Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 6, 1937: CBS aired Dave Elman's 'Hobby Lobby'

October 6, 1937: CBS broadcast Hobby Lobby, a program hosted by Dave Elman, American hobbysist. The show theme is "The Best Things in Life are Free" and was sponsored by Fels Naptha soap, Hudson Paper Products, and Colgate Dental Creme.

Hobby Lobby was actually created by Dave Elman himself. The show involved encouraging people to write about their unusual hobbies, and a select few would come to the radio to promote it and have it judged by invited celebrities. The show was such a huge success that many people sent mail about their hobbies, and there also were celebrities who wanted to appear on the show. Hobby Lobby lasted until 1948, when Elman decided that he would continue teaching hypnosis to medical doctors and dentists.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

October 5, 1930: The First New York Philharmonic Orchestra Broadcast on CBS

October 5, 1930: On this day, CBS broadcast the New York Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time form Carnegie Hall. To broadcast the Sunday afternoon concerts, CBS paid $15,000 for the entire season. The radio broadcasts continued  for 38 years without interruption.

The orchestra was founded by the American-born conductor, Ureli Corelli Hill, in 1842 and was officially known as the Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York.

In 1909, in order to provide financial stability, the Philharmonic, was changed from a musician-operated cooperative to a corporate management structure bringing Gustav Mahler as conductor.

In 1921, the  New York Philharmonic merged with New York's National Symphony Orchestra  (no relation to the present Washington, D.C. ensemble) and later in 1828 came the final and most important merger with the New York Symphony Society.

Arturo Toscanini became the sole conductor and in 1930 led the group on a European tour that brought immediate international fame to the Orchestra. Toscanini remained music director until the spring of 1936, and then returned several times as a guest conductor until 1945. Toscanini is shown in the picture above standing in the center with bow tie and cap on the S.S. de Grasse embarking on their European tour.

For additional classical and opera radio shows, see also:

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 4: Happy Birthday, Arthur Hopkins

Another star born on this day--in this case in 1878--is Arthur Hopkins.  As is apparent, Hopkins lived to adulthood before Marconi's marvelous invention began broadcasting content into homes.

He entered the world of theater as a press agent and began writing plays.  Late in his life, he endeavored to bring high-quality drama into American homes and thus produced and hosted Arthur Hopkins Presents.  The program brought to life such classics as "The Philadelphia Story," "The Deluge," "Mr. Pim Passes By," and "Our Town." Actors and actresses who contributed were Katharine Hepburn, Wendell Corey, and Helen Hayes.

We salute the contributions of this author, producer, and host.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 2: Happy Birthday Bob Burns!

Happy Birthday, Bob Burns!

Bob Burns was a radio comedian was best known for playing his "bazooka".  After a stint in vaudeville, he  came into comedy radio starring on the Rudy Vallee Show and Kraft Music Hall.  He ultimately had his own program, "The Bob Burns Show" with  fake hillbilly relatives characters including Uncle Fud, Grandpa Snazzy and Aunt Doody.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October 1: Happy Birthday, Jimmy Carter

Perhaps not quite as funny as George Burns or Jim Jordan; not possessed of the voice of Orson Welles; maybe not as bracing a presence as Vincent Price.  But then again, Jimmy Carter never tried to be a radio star.  He wanted to make a difference in the lives of the poor, the working class, Americans in general and humankind across the globe.  He was the 39th U.S. President, deep into the tradition of the weekly radio broadcast and a couple of decades before Twitter.

In March of 1977, Carter used the existing technology to try to anticipate the immediacy and open access of today's social media.  He hosted a live radio program entitled "Ask President Carter," allowing everyday folks to ask him unscreened questions.  More people seem to remember the Saturday Night Live parody starring Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd.

Available recordings of Carter's speeches include remarks of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran, and issues involving importation of oil from the Middle East.