Friday, December 25, 2015

December 25, 1937: Arturo Toscanini's NBC Debut

December 25, 1937: Symphony of the Air was performed for the first time on NBC by Arturo Toscanini.

Arturo Toscanini, an Italian conductor, was one of the most renowned musicians of the 19th and 20th centuries. He became a household name in the United States through his television and radio broadcasting.

When Toscanini returned to the U.S. in 1937, an orchestra, called The NBC Symphony Orchestra, was created especially for him. He conducted his first NBC concert on Christmas day of that year, in a specially-built studio in New York City's Rockefeller Center.

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.