RED, MEL & OCTOBER BASEBALL
Radio and baseball were made for each other. Beginning in the 1920’s and over the decades of Network Radio’s Golden Age when the two major leagues each had eight teams and towns like Los Angeles, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Houston and Seattle were still in the minor leagues - long summer afternoons and evenings were filled with friendly, familiar voices reporting their eye-witness stories from booths overlooking the diamonds or fabricating reports from studios equipped with Western Union machines and sound effects.
None were friendlier or more familiar than the Southern voices of Red Barber and Mel Allen. The World Series - played in the afternoon - was the peak of the season and most of the Series during and well beyond the Golden Age were reported by either Red Barber or Mel Allen, or both of the them. That’s why we salute them - along with a recording of their combined call of the dramatic first game of the 1949 World Series - in our newly expanded and edited post, Extra Innings.
However, radio was on hand to report every World Series pitch and play beginning in 192...whoops! That’s the objective to our post which challenges you to pick the correct years when 20 Series-related events happened from over 30 years in broadcasting history. This goes back to the first days of both radio and television when all of the competing networks shared in the games' coverage. It’s interesting stuff and we‘ve provided the answers at the conclusion of Extra Innings. So, like the men in black said, “Play ball!”
SEEK (SEARCH) AND YE SHALL FIND most anything related to broadcasting history in the posts of GOld Time Radio. But until last week the Search box was virtually hidden on the right side of the site's header above the Donor box. That remote location is no more as you can see at the very top of this post. Search is now at the top of all of GOld Time Radio's 183 (and counting) posts and we encourage you to use those Search boxes,to find any program, person, station, sponsor or broadcast-related event contained in our posts.
THIS WEEK IN THE GOLDEN AGE is unique because every day is noted for its debut of an AM, FM or TV debut. We'd be hard pressed to find another seven day period like it in the 21 years of Network Radio's Golden Age. But that's understandable because October was the launching month for many of the medium's memorable programs. You'll see many such debut dates among the 935 events found at October In The Golden Age. Check out this week's events, guess what years they took place, then see how accurate you were at the newly edited and expanded October In The Golden Age.
October 13, 195_: FM inventor Edwin Armstrong introduces FM multiplexing and successfully demonstrates his concept at a news conference.
October 14, 193_: Jack Benny begins his 21 year string of programs broadcast on Sunday evenings at 7:00 p.m. for a reported opening salary of $5,750 per week. (See Sunday At Seven, Benny’s Double Plays, Lucky Gets Benny, The Feud and Your Money Or Your Life.)
October 15, 195_: Classic sitcom I Love Lucy starring Lucille Ball and husband Desi Arnaz debuts on CBS-TV.
October 16, 194_: Bing Crosby begins his recorded Philco Radio Time with guest star Bob Hope on 217 ABC affiliates and 94 independent stations, scoring a 24.0 Hooperating. (See Wednesday’s All Time Top Ten.)
October 17, 194_: Hal Peary, 31, debuts as Fibber McGee & Molly’s next door neighbor, Throckmorton P Gildersleeve. (See The Great Gildersleeve(s).)
October 18, 193_: The first Monday night broadcast of Kay Kyser’s College of Musical Knowledge on WGN/Chicago draws 2,800 pieces of mail. (See Kay Kyser - The Old Professor of Swing.)
October 19, 194_: Lady Esther Cosmetics begins its five year sponsorship of Screen Guild Players on 65 CBS affiliates, pledging $8,500 per week to the Motion Picture Relief Fund in lieu of talent fees. (See Acts of Charity and Monday's All Time Top Ten.)
A RECENT TRIP TO MINNEAPOLIS provided the opportunity to visit the newly remodeled Pavek Museum in suburban St. Louis Park. The 12,000 sq. ft. Pavek houses the country's largest collection of radio and television equipment - a treat for the broadcasting historian and GOld Time Radio fan alike. The museum first opened in October, 1988, the culmination of efforts by collector Joe Pavek, regional broadcaster Paul Hedberg and Medtronic co-founder, Earl Bakken. It has grown in size and stature ever since. With its fascinating audio and video displays the Pavek Museum is worth a visit as its website promises at www.pavekmuseum.org
HERE'S A QUESTION for our friends and experts in broadcast sales and advertising: How would you effectively sell bird seed on radio? No joke. This was the actual chore given a Chicago ad agency by American Bird Products, Inc. in the late 1920’s - and it led to one of the most successful, cost effective and longest running radio-based marketing programs ever devised.
Most successful? Longest running? Those are big claims - especially for a radio program you probably didn’t even know existed. Well, meet The American Radio Warblers and their feathered imitators, The Hartz Master Radio Canaries and Kaempfer’s Canary Chorus. They’re the subjects of GOld Time Radio’s post, The American Radio Warblers. Along the way you’ll hear a Mike Wallace you've never heard, long before his 60 Minutes fame when he was a free lance Chicago radio actor and announcer. This forgotten chapter of Network Radio’s Golden Age is presented in text and sound now at The American Radio Warblers.
MENTION THE NAME KAY KYSER to many broadcast historinans and the automatic, (and correct), response will be The College of Musical Knowledge and that will be that. But the story of the soft-spoken North Carolinian who completely changed character on stage or before NBC microphones on one of Wednesday night's highest rated programs goes much deeper. And his successes run much further than leading America's most popular orchestra during Network Radio's Golden Age. His remarkable story is told in text, audio and film clips in GOld Time Radio's post, Kay Kyser.
DURING NETWORK RADIO'S GOLDEN AGE of 21 years, many programs and personalities established themselves in listeners' minds with their first words or sounds of every broadcast. These identical show openings year-in and year-out ingrained themselves into the fabric of broadcasting history. How deeply ingrained? That's what we're about to find out as you tackle GOld Time Radio's new post, Great Greetings.
We've posted 15 opening lines from famous programs that were repeated weekly - sometimes daily - for up to half a century or longer. We're asking you to pick the correct program or personality from a multiple choice selection of three. Simple, huh? Well, some are and some aren't. You'll see what we mean when you click Great Greetings.
CARLTON E. MORSE IS KNOWN FOR TWO SERIES during Network Radio's Golden Age: One Man's Family and I Love A Mystery. Both were commercial successes. But there was a third series, a sustaining, 13-week revival of I Love A Mystery in a half-hour format on ABC in 1948 - presented under a new name, I Love Adventure. It's the subject of GOld Time Radio's post in text and air checks, I Love A Sequel.
You'll hear the same opening theme and find the same lead actor, Michael Raffetto as Jack Packard. Barton Yarborough is along in five chapters as Doc Long and actor Tom Collins assumed to role of Reggie Yorke for serveral episodes. Several episodes? It's just one of many quirks you'll discover about this little-known, hybrid melodrama at I Love A Sequel.
WE RECEIVED SO MUCH GOOD COMMENT ABOUT Gold Time Radio's recent post,
A Fifteen Minute Quiz, (and had so much fun creating it), that we decided to do it again. But what to call it? A Fifteen Minute Quiz, Jr., naturally. It's just like its predecessor - fifteen multiple choice questions taken from broadcasting history during Network Radio's Golden Age during the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. And answers to most of them can be found by searching the 178 posts in GOld Time Radio. (The number suprised us, too.) But to make it easy, the answers are posted below the questions in small print. How well do you know radio and television history? Here's your chance to find out again at A Fifteen Minute Quiz, Jr.
And if you like broadcasting history quizzes, check out Network Jumpers, Three Letter Calls, A Network Radio Quiz, Starting Points or any of GOld Time Radio's eight nightly, (Sunday through Saturday plus Multiple Run), All Time Top Ten posts.
THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1938 was just another in a string of the annual revues produced by motion picture studios for the ever-growing Network Radio audience. The 1938 edition was designed to be W.C. Fields' comeback film in which he played tycoon brothers racing their massive cruise ships across the Atlantic. (See W.C. Fields.) Martha Raye, Ben Blue and Bob Hope added to the comedy while Paramount pulled out all the stops for musical numbers by Kirsten Flagstad, Dorothy Lamour, Tito Guizar and Shep Fields' orchestra in a live action-animation novelty.
Tucked away in a small scene without fanfare, Bob Hope & Shirley Ross sang and spoke the tender, bittersweet, Thanks For The Memory. GOld Time Radio's post, About A Song, tells in text, audio and video how the song almost wasn't written or performed by Hope & Ross. Yet, Thanks For The Memory won an Academy Award and became Bob Hope's theme song for over half a century. About A Song is a great story about a great song.
NO ONE IN BROADCAST JOURNALISM could match the records of H.V. Kaltenborn. He was a Phi Beta Kappa who didn’t enter Harvard until he was 27. His peers dubbed him The Dean of Radio Commentators, but he was 43 before his first broadcast. He was the first newsman on radio and the first to editorialize, (WJZ,1922). He was the first analyst to get kicked off a station for his comments, (WRC,1923). He was the first news commentator in Network Radio, (CBS,1927). He was the first American correspondent to interview Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, (1932). He was the first newscaster to broadcast from the middle of a war zone during a battle, (Spain,1937).
What made Kaltenborn’s broadcast career truly unique is that in over 30 years and thousands of appearances on the air, he never read from a script. His broadcasts were completely extemporaneous, dependent only on notes and memory. This should be kept in mind when listening to his well organized commentaries like millions of Americans did during the tumultuous days before and during World War II, when his 15 minute weeknight broadcasts were in the Top 50 of all programs five times. It’s the colorful story of an American original who made Network Radio history, H. V. Kaltenborn.
CROSS-OWNERSHIP AND CROSS-PROMOTION between radio and movies began before the networks existed and films talked. Before Network Radio’s Golden Age ended in 1953, two networks had been related to movie studios, (NBC with RKO and CBS with Paramount), two filmmakers owned major market stations and most of the studios climbed on the 15 year bandwagon from 1935 to 1950 when theaters were flooded with movies based on popular radio shows and personalities. Many of the details of this relationship are covered in Gold Time Radio’s post, Radio Goes To The Movies.
It was a complex, win-win situation involving millions for all concerned regardless of the level where it existed. It began in the 1920’s and lasted until television struck near-mortal blows to both industries. It’s related over half a century later in Radio Goes To The Movies.
THE THOUSANDS OF MONTHLY VISITORS to GOld Time Radio all share some degree of interest in Network Radio's Golden Age. They also share some degree of knowledge of how that 21 year era in broadcasting history came about. Here's our contribution, taken in part from our book, Network Radio Ratings, 1932-1953. It's called Alchemists of The Air.
This is an unusually long post and you'll find it differs from most historical accounts because it traces the inception and development of commercial Network Radio from the perspectives of all the contributing industries that shaped it. The reader may find a few surprises in that regard as we track the 90 year path of those who transformed thin air into gold, the Alchemists of The Air.
GOLD TIME RADIO IS NOW IN ITS EIGHTH YEAR of researching and reporting some of the lesser known facts about the people and programs of Network Radio’s Golden Age. It began with the publication of my book Network Radio Ratings, 1932-1953, which defined the era in a time frame determined by ratings and revenue, and provided the first complete prime time audience ratings for all 21 years. The premise of the book and this site are summarized in my reading of the book's forward.
Thanks to you, GOld Time Radio registered over 115,000 Visitors and 250,000 Page Hits during 2018. Both are new records. Please tell your friends about our free site dedicated to Network Radio's Golden Age and remember, we always welcome your questions or comments at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2019, Jim Ramsburg, Estero FL Email: email@example.com