upon was Lurene Tuttle. In existing shows she can
be heard in such diverse roles as orphan Ellie
Connors, the bombastic Sergeant Hartford, grouchy
Nurse Lunsford, and the silky-voiced woman who
left her baby with L&A (the baby's cries were, of
course, provided by Jerry Hausner). "Lurene was a
great friend," says Frank, "and she was called the
'First Lady of Radio' because she was such a very
good actress. Of course she was Effie to Howard
Duff's Sam Spade the whole time that show was on
the air. If you look in any of the radio books at the
lists of shows people have done, there are two
performers who have the longest lists. Lurene was
one of them, and Marvin Miller was the other."
One great actor L&A used from time to time on their
30-minute series was Peter Leeds. "Most people
know Peter from all the comedy work he did with
Stan Freberg," says Frank. "But he could do
dramatic programs such as Suspense and the radio
and TV versions of Dragnet. He had a funny, funny
sense of humor. Once he was scheduled to be at the
REPS old-time radio convention up in Seattle, and he
wanted me to go with him. He was great fun to be
with, and funny all the time. That was one thing
about radio people: They were never pretentious,
they got along very well, and usually the same
people were hired for every show. The reason was
not that they didn't want outsiders, but
they wanted people who got along...
people who were happy all the time and
would show up for work.
"Since radio shows were mostly
live, that meant you had to be there for
rehearsal. Near CBS's studios on
Sunset Boulevard there was a
restaurant called Brittingham's [this
was one of the restaurants that added
Lumburgers to its menu during 1947],
and Brittingham's had a great bar.
There was a show on Wednesday
nights called The Jack Carson Show,
with Arthur Treacher and a few other
supporting actors. They did the
"That's why radio actors who were able to control
their drinking worked all the time, because
producers knew they were reliable and would show
up for the second show. A lot of actors wouldn't
show up for the second program. That's why Lurene
Tuttle would work all the time... I don't think I ever
saw Lurene take a drink, and she probably didn't."
It goes without saying that Frank had many, many
more stories about L&A's coworkers, but we are
running out of space here. We will be bringing
additional anecdotes to you from time to time;
meanwhile, we should mention that during the
Convention Frank Bresee was presented with one of
the two 1998 Lum and Abner Memorial Awards for
the work he has done to preserve radio's past. He
promises that even more surprises are in store for
the future, so keep watching The Jot 'Em Down
Journal to find out about them!
Wendell Niles at the 1989 NLAS Convention.
Frank Bresee in his 1978
OTR special for CBS-TV.
East Coast broadcast from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m., then
came back at 8:30 to do the live West Coast show.
Well, where could they go for two hours? There
wasn't time to go home, so they would go to dinner.
But it was too early to eat dinner, so they would have
a couple of drinks at Brittingham's.
|UPDATES: You'll be happy
to know that our friend Frank
Bresee's Golden Days of
Radio is still available!
Soon to celebrate its 60th
anniversary, The Golden
Days of Radio is now part of
Yesterday USA! For more
information, click here: