"EVENIN' F0LKS, HOW Y'ALL?"
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.
This lengthy post traces the unlikely path of a University of North Carolina cheerleader into the unplanned career of leading an orchestra - despite his lack of musical talent - and then into radio and film successes never before enjoyed by any band. Away from the spotlight Kyser devoted countless days during World War II to entertaining troops and selling Billions, (yes, Billions), of dollars in Savings Bonds. After the war he found other causes for his time after he retired from show business in 1950. Why haven't you heard of all his accomplishements? That's yet another part of the story, Kay Kyser, which will leave you with a great respect for the man and an appreciation for his talented troupe.
THIS WEEK IN THE GOLDEN AGE was quite a week in radio and television history as the events noted below attest. But a sudden hurricane at the end of the week stole all the headlines and tested the emergency capabilities of New England stations to their limits. They're all part of the 853 events from broadcasting history that make up September In The Golden Age. Can you pinpoint the exact years when they happened? Give those dates your best guesses then check your answers with September In The Golden Age.
September 15, 194_: WHN/New York City, owned by Lowes, Inc., adopts the call sign WMGM with a marathon show from Hollywood starring Gene Kelly, George Murphy, Frank Sinatra, Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Jane Powell and dozens of other film personalities plus the MGM studio orchestra and chorus. (See Radio Goes To The Movies.)
September 16, 194_: Rural comic Bob Burns starts six year multi-network run as The Arkansas Traveler after five seasons as the comic sidekick to Bing Crosby on Kraft Music Hall. (See Bob Burns.)
September 17, 195_: The Mason, Ohio, Voice of America shortwave tower is wrecked by a 3:00 a.m. explosion blamed on saboteurs.
September 18, 193_: The Tom Mix Straight Shooters becomes the first coast-to-coast kids’ weekday serial when sponsor Ralston Purina adds Blue’s Pacific Network to its coverage which also requires three live performances daily. (See Serials, Cereals & Premiums.)
September 19, 194_: Longtime Network Radio comedy favorite Vic & Sade leaves the air after a 14 year multi-network run. (See Vic & Sade.)
September 20, 194_: Live network television in the Midwest begins at 6:00 p.m. when ABC connects its WENR-TV in Chicago with stations in Cleveland, Toledo, Buffalo, St. Louis and Milwaukee via coaxial cable. NBC-TV opens its Midwest network at 7:00 p.m. linking its affiliates in Buffalo, Toledo, Detroit, Milwaukee and St Louis.
September 21, 193_: A Category Three hurricane strikes the Northeast with little warning. Stations undamaged by the storm assume fulltime emergency service status as deaths mount to 700 and damages eventually total $306 Million. Boston stations WBZ, WEEI, WHDH, WMEX and WORL are knocked off the air by the Wednesday storm. WEEI and WMEX resume broadcasting the next morning, the other three don’t return for two days.
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 bhouses 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.
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.
ROBERT RIPLEY STUTTERED AND WAS PAINFULLY SHY - hardly a candidate for Network Radio fame. (He also suffered from "mike fright".) Yet, the cartoonist-creator of the internationally popular newspaper panel, Believe It Or Not, overcame his handicaps to enjoy a broadcasting career that spanned 15 years and four Top 50 Seasons.
The one-time sports cartoonist found fame by collecting odd and unusual facts and curios and then exploited them in his newspaper panels, movie shorts and radio shows. As our post, Believe It Or Not explains, Ripley had to employ a full time staff to check all of the tips offered by his fans and catalog all of the artifacts he discovered in his world travels. The post also contains samples of his radio shows over the years which mixed music, dramatic skits and Ripley's interesting guests and quizzes. Are they entertaining? You better believe it!
NILA MACK WAS A 5'2" CHAIN-SMOKING ONLY CHILD who had no children. Yet, she entertained millions of kids for nearly two decades when she wrote, produced and directed Network Radio's most honored children's program, Let's Pretend. What's more, every half-hour broadcast was performed completely by members of a stock company of juvenile actors and actresses whom she assembled and mentored from childhood through their teens and twenties. GOld Time Radio's post, Let's Pretend, traces her career from the early days at CBS until the end of the Golden Age and presents some of the classic fairy tales she adapted for her young thespians and their millions of listeners.
The post also points out how Nila Mack saw her role, insisting that she didn't write for children or intend to teach acting to her casts chosen from the 180 kids who appeared on the show over the years. Finally, you'll discover a side of Let's Pretend few knew existed and sure to make you laugh.
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