Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October 14: Happy Birthday, Dwight D. Eisenhower



During Ike Eisenhower's presidency, the economy boomed, cars rolled out of Detroit at an unstoppable pace, rock and roll captivated teen audiences, conflict raged in Korea, trouble began in Vietnam, and legions who'd become rebellious hippies toddled around their living rooms in modern comfort.

Eisenhower's Great Society played itself out on the radio in the form of his frequent addresses.  He discussed his relationship with communist-hunter Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Geneva Conference of 1955, and the landing of marines in Beirut.

Today, his addresses serve as great primary texts chronicling both the Great Society and the Cold War.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

October 13: Happy Birthday, Irene Rich



We salute the 1891 birth of Dear John star, Irene Rich.  Rich's co-star was Gale Gordon, star of Our Miss Brooks, and the show was broadcast Sunday nights on the Columbia Network.

The flapper was a frequent contributor of Will Rogers, starring in such silent films as The Strange Boarder and Jes' Call Me Jim.

Share your cherished memories of Ms.Rich in our "comments" section!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

October 11, 1936: 'Professor Quiz,' the first national quiz, aired for the first time

 
October 11, 1936: On this day, the first national quiz called Professor Quiz aired for the first time on radio. This quiz continued to be aired until 1948. In this quiz, contestants posed questions to Dr. Craig Earl, otherwise known as Professor Quiz. If the contestant could stump Professor Quiz, they earned $25, or the equivalent of $382 in 2009. This quiz show was sponsored by Robert Trout and Velvet Pipe Tobacco

Professor Quiz was dubbed as the first real radio quiz program It aired first on NBC from 1936 to 1941, then on ABC from 1946-1948. It was hosted by Bob Trout, and featured Professor Quiz himself Dr. Craig Earl, along with his wife Mrs. Quiz and son Professor Quiz Jr.

The show posing questions to Professor Quiz which, if he answered incorrectly, resulted in the contestant winning $25.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Happy Birthday, Helen Hayes



The First Lady of American Theater, the first stage actress to go on to win an Academy Award, Helen Hayes was born on this day in 1900.  Helen Hayes starred in Victoria Regina, The Sin of Madelon Claudet and Happy Birthday.

In 1941, she took the helm as producer, actress and even casting director of the CBS radio series The Helen Hayes Theatre of the Air, a series running contemporary plays.

Hayes starred in a 1938  Lux Radio Theatre production of Jane Eyre and turned in appearances on a wide variety of classic radio series such as The Campbell's Playhouse, The Silver Theatre, and Dupont Cavalcade of America.  Radio gave us all the big stars of the 30's, 40's, and 50's, delivered as just a voice to let our imaginations fill in the rest.  Helen Hayes was just one shining example.

Friday, October 9, 2015

October 9: Happy Birthday, Aimee Semple McPherson

Stretcher days, cars plasters with religious slogans, and gypsies in garish clothing: all the iconography of one Aimee Semple McPherson, whose birthday we celebrate.

McPherson was a preacher whose message revolved around the "four-square Gospel."  She was well-spoken and charismatic, and she had a radio ministry.  In 1926, she disappeared from her Los Angeles home, alarming her followers, who called for a full-scale investigation. She later reappeared with a yarn about a kidnapping, while it seemed more likely she had run off for a romantic tryst with her radio operator.

In any event, Aimee McPherson, with donations from her congregation, started station KFSG in 1924 to broadcast her message.  On the station, among other programming, she unleashed such sermons as "Big Bad Wolf," "I Found the Keys," and "Seven Sneezes In Shunnen."  That's worth a happy birthday and this brief recognition, right?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

October 8: Happy Birthday, Walter Schumann



Today marks what would've been the one hundredth birthday of Walter Schumann!  Schumann was a composer in the television, radio, and film industries, noted for whipping up The Dragnet Theme.

New York-born Schumann enlisted at the outbreak of the Second Great War, becoming the musical director of the Armed Forces Radio Service.  That made an improbable segue into his next gig, the job of writing scores for Abbott & Costello pictures.  From there it was the infamous Dragnet theme and work on The Night of the Hunter.

Rock on, Walter. And happy birthday!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October 7: Happy Birthday, Andy Devine!




Happy Birthday to Andy Devine!  Andy Devine was born on this day in 1905. He was a character actor in Western radio and TV, Andy Devine was the sidekick of the greatest stars in Hollywood.