Skip to main content

Meet Mama and Papa of Abie

The Milwaukee Journal – Nov 22, 1942  

 Meet Mama and Papa of Abie

BEHIND the folksy characters of Mr. and Mrs. Cohen in “Abie’s Irish Rose” (NBC-WTMJ, Saturdays, 7 p. m.) are two distinguished Yiddish actors of more than a generation of stand and motion picture experience. They are Menashua Skulnick, Polish born actor often called “a second Charlie Chaplin,” and Anna Appel, about whom Brooks Atkinson once wrote in the New York Times, “She could play a telephone book.”

Miss Appel, born in Rumania, came to America 35 years ago with her parents and played her first part in a charity school play in Montreal. Now she has chalked up 28 years of successful performances. She was an active member of the Yiddish Art theater in New York for 17 years and has been a star character actress on Broadway and in motion pictures.

Her first bid from Hollywood and thought was a prank. Late one night her telephone rang. It was long distance. A strange voice asked: “How would you like to come to Hollywood?”

Miss Appel was tired and in no mood for jokes. “I said something very rude I’m afraid, and hung up. Later I found out it was really serious.”

Two notable motion pictures in which she finally appeared were “A symphony of Six Million,” with Irene Dunne and Ricardo Cortez, and “Faithless,” with Tallulah Bankhead and Robert Montgomery.
On Broadway Anna Appel has achieved acclaim in Clifford Odets’ play, “Awake and Sing”; in Samuel Spivak’s “Papa,” and most recently, in Upton Sinclair’s “Good Neighbor.” Right now she is playing with Molly Picon in a Yiddish story, the translated name of which is “Oh, What a Life.”
<Mamale Cohen (Anna Appel) soothes her darling Papale (Menashua Skulnick) at the end of partically every installment of “Abbie’s Irish Rose” (NBC-WTMJ, 7 p. m. Saturdays)>

ANNE NICHOLS, author of all versions of “Abie’s Irish Rose,” auditioned Miss Appel for the original stage role of Mrs. Cohen 21 years ago but decided she was too young. “I’m glad I finally caught up with it,” says Anna, who has grown up to the part in real life, too. Her son, who taught in New york university before the war, now is Sergt. Avrum  H. Ben-Avi of the army air crops. Her daughter, Helen, also an actress has a 15 year old son.

Bubbling over with good humor at all times, Menashua Skulnick, who has been acting since he was 8 years old, has not always been a comedian. He became one because, in his own words:
“I was playing a juvenile part where the farmer took a whip to his daughter to force her to marry the rich villain who held the mortgage. I was to come in and rescue her. But when I came in and said, ‘Halt, don’t you dares to strike his daughter is a gonoph (translated from Yiddish this means variously ‘bad man-no good-thief’ etc.), the house came down with laughter”
Skulnick has been a star with New York’s Yiddish Art theater for more than 16 years. at present he is starring in its current success, “Be Happy.” He has played character parts in radio for a decade.
Menashua and Anna Apple have played Papale and Mamale Cohen since the beginning of Anne Nichols’ radio drama on NBC last year.  


Popular posts from this blog

"Was Jack Benny Gay?": The Amount of Weight In Jack Benny's Loafers

While doing research for an article I came across an unexpected search result: "Was Jack Benny Gay?" There was no more than the question as previously stated from the original poster, but the replies made for interesting reading, ranging from: Jack Benny Celebrating his 39th Birthday "Of course not, he was a well known skirt-chaser in his youth, and he was married to Mary Livingston for many years" "Sure he was, everyone in Hollywood with the possible exception of John Wayne was and is homosexual!" "Part of Benny's "schtick" was his limp-wristed hand-to-face gestures. He was not gay, but emphasized what his fans observed as "acting like a girl" for humor. While heterosexual Benny tried to gay it up, many really gay actors or comedians in those days tried to act as "straight" as they could muster." "... the idea behind his character was to have him a little on the ambiguous side. His charact


Old Time Radio Actor's Name, Character Played, Program Aaker, Lee Rusty Rin-Tin-Tin Aames, Marlene McWilliams, Lauralee Story of Holly Sloan, The Abbott, Judith Lawson, Agnes Aldrich Family, The Abbott, Minabelle Sothern, Mary Life of Mary Sothern, The Ace, Goodman Ace, Goodman Easy Aces Ace, Goodman Ace, Goodman Mister Ace and Jane Ace, Jane Ace, Jane Easy Aces Ace, Jane Ace, Jane Mister Ace and Jane Adams, Bill Cotter, Jim Rosemary Adams, Bill Hagen, Mike Valiant Lady Adams, Bill Roosevelt, Franklin Delano March of Time, The Adams, Bill Salesman Travelin' Man Adams, Bill Stark, Daniel Roses and Drums Adams, Bill Whelan, Father Abie's Irish Rose Adams, Bill Wilbur, Matthew Your Family and Mine Adams, Bill Young, Sam Pepper Young's Family Adams, Edith Gilman, Ethel Those Happy Gilmans Adams, Franklin Mayor of a model city Secret City Adams, Franklin Jr. Skinner, Skippy Skippy Adams, Franklin Pierce Emcee Word Game, The Adams, Guila Mattie Step M

Old Time Radio Shows "Transcribed" Explained

What does it mean on old time radio shows when you hear the show is "Transcribed"? During the Golden Age of Radio , "transcribed" programs were recorded and sent to stations or networks on a disc running at 16 rps. The discs are larger than 33 1/3s. "Transcribed" means it was recorded on a disc. "Recorded" was a term that was known, of course, but not used very much in Radio's Golden Age. During the era, it was also considered very important to distinguish which shows went out live and which were recorded (transcribed), so if a show was transcribed it was announced as such.  "Transcribed" was a colloquialism of the era. One reason they came up with it was because there was still enough skittishness about recording that "pre-recorded" sounded a little obscene inside the industry. CBS and NBC were live through the '30s and '40s. Yet line transcriptions were made for either the sponsor or its ad agency.