This is an online encyclopedia of personalities of Old Time Radio. It is designed for educational and entertainment purposes.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Billy Idelson (1919-2007)

William Idelson was born August 21, 1919, in Forest Park, Illinois. Billy was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. He began working in radio at the age of 12 on Vic and Sade. He was also heard on a number of other Chicago radio programs in the 1930s. He remained on Vic and Sade until he was called to serve in the Navy during World War II. He returned to the program in 1945. He sporadically continued working in radio but his real job for most of that time was in real estate. In 1950 he married Seemah Wilder. They would have four children, including daughter Ellen Idelson (1961-2003), who also acted and wrote TV shows like her father.

In 1959, not understanding what he was doing, he wrote a script for a TV show. He sent it to the producers of the Twilight Zone and they bought it. He called the script, "Direct Line," but it was changed to "Long Distance Call." He was the only person from the original Twilight Zone series who both wrote and acted on the program. He also acted in many other programs. In time, he wrote for many television shows and gave classes of how to do it. He wrote a number of books about writing for television and about old time radio. 

Bill is probably best known for his work on the Odd Couple, which starred Tony Randall and Oscar Klugman. This was one of the most popular shows of the 1970s.

He also became well known at OTR (old time radio) conventions. His stories about the people involved in the Vic and Sade program were interesting.

Bill Idelson died on December 31, 2007, after a fall at his home in Los Angeles. He was 88 years old.


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