SEEN BUT NOT HEARD...
“After leaving radio I was able to live on the money I saved on aspirins.”
Those were the words of Fred Allen, who was reputed to edit and worry over every routine and phrase his writers handed him each week for his highly rated shows since 1932. Allen’s constant obsession for perfection and his regular battles with network censors and sponsors, led to a nervous condition and hypertension that forced doctors to order to the 50 year old comedian to take the year off from Network Radio in 1944.
He did - only to co-write and star in a 1945 movie, It’s In The Bag. The Paramount film also included a group of his fellow stars from NBC Radio, including Jack Benny. In case you’ve ever wondered how cheap Jack Benny was, GOld Time Radio gives you some idea in a key scene from that film at Mr. Allen Meets Mr. Benny. - (aka The Feud - Round Three). In addition to this hilarious sequence on video, we’ve also posted new audio clips of the two great comedians trading barbs begun in our posts The Feud - Round One and The Feud - Round Two.
THIS WEEK IN THE GOLDEN AGE notes two special events in broadcasting history triggered by American history before we begin our annual presentation of Christmas and New Year’s programming. First, of course is radio’s responsive reporting to the Pearl Harbor attack and the bombing of Manila on December 7, 1941.
Ironically, The Day In Infamy coincided with the 154th anniversary of Delaware becoming the first state to ratify The Bill of Rights to The U.S. Constitution in 1787. A special radio event had been planned a week later when most stations in America were to link and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the document on December 15, 1791. But could they do it with the nation suddenly plunged into war? They did and it became a broadcast to remember as posted on GOld Time Radio as We Hold These Truths - a magnificent hour of American radio when it was needed most.
Meanwhile, our weekly feature remains the same, challenging you to identify the correct years when each of the following events in broadcasting history took place. Give it a try then check your answers with December In The Golden Age.
December 7, 194_: Associated Press flashes the first bulletin of the Pearl Harbor attack at 1:07 p.m. - White House confirmation follows at 2:25 p.m. Mutual becomes first network to break the news at 2:26. Continuing network coverage results in a Hooper reported sets in use figure of 48.9%. (See The 1941-42 Season.)
December 8,194_: Lew Valentine, the original Dr. I.Q., leaves the NBC quiz to become manging partner of KPAB/Laredo, Texas, and is replaced by Jimmy McClain who had hosted Dr. I.Q. Junior during the summer. (See Dr. I.Q.)
December 9, 194_: Comedy panel show Can You Top This? begins as a local program on WOR/New York City. (See Can You Top This?)
December 10, 195_: Newscaster Paul Harvey, 33, begins his legendary 56 year Network Radio career on ABC.
December 11, 193_: Crossley reports an East Coast rating of 45.0 for the seven-minute abdication speech by England’s King Edward VIII relayed by the BBC from London to the American radio networks at 5:00 p.m. (See Radio’s Rulers: Crossley, Hooper & Nielsen.)
December 12, 193_: Actress Mae West creates a furor with sexual innuendos in the infamous Adam & Eve sketch on NBC’s Chase & Sanborn Hour. (See Bergen, McCarthy And Adam & Eve.)
December 13, 194_: Bill Stern signs a new three year contract as Sports Director of NBC for a reported $2,250 per week in addition to his contract to narrate the weekly Colgate Sports Newsreel. (See Bill Stern.)
December 14, 194_: The number of AM commercial stations authorized in the U.S. reaches 1,001.
WE HEARD FROM MANY FRIENDS recently after posting Great Greetings - a quiz based on a collection of 15 salutations that were used so repeatedly over the years that they became woven into the fabric of Network Radio's Golden Age. The post ws so popular and there are so many more of these phrases from personalities and program announcers that we present a second set in our post, Great Greetings Again.
Once again we give you a set of 15 program openings and a choice of three correct answers to match each of them. You may think from the first few that it's a simple solve but there are some foolers along the way. Have fun with Great Greetings Again!
HERE'S A CLASSIC CASE of being in the right place at the right time. When Amos & Andy jumped from NBC to CBS in 1939, collaborators Phillips H. Lord, (Gangbusters), and Ed Byron, (Famous Jury Trials), were ready to fill the 15 minute weeknight void on NBC with a new kind of crime fighter who didn’t wear a uniform - or for that matter, he didn’t have a name, either. He was simply Mr. District Attorney.
Their new hero's 13 week job was followed by another as the 13 week summer replacement for Bob Hope on NBC, then a 26 week run on the Blue Network. When that assignment ended. Bristol-Myers picked up the melodrama and eventually put it into its NBC home on Wednesday nights where it enjoyed a decade among Network Radio’s top rated programs including three seasons in the Annual Top Ten. Mr. District Attorney is an interesting GOld Time Radio story of good timing and loaded with over a dozen audio clips that display its solid writing, acting and production.
IF YOU'RE LOOKING for a program, a personality or anything related to broadcasting history during Network Radio's Golden Age, use the Search box found at the top of all of s of GOld Time Radio's pages. It provides a quick scan of our 184 posts to locate the item you want found.
A TRIP TO MINNEAPOLIS several months ago 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- The Ol Professor of Swing.
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 when you tackle GOld Time Radio's 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.
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.
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