Greg Poppleton

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George Wallace 1910s-50s Comedian – Phantom Dancer 10 March 2020

Australian comedian, composer, dancer and singer, George Wallace, is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist from live 1940s-50s radio.

Of interest in the comedy selections of George Wallace from 1940s-50s radio is his early 20th century working class Australian accent and WW1 vintage vaudeville stage delivery.

In a 1949 interview, Wallace admitted that he found it hard to adapt his comedic techniques to radio. “The hardest thing, is keeping [my voice] down. After years on the stage where you have to raise your voice to make a point, I found in radio that this only made the mike blast and it took me a long time to break the habit of wanting to shout at it.”

Nonethesless, Wallace’s delivery hasn’t dated and is still funny, in my opinio. The commercial radio actors he’s working with are very much of their time.

The Phantom Dancer produced and presented by 1920s-30s singer and actor Greg Poppleton can be heard online from 12:05pm AESDT Tuesday 10 March at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

The last hour is all vinyl.

george wallace lobby cards

GEORGE

George Stephenson “Onkus” Wallace died the day I was born.

He was an Australian comedian, vaudevillian, radio personality and film star. During the early to mid-20th century, he was one of the most famous and successful Australian comedians on both stage and screen, with screen, song and revue sketch writing amongst his repertoire.

His father toured in minstrel shows and George junior appeared at age three in a Sydney pantomime. He was in his parents’ song-and-dance act until they divorced. He later busked in Pyrmont, New South Waleswaterfront, worked in his stepfather’s ink factory, and was a farm-hand and canecutter in North Queensland. He then joined a road show at age sixteen.

MOVIES

The 1930s saw George turn his talents to film. He starred in five films, all comedies and was the biggest, if not the biggest, Australian star. Three of these, His Royal Highness (1932), Harmony Row (1933) and A Ticket in Tatts (1934), were directed by F. W. Thring for Thring’s company, Efftee Film Productions.

He said in 1933 that he turned down an offer from Universal to film in the US.

The other two, Let George Do It (1938) and Gone to the Dogs (1939), were directed by Ken G. Hall for Cinesound Productions. Wallace’s contributions to these films extended beyond his performances. He developed the concepts for His Royal Highness, Harmony Row and A Ticket in Tatts by drawing on his stage revues, and co-wrote Let George Do It and Gone to the Dogs. Wallace’s other film work included a 1932 short film, “Oh! What a Night!”, which he is said to have directed unofficially.[8] In later years, he was seen in supporting roles in two dramatic films, The Rats of Tobruk (Charles Chauvel, 1944, Australia) and Wherever She Goes (Michael Gordon, 1953, USA/Australia).

george wallace women's weekly 1938

STYLE

In his physical presentation as well as his performance style, George Wallace differed from international stars of slapstick comedy. For instance, his clothing and speech allude to an Australian working-class type and contrast with Charles Chaplin’s mock-dapper Tramp persona. The fact that Wallace’s performances combine tap-dancing with pratfalls makes him unusual among film comedians anywhere. Moreover, Wallace’s films prefigure developments in Hollywood comedy. An example is the fictional country of Betonia in His Royal Highness, which predates satirical depictions of fictional nations in such celebrated films as The Marx Brothers’ Duck Soup (1933) and Charles Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940). Other aspects of Wallace’s films that are relatively unusual for the period are the comedic treatment of haunted houses in Harmony Row and Gone to the Dogs and scientific experimentation in Gone to the Dogs, which emphasize the resourcefulness of Australian filmmaking in the face of Hollywood’s international dominance.

JUNIOR

George Wallace had one child, George Leonard Wallace (George Wallace Jnr.), who became a famous comedian in his own right. At age two he debuted on stage in his father’s and mother’s vaudeville act joining them in acrobatic poses. He had success on TV in the late 1950s and 1960s. George Wallace Jnr’s television show, Theatre Royal, which originated in Brisbane, won a Logie Award in 1962 and 1963.

Make sure you come back to this blog, Greg Poppleton’s Radio Lounge, every Tuesday, for the newest Phantom Dancer play list and Video of the Week!

10 MARCH PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Community Radio Network Show CRN #427

107.3 2SER Tuesday 10 March 2020
After the 2SER 12 noon news, 12:04 – 2:00pm (+11 hours GMT)
and Saturdays 5 – 5:55pm
National Program:
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Sunday 10 – 11pm
5GTR Mt Gambier Mon 2:30 – 3:30am
4NAG Keppel FM 3 – 4am
2SEA Eden Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4pm
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4pm
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Tuesday 8 – 9pm
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am

Set 1
Special Shows
Open + Somebody Loves Me
Irving Miller Orchestra
‘Mirth and Madness’
WEAF NBC NYC
Jun 1944
I’m Getting Sentimental Over You (theme) + Smiles
Sy Oliver Orchestra
‘Endorsed by Dorsey’
WOR Mutual NYC
3 Mar 1946
Lady Be Good + Close
Ella Fitzgerald (voc) Ray Brown Trio
‘Swingtime at Savoy’
WNBC NBC NY
28 Jul 1948
Set 2
1950s Progressive Jazz Radio
Open + So What?
Miles Davis
‘Your Treasury of Music’
Birdland
WRCA NBC NYC
25 Aug 1959
Set 3
Benny Goodman 1937 Radio
One O’Clock Jump
Benny Goodman Orchestra
Madhattan Room
Hotel Pennsylvania
WABC CBS NYC
20 Oct 1937
Open + Blue Skies
Benny Goodman Trio (voc) Audience
Madhattan Room
Hotel Pennsylvania
WABC CBS NYC
23 Oct 1937
Dixieland Band + Goodbye (theme)
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) Helen Ward
Madhattan Room
Hotel Pennsylvania
WOR Mutual NYC
21 Oct 1937
Set 4
George Wallace
Open + Three Little Words + Skit
Edwin Duff (singer) George Wallace Comedian
‘The George Wallace Show’
2GB Macquarie Network Sydney
1950
Brown Slouch Hat
Joan Blake
‘Song of Australia’
ABC Radio
1942
Sophie, The Sort On The Bus
George Wallace
Live on The Tivoli Theatre, Sydney
1940s
Wacko! We’ve Got a Date
George Wallace (voc) Billy O’Flynn’s Legionaire Orchestra and Chorus
Comm Rec
Melbourne
1940
Set 5
Pee Wee Russell
D.A. Blues
Pee Wee Russell (cl) Eddie Condon Group
‘Eddie Condon’s Town Hall Jazz Concerts’
WJZ Blue NYC
1944
The Blues By Pee Wee Russell
Pee Wee Russell (cl) Eddie Condon Group
‘Eddie Condon’s Town Hall Jazz Concerts’
WJZ Blue NYC
9 Sep 1944
Pee Wee’s Town Hall Stomp
Pee Wee Russell (cl) Eddie Condon Group
‘Eddie Condon’s Town Hall Jazz Concerts’
WJZ Blue NYC
1944
Impromptu Ensemble
Pee Wee Russell (cl) Eddie Condon Group
‘Eddie Condon’s Town Hall Jazz Concerts’
WJZ Blue NYC
9 Sep 1944
Set 6
Eugenie Baird
Suddenly It’s Spring
Eugenie Baird (voc) Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra
Aircheck
Hotel New Yorker
May 1944
My Buddy
Eugenie Baird (voc) Paul Whiteman Orchestra
‘Forever Pops’
KECA ABC LA
1946
My Heart Tells Me
Eugenie Baird (voc) Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra
Aircheck
Hotel New Yorker
May 1944
What Is This Thing Called Love
Eugenie Baird (voc) Paul Whiteman Orchestra
‘Forever Pops’
KECA ABC LA
1946
Set 7
1940s Swing Radio
Sleep
Benny Carter Orchestra
‘Trianon Time’
Trianon Ballroom
Southgate Ca
Aircheck
1944
Blackberry Jam
Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands’
Columbus OH
Blue Network
19 Nov 1943
Let’s Dance (theme) + My Guy’s Come Back
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) Lisa Morrow
Meadowbrook Gardens
Culver City Ca
KHJ Mutual LA
14 Jan 1946
Smokey Mary + Close
Bob Crosby Orchestra
CBS Aircheck
23 May 1942
Set 8
Shep Fields
Country Garden
Shep Fields and his Rippling Rhythm Orchestra
Radio Transcription
1940
Basin St Blues
Shep Fields and his Rippling Rhythm Orchestra (voc) Robert Goday
Radio Transcription
1938
From Another World
Shep Fields and his Rippling Rhythm Orchestra
Radio Transcription
1940

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