Friday, April 17, 2015

April 17, 1933: The First Performance of Johnny Roventinni on Radio Ads

April 17, 1933: The well-known commercial phrase ‘Call for Philip Morris,’ uttered by Johnny Roventini, went on air for the first time. He said the catchphrase several times in his characteristic high-pitched voice. Johnny’s red jacket, black hat, and white gloves were given to the American Advertising Museum.

Johnny Roventini, popular as Johnny Philip Morris, was born on August 15, 1910. Although he was less than four feet tall, he was a fully developed adult and worked as a bellboy at the New Yorker Hotel in 1933. He was discovered by an advertising mogul and he was asked to perform a page, issuing a "Call for Philip Morris".

During his career, with his perfect B-flat tone vocal, he repeated those words over a million times (according to his own estimate).

He was known as the representative for Philip Morris brand cigarettes through various media at that time. He was illustrated as a "living trademark" of Philip Morris for over 40 years. He also played in the comedy series I Love Lucy, helping the series achieve success in 1951.

Friday, April 10, 2015

April 10: Debut of "The Falcon" Old Time Radio Show

On this day in 1943, the detective program The Aventures of the Falcon made its radio debut starring Les Damon.  The one and only Michael Waring was "always ready with a hand for oppressed men, and an eye for repressed women."

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 8: Debut Episode of Dimension X

Today in 1950, NBC began airing the science fiction series Dimension X. It flew by the seat of its pants as an non-sponsored, sustaining program, but did just fine for itself. It enjoyed immense success and popularity, and would eventually evolve into another chestnut, X Minus One.

Staff writer Ernest Kinoy adapted top-notch sci-fi works by the likes of Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut; acting talent included Joseph Cotten, Leslie Wood, and John McGovern.

The inaugural episode was "Outer Limit," adapted from a Graham Doar story about aliens carrying a warning to mankind. It had graced the pages of The Saturday Evening Post just months earlier (Dec. 24, 1949). As always, Norman Rose hosted, with Bob Warren announcing.

Monday, April 6, 2015

April 6, 1945: 'This is Your FBI' debuts on ABC

April 6, 1945: "This is Your FBI" made it's first public appearance on ABC.

J. Edgar Hoover referred to it as one of the finest radio programs on the airwaves.  In 8 years, the show ran 409 episodes, with Stacy Harris playing the lead role.

Friday, April 3, 2015

April 3, 1949: When the world met Martin and Lewis

April 3, 1949: Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis appeared for the first time on NBC radio.

The comedy team of Martin and Lewis was widely known throughout the country. Martin was the “straight man,” aka the serious type singer, and Lewis was the comedic foil.

Before the two became a team, Martin worked as a nightclub singer and Lewis performed a lip-synced comedy act.

The duo's career started in nightclubs before moving to radio broadcasts. Eventually the team jumped to television, and finally they began to make appearances on the big screen.

Their 1949 Martin & Lewis radio series came to an end in 1953.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 1: Happy Birthday, Maurice Tarpin

April 1: Happy Birthday, Maurice Tarpin

On this day in 1911, Maurice Tarplin was born. He was best known, perhaps, as the voice of The Mysterious Traveler.