to catch such favorites as The Best Man (1964), Advise & Consent (1962), The Wrong Man (1957), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), Jezebel (1938) and The Male Animal (1942). (Let’s just say that I know where I’ll be when 1:30pm comes around.)

Finally, for those of you interested, Kino.com is having two big sales this month—the first is a 40% off “Slapstick Sale,” with many of their silent comedy releases (from the likes of Roscoe Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, etc.) marked down at a considerable savings. One of these DVDs, The Charley Chase Collection 2, is selling for $9.99 in the second big deal this month—a selected group of discs now available for $9.99 apiece. Titles include Hangmen Also Die! (1943), the Clara Bow double feature Down to the Sea in Ships (1922)/ Parisian Love (1925), Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919) and The Quare Fellow (1962)—a particularly enjoyable film starring the late Patrick McGoohan which turned up on TCM last month.

They’ve also got the DVD of Secrets of a Soul (1926) on sale for $9.99…and on the off-chance that anyone reading this blog has had a chance to see it let me know what you think. I’m toying with the idea of scoring a copy but I’ve not seen it…though I have seen other films directed by G.W. Pabst (Pandora’s Box, Diary of a Lost Girl) and I’m curious as to whether it’s worth a flutter. Mini-reviews will be most welcome…just leave them in the comments section or drop an e-mail my way. Thanks ever so.

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