A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“Better days are just around the corner. They are called Friday, Saturday and Sunday” (3/29)
“Nothing screws up your Friday like realizing it’s only Thursday” (3/29)
“Thursday—the most useless day of the week” (3/29)
Entry forthcoming—B.P. (3/29)
“New York leads all cities in the number of people around whom you shouldn’t make a sudden move” (3/29)
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Entry from January 26, 2011
“A face for radio”

An attractive man or woman has a “face for the movies” or a “face for television.” To say that someone has a “face for radio” (where that face is not seen) is to say that someone is not attractive.

Broadway entertainment columnist Earl Wilson used the joke twice in columns written in 1952, but the exact origin of the joke is not known. A further put-down after “a face for radio” is “a voice for print.”


6 February 1952, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “Bumpkin on Broadway” by Earl Wilson, pg. 4, col. 5:
When he saw a closeup of himself on a television monitor the M. C. Walter Kiernan commented: “I have a perfect face for radio.”

12 June 1952, Lowell (MA) Sun, “On Broadway with Earl Wilson,” pg. 38, col. 4:
Today’s Best Laugh:
Taffy Tuttle just got her first complement: Someone said she has the perfect face for radio.

10 April 1969, Oregonian (Portland, OR), “Behind The Mike” by Francis Murphy, sec. 2M, pg. 23, col. 1:
“My friends tell me I have just the face for radio. You heard me as various monsters on Outer Limits.”
(Bob Johnson—ed.)

OCLC WorldCat record
A great face for radio : the memoirs of a broadcasting buffoon
Author: Ken Griffin
Publisher: Port Charlotte, FL : Dolphin Bay Press, 2002.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
A face for radio
Author: Fiona Muriel Smyth
Publisher: Dublin : University College Dublin, 2004.
Dissertation: Thesis (B.Arch.) - University College Dublin, 2004.
Edition/Format:  Thesis/dissertation : English

OCLC WorldCat record
A face for radio : radio station planning and design
Author: Peter Bloomfield; Mark Motl; Vilma Barr
Publisher: Oxford : Focal Press, ©2007.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
A perfect face for radio
Author: James K Flynn
Publisher: [S.l.] : Catawba Pub. Co., ©2008.
Edition/Format:  Book : Essay : English

OCLC WorldCat record
A great face for radio : the adventures of a sports commentator
Author: John Anderson
Publisher: Studley : Know the Score!, 2009.
Edition/Format:  Book : Biography : English

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityRadio/Television • Wednesday, January 26, 2011 • Permalink