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September 30, 1933: The First Broadcast of National Barn Dance on NBC

September 30, 1933: National Barn Dance started its transmission on the NBC Blue network. Previously, the music show was broadcast from 8th Street Theater in Chicago on WLS radio station every Saturday night. The broadcast was presented by Joe Kelly. One of the famous characters, Uncle Ezra, performed by Pat Barrett, would dance and speak, "Give me a toot on the tooter, Tommy." Among many other characters were Pokey Martin, Arkie the Arkansas Woodchopper, the Prairie Ramblers, the Hoosier Hotshots, cowgirl Patsy Montana, the Cumberland Road Runners, Pat Buttram, and  Lulu Belle. Despite having many sponsors, amazingly the show still had an entrance fee.

National Barn Dance was created by broadcaster George D. Hay. The first show was aired  on April 19, 1924  from  WLS . In 1933 the show was transferred to NBC Radio, and it eventually switched to the ABC Radio network in 1946. National Barn Dance lasted until 1952 and was broadcast every Saturday night from 6:30 p.m. to midnight.

The show regularly featured Gene Autry, Eddie Dean, Lulu Belle and Scotty, Pat Buttram, George Gobel, The Williams Brothers (featuring future crooner Andy Williams), The DeZurik Sisters, and the Hoosier Hot Shots. There were also several guest stars featured on the show. The guest stars included Smiley Burnette, Eddie Peabody and Joe Kelly, and finally Jack Holden, who has known as the host and moderator of NBC's Quiz Kids.


  1. I am researching my great aunt Nathalie Trow Whiting (1877-1937) who performed on the WLS Barn Dance and had a guitar custom made for her by The Larsons as they did for other celebrities on Chicago radio. Can anyone help me with a photograph of "Natalie Whiting" as she was known professionally? Thanks for any suggestions!!!


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