The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

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Harlowgold

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The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

PostThu Jan 26, 2017 5:32 pm

Just noticed there are now eight episodes of Penny Singleton's short-lived radio sitcom "The Penny Singleton Show" (1950) - for years only a couple were in circulation. She of course starred for much of the 1940's on radio in "Blondie" and in that long running 1938-1950 movie series.

http://otrrlibrary.org/OTRRLib/Library% ... on%20Show/" target="_blank" target="
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Brooksie

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Re: The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

PostThu Jan 26, 2017 7:30 pm

Interesting, thanks for posting.

It's worth noting that a lot of misinformation has circulated about Singleton and the Blondie radio show over the years. While multiple online sources claim she left in the mid 1940s, she remained with the show until early 1949. It was only for the final season (1949-50) that she was replaced, amidst much controversy.

This also puts paid to the widely repeated notion that Arthur Lake's wife Patricia took over the role for 'the last five years' of the show's existence. At most, she filled in for a handful of late episodes.
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wich2

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Re: The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

PostThu Jan 26, 2017 11:02 pm

>This also puts paid to the widely repeated notion that Arthur Lake's wife Patricia took over the role for 'the last five years' of the show's existence.<

Along with (per Dunning's "bible") Ann Rutherford and Alice White. By the way - do you know why Singleton was canned?

-Craig
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Brooksie

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Re: The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

PostFri Jan 27, 2017 6:43 pm

wich2 wrote:>This also puts paid to the widely repeated notion that Arthur Lake's wife Patricia took over the role for 'the last five years' of the show's existence.<

Along with (per Dunning's "bible") Ann Rutherford and Alice White. By the way - do you know why Singleton was canned?

-Craig


It sounds like she was treated pretty shabbily, actually. The show moved from NBC to CBS in the second last season, the sponsors suddenly decided they needed a new Blondie, dumped Singleton from the role, and replaced her with Ann Rutherford. The ratings dropped, Singleton refused to come back, and after moving to ABC in late 1949, the series was canned less than a year later. Patricia Van Cleve is known to have played Blondie in at least the first episode of the ABC run; my guess is that the network were still negotiating with Rutherford to make the switch, which she eventually did.

I have found proof that Alice White did indeed sub for Penny Singleton a few times in the early 40s, as did Arthur Lake's sister Florence, who took over for quite a while during 1942-43 while Singleton was on maternity leave.

A couple of people have done some great research to clarify the story. This one sums things up pretty well - http://www.jimramsburg.com/bloonndee-audio.html. It seems that the misinformation crept in during publicity for the short-lived TV sitcom, which claimed that Singleton had actually left the show when she had her baby, which is clearly incorrect.

With all the primary sources available to the researcher nowadays, it's great the record can be corrected for once and for all. Even then, a lot still remains to be discovered.
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greta de groat

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Re: The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

PostSat Jan 28, 2017 12:14 am

Singleton was a union activist in her later years, was she also active at the time of her firing? Poking around online, i don't see any mention of her being blacklisted or anything.

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Brooksie

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Re: The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

PostSat Jan 28, 2017 4:56 am

greta de groat wrote:Singleton was a union activist in her later years, was she also active at the time of her firing? Poking around online, i don't see any mention of her being blacklisted or anything.

greta


I have heard it said that she was a victim of the blacklist, but I've not seen any proof. She certainly would have come under suspicion. She was a lifelong union advocate, and Constance Lee and Karen DeWolf, who were primary screenwriters on the Blondie film series, were both blacklisted.

Singleton's work with the AGVA is fascinating, by the way, and deserving of a book in itself. She was clearly a very canny lady.
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wich2

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Re: The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

PostSat Jan 28, 2017 11:53 am

Good info. Thanks.

With no better reason for the abrupt canning of one half of a successful team, Management annoyance at her possible Redness, or at least, Unionness, sounds like a good working thesis.

(Unless anyone has ever heard stories pertaining to Penny about that old standby, Being Difficult? I never have.)

-Craig
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Harlowgold

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Re: The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

PostWed Feb 01, 2017 5:06 pm

wich2 wrote:>This also puts paid to the widely repeated notion that Arthur Lake's wife Patricia took over the role for 'the last five years' of the show's existence.<

Along with (per Dunning's "bible") Ann Rutherford and Alice White. By the way - do you know why Singleton was canned?

-Craig


I don't think Penny was ever "canned", she probably quit over a salary dispute or possibly just wanted more time to spend with her family (she didn't really pursue a film career outside of the Blondie movies 1938-1952 other than one western-musical for Columbia early on and a supporting role in a Jane Russell vehicle). If she left when Blondie jumped networks it was more likely due contract negotiations breaking down than them wanting to dump her (very improbable given the movie series was a big hit and she was firmly established as "Blondie" by the public.) Given her long history working with better contracts for performers with AGVA, she surely sought a better deal for herself with a new network than was offered. Note she did ultimately return to the role - and leave again.

Several of the Ann Rutherford Blondie episodes exist; I was very disappointed back in the 1980's when I bought the Radiola (remember them!!) record album of Blondie broadcasts and discovered they were Rutherford episodes not Singleton.

Re Penny being blacklisted; very unlikely, after all her husband Robert Sparks was a major film producer (My Forbidden Past, etc.) She probably could have used him to move out of the Blondie character had she wished but she loved the part.

Alas, when the show was brought to television in the late 50's the producers did indeed decide to go "younger" with Blondie even though Arthur Lake was recast as Dagwood. That show didn't last long and the 1968 reboot with a new cast had an even shorter run.
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Harlowgold

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Re: The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

PostWed Feb 01, 2017 5:08 pm

wich2 wrote:Good info. Thanks.

With no better reason for the abrupt canning of one half of a successful team, Management annoyance at her possible Redness, or at least, Unionness, sounds like a good working thesis.

(Unless anyone has ever heard stories pertaining to Penny about that old standby, Being Difficult? I never have.)

-Craig



Personally difficult no, but she was well known as being a "tigeress" in her work for better deals and work conditions for AGVA members in the 60s and 70s and was very respected in the industry as a result.
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Harlowgold

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Re: The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

PostWed Feb 01, 2017 5:26 pm

A little researching online and pulled up that it was not Arthur's wife Patricia but his sister (!!!!!!) character actress Florence Lake who stepped in briefly for Penny:

"Florence and Arthur Lake were indeed Blondie and Dagwood for several months in 1942-1943 while Penny Singleton accompanied her Marine Officer hubby through training at Quantico."

From an excellent episode log on the radio show at http://www.digitaldeliftp.com/DigitalDe ... ondie.html" . Note this site does seem to quote vintage newspaper articles stating Penny was indeed canned in 1949 but I couldn't find them siting this from any newspaper or magazine; is this perhaps just the author of the page's comments or perhaps were listed from someone's history on the show?

Here's an excellent detailed list of known surviving radio broadcasts with storylines http://radiogoldindex.com/cgi-local/p2. ... me=Blondie"
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Re: The Penny Singleton Show (1950)

PostThu Feb 02, 2017 10:03 am

Digital Deli is a fun site, but like all such, it does bear fact-checking at times.

I do recall RADIOLA! It was one of the lines of David Goldin, who I did a little work for back then, and who now maintains the useful RADIOGOLDINDEX site.

I still ponder the Union angle here... The Suits often used the Red Scare as an excuse to punish folks who even leaned THAT "Left."

The '60s Dagwood was my charming friend, Will Hutchins.

-Craig

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