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Oh, Henry-y!


Oh, Henry-y!

ABOUT four years ago Clifford Goldsmith wrote and George Abbott produced a play about the doings of a harum-scarum high school lad with a penchant for getting into ludicrous trouble. The play was “What a Life,” but many people have since forgotten the original title in favor of the name of its hero, which was Henry Aldrich. Young Master Aldrich has become a bit of a national figure, whose doing on the screen and over the airwaves are followed by millions. He has ever been a “fat” part for the actors who have portrayed him. Above are pictured some of the principal Henry Aldriches of stage, films and radio. At the upper left is Ezra Stone, who had the original role in the play and for more than two years was Henry Aldrich in the tremendously successful “Aldrich Family” of radio.

The bumptious young Stone crashed Broadway when he was only 20 years old, and now, at the ripe old age of 24, is through with the Aldrich setup for the duration of the war. He entered the army about a year ago, continued his radio work six months or more but was ordered to drop it after he became producer of the war department play “This Is the Army. His successor in the ‘Aldrich Family’ starring role is Norman Tokar, who after a probationary period seems to have clich├ęd the job as Henry. Tokar was understudy to Stone for some time and had every chance to learn Stone’s characterization. In fact, there are many who say he sounds exactly like Stone on the air.

At any rate, the “Aldrich Family” (7:30 p. m. Thursdays, NBC-WTMJ) is consistently among the first five radio programs in listeners rating, and with Tokar starred is as strong this fall as ever. As to the movie Henry Aldriches, the lad holding the job at present is Jimmy Lydon, shown as he appears in the forthcoming release, Henry Aldrich, Editor. It is no libel to say that Henry Aldrich on the screen has not benefited by the writing skill that Author Goldsmith wielded in the play and still wields in the radio series, (Goldsmith has no part in the Aldrich movies.) Eddie Bracken, the fourth Henry Aldrich pictured here, had the role of Henry in the stage production of What a Life that appeared here two or three years ago. Eddie had previously endeared himself to our town by his work in “Brother Rat.”

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