– CBS Radio – Sunday Night With Mitch Miller – January 21, 1961 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
A few legendary names this week, interviewed by the inimitable Mitch Miller on his weekly radio program Sunday Evening With Mitch, which ran from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s.
Starting off with Elsa Lanchester who, aside from being immortalized as The Bride Of Frankenstein, was also a talented writer, wit and comic, in addition to her work in numerous other memorable films and TV, as well as a long career on Broadway spanning several decades.
Joining her is comedian Shelley Berman; another familiar personality in TV and film along with newcomer Dolores Hart and stage lighting designer Abe Feder.
The names may not sound all that familiar to you, unless you’re a film buff or a fan of comedy going back a ways. But these were personalities who were very important and popular at the time. Dolores Hart was a newcomer who would later relinquish Hollywood for a Convent. Abe Feder was primarily known for his work on Broadway, during a time when Broadway was undergoing big changes. Shelley Berman was a cutting-edge comedian whose career went on to include writing, poetry, teaching and lecturing and is still very active today, primarily lecturing.
In short, these were personalities who were very much part of our cultural experience in the early 1960s – they epitomized much of what was going on in our Popular Culture at the time, and signified some of the social change which was starting to take place.
Mitch Miller, who was a staple in most American homes in the 1950s and early 60s, either via his work in recordings or his weekly TV series “Sing Along With Mitch”, was very much part of our popular culture at the time, though not always in a positive way (i.e. his disdain for Rock n’ Roll didn’t help his tenure as head of A&R at Columbia Records much). He nonetheless had a great deal of popularity with the older generation, who were in the majority at the time.
This was the mainstream and this was what Mainstream America was listening to in 1961.
If you know these names, you don’t need any prompting from me. If you aren’t familiar with these names, they were important at the time and have left a lasting impression on our society (maybe Dolores Hart and Abe Feder not so much), and helped move things along. So . . .listen with an open mind.
The rest of you – relax and enjoy.
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