Thursday, December 24, 2015

December 24, 1944: Eight to the Bar Ranch airs on ABC

December 24, 1944: The Andrews Sisters were featured in the first episode of The Andrews Sisters' Eight-to-the-Bar Ranch on ABC.

Maxene, Patty,and LaVerne ran an imaginary guest ranch. American George 'Gabby' Hayes and Vic Schoen's pop group were permanent guests. The ranch remained on air until 1946.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December 22, 1922: The First Radio Promotion

December 22, 1922: This day is the first double wedding ceremony broadcast on WEAF. This is proof that WEAF could be a pillar of radio promotion; the wedding ceremony at Grand Central Palace was watched by 4,000 spectators. The WEAF coorperated with the American Radio Exposition to conduct this classic radio broadcast and participating wedding couples received $100 as compensation.

As the pioneer sponsored program broadcasting station, WEAF use long distance telephone service to broadcast their program. WEAF made arrangment between sponsorhip company and others radio stations that would be the chain station for equal distribution of service cost. The chain station received a portion of advertising program fee or could obtain non advertising program of the chain management for a fee.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

December 12: Happy Birthday, Edward G Robinson

Edward G Robinson could attack a role and make it not only his, but perpetuate a level of expertise that would keep others from having the same effectiveness in the casting.

Born in 1893, this Romanian-American cast a spell over Hollywood with his dynamic approach to serious acting that transcended the industry. Most people remember his as Ricco in Little Caesar and the too-ambitious dathan in The Ten Commandments.

In his 50 years of acting, Robinson was cast in more than 100 motion pictures and a sampling of stage. His voice was used in a few on-air radio characterizations of hit dramas. Besides being an ardent actor, Edward G. participated in politics during the 30’s and 40’s as a die-hard opponent of buying German made goods. Robinson, however, became entangled in the 50’s congressional witch hunts of communist sympathizers, which Robinson was able to keep his name clean. However, like many an actor during that period of our country’s history, Mr Robinson saw less in the way of the big-name pictures being sent his way. He continued to participate in acting and entertaining as the proverbial tough-guy. He was married twice, and had one son who also became an actor. Edward G. Robinson made his character’s become as real or personable as how he felt they should be. He knew his craft, and played it well.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

December 5: Happy Birthday, William Spier

A happy birthday this time, not to an actor or a commander of the microphone, but to a writer and producer, William Spier.  Lovers of Adventures of Sam Spade and Suspense have enjoyed the good work of Spier.

Born today in 1906, Spier started his writing career as a critic for the magazine Musical America.  After foraying into radio in 1929, he decided he'd like to stay in the medium a bit longer. He got a job as a director of the news show The March of Time.  It began as a WLW (Cincinnati) program that gave voice to materail from Time magazine.  It eventually evolved into The March of Time, on which talented actors dramatized the day's big news stories.  Spiers got a chance to work with huge stars such as Everett Sloane, Orson Welles, Lionel Barrymore, Nancy Kelly, and Joseph Cotten.

From there, it was a stint as the chief of the writing department at CBS, a gig that led to his producership of Suspense and then The Adventures of Sam Spade.

So let's salute this talented behind-the-scenes man.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November 25, 1920: The First Broadcast of Play by Play College Football By Radio Station

November 25, 1920:  For the first time in College Station, WTAW broadcast a play-by-play radio football match, during which Texas University beat the Aggies of Texas A&M by a score of 7-3

WTAW was one of the oldest radio stations continually in service for their listeners around central Texas
At the time of the broadcast, communication for a wide range was commonly conveyed by dots and dashes using the International Morse radio telegraph code.

The vacuum tubes that would be used for voice transmission did not exist yet. Transmissions by code were much slower than by voice. Harry Saunders, previously an operator at Western Union, advertised the play by play football at Texas University using a commercial telegraph to notify the public that there would be a list of abbreviations that was being prepared.

When they heard about the news, 275 then-licensed amateur radio operators in the state requested a copy of the list. Thus, WTAW transmitted the broadcast through those amateur radios, and what had started out as a point-to-point broadcast reached many listeners in the state.

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23, 1929: The Marriage of Shirley Booth and Ed Gardner

November 23, 1929:  Shirley Booth and Ed Gardner married on this date. Ms. Booth was a famous actress who played the title role on the television show Hazel. She also appeared with her husband on Duffy's Tavern as Miss Duffy and Archie.

In the years following her marriage to Ed Gardner , Ms. Booth win every major acting award without formal dramatic or musical training.  Her performance in the role of smart, sassy, take-charge maid on the TV sitcom Hazel propelled the show to the top of the ratings charts. She won two Emmys for Best Actress while on the show.

Their marriage ended in divorce in 1942 and each would go on to remarry.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Judy Canova Show Debut

With her syrupy Southern drawl, Judy Canova hosted her show with a disarming charm. Opening with a monologue, she'd then sing a number and go into skits or performances of the musical guest. Each half an hour episode was sponsored by Colgate and aired Tuesdays by CBS, from July '43 to May '53.

Other stars of the Judy Canova Show were Mel Blanc, Sheldon Leonard, Verna Felton and Ruby Dandridge. It was on the Judy Canova Show that Mel Blanc developed the Sylvester the cat and Speedy Gonzalez characters he would later make famous on cartoons, though they appeared here under different names.

The song "Goodnight Soldier" was a wartime favorite, and Canova recorded it in 1946.

Canova (1913-1983) was born into a vaudeville family in Starke, Florida. Though not from the Ozarks, she somehow acquired the moniker "the Ozark Nightingale." Like just about everyone in show business, she aspired to be taken seriously. In her case, though, she was saddled with the country bumpkin image early on and never shook it. However, in addition to her radio work and her singing, she also made several movie appearances.