Friday, April 4, 2014

April 4, 1938: The Debut of Kate Smith's First Noontime Talk show

April 4, 1938: Kate Smith started her debut on a new noontime talk show after 7 years she sang on the airwaves.

Even when she was a kid, Kate Smith already love to dance and sing. She used to perform on theaters and nightclubs before she was discovered by Ted Collins in 1930. Collins was Columbia Records' Vice President who became Smith's partner and manager. He put her on a radio show in 1931 where she experience a huge success. Seven years later, due to the popularity of her radio show, she was also given another one, a day daytime talk show entitled Kate Smith Speaks-- a news and gossip radio program.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

April 3, 1939: NBC airs the Crime Drama 'Mr. District Attorney'

April 3, 1939: On this day NBC presented Mr. District Attorney for the first time. The serial was about a 'champion of the people'. Originally, Mr. District Attorney was a 15 minute nightly program, but in June 1939 it was lengthened to a  half hour weekly program and lasted until 1952.

Mr. District Attorney was a popular radio crime series that aired on NBC until June 13, 1952. The District Attorney, who was not given a name, was portrayed by many different actors, including Dwight West, Raymond Edward Johnson, Jay Jostyn, and David Bryan.

The series was written and created by Ed Byron, a former law student who made use of different criminology texts, statistics, and newspapers to produce a highly-accurate story line and script.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April 2: Happy Birthday, Jack Webb

April 2: Happy Birthday, Jack Webb

The story you are about to read is true.

Jack Webb, born on this day in 1920, is best known in the world of radio for his work on the popular series Dragnet. This radio series was birthed as a way of showcasing the hard work that L.A. police officers did. Webb was, personally, an admirer of cops, and he thought they usually got a bad rap from the media. So, with several acting jobs, some of them as detectives, under his belt, he began developing a program that would showcase the techniques of police.

It became, though, known for the various quirks and mannerisms of Webb's character, Joe Friday: "Just the facts, ma'am," etc. It also lent to the canon of American pop culture the lines from the opening narration, "the story you are about to read is true," and "this is the city: Los Angeles, California."

Books could be--and have been--written on Dragnet. Here, let's mention also that Webb was either the host of or a contributor to other radio series such as Pat Novak For Hire, Jeff Regan, Investigator, The Whistler, and Pete Kelley Blues.

So, happy birthday, Jack Webb! Thanks for the memories!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April 1, 1949: The First all-Black Television show

April 1, 1949: Happy Pappy premiered on WENR TV in Chicago, IL. The show’s actors were all-black, a significant milestone in radio history.

Four Vagabonds, along with Modern Modes, were some of the groups featured in the jazz-oriented show Happy Pappy. The Master of Ceremony for the broadcast, Ray Grant, was also a part of the show, a noted classic pioneer in the field of vocal harmony groups.

Happy Pappy continued after Grant stopped performing due to his loss of sight, but the show did not last long.