OPR Podcasts 2012

Obscure Public Radio

Series: American Voices

In this amazing series, I reveal the “other” lives of celebrities who lived – and sweated – well before my time.

These “real and gritty” pieces of American journalism are so American, I recorded them on my iPhone while stuck in traffic on I-295.   So American, in fact, that they represent the apotheosis of American stupidity, compiled as they were while driving, and for absolutely no good reason.

In this award-winning series, you’ll discover that the celebrities of old weren’t just pretty faces, bullet bras and jacked up trousers.

Most people don’t know that Marilyn Monroe started out as a high school teacher in Texas, where she was fired for teaching kids how to resuscitate lab frogs with mouth-to-mouth.  Did you know that Alan Thicke grew up as Mabel Pearlstein in Redwood City, California during the Depression?  Or how about the little-discussed story of Uncle Milton Berle and the coardboard box city he built for the homeless of L.A.?

Yes, it’s all here, and brought back to life in American Voices.  We hope you enjoy this new and sure-to-be-classic series of podcasts on OPR, America’s leading podcast station for caucasian intellectuals – and those who tolerate them.

Our maiden podcast: Clark Gable: The Secret Life of an American Hattier.



James R. Durant was one of the most important figures in American entertainment for nearly a century.  Of course, you probably knew him as Jimmy Durante.

As this ultra-famous star once put it: “You could smell around corners with this thing!”

He was referring to his legendary proboscis.  But what most Americans don’t realize is that Durante’s nose was as fake as his name.

The only thing true about “Jimmy Durante,” as it turns out, is that his early life was one of tragedy.  Many of his ancestors perished in their attempt to reach the new world.  Due to a terrible navigational error, they missed their target destination by several hundred miles.  What happened then was nothing short of an American MacBeth.

In this episode of American Stories, from Obscure Public Radio, we hear the complete and accurate history of the Durante family.  It’s one of lasting woe, but also great joy, as you’ll hear.

6 Responses to “OPR Podcasts 2012”

  1. ang January 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    you are a maniac and i love that … keep em comin’, brother – next episode?

    • Jay January 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

      Ang, I take that as a high compliment. Thank you. I think we have one coming up on Jimmy Durante, but I need to check with production. The OPR team is mostly made up of hippy college kids and they are not very reliable as you can imagine. Love ya! Or… if you have any slightly obscure “Golden Age of Hollywood” celebrities you’d like to know more about, let me know! Any suggestions?

      • ang February 2, 2012 at 1:18 am #

        Requests for future episodes … Shirley Temple? Judy Garland? Will have to think on others … but they’re coming …

  2. Ken January 29, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    Too funny. Cracking yourself up while alone in the car. That too is fodder for a later episode.

    • The Publisher January 31, 2012 at 6:02 am #

      I know. It’s probably a bad sign, Ken. But I have an hour-plus drive in the mornings, and a guy gets desperate. You can only listen to so much sports talk, and actual NPR!

  3. Tim January 31, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    This moved me a long way. Tears falling, tears falling, tears.

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