A Headline for the Ages

Today marks the 84th anniversary of the appearance of the greatest newspaper headline ever—or, at the very least, the greatest headline ever to appear in a trade publication.

It was on this day in 1935 that the front page of Variety blared the following:

Photo of aforementioned Variety headline

We’d always understood that the point of the headline (and the story it touted) was that, contrary to the common wisdom of the day, rural moviegoers weren’t showing an interest in motion pictures that took place in rural and small-town settings; they wanted depictions of big-city life.

But that’s not the whole story. In fact, now that we’ve read the article at Variety.com, we’re not really sure this headline is a particularly good fit, as the bit about small-town movie patrons enjoying city-themed movies makes up but a tiny percentage of the story.

Still, over the years, that aggregation of words has brought us great joy; it makes us profoundly happy. We’re not certain who penned the headline—some say it was written by Lyn Bonner; others insist it was the work of Abel Green—but we tip our hat to whomever was responsible.

The headline was also featured in the classic 1942 musical Yankee Doodle Dandy, in which George M. Cohan (played by James Cagney) translates it for a couple of teens.

This post first appeared in this space in slightly different form on July 17, 2012.

Under Chicago’s Hawaiian Skies

Anyone who watches old movies even ocasionally has witness a scene set in a restaurant or nightclub where a fetching young women approaches a table occupied by the leading man and lady and asks if they would like a souvenir photograph.

After our mother’s passing in 2010, we spent hours going through dozens of old photographs we’d never seen before (many of which we’ve shared with you here), and one that especially sparked our interest was enclosed in a folder labeled “Louie’s Club 29,” a long-gone nightspot in our home town (Oklahoma City, don’t you know). The picture inside the folder depicts Mom and Dad Cladrite as young marrieds, out for an evening of fun with friends (their backfence neighbors) and Dad’s youngest sister and her beau. You can learn more about that souvenir photograph here.

The cover of the Honolulu Harry's Waikiki photo folder Eddie, Lois, Mom and Dad at Honolulu Harry's Waikiki

Last year, sad to say, we lost our father, which led to another deep dive into the photograph bin, and we were very excited by another souvenir photograph, this one from—wait for it—Honolulu Harry’s Waikiki, a tiki bar and restaurant in Chicago. In this picture, Mom and Dad (that’s them on the right) are accompanied by Mom’s lifelong friend, Lois, and her husband, Eddie. Lois and Eddie resided in Atlanta, so the two couples must have met up in the Windy City (we don’t know for certain what the occasion might have been). This picture was taken in the early to mid-’50s—we know this because Honolulu Harry’s opened in 1952 and by the late ’50s, Mom had gone blond. In this picture, Mom still sports the medium brown locks she was born with, so the picture has to date to the few years in between.

Honolulu Harry's WaikikiWe were amused to see that the photographer at Honolulu Harry’s seems to have been quicker on the draw than the waiter. As you can see, the table is spotless, the ashtray empty, the four cocktail napkins still fresh and unsullied by condensation or spilled Mai Tai. We imagine the plastic (or were they paper in those days?) leis were placed around the foursome’s necks as soon as they entered and before menus were even placed on the table, and that the Johnny (or Jill)-on-the-spot photog hurried over and snapped this picture.

Honolulu Harry's WaikikiWe wonder if the two couples were initially seated facing each other (note the arrangement of the napkins) but for the sake of the photograph, with an empty table beside them, perhaps Lois and Eddie slipped around and slid in next to Mom and Dad, only to move back to the other side of the table afterward (yes, yes, it’s a minor detail, but we’re suckers for such minutiae.)

Honolulu Harry's WaikikiHonolulu Harry’s Waikiki was in operation for a decade, from 1952-62. It offered that odd combination of Asian and Pacific/Polynesian influences so often seen in tiki joints of the era—the establishment’s advertising touted “American, Cantonese, Japanese and Hawaiian foods with dancing under the Hawaiian skies” and that same awkward but fun cultural blend can be seen in the club’s decor and even the design of its exterior.

Fun fact: The previous occupant of this space was the Barrel o’ Fun Tavern, a favorite hangout of Mr. Fun himself, John Dillinger.

If only Mom and Dad Cladrite (and Honolulu Harry’s Waikiki) were still with us—we’d join them in a heartbeat for a Waikiki Zombie and a Pupu Platter.

The State of the Station

Sorry this post is a bit long, but we have a few tidbits of news for you; consider this our State of the Station address. Please read to the end, especially if you’re a Cladrite Radio listener:

The company we paid to handle our licensing went under (absconding with a month’s fee in the process) so we had to quickly make other arrangements. We’re now with a streaming provider called Live365, which is a good thing but it also presents some challenges.

Good things first:

  1. There’s a new way to access our site, at Live365.com and via the free Live365 app, a free download in your favorite app store.
  2. The old ways of accessing the site still apply (except iTunes, as explained in item 3 below), though we’re still working to update our stream info on some of the third-party apps. On two or three of them, you’ll still hear the old stream for now (not that it’ll be apparent to you—the streams sound similar).
  3. Those who listen to us via the iTunes Internet Radio feature will soon need to find a new way to listen, as iTunes is being discontinued (click on How to Listen at the top of the page—you have many options). You have some time yet to pick a new app; our iTunes stream will fade into history in about three weeks.
  4. Because of the updated stream URL, if you listen to us via the Simple Radio app, you’ll need to delete us from your favorites and restart the app. That’ll ensure you’re receiving our new stream (you can then re-add us to your favorites).

Now, the bad news (it’s not so terrible)…

Live365 is a solid service, one we’re happy to be with, but they charge according to how many listener hours a station accumulates per month. This is a factor we’ve never really had to concern ourselves with before, and it’s a bit counter-intuitive: Of course we want as many listeners as possible, but we’ll be charged more if our numbers climb.

Since we have patrons who send us a bit of money every month via patreon.com, we think it’s important to have transparency about our finances. We don’t aim to make money with Cladrite Radio—we’re happy on those rare occasions when we break even. But we have two major areas of expense: Stream hosting and licensing (this keeps us legal in the eyes of ASCAP, BMI and the other licensing agencies) and web site hosting for our blog, which features lots of content related to the popular culture of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s (we share much of that content with you here on FB).

Our move to Live365 will cause our licensing fees to rise a bit, by about $50 a month or so (and possibly more if our listener hours exceed expectations, but that’s a concern for another day, another post). We could lower that increase a bit by including commercials in our programming—not the vintage radio ads we share with you for entertainment value, but two minutes of contemporary paid advertising that Live365 inserts twice an hour. We are trying to avoid this option, as we feel that modern advertising kind of spoils the vintage mood, the old-fashioned atmosphere we try to maintain on Cladrite Radio, but if that’s the only way to cover the bills, we’ll resort to letting Live365 insert the ads.

The one way we can avoid airing those ads is an increase in support at patreon.com. If you are currently one of our Patrons and you can afford to send us a bit more each month—every dollar counts—that would be greatly appreciated. And if you’re not yet a patron, but you’d be willing to support our efforts to keep the toe-tapping tunes of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s alive and streaming on Cladrite Radio, please visit patreon.com/cladriteradio and sign up. You can be a Cladrite Radio patron for as little as a dollar a month, and we have thank-you premiums at every level of support.

If you’re currently a patron and are willing to chip in a bit more, you don’t necessarily have to jump up to the next level (from $1 monthly to $5, for example); you can up your contribution to two, three or four dollars, if you wish.

We have every hope and intention of sticking around for many years to come, but this is one of those occasions that we must turn to you, our listeners, readers and followers, for help. If you can contribute even a dollar a month, it’ll be a huge help and make a big difference. Again, our patreon page can be found at patreon.com/cladriteradio.

If you enjoy our posts on Facebook and here on our blog, if you listen to Cladrite Radio even occasionally, please consider showing your support for our efforts at patreon.com/cladriteradio.