Cladrite Radio’s New Home Sweet Home

You may have noticed that things look a bit different around these parts, and there’s a good reason for that: We’ve been hard at work for weeks, revamping our website.

Cladrite Radio is now a fully secure, mobile-friendly website and we have a brand new streaming player for you to enjoy our toe-tapping tunes of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. We hope you’ll put the new site through its paces and let us know if you experience any technical issues.

Moving the site to a new server and springing for increased security wasn’t cheap, so if you’d like to show your support by chipping in a few clams, you’ll see a link to the right of this post that allows you to do just that. And thanks!

An attractive woman sits listening to a vintage radio

Dame Vera Lynn’s Still Got It

Dame Vera LynnWe were tickled pink recently to learn that the recent greatest-hits release from Dame Vera Lynn has sold more copies than any other album released by a female artist in the U.K. this year.

Not bad for a 100-year-old songbird!

Lynn, known during World War II as “the Forces’ Sweetheart” for the inspiring wartime songs she sang and her dedicated efforts to entertain the troops, celebrated her centenary birthday in March of this year, and though she’s no longer recording, her reissues and greatest-hits packages have always done very well.

But the top-selling female artist in the U.K. more than 65 years after her heyday? That speaks to the deep affection and high esteem in which Dame Vera is held.

Longtime Cladrite Radio listeners and readers know very well how we feel about Dame Vera; her music has been a big part of our playlist since we went “on the air” years ago. So you can imagine how excited we were to receive in the mail last week this lovely autographed picture, direct from Dame Vera herself.

In the brief note that accompanied the picture, Dame Vera wrote, “My P.A. [personal assistant] Susan has told me about your radio station, and I commend you for keeping alive the memory of that bygone era.”

It’s our great pleasure, Dame Vera, and we’re grateful you’re still here with us. You’re an inspiration to us all.

If you’d like to show your appreciation to Dame Vera for the joy she’s brought us all over the years, consider supporting Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity, which is dedicated to supporting families with children under 5 years old with cerebral palsy and motor-learning difficulties. Dame Vera thanks you, and so do we.

The Latest from the Streaming Wars

We’ve been talking to you of late about the technical troubles our streaming provider, Radionomy, has been experiencing, and here’s the latest: Our stream is currently available via all the popular browsers via this website, our page on the Radionomy.com website, the Internet Radio feature in iTunes (look for us under Jazz), and via the free Radionomy app that’s available for Android and iOS.

However, it’s still not available through many third-party apps (like Reciva and Nobex—though Android users of the latter may be able to access the stream), and that has impacted our listener hours rather drastically. This matters because Radionomy has a daily minimum number for listener hours and any stations that fall below that mark get 86’d.

We’re not that close to the danger point just yet, but we’re closer than we’d like to be. So we humbly ask you to make it a point to give us a nice, long listen or two (or twelve) over the next few days to get our average back up a bit. Choose whichever method mentioned above that works for you; it’s all the same to us (and to Radionomy).

We may look into switching to another streaming provider one of these days—Radionomy is not only buggy, but their communication with their broadcasters is almost non-existent. But the service is free, which matters to us a great deal—a money-maker Cladrite Radio is not. We’re lucky when we break even.

So unless and until we switch, please keep us streaming in the background whenever you’re able (heck, stream us on your computer or phone and mute the sound, if you’re not in the mood for our toe-tapping tunes at just that moment, though honestly, when are you not in the mood for great music from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s?). And thanks!
Listening to Cladrite Radio on the beach

Los Angeles’ Bunker Hill, Then and Now

The Bunker Hill neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles was once a fashionable area where the many of the city’s elite resided. By the late 1940s, the Victorian homes those well-to-do families had occupied had been transformed into boarding houses and apartment buildings, and the people who called them home were decidedly not high society.

Today, the neighborhood would be all but unrecognizable to those who lived there in either the good old days and the bad old days, as is demonstrated in this film by Keven McAlester, which juxtaposes 1940s footage (shot, we’re guessing, as background for some of the many films noir of the day that featured scenes shot in the neighborhood) with contemporary footage of the same streets that are captured in the earlier footage.

It may come as no surprise to you that, given the choice, we’d opt for the Bunker Hill on the left in a heartbeat.

Happy Birthday, Roland Young!

Any old movie fan can quickly come up with a list of stars whose name in the opening credits is reason enough to give a motion picture a look.

But we suspect that only true aficionados would include the name Roland Young, who was born 128 years ago today, on that list.

Well, you can count us in the latter group. Mr. Young, for our money, is among the elite of motion picture stars of the 1930s and ’40s.

Roland Young quote

Born the son of an architect in London, England, Young attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his stage debut in 1908, his Broadway debut four years later, and after serving (with the U.S. Army, interestingly enough) in World War I, his movie debut in 1922, playing Watson to John Barrymore‘s Sherlock Holmes.

But it was in talkies that Young really found his stride. He excelled at playing upper crust types, with his neat little mustache and his fumbling, mumbling way of speaking, and so, though he would play the occasional dramatic part (and very ably, too) over the course of his movie career, it was in romantic and screwball comedies that he truly made his mark.

Roland Young is perhaps best remembered for his portrayal of the henpecked Cosmo Topper in the popular Topper series of pictures, but his roster of credit includes a number of top-notch comedies, among them One Hour with You (1932), Ruggles of Red Gap (1935), The Philadelphia Story (1940), and Tales of Manhattan (1942), but even in lesser known films, he shines.

Young also worked in radio, starring in a 1945 summer replacement series based on the Topper movies and guesting on other programs, and on television, including such programs as Lux Video Theatre, Studio One, Pulitzer Prize Playhouse and The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre.

Young died of natural causes at age 65 in his NYC apartment on June 5, 1953.

Here’s to you, Mr. Young. Thanks for the laughs!