Ed Sullivan's birthday, and that has a special meaning for old time radio buffs. Sure, Sullivan was one of the giants of the world of television, but he had a huge radio career too.
He began with interview shows and with his program "Ed Sullivan Entertains." This fifteen-minute show ran from fall of 1943 to summer of 1944. On this program, sponsored by Mennen, the gossip columnist had spirited conversations with popular personages.
One reason Sullivan may have resonated so well with the general public, particularly once he became a TV star, was that he didn't look or even sound like someone who'd make his living in front of a microphone. He was too serious and seemed to be of a different world. But as a TV host, he would go down in history as the man who hosted and introduced a panoply of amazing entertainers such as the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Pearl Bailey, The McGuire Sisters, Perry Como, Peggy Lee, you name 'em. Happy birthday, Ed!
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Some of you may remember a lesser-known program, Kate Smith Speaks, on which "The Songbird of the South" gave her opinions on current events issues.
One thing you may not know about her was that it was she who introduced the public to Irving Berlin's rousing anthem "God Bless America" in 1938. Happy Birthday, first lady!
Saturday, August 31, 2013
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 withJack 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.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
December 26: Happy Birthday, Steve Allen
Born December 26th, 1921, Steve Allen was an American television personality, actor, and comedian best known for the Steve Allen Show.
Our Miss Brooks, exposing him to a national audience for the first time in his career.
Making the leap to TV, Allen helped to create the Tonight Show with Sylvester “Pat” Weaver. Several years later, NBC offered him his own prime time slot that would compete with The Ed Sullivan Show. Unfortunately, the TV Western Maverick was often able to best both Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen in audience size.
Allen passed away on October 30th, 2000 from a massive heart attack. He now has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - one for radio, and one for television.