Old-Time Radio Playlist: Vacation Time, Part 1

Summer is drawing to a close, and schools are up and running in many areas. If it’s too late for you to take a vacation, you can at least enjoy virtual travel through the magic of old-time radio.

Kew_Beach_Toronto_1934Papa Wants a Vacation”
Mama Bloom’s Brood
, Unknown Date, 1934


“All work and no play makes Jake a dull boy.”
About Mama Bloom’s Brood: This pleasant 15-minute comedy serial focuses on a Jewish family with two grown daughters.
Story: Papa doesn’t want a vacation, until Mama works on him.
Destination: Yellowstone National Park.
Wish you were there? Sure, if you can tolerate Mama’s malapropisms.

“Beach House”
Baby Snooks, May 19, 1938


“A daybed’s a sofa that’s made up at night as a bed, and during the day it’s a couch, which nobody sleeps on, so a daybed is really a night bed except it’s not a bed at all.”
About Baby Snooks: Throughout the late 1930s and early 1940s, Fanny Brice played her famous Snooks character in variety show sketches like this one.
Story: Snooks wreaks havoc on the family’s vacation home.
Destination: The seashore, to Daddy’s chagrin.
Wish you were there? With Snooks? No way! She does $400 in damage at the vacation rental. That’s more than $6,000 in today’s money!

“Vacation from a Vacation”
Vic and Sade, August 15, 1944


“It’s the hot weather, as much as anything.”
Story: Uncle Fletcher is driving Sade crazy on his “vacation” at her home.
Destination: Three blocks away.
Wish You Were There? Maybe—but you’d probably need a vacation from Uncle Fletcher before long.

“Going to Grass Lake”
The Great Gildersleeve, September 2, 1945


“Why, I could be busy every minute if I wanted to…I just don’t want to.”
Story: The kids try to talk a reluctant Gildy into a weekend at the lake.
Historical Footnotes: The references to the war’s end and reconversion to a peacetime economy are interesting.
Destination: Grass Lake, obviously.
Wish You Were There?
Only if you have a burning desire to share Judge Hooker’s bed in a honeymoon cottage.

“Morgan Vacation Travel Bureau”
Henry Morgan, May 28, 1947


“Their slogan is, “Fellows are rarin’ to go on lovely Lake Schmoe.”
Story: In a series of sketches, the travel bureau one is the highlight.
About Henry Morgan: Morgan was edgy and irreverent by the standards of his time, and he drove sponsors crazy by making fun of their products.
Destination
: Lovely Camp Schmoe.
Wish You Were There? Sure–you get a great “cherce” of activities. I’d avoid the snake hunt, though.
Bonus Feature: In their tone, Morgan’s shows have always reminded me of early David Letterman, so I was excited to find this 1982 clip of Letterman interviewing Morgan.

Other Old-Time Radio playlists you might enjoy:

Halloween, Part 1

Halloween, Part 2

London Calling, Part 1

Old-Time Radio Playlist: Summer, Part 1 (With Golden Age TV Bonus)

14965921-vintage-summer-postcard-vector-illustrationIt’s summertime and school’s out, but you can still learn some valuable lessons from these summer-themed old-time radio shows.

The June House Party”
Love Story,
August 6, 1937


“Randy’s a blooming idiot.”
Lesson Learned: What to do when he’s not that into you? Have you tried staging a mock wedding that turns out to be real? Apparently, it works wonders.
About Love Story: This short-lived series drew its stories from the pages of Love Story Magazine, a weekly romance pulp with an interesting history.
My Verdict: This makes for an amusing 15 minutes, though not for the reasons its creators intended.

“Summer Thunder”
The Whistler, July 30, 1945


“This blasted heat’s getting on my nerves.”
Lesson Learned: Make sure your husband has actually committed murder before you start trying to obstruct justice for him.
My Verdict: The acting is stagy, but this is a well-constructed mystery, with appropriate red herrings.

“Summer Storm”
Suspense, October 18, 1945


“All fat men aren’t good natured.”
Lesson Learned: Talking to yourself a lot? There is something odd about that.
Notable Performers: Henry Fonda’s naturally calm persona makes a nice contrast with the role he is playing, that of a man slowly cracking up.
My Verdict: I didn’t see the ending twist coming.

“Sometime Every Summertime”
Studio One, March 9, 1928


“What is it they say about summer romances?”
Lesson Learned: Summer loves grow cold in the fall. Sniff. (Alternate lesson: Advertising guys are kind of jerks.)
About Studio One: Fletcher Markle directed this short-lived anthology series that dramatized novels and plays.
Notable Performers: Burgess Meredith plays Clem, an ad man whose vacation romance with a young woman from a different social class is recounted from three perspectives—his friend’s, the woman’s, and his own.
My Verdict: This script by Markle was first produced on Columbia Workshop in 1946, then made the rounds of other anthology shows. Its popularity was well deserved; this is an understated, authentically human story with no corny elements.
Bonus Feature: This script was also produced for TV, in a 1953 production starring Dorothy McGuire.

“Going on a Picnic”
Archie Andrews, August 21, 1948


“I sure didn’t expect to get undressed on a picnic.”
Lesson Learned: Don’t go on a picnic with Archie and Jughead. Just don’t.
My Verdict: A mildly amusing episode of this silly series. Are there ants at this picnic? Yep…plus cows, skunks, and snapping turtles.
Celebrity Name-Droppings: Jughead mentions Elsie the Cow, symbol of Borden Dairy since 1936.

Other Old-Time Radio playlists you might enjoy:

Happy New Year, Part 1

Edgar Allan Poe, Part 1

Till Death Do Us Part

Old-Time Radio Playlist: Happy New Year

This is the first installment of a two-part New Year playlist. I’ll post the second part on New Year’s Day. Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

The Happiest Person in the World”


Family Theater
, January 8, 1948
“Everyone could be happy if they would think happiness into their lives.”
Story: Time is a newspaper, and City Editor Father Time has to break in a new reporter. He gives cub reporter 1948 an assignment to find the happiest person in the world—an assignment that teaches the new year about human nature.

Notable Performers: Life of Riley star William Bendix plays Father Time, while The Great Gildersleeve’s Walter Tetley plays baby 1948.
Referencing Radio: Bendix mentions his own show.
My Verdict: The performers make this entertaining, and the story keeps you guessing about the moral that it’s building to. Actually, it seems to me that the story fails to support the stated moral, which is quoted above. At one point, I thought they were making the point that happiness stems from giving, which made sense. For the characters in this episode, though, happiness stems from external validation, and you can’t just “think” that into being.

“Big New Year’s Eve Party”


The Great Gildersleeve, December 24, 1944
“Be a good boy if you can, but have a good time.”
Story: Gildy rings in 1945 with Leila, but his Delores troubles aren’t over.
Musical Notes: Harold Peary sings a love song…but it’s a good episode anyway.
Interesting History: There’s a reference to 1943 as the year of penicillin and sulfonamide. Penicillin did come into widespread use around that time, but my brief research seems to indicate that sulfa was available earlier.
My Verdict
: The jokes seem sharper in this episode than in many Gildersleeve offerings. I like Birdie’s comment when Gildy asks her about preparing an intimate supper: “I fix the supper, Mr. Gildersleeve. The rest is up to you.”
I must be a total nerd (big surprise!) because the lawyers’ club’s mock trial of the old year sounds fun to me. Unfortunately, my New Year’s Eve will be more like Peavy’s.

“Puckett’s New Year”


Gunsmoke, January 1, 1956
“A man’s gotta make a change once in a while, ain’t he?”
Story: Buffalo hunter Ira Puckett heads to Dodge to kill the man who left him to die in a blizzard. Matt, who doesn’t want to see the old man hang, intervenes.
My Verdict: A Gunsmoke rarity—an episode with no deaths! Puckett is an endearing character, and I like Matt’s efforts to keep him out of trouble. I feel bad for Kitty in this episode—her New Year’s reflections are sad, and Matt sure isn’t going to intervene to help her.

“Gladys Zybisco disappoints Jack on New Year’s Eve”


The Jack Benny Program, December 31, 1939
“What this world needs is a few less people who are making less people.”
Story: This episode follows Jack on New Year’s Eve, as he leaves the broadcast early. He’s in a funk because Gladys cancelled their date.
Interesting History: This episode tosses off many topical references. Jack mentions social security; President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935, but monthly checks started going out in January 1940. “It can’t happen here” is a Phil punch line; it was also the title of a 1935 Sinclair Lewis novel about fascism. Mary mentions the movie Gone with the Wind, which had just premiered earlier in December.
Celebrity Name Droppings: Mary is attending Ginger Rogers’ New Year’s Eve party. Don is planning to take in Sally Rand’s show; you can do the same through the magic of Youtube.
Musical Notes: Dennis sings “All the Things You Are,” and I actually enjoy his performance, for a change.
Jell-o Hell No Recipe of the Week: Strawberry Jell-o combined with pineapple juice, egg whites, and crushed ice to create pineapple snow, a “foamy rose pink” dessert.
My Verdict: This episode’s unusual structure provides laughs for listeners, if not for poor Jack. Comic highlights are Gladys’ surprise appearance and Phil’s response to “In just a few hours the old year will pass right out.”

“Babysitting on New Year’s Eve”


Our Miss Brooks, January 1, 1950
“Liberty? You can take shore leave!”
Story: Connie takes a job babysitting Mr. Conklin’s nephew on New Year’s Eve; she needs the money to attend a party with Mr. Boynton. Of course, things don’t work out the way she planned.
Celebrity Name Droppings: Famed lion tamer Clyde Beatty gets a mention.
My Verdict: Connie’s attempts to woo the clueless Mr. Boynton are always a hit with me. I love the record scene, in which they express their feelings through contrasting song titles.

Enjoy more old-time radio playlists!

Old-Time Radio Playlist: Halloween, Part 2

Last week I presented some Halloween “treats” from the world of old-time radio—lighthearted holiday episodes. Today, I’m offering a few “tricks”—spooky Halloween episodes and a few classic horror stories.

Enjoy—and let me hear from you. What are your favorite old-time radio Halloween episodes? What’s your favorite show in the suspense or horror genre?

November 7, 1937
Columbia Workshop, The Horla

By early radio standards, this is a good adaptation of a creepy Guy de Maupassant story.

July 11, 1938
Mercury Theater, Dracula

This is faithful adaptation with a great cast: Martin Gabel (if you’ve seen What’s My Line? re-runs, you may remember him as Mr. Arlene Francis), Agnes Moorehead, and, of course, Orson Welles. The Mercury Theater’s actual Halloween episode, The War of the Worlds, might seem more appropriate for this playlist, but I wanted to choose something slightly less well known.

February 20, 1944
The Weird Circle, Frankenstein

Many radio shows adapted Mary Shelley’s story—I picked this version rather randomly. I’d love to hear opinions about the best radio Frankenstein.

October 27, 1947
Quiet Please, Don’t Tell Me About Halloween

“Marry in haste, repent at leisure” takes on new meaning when your spouse is immortal. This is an entertaining episode of Quiet, Please, a series of psychological horror stories that aired from 1947 to 1949. Wyllis Cooper created the show and wrote every episode—an amazing feat, in my opinion. Not every episode is brilliant, but they are all interesting. This episode has a bonus for me as a Guiding Light fan: Charita Bauer, who played Bert on GL, is the female lead.

January 10, 1948
Favorite Story, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde

Ronald Colman hosted this series, which presented a classic story each week, supposedly picked by a celebrity. Colman tells us that Alfred Hitchcock picked this classic Robert Louis Stevenson story. Radio stalwart Bill Conrad gives powerful performance in the dual role.

October 31, 1948
Quiet Please, Calling All Souls

This episode has a good story, but the organ music grates—that’s one aspect of old-time radio I just don’t love.

October 31, 1949
Inner Sanctum Mysteries, A Corpse for Halloween

I’m not a big Inner Sanctum fan, and this story loses me a little. It does have compensations, however: Its Halloween setting, its tiger motif (I like anything cat-related), and its star—Larry Haines. As with Charita Bauer, I know Haines from the world of daytime TV drama; he played Stu on Search for Tomorrow for 35 years. He was also a prolific radio actor, and he gives a good performance here as a guy who’s cracking up.

March 14, 1951
NBC Short Story, The Lottery

Long before there was The Hunger Games, there was this classic Shirley Jackson story. No one faces any monsters here; the horror that unfolds is the horror that human beings can inflict on each other when they cling blindly to destructive traditions. Even when you know what’s coming, the end packs a huge punch. The music is appropriately haunting.

October 30, 1976
CBS Radio Mystery Theater, The Witches’ Sabbath

This story doesn’t reference Halloween, but its subject matter suits the holiday. Once again, we encounter Larry Haines as a man cracking under a strain—his performance is even better here than in the Inner Sanctum Mysteries episode above. The conversations between his character and the bartender amused me.

Enjoy more old-time radio playlists:

Halloween, Part 1

Edgar Allan Poe, Part 1

Edgar Allan Poe, Part 2

Old-Time Radio Playlist: Halloween, Part 1

Vintage Halloween Postcard from The Public Domain Review

Today, I present a selection of Halloween treats–some lighthearted old-time radio episodes that capture an interesting period in the history of Halloween.

(On Tuesday, October 30, I’ll post some Halloween”tricks”–spooky holiday offerings and classic horror stories.)

European immigrants to the United States popularized Halloween celebrations in the late 19th century.

By the turn of the century, there was a move to downplay the scarier aspects of the holiday. According to History.com, “Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season and festive costumes.”

By the 1920s and 1930s, pranks were a big part of the holiday, “often devolving into vandalism, physical assaults and sporadic acts of violence.”

Most of these radio shows date from the 1940s, when trick-or-treating was just beginning to transition into a community-sanctioned, kid-friendly activity. I’m guessing that’s why so many of the adults in these shows seem ambivalent about Halloween–looking back fondly on their own parties and pranks, but wary of letting their children participate in trick-or-treating.

Unknown Date
Air Castle, Halloween

Air Castle was a children’s show that ran in the late 1920s and early 1930s. It was entirely the work of Baron Keyes, who starred as the “Story Man” and provided voices and sound effects to represent various fanciful characters. This Halloween episode is cute!

October 19, 1933
Martha Meade Society Program, Halloween Parties

This cooking show provides a nice slice of 1930s life. From this and other radio shows, I’ve gleaned that doughnuts were a popular Halloween tradition in the early 20th century.

October 24, 1939
Fibber McGee and Molly, Halloween Party at Gildersleeve’s House

This would be a good starter episode for a new Fibber listener. It’s filled with typical wordplay and punning humor, and most of the classic supporting characters appear.

October 31, 1940
The Aldrich Family, Halloween Prank Backfires

Just about every episode of this family comedy involves a misunderstanding that snowballs out of control. These Halloween hi-jinx are typical.

November 2, 1941
Jack Benny, Halloween with Basil Rathbone

I’m in love with the Jack Benny Program. To really appreciate the series, you need to listen to a long run of consecutive episodes. Characterizations and jokes build from week to week. This is my favorite of several Halloween episodes–Jack annoying his Beverly Hills neighbors is always a win.

October 29, 1944
Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Halloween

Guest star Orson Welles is quite amusing, especially when he ad-libs.

October 29, 1944
The Life of Riley, Haunted House   

Near the end, this takes a surprisingly sharp turn into patriotic messaging. You’ll have that sometimes in World-War-II-era programs.

October 31, 1944
Lum and Abner, Discuss Halloween Pranks

Lum and Abner has been growing on me lately, and this episode is a cute one.

November 1, 1946
Baby Snooks, Halloween

Fanny Brice’s mischievous Baby Snooks is a natural for Halloween pranks. This episode has a strong start, but a weak finish, in my opinion.

October 29, 1947
Philco Radio Time, Boris Karloff and Victor Moore

Boris Karloff was the go-to guest for variety-show Halloween episodes. Here, he’s the guest of Bing Crosby, and he and Bing actually sing together (along with comedian Victor Moore)!

October 31, 1948
Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Haunted House       

I always found the TV version of Ozzie and Harriet bland, but the radio episodes I’ve listened to have been surprisingly chuckle-worthy.

October 31, 1948
Adventures of Sam Spade, The Fairly-Bright Caper    

I’m not a huge Sam Spade fan–ditzy Effie gets on my nerves–but this has a nice Halloween flavor.

Oct 31, 1948
Jack Benny, Trick or Treating with the Beavers

This is another good Halloween episode, with an inventive way of bringing the supporting cast into the story.

October 31, 1951
The Great Gildersleeve, Halloween and Gildy Finds a Lost Boy

I’m not the biggest Gildy fan, but this episode has great warmth.

November 7, 1951
The Halls of Ivy, Halloween

I really enjoy this series, which stars Ronald and Benita Colman. Having spent plenty of time in academia, I appreciate the college setting, and the Colmans are just charming.

Oct 29, 1953
Father Knows Best, Halloween Blues

Robert Young’s character is in preachy mode, and the end doesn’t work for me, but this is an interesting look at those changing Halloween customs.

Listen to more old-time radio!

Old-Time Radio Playlist: Edgar Allan Poe, Part 2

As Halloween approaches, I present more old-time radio versions of Poe stories to entertain you on chilly nights. In this and Part 1 of my Poe playlist, I’ve tried to represent a large range of Poe stories and radio programs.

“The Tell-Tale Heart”

Columbia Workshop

July 11, 1937

“The tell-tale-heart effect, which you heard, was an actual human heartbeat, amplified more than 10 billion times.”—Announcer, Columbia Workshop

NBC Presents: Short Story

“My senses sharpen. Every second makes them sharper. I can hear the rhythmic beating of the old man’s heart…the beating of his heart.”

1951 (Unaired)

About These Series: Columbia Workshop was an early radio series that experimented with the new medium’s narrative possibilities. In dramatic radio’s dying days, NBC Presents: Short Story dramatized work by some of the world’s greatest writers. Try to imagine a major TV network airing series like these now (at its own cost—neither of these shows had a sponsor). Columbia Workshop aired on CBS for eight years, but the NBC program didn’t fare as well. According to The Digital Deli Too, the network pre-empted it frequently and ultimately left 11 episodes, including this one, unaired.

Thoughts on These Episodes: Though the sound quality is better on the NBC Presents episode, I prefer the Columbia Workshop version. The voices the NBC protagonist hears—and his reaction to them—become almost comical. In contrast, the voices that cry out from the wind and the rain and walls in the CBS version are eerily effective. The police are none too swift, though. Sample exchange:

Murderer: “You’re laughing at me! You’re torturing me! You’re making believe that you don’t hear so that I’ll confess!”

Policeman: “My dear young man, you’re working yourself into a frenzy. I think we better leave you to yourself.”

These officers should really lay off the wine.

Read “The Tell-Tale Heart

“Metzengerstein”

Columbia Workshop

December 16, 1937

“Tonight is the end of the house of Metzengerstein!”

Thoughts on This Episode: This episode does a good job capturing the story’s creepy atmosphere. Castles, curses, horses, fire—what more do you need for an exciting half hour?

Read “Metzengerstein

“Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym”

Weird Circle

September 19, 1943

“The wind was screaming through the sails like an insane witch on a broomstick.”

About This Series: Many radio series explored horror and suspense. One thing that differentiated The Weird Circle was its source material; it frequently presented “literary” horror stories, including several of Poe’s tales.

Thoughts on This Episode: I’ve tried to read Poe’s Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, his only novel-length work, but just can’t plow through it. I think I’m allergic to nautical adventures. I’ve read enough, though, to know that this adaptation takes major liberties with the story. It also abandons the 19th century setting for a modern one. Phrases like “The captain’s nuts!” and “Awww, shut up!” jar in a Poe story. I would still rather listen to this than try to read the novel again, though.

Read The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

“The Pit and the Pendulum”

Suspense

November 10, 1957

“Minutes…hours…days… Who can say how long it was? It might have been many days before that hideous blade swept so closely as to fan me with its acrid breath.”

About This Series: Suspense billed itself, with ample justification, as “radio’s outstanding theater of thrills.” Extremely popular, it ran for 22 years (1940-1962). For much of that time, it attracted top Hollywood stars, who often got the chance to play roles that contrasted with their on-screen image. By 1957, the show’s star power was diminishing, but it was still presenting outstanding radio drama.

Thoughts on This Episode: Vincent Price and Edgar Allan Poe—an unbeatable combination! I think this is my favorite Poe story—it’s exciting and has a merciful lack of beautiful dead women. It needs little elaboration to succeed as a radio drama, and Vincent Price (who would star in the Roger Corman film version of The Pit and the Pendulum four years later) gives a good performance.

Read “The Pit and the Pendulum

“Berenice”

CBS Radio Mystery Theater

January 9, 1975

“The teeth! The teeth! The terrifying teeth!”

About This Series: Although not exactly “old-time radio, CBS Radio Mystery Theater represented the last major gasp of network radio drama. The show ran on weeknights from 1974 to 1982. E.G. Marshall hosted, and radio veteran Himan Brown produced the program.

Thoughts on This Episode: CBS Radio Mystery Theater presented an entire week of Poe stories in January 1975. With about 45 minutes to fill in each episode (not counting commercials), the program had to expand on Poe’s shorter stories.

“Berenice” sticks with the outline of Poe’s story but adds a love triangle and lets us meet Berenice for ourselves; in Poe’s story, we only see her through the narrator’s  disordered vision. (The most interesting part of the short story, to me, is Poe’s detailed description of Egaeus’ mental illness. I wondered how modern professionals would diagnose him and found this interesting paper suggesting he was schizophrenic.) The story doesn’t benefit from these additions, but the ending still packs a punch.

Read “Berenice

“The Masque of the Red Death”

CBS Radio Mystery Theater

January 10, 1975

“Oh, wow. I mean, like, wow.”

Thoughts on This EpisodeCBSRMT transports Poe’s plague story to the apocalyptic future that is 1996 (hee) and turns it into an ecological morality play. The morality is confusing, though—I’m a liberal, card-carrying Sierra Club member, and even I don’t understand how the rich capitalist is making the world’s situation worse by protecting his family from the red death. The episode lacks the lurid atmosphere that illuminates Poe’s story, but it’s entertaining as a window into 1970s concerns.

Read “The Masque of the Red Death

Next week, I’ll be posting a bunch of Halloween-themed old-time radio!

My other old-time radio posts:

Old-Time Radio Playlist: Edgar Allan Poe, Part 1

Old-Time Radio Episode Spotlight: Those Magnificent Cats in their Flying Machines

Old-Time Radio Playlist: Till Death Do Us Part (and That Might Be Sooner Than You Think)

Old-Time Radio Episode Spotlight: A Snapped-Worthy 1920s True Story

Old-Time Radio Episode Spotlight: CSI, 1940s Style

Old-Time Radio Playlist: London Calling, Part 1

Old-Time Radio Playlist: London Calling, Part 2

Weird Words of Wisdom: Big Splendid Manhood Edition

“There are many silly, flashy, worthless, and even evil girls who think the boys they desire are their legitimate prey. Often such girls appear to be superficially the most fascinating. They know the art and trick of making the most of their charms. Nothing will so definitely put a boy in a wrong light before a whole school or community, as friendships and associations with ‘fast’ girls. Give them all a wide berth.”

Marked Trails for Boys by Frank H. Cheley, 1931

About the Book: We’ve looked at several books for girls in my weekly series on advice manuals for teenagers, and we’ve seen the double standards and mixed messages girls have received about growing up. Well, this book proves that boys sometimes traveled a confusing path as well. Author Frank H. Cheley doesn’t want his young readers to be wishy-washy, namby-pamby, weak-willed sissy boys, but he does want them to be perfect gentlemen at all times.

About the Author: Frank H. Cheley was an outdoors enthusiast who believed that camping, hiking, and other outdoor experiences helped young people develop good character. After working with boys through the YMCA, he founded his own boys’ summer camp in the Colorado mountains in 1921. He added camp activities for girls in 1926. His many books for young people often used hiking and exploring as metaphors for life’s struggles. More than 90 years later, the Cheley family still runs Cheley Colorado Camps. Frank H. Cheley left behind a wonderful legacy.

(Of course, I’m still going to cherry-pick the most dated and silly-sounding quotes in his book for cheap laughs. Maybe if I’d gone to a better summer camp, I’d be above this sort of thing.)

Most unintentionally dirty-sounding passage this book: When a boy waits for true love, he will find himself “ready with a big splendid manhood to offer in return for the devotion and companionship of a splendid girl.”

Second most unintentionally dirty-sounding tidbit: “Then there is Sister…Some other boy will be discovering, almost before you know it, that ‘she is one girl in a thousand.’ Why not beat him to it? A fellow who is half alive can learn many, many things from his sister, if they are on right terms.”

Something you wouldn’t want to hear from a summer camp director nowadays: “One of the very finest things in all the world is a fresh, clean-cut, upstanding, eager-eyed boy, filled to overflowing with physical power and nervous energy, seeking a suitable world to conquer.”

Some of Cheley’s favorite adjectives for describing the ideal boy: Vigorous, lithe, red-blooded, clean (morally, although he does make the usual advice-book pitch for deodorant and shampoo), splendid, pure, fine-spirited.

Cheley’s favorite names for a less-than-ideal boy: Molly-coddle, jelly bean, lounge lizard, coward, do-nothing.

Most depressing way to urge kindness toward friends: Be generous in your praise…Your friends will be a long time dead.

Cheley’s favorite role model for boys: Teddy Roosevelt.

The two kinds of boys (or maybe dogs—this part is kind of confusing): “The thoroughbred leads the party to the top; head high, eyes shining, teeth set, muscles quivering from giving their best; a true fighter who loves the battle. The house pet snuggles into an overstuffed davenport by the radiator and asks mildly for toast and tea.”

Cheley’s recommendations for good health:

•             Simple, plain food

•             Vigorous outdoor work and play

•             “Keeping digestion active”

•             Sleeping regularly in the open air

•             Avoiding patent medicines

Other quotes from Marked Trails for Boys

“A loud, noisy, boisterous boy who is inclined to be a bit smart is very tiresome. No one likes a ‘cutie.’”

“Of course, a worthy person never tells a ‘dirty story.’ It simply cannot be done without the loss of your self-respect…The boy that tells such is advertising that he is rotten at the heart, the boy who listens to one is yellow; he has no convictions worthy of a gentleman.”

“There is no finer little thoughtfulness that a boy can show for his mother than to early form the habit of taking her often, even one flower.”

“A boy, to enjoy fine girl friendships, must always and at all times be a gentleman, courteous, chivalrous, not a long-faced,  pious goody-good. Girls admire real vigorous, masculine men, but gentlemen. To forget for a moment the fine properties is to coarsen and spoil a beautiful relationship.”

“Real folks have nothing but scorn for a spooney boy, and fine girls invariably resent being pawed over. Only cheap, undesirable girls tolerate it.”

“Have always a grand, good, glorious time; be a regular boy. Everyone despises a sissy.”

“Fine boys everywhere have a real responsibility for influencing girls in their crowds to fine, womanly conduct.”

“Take a good disposition to the study table. Say, ‘Come now, Mr. Algebra and Madame Latin, I’m ready to lick the tar out of both of you.’”