November 25: Happy Birthday Joe DiMaggio
To be a ballplayer for the New York Yankees in the 30's, 40's, and 50's was to be a national sports icon, a celebrity of the highest order. A star among stars was Centerfielder Joe DiMaggio, who hosted a sports-themed radio show , The Joe DiMaggio Show, from Sept. 17, 1949 to Oct. 7, 1950. The show started on CBS, then jumped to NBC. It included the theme song "Joltin' Joe DiMaggio."
The Joe DiMaggio Show was a sort of sports-oriented variety show. It included a sports quiz for both kids and adults from the studio audience; a roundup of recent Major League action; and a dramatization of a sports story from a famous sports writer; and a segment in which DiMaggio answered fan mail.
Sports writers who appeared included Lou Effrat, Jim Kahn, and Mel Allen. Mandel Kramer, Everett Sloane, Leon Janney, and Jackson Beck played roles in the re-enactments of stories, which included one on Pancho Segura, tennis champion, Willie Pep, the boxer, and Pee Wee Reese, Brooklyn Dodger Shortstop.
Before taking on the responsibility of hosting a show, DiMaggio had learned the ropes a little by making cameos on shows such The Radio Hall of Fame, It's Time to Smile, and The Royal Gelatin Hour.