Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. would have celebrated a birthday this week (December 9, 1909 – May 7, 2000) and in tribute I present three entertaining examples of his work. These are distinguishable not only by way of the different mediums, but by his role in each.
The Sealtest Variety Theater is an old-time radio variety show that aired from 1946 to 1949 on NBC Radio. Originally titled “Front and Center” the show, hosted by Dorothy Lamour, one of the most popular Hollywood glamour girls during the war years, was changed to Sealtest in September 1948. However, fans always referred to the show as “The Dorothy Lamour Show.”
Count Sforza and his crow, “brother” arrive in Fort Courage in a hearse. Sforza has pale skin, wears a tux and a cape and greets everyone with a “Good evening” regardless of the time of day. It’s no surprise then that the band of misfits at Fort Courage suspect Sforza may be a vampire.
Tales of Tomorrow is a science fiction American anthology series that was performed and broadcast live on ABC from 1951 to 1953. The show’s run is not impressive due to a variety of factors, not the least of which is that ABC was the least popular network at the time and the show was often riddled with problems – it was very early television. However, the stories depicted on Tales of Tomorrow were impressive, most from popular books and authors and some later shown in different versions on the highly regarded The Twilight Zone. Also impressive were the stars that made appearances on the show. These included Boris Karloff, Thomas Mitchell, Lee J. Cobb and Paul Newman, among many others.
“Life is made up of small pleasures. Happiness is made up of these tiny successes. And big ones come too infrequently. And if you don’ t collect all those tiny successes, the big ones don’t really mean anything.”