Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19, 1932: Premier of Just Plain Bill on CBS

September 19, 1932: On this day in 1932, what could be described as just a plain day, Just Plain Bill premiered on CBS. As the program's tag line said, it was "The real life story of people just like people we all know."

Just Plain Bill was a serial soap opera with elements of suspense. The suspenseful aspect made Just Plain Bill rather unique. The show's story lines were more engaging than the classic soap opera standard.
The show ran for 15 minutes, Monday through Friday at 7:15 PM, and centered on (just plain) Bill Davidson and daughter Nancy, in (just plain) Hartville. Everybody in town came to Bill with their problems, since Bill was the town barber. and Bill helped his town mates set things straight. For the first time, it was not the usual organ that was played for the intro music, but a harmonica. Hall Brown played the instrument, performing "Darling Nellie Gray," the introduction music of Just Plain Bill. Hal also performed the closing theme ("Polly Wolly Doodle") in this manner. The show's creators, Frank and Anne Hummert, who also created Mr.Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons, Little Orphan Annie, Amanda of Honeymoon Hill, Front Page Farrell, John's Other Wife, Mr. Chameleon, and a lot of other dramas, eventually transferred to NBC. Audiences were entertained for 23 years by Just Plain Bill, until its last airing on September 30, 1955. Kolynos toothpaste and Clapp's baby food were just two of Just Plain Bill's sponsors over the years.

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