Saturday, August 31, 2013

Aug 31: Happy Birthday, Arthur Godfrey

Ukulele master and banjo buccaneer Arthur Godfrey entered the human race on this day in 1903. The host of Arthur Godfrey Time grew up on the hard-scrabble streets of NYC. Though an affable personage in general, Godfrey would eventually become well-known for firing one of his singers, Julius LaRosa, on live TV. Godfrey also waged public feuds with Ed Sullivan and with 
Jack O'Brien.

Godfrey broke into the national scene in 1945 by being the journalist tapped to narrate President Roosevelt's Washington, D.C. funeral procession.

From there, it was Arthur Godfrey Time, a CBS morning show with monologues, guests, and maybe some ukulele strumming from the host. He also starred in a variety show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. This program brought in ace guests such as Roy Clark, Lenny Bruce, Tony Bennett, and Patsy Cline.

It was Godfrey's television appearances with ukulele in hand that reportedly helped boost sales of that instrument. Quite an accomplishment, indeed. Thanks for the memories, Arthur Godfrey.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 29: Happy Birthday, Ingrid Bergman

The winsome Ingrid Bergman was born on this day in 1915. In the world of classic radio, she entertained listeners while entertaining troops on the patriotic program "Everything For The Boys," hosted by Ronald Colman

Early in its life, the program was like other radio programs in adapting stories by contemporary writers and bringing in top-notch actors. Here's where Bergman came in, starring in "Death Takes a Holiday."

The Swedish actress also played her way into America's hearts in episodes of Lux Radio Theater such as "A Man's Castle," "For Whom the Bell Tolls," and "Gaslight." She played the title role in a production of Anna Karenina on Screen Guild Theater and the role of Isla Lund on a rendering of Casablanca on the same classic program.

The three-time Oscar winner is just one of many examples of all the top talent making its way to the world of radio back in the golden days.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 28, 1922 : The First Advertising on Radio


August 28, 1922: The first advertising on radio was aired on WEAF in New York. The ads were anounced by H.M Blackwell promoting Hawthorne Court, a group of apartment buildings in Queens, New York. 

Queensboro Reality Company was one of the advertisers who paid Toll Broadcasting $100 (over $1200 in today's money) for 10 minutes of the commercial program. WEAF was owned by AT&T and sold their block programming for $50 for five broadcasts over five days. The advertising fee included long distance charges.

However, it now appears that other radio stations may actually have sold advertising before WEAF. As early as May 1920, an amateur radio broadcaster leased out his "station" in exchange for $35 per week for twice-weekly broadcasts in Seattle, Washington. Although WEAF is credited with the first advertisement, it appears other radio stations ran advertisements prior to August 1922.

Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26, 1873: Birthday of Lee DeForest, inventor of the Radio Vacuum Tube


August 26, 1873: This day is the birth day of Lee DeForest, a talented scientist who invented the triode, a type of electron tube that has a three-element vacuum tube. In the future this invention was improved, becoming the audion tube, one of the significant parts in making the invention of radio possible.

Lee DeForest known as the owner of hundreds of patents for items including the photoelectric cell and the surgical radio knife. But his invention of the triode had the biggest impact for the advent of radio.

DeForest was born to a religious family and studied at Yale, majoring in Physics and Electricity. From 1900 until 1910, DeForest worked on improving the wireless telegraph. In 1907 he invented an arc-based radiotelephone transmitter and audio receiver, which he followed up by writing an estimation of wireless transmission.

Lee DeForest also the inventor of phonofilm, which allows people to enjoy not only the pictures in movies, but also the dialogue. The phonofilm process is a sound recording that goes directly onto the film as a parallel strip.

Lee DeForest died in 1961. His ingenuity had a big impact on the development of telecommunication technology in the world.

Friday, August 23, 2013

August 23: Happy Birthday, John Nesbitt

John Nesbitt's father collected interesting news clipping. And today, the world, and particularly fans of vintage radio, are richer for it. Nesbitt found these clippings--and we're talking a whole trunk full, and was inspired by them. He was inspired so much that he created a radio series called John Nesbitt's Passing Parade on which he presented these news oddities and strange tales.


Nesbitt's chief virtue was a writing style that maximized the value of the stories. Though he was a radio announcer, he didn't have a spectacular voice.

He did, however, have a commitment to carefully researching his stories and to bringing enlightening and interesting ideas into the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of radio listeners. Bravo, John, and Happy Birthday.

August 23, 1950 : The famous show stand-in 'Somebody Knows' airs for the last time

 
August 23, 1950: Radio program Somebody Knows, a summer stand-in for Suspense was aired for the last time. At that time, this show presented a $5000 prize for providing evidence of offence.

This show had an great opening announcement: "You out there. You, who think you have committed the perfect crime . . . that there are no clues, no witnesses . . . Listen! Somebody knows."