Some real treasures have been posted over the years on Rand’s Esoteric OTR. I’m pleased to discover not only is Randy posting again, he’s somehow got his hands on an audition disc for a half-hour radio show featuring the characters from the Walter Lantz cartoons.
The disc is dated June 7, 1947 and was produced by Harry Jacobs Productions, a syndicator with offices on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles and in New York City. As far as I can tell, the company wasn’t able to sell the show and a series was never made.
Lantz had a good collection of voice actors in the late ‘40s (which makes his choice of the amateur Bugs Hardaway as Woody all the more puzzling). Amongst his regulars during that period were Lionel Stander as Buzz Buzzard, Jack Mather as Wally Walrus and Walter Tetley as Andy Panda. None of them are on this disc. But anyone familiar with cartoons will quickly recognise a few of the voices. Billy Bletcher is Wilbur Wolf, Sara Berner is Andy (she played the panda in cartoons such as “Knock Knock,” the Woody debut in 1940) and the wonderful June Foray provides a couple of voices, including Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and the mother.
You won’t find a raucous Woody in drag trying to con Wally on this show. The plot is strictly kid stuff with the Lantz characters befriending a girl named Sally (played by Norma Jean Nilsson, who appeared on radio’s “Blondie” and “Father Knows Best”). Samuel Kaylen’s score incorporates the Woody laugh. Press the arrow to play or stop.