When Jack Benny jumped from NBC to CBS in January, 1949, it was news, big news. It was so big that most anyone would assume that a star leaving one network for another was a rare occurrence. But that wasn’t the case. In truth, not many of radio’s top entertainers or programs stayed put on just one network during their entire run.
Yes, Arthur Godfrey, Dr. Christian and Suspense were mainstays on CBS. So were Bob Hope, Fibber McGee & Molly and The Telephone Hour on NBC, Walter Winchell and Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club on Blue/ABC, and The Shadow on Mutual, but they were definitely exceptions to the rule. In many cases the sponsors dictated the moves. But in the days before the networks created and packaged their programs, loyalties to the networks were virtually non-existent.
To illustrate this point we offer the following GOld Time Radio quiz which asks you to identify 40 familiar programs and/or personalities that changed networks during the Golden Age. They were all popular - 25 of them were among the Top Ten on their nights of broadcast and we inserted clues in many just to make it easier. Nevertheless, it’s a challenge to your knowledge and memory. The answers are provided below.
1 They had a Top Ten show on NBC in 1943, but dropped out of the Top 100 after they moved to ABC in 1947.
2 After 18 years on NBC, Frank & Anne Hummert took this weekly musical to ABC for an encore season in 1950.
3 They took Network Radio’s most successful Multiple Run Show from NBC to CBS in 1939.
4 The Ol Maestro gathered all the lads in 1938 and moved from Blue to CBS.
5 Following his first five year “term“ on CBS, His Honor Lionel Barrymore took this sitcom to ABC in 1947.
6 He fell out of the Annual Top Ten in 1946 when he followed the tape from NBC to ABC.
7 They started hopping between CBS and NBC in 1937 - the first of six such jumps.
8 Its singing host was killed the night before it jumped from NBC to CBS in 1949.
9 CBS lost a lot of sponsorship money when DuPont moved this historical anthology to NBC’s two networks in 1939.
10 Don McLaughlin kept the title role in 1950 when ABC lost this espionage series to NBC.
11 He swapped three years’ success as Fire Chief on NBC for a three month failure as Gulliver on CBS in February, 1936.
12 NBC stole this top comedian from CBS in 1933, but CBS got him back in 1940, only to lose him again to NBC in 1945.
13 The Old Ranger’s 20 Mule Team stopped at its third network in 1940 when this anthology moved from Blue to CBS.
14 The elite didn’t meet for more than two seasons on CBS when Ed Gardner took his sitcom to Blue in 1942.
15 This husband and wife team left Blue after seven Multiple Run seasons in 1942 and spent the next four years on CBS.
16 He was a soft-spoken ventriloquist who left NBC for CBS in 1949 after twelve Top Ten seasons, eleven in the Top Five.
17 She took her alter ego and left NBC’s Ziegfeld Follies in 1936, then moved to the short- lived Revue de Paree on Blue.
18 Radio’s most traveled series, this light drama made its first of eight jumps among the four networks in 1933, from Blue to NBC.
19 He took Network Radio’s Number One show and jumped from NBC to CBS in 1935.
20 This crime series bounced between CBS and Blue/ABC for 18 years, initially jumping from CBS to Blue in 1940.
21 After five successful seasons on NBC, CBS stole this crime solving husband & wife team for another six in 1947.
22 This 13 year newscast veteran jumped from CBS to NBC in 1940 for the last 15 years of his Network Radio career.
23 Surprising all who thought it too smart for radio, it was the brainy panel show that jumped from Blue to NBC in 1940.
24 Radio’s most successful experiment in dark humor, this anthology took its squeaking door from Blue to CBS in 1943.
25 NBC took this rural comedienne/singer from CBS in 1944 and came up with a Saturday night winner for seven seasons.
26 Radio’s greatest hero of the Old West rode off from Mutual to Blue in 1942.
27 This world traveler ended his 15 year tour on NBC’s two networks in 1947 and journeyed to CBS.
28 CBS grabbed this popular stunt show after nine seasons on NBC in 1952 and had a Top Ten program for two years.
29 He packed up his unique talent show and left NBC on September 13, 1936, and debuted on CBS four nights later.
30 The King of Swing swung from CBS to NBC in 1939.
31 This highly rated comedy quiz, the Network Radio comeback show for its host, jumped from ABC to CBS in 1949.
32 CBS took this Multiple Run, also-ran detective serial from Blue in 1942 which a year later became a weekly half hour hit.
33 A pair of Arkansas travelers, this team of comics made their first network trip from NBC to Mutual in 1934.
34 Once a top comedian on NBC Tuesday nights, he jumped to CBS in 1949 where he regained his popularity on Sundays.
35 A favorite on CBS for ten years, this movie based anthology with proceeds to charity, jumped to NBC in 1948.
36 Network Radio’s most popular big band show, it jumped from Mutual to Blue in 1942, then back to Mutual in 1945.
37 A Sunday night comedy quiz fixture on CBS for seven years, it jumped to NBC in 1947 for its final four on Sunday night.
38 It was Network Radio’s prestigious Sunday night hour anthology of stage plays, and it jumped from ABC to NBC in 1949.
39 After a successful decade on NBC Saturday nights at 8:30, this stunt show jumped to CBS in 1950 for one season, then back to NBC.
40 A Saturday night music fixture, it was first heard on NBC in 1934, then on both NBC and CBS in the 1936-37 and 1937-38 seasons. It moved to CBS until 1946 then jumped back to NBC for the seven year remainder of its Network Radio run.
Now for the answers…
1 Bud Abbott & Lou Costello. (See Busted In Rank on this site.)
2 The American Album of Familiar Music. (See Gus Haenschen.)
3 Freeman Gosden & Charles Correll aka Amos & Andy. (See Amos & Andy - Twice Is Nicer, Multiple Runs All Time Top Ten and Sunday’s All Time Top Ten.)
4 Ben Bernie. (See Tuesday’s All Time Top Ten.)
5 The Mayor of The Town.
6 Bing Crosby. (See Wednesday’s All Time Top Ten and Thursday’s All Time Top Ten.)
7 George Burns & Gracie Allen. (See Wednesday’s All Time Top Ten.)
8 The Carnation Contented Hour. (See The 1949-50 Season.)
9 The Cavalcade of America.
10 Counterspy aka David Harding, Counterspy.
11 Ed Wynn. (See Tuesday’s All Time Top Ten.)
12 Fred Allen. (See The Feud, Wednesday’s All Time Top Ten. Sunday’s All Time Top Ten and Stop The Music!.)
13 Death Valley Days.
14 Duffy’s Tavern. (See Duffy Ain’t Here and The Two Stooges.)
15 Goodman & Jane Ace. (See Easy Aces.)
16 Edgar Bergen. (See Sunday’s All Time Top Ten and Bergen, McCarthy And Adam & Eve.)
17 Fanny Brice. (See Baby Snooks and Thursday‘s All Time Top Ten.)
18 First Nighter. (See Friday’s All Time Top Ten.)
19 Eddie Cantor. (See Sunday’s All Time Top Ten, Wednesday’s All Time Top Ten and The 1934-35 Season.)
20 Gangbusters aka Gang Busters. (See Saturday’s All Time Top Ten.)
21 Mr. & Mrs. North. (See Tuesday’s All Time Top Ten,)
22 H.V. Kaltenborn. (See Multiple Runs All Time Top Ten.)
23 Information Please. (See Information Please.)
24 Inner Sanctum. (See Inner Sanctum.)
25 Judy Canova. (See Saturday’s All Time Top Ten.)
26 The Lone Ranger. (See The Lone Ranger and Multiple Runs All Time Top Ten.)
27 Lowell Thomas. (See Multiple Runs All Time Top Ten.)
28 People Are Funny. (See People Are Funny, A John Guedel Production and Tuesday‘s All Time Top Ten.)
29 Major Edward Bowes. (See Major Bowes’ Original Money Machine and Thursday’s All Time Top Ten.)
30 Benny Goodman. (See The King of Swing on this site.)
31 You Bet Your Life. (See The One, The Only…Groucho! and Wednesday’s All Time Top Ten.)
32 Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons. (See Thursday’s All Time Top Ten.)
33 Lum & Abner.
34 Red Skelton. (See First Season Phenoms and Tuesday’s All Time Top Ten.)
35 Screen Guild Theater aka Screen Guild Players. (See Acts of Charity and Monday’s All Time Top Ten.)
36 Spotlight Bands. (See Spotlight Bands.)
37 Take It Or Leave It. (See Sunday’s All Time Top Ten.)
38 Theater Guild On The Air aka The U.S. Steel Hour.
39 Truth Or Consequences. (See Truth Or Consequences and Saturday’s All Time Top Ten.)
40 Your Hit Parade. (See Saturday’s All Time Top Ten and The Lucky Strike Sweepstakes.)
Copyright © 2018, Jim Ramsburg, Estero FL Email: firstname.lastname@example.org