Home Videos FAQ Meetings Join Radio
Library Links

Two Stellar Researchers Carry the Evening at MWOTRC's August Meeting

Our August 2007 meeting, like most monthly meetings, was held on the 2nd Friday of the month at 7:30 PM, in the Social Hall of Trinity Episcopal Church, corner of Columbia Pike and South Wayne St., Arlington, VA. It is always a fun and sociable time, with talk of nostalgia, our experiences, and current events. Jack French, radio historian of great renown begins the meeting with a 15-minute discourse and audio clip of some facet of the diamond that was radio broadcasting. That gets us settled for the evening’s proceedings.

Jack French and Michael Henry

The subject was teen-age radio comedy, the headliners were Jack French and Michael Henry. Michael Henry, making a return to the Club after a long absence, was greeted warmly by a nice crowd. Michael, who makes his living as a professional archivist at the Library of American Broadcasting, was on hand to accept a donation from the family of Mary Mason, who starred in a teen-age situation comedy, “Maudie’s Diary,” in the 1940’s.

Jack French presented the nice portfolio of photographs of Mary Mason’s tenure as the lead in the CBS show, 1941-42. He had gotten the gift from Mason’s daughter, and had augmented the gesture by researching the history of the show and its not inconsiderable stars. Likewise, Michael had delved into the L.A.B.’s archives. He brought a photocopy of a script that was surely read by Mason and her co-stars on-the-air.

Alas, no recordings of the original series of “Maudie’s Diary” are to be found. Jack discovered that a later, fifteen-minute version of the show, with another lady in the lead role, had been aired in a Treasury Department series promoting the purchase of bonds. And doggone it, he played us the tape! That was fun to listen to, funny as ever, with a hapless neighbor falling for every gag set up by the patriotic Maudie to collect money for bonds. Think along the lines of pay-as-you-go for turning the spigot, looking in the fridge, opening a door. Teens on a mission, for sure; ah, it was ever thus!

Jack talked a bit about the concept of “if you sound young, your true age doesn’t matter so much.” Mary Mason was a thirty-something reading as a 14-year old. The actress playing her mother was maybe four years older than she. Robert Walker, (yes, the brilliant and tragic Hollywood figure of later years) was in his 20’s, playing his teen part.

The Mason portfolio was a real treat, slowly making the rounds of the audience. Publicity photos showing the adult stars dressed as teenagers were wonderful. Michael told us that the Mason memorabilia would be a welcome addition, because one of the Library’s continuing projects is the preservation of material featuring women in the world of broadcasting.

Edgar Russell wins Tom Mix door prize

In a humorous coda to the evening, John Reiser conducted a raffle drawing for a door prize. The mystery package turned out to be an original box of the Ralston cereal made famous by Tom Mix and his radio program. Edgar Russell, the winner of the prize, gave the box close scrutiny and emerged, well, speechless!

Mark Anderson
For the Club

Club members peruse the scrapbook

MWOTRC members enjoy the evening