Remember WENN made me homesick for a past that isn't even mine.
I was born just as old-time radio was dyingthe classic of radio Westerns, Gunsmoke, starring William Conrad, debuted just three years before me. A few radio dramas and comedies hung on through my early childhood, and my mother tells me that on Sunday afternoons, as we drove to the beach or picnic grounds, I would sit snugly tucked between her and my father on the wide front seat of our car and happily listen to what radio shows were left. I remember none of this, but I grew up on my parents' tales of radio drama and comedy and variety. My parents not only "grew up on radio," they grew up along with radiomy dad was born only 20 months after a young telegrapher named David Sarnoff (later "General" Sarnoff, president of NBC) transcribed the survivors' list from the RMS Titanic. They could recall crystal sets and speaker-horned receivers back in the days before a radio became an essential part of the American living room.
Later, in the early seventies, WBRU, Brown University's radio station, began broadcasting transcriptions of The Shadow on Sunday nights at 9:30. This child of television found herself glued to the radio, unmoved by video events and even summer fireworks, enthralled by the forty-year-old adventures as if they were brand new.
At WENN in Pittsburgh, it's the early years of World War II and each day at this small station it's one thing after the other as the small cast and crew struggle to perform day-to-day programming on a shoestring budget. They're not afraid to try anything new, be it from a new line in detective stories to the radical idea of a radio talk show. The performers include Mackie Bloom, the "Man of a Thousand Voices;" Hilary Booth, the sharp-tongued ex-Broadway actress, and her husband Jeffrey Singer, he of the roving eyeplus curiously silent special effects master Mr. Foley (it's a treat every week just to see how Mr. Foley doesn't speak this time) and our intrepid support staff, including young writer Betty Roberts, whose own introduction to WENN parallels our own.
After the fatuous "New York" humor of network programming like Seinfeld and Friends, Remember WENN was, IMHO, a "breath of fresh air." Unlike most of today's so-called "comedies" that slap you in the face with crude, obvious humor, it was often laugh-aloud funny, with sly in-jokes and clever and subtle double entendres, but took time as well to sketch brief, often touching character portraits of a regular or guest star. The episodes also had a lush 1930's look, achieved by shooting the show on 16 mm film, which was then color treated to look like a Technicolor film of that era. (It was then transferred to a digital image on a computer called an AVID system. The show was edited within the AVID system, and finally transfered to broadcast-size video tape for telecasting.) As an additional treat, there was no intrusive laugh track.
Remember WENN was created and developed by Rupert Holmes, who was also the scriptwriter, co-producer, and composer of original songs and background music for the series.
Visit the official Rupert Holmes website or read about some of Rupert's older projects.
If there was any problem with this series, it was that there simply wasn't enough of itI could have watched it every nightand I would have loved to seen the cast and crew involved with World War II broadcasts.
Remember WENN hasn't been aired on AMC (née American Movie Classics) in years, but the fans are still making good use of their videotape backupsand wishing for DVD copies. Want to see WENN elsewhere? Click the "On Air" sign above!
The Cast (in Alphabetical Order)
(linked performers indicate that actor/actress has a Web page)
(Other Credits from the Internet Movie Database)
|Mr. Foley||.....Tom Beckett|
|C.J. McHugh||.....C.J. Byrnes (1)||.....(other credits)|
|Maple LaMarsh||.....Carolee Carmello (2)|
|Enid Fairleigh ||.....Melissa Dye||.....(other credits)|
|Rollie Pruitt ||.....Jonathan Freeman||.....(other credits)|
|Thomas Eldridge||.....George Hall||.....(other credits)|
|Gertrude Reece||.....Margaret Hall||.....(other credits)|
|Victor Comstock||.....John Bedford Lloyd (3)||.....(other credits)|
|Hilary Booth||.....Melinda Mullins||.....(other credits)|
|Mackie Bloom||.....Christopher Murney (4)||.....(other credits)|
|Betty Roberts||.....Amanda Naughton|
|Jeffrey Singer||.....Hugh O'Gorman||.....(other credits)|
|Scott Sherwood||.....Kevin O'Rourke (5)||.....(other credits)|
|Lester||.....David Pursley (6)|
|Celia Mellon||.....Dina Spybey (7)||.....(other credits)|
|Eugenia Bremer||.....Mary Stout (8)|
Occasional appearances during second season
(1) (through "Happy Homecomings")
(2) (beginning with "Some Good News, Some Bad News")
(3) (until "Hilary Booth, Registered Nurse," guest appearances after "Magic")
(4) (until "Thanks a Lottery," guest appearances thereafter)
(5) (beginning with "A Capital Idea")
(6) (beginning with "Thanks a Lottery")
(7) (until "I Now Pronounce You Man and Wife Again")
(8) (until "Some Good News, Some Bad News," returning in "In the WENN Small Hours")
1997 CableACE Award
1996 Emmy Award
1996 CableACE Awards
A Word of Thanks
I created this website because I enjoyed the series so much that I thought it deserved a fan spot on the Web. Since then I've been surprised by the enthusiastic e-mails telling me how much they like this site as well. This is just to pass a public word of thanks to everyone who's offered suggestions, links, and other input.
Thanks also to Leonard and Gwen Goldstein, Hugh O'Gorman, C.J. Byrnes and Cathy D'Arcy, Christopher Murney, Mary Stout, Kevin O'Rourke, Margaret Hall, Melinda Mullins, Tom Beckett, and Matthew Bennett for their praise and comments, and Laura Hayden for her help, facts, constructive criticism, and "cheering section."
Of all the correspondence I've received, however, I have to confess none has been quite as warming (and so blushingly acknowledged with appreciation) as the following:
As far as I'm concerned, your web-site is the most informative and entertaining place on the Internet for anyone interested in the world of Remember WENN. It's the first place I send those who want a first look at our series, or an in-depth view...and I admit to visiting this location more than once in the "WENN small hours" to recall exactly who sponsors "Valiant Journey." As Mister Foley is never likely to say: I hope our stories always measure up to the warmth and intelligence of your unofficial "WENN-site"...which certainly has my most official endorsement.
Remember WENN is the property of Rupert Holmes, American Movie Classics Company; and Howard Meltzer Productions, Inc. This is a fan page. No copyright infringment is intended. Any opinions stated are my own and do not reflect the thoughts of the creators or producers.
Most images on this site were derived from AMC's website; other images and other items were supplied by Rupert Holmes or are credited on that particular page. The photo of Rupert Holmes on this page is courtesy Rodney Walker's screen captures from Where Are They Now? and the "On Air" graphic was also kindly supplied by him. Otherwise contents of this entire site are © 1996-2009 Linda M. Young