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August 12th in Radio History – Free MP3 Files

August 12, 1940
Pittsburgh Press

Scarlett in Demand for Radio

But There’s a Big Catch in Producer’s Plan

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By Si Steinhauser

That Scarlett O’Hara quest is here again.  And so is a hunt for a sponsor willing to part with enough dough to pay for a radio serialized form of “Gone With the Wind.”  First must come the sponsor, then radio’s “Scarlett.”

The man behind the scene is Ed Wolf, discoverer of Mary Small, creator of Hilltop House, the O’Neills and other radio successes.  His is the same Ed Wolf who as manager of the Vincent Lopez orchestra made it the first in the land and kept it there for many a year.

Ed has the inside on broadcast rights for the famous movie which smashed boxoffice records from coast-to-coast and promises to do the same trick when it returns in 1941 at popular prices.

All he needs is a sponsor.  Finding a suitable Scarlett for radio would be no trick.  We could name one right off, little Janice Gilbert, juvenile star of a half dozen network shows, and one of radio’s leading cry babies.  Her dad is Ed Wolf.  His brother is the famous song composer, Wolf Gilbert.  And there you have all of the names.

Ann Elstner, who became famous as “Cracker Gaddis” of Moonshine and Honeysuckle would be another candidate for the cast.

Now if Ed finds a sponsor for Margaret Mitchell’s novel he’ll get radio by the cars with his hunt for Scarlett.

August 11th in Radio History – Free MP3 Files 

August 11, 1932
Pittsburgh Press

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President Hoover is going to have things pretty much his own way on the ether waves at 10 o’clock tonight.  The city’s three chain stations, KDKA, WCAE and WJAS will carry the formal notification speech and Mr. Hoover’s acceptance of the Republican presidential nomination.  KDKA will be doing a triple job; broadcasting on the regular frequency, short waving on 6140 and 11.870 kilocycles.  If you prefer music—KQV and WWSW.

Pittsburgh, at least, must have reached that prosperity corner—here’s nothing but an an announcement that Eddie Peyton, the operator of that hot night spot not far from downtown is going on the air every night over WJAS at 11:30.  Anyway, Jimmy Murray, the press agent, says it’s so.  There was some smoke but no fire about putting Russ Columbo on the air when he hits town tomorrow night.  But somehow there was a slip:  the story seems to be that an NBC artist can’t do his stuff over a station on the rival Columbia chain.

But going back to that political business again; we wonder if the Republicans are paying for that time tonight.  Probably night.  The chains got together the other day and agreed that from now until the fall elections—“pay as you go” on political speeches.  But this event tonight is something the stations fight to get.  The United Press comes through with the story that the companies anticipate a million dollars worth of business this election but so far—nothing doing.  Maybe that approximately $16,000 an hour for a nation’s hook-up has something to do with it, huh?

Maybe, like Gracie Allen, we “weren’t in the mood for it” last night, but it seemed as though the clever comedy team had lost some of its usual punch.  Or maybe we’re wrong.  The way they took the pronunciation of the names Colonel Stoopnagle and Bud was rather amusing, though.

In the day’s post come a couple of hints from “A Radio Fan.”  He—or she—says “the artists at WWSW who put on the ‘Behind the Kitchen Door’ spoil an otherwise exceptionally good and original program by the lady taking the part of a maid.  It is distorted, as no maid would ever dare to talk back to an employer as she does—or would any employer permit it.”  That sounds reasonable.  The Radio Fan continues “The Goldman Band on KDKA gives a program which, in my humble opinion, cannot be equalled.  But why give us a long list of classical compositions and then render at the very most but four?”  And now, dear Radio Fan, about your complaints about the Goldberg and Amos ‘n’ Andy advertising—our friend and regular conductor of this column, Si Steinhauser, who is far, far away from the job on vacation, has often and very pointedly expressed his opinion of all long-winded advertising talks.

Somehow or other, we get a funny kick out of the way some of these orchestras jazz up these sentimental tunes—you know, shrieking clarinets and heavy brass effects on a tune similar to “Somebody Stole My Gal” like Johnny Johnston’s orchestra last night on WWSW.  But it’s all right with us.

Listenin’ in on the chatter at KDKA yesterday:  Bill Rose, continuity writer and guardian angel of many a struggling entertainer, now wears the title of “Production Man.”  Congrats, Bill.

A peep into the future—via the press agents—shows that Dr. Sigmund Spaeth, the famous “Tune Detective,” will begin a new series of programs tonight under the monicker of “The Song Sleuth.”  KDKA at 8:15.

WWSW promises a new program, an hour of dance music from Webster Hall every Sunday afternoon from 5 to 6—played by Bill Cowden and his orchestra.  Remember?  They furnished the music for many of the flights of the Mythical Dirigible, piloted by Joe Sartory and Jerry Wyman.

It’s often asked:  “What do radio stars do with their money?”  P. A. (press agent) rises to the occasion again—this time to inform the world that the Boswell Sisters, Columbia stars, put every penny they earn, except $100 a week each, into a trust fund which they cannot touch for at least 10 years.  So that’s that.

Pity the poor reporters—what a ride they were taken for with Jack Benny last night.  One came puffing into the program to get some information—he was looking for some dope on that program.  Jack said he must mean Paul Small.  The program—good as usual.

If you were listening for Senator L. J. Dickinson last night and didn’t hear him, blame it on the chain; the program was cancelled at the last minute.

WWSW’s scoop last night, the Leonard-Walker fight broadcast was all wet—or almost so.  Threatening weather forced a postponement until tonight. — C. B. K.

August 10th in Radio History  (list and links)

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August 10, 1932
Pittsburgh Press

If you happened to be listenin’ in yesterday morning to Duke and Gene with Sammy Fuller on KDKA, you may have noticed some extra cornet stuff on one of the numbers.  That’s Gene’s job usually, but he was busy singing, so Glenn Riggs, the announcer, did a bit.  Versatility!

Bob Waddell, head football coach at Carnegie Tech, and Elmer Layden, athletic director and football coach at Duquesne, will tell all about the new football rules; the greatest players they ever coached; a work about the late Knute Rockne, and about some of their plans for the season on The Press – KDKA Cracker-Barrel sports broadcast tonight at 10:45.  They will be interviewed by Lester Biederman of The Press sports staff.  Bill Farren, of course, is the master of ceremonies.

Telephone call:  “How much does Mildred Bailey weigh; a hundred pounds?”  It’s anybody’s guess but ours would be 175.

The press agents hurry in with news about accordionists:  Tony Lombardo of KQV Jack and Tony fame, started a solo program, “Lombardo and his Accordion,” at 12:45 today.  It’ll be on every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the same time.  He has a squeeze-box rival in Quento Vitale who is scheduled to do a 15-minute program on WWSW tonight at 9:45 p. m.

Two Pittsburgh stations, WJAS and WCAE, will carry President Hoover’s address as he formally accepts the Republican nomination for the presidency tomorrow night; WCAE at 10 and WJAS at 10:15.

Here’s some dope for the shufflers—or dancers, if you prefer.  Cab Calloway will be in town tomorrow and will broadcast from the Willows at 7:45 and 11 tomorrow night over WWSW.  Vincent Lopez, so they tell us, will be on WWSW for a couple of programs later this month.  And Ben Bernie . . . but more of that later.  Jimmy Zummo, back from a seashore vacation, takes his band to KQV at 7:30 . . . Russ Columbo will be at Eddie Payton’s Friday night but will not broadcast.

Seems to be an epidemic—Jack Pettis, leader of the band at the William Penn and heard over KDKA regularly, no sooner had returned to his band after recovering from an attack of appendicitis than one of his piano players, Wayne Euchner, was stricken.  Euchner was operated on yesterday morning; last night he was reported resting comfortably.  Incidentally, Wayne is the composer of that nameless, as yet, theme song used to Jack Pettis.

There were some nice voices on the air last night—Mildred Follart, a pupil of Richard Knotts, a KQV veteran, sang several pleasing numbers early in the evening.  Samuel Di Primio came along a bit later on KDKA with plenty of power; and still later, on the same station, we heard a snatch of one and a whole tune sung by Jack Fulton, featured tenor soloist with Paul Whiteman, who last night started a new series of solo programs.  There’s only one word to describe his voice—soothing.

Frank Crumit put a new twist on an old gag. . . .  Somebody was telling about the old maid who declared that she wouldn’t marry the smartest, the best looking, the richest man in the world.  Frank said that she’d probably change her mind—his wife did.

Ed ‘Perfect Fool’ Wynn was there and then some on WCAE last night.  He rolled ’em in the aisles as usual—for instance:  He wants to see the secretary of agriculture, one of his geraniums isn’t doing so well. . . .  The best way to keep cream from souring?  Easy, leave it inside the cow.  His uncle, he said, has a 12-horsepower car.  Graham McNamee wouldn’t believe it.  “How do you know?”  “I lifted the hood myself and counted 12 plugs.”  Play it Don.  Graham proved that even the best of them boot ’em; shouting through his commercial plug he loudly proclaimed it “gasoloon.”  And did Ed have fun?

Somebody said, it seems to run in our mind, that Arthur Tracy, the Street Singer, who, incidentally, is writing the guest column today, had been forced off the air to rest his voice.  Maybe so, but he satisfied as he made his debut with that satisfying program. — C. B. K.

Jack Benny Christmas Shows

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Before television, Christmas generally included a well-loved or much anticipated radio show with a Christmas theme.  Not a year went by when a special presentation of “A Christmas Carol”, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Miracle on 34th Street”, or a Disney movie converted into a radio play was not heard!  And Christmas just wasn’t Christmas without a special Jack Benny Christmas episode—the best of which, consisted of Jack and Mary shopping for Christmas presents for the gang.  This most hilarious of all of Jack Benny’s Christmas shopping shows, consisted of Jack shopping for a particular item to give to Don Wilson, his announcer.

It all started in 1946 when the ever-thrifty Jack Benny decided to buy shoelaces for Don.  Shoelaces for Christmas?  Well, that’s just the Jack was!  Cheap!  Hilarity ensued when Jack couldn’t decide on plastic-tipped or metal-tipped shoelaces.  As soon as Jack would step away from the counter, he would change his mind.  Metal-tipped shoelaces tend to rust, but plastic-tipped shoelaces tend to crack.  The show would always end with the clerk (played by Mel Blanc) going insane.

The next such Christmas show was in 1951 when Jack bought cuff links for the hefty Don Wilson, but made several trips back to the counter to change the engraving.  In 1952, Jack bought a gopher trap; in 1953 he bought a box of dates and in 1954 he bought a paint set.  Included below are also the 1947 and 1950 episodes, both of which make reference to the 1946 shoelace episode, but don’t include the back-and-forth shopping routines.

I just quickly threw these episodes together, so if I’m missing any of the classic “shopping for Don” episodes, let me know!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

12-08-1946 – Jack Benny buys shoelaces for Don – MP3

12-21-1947 – The Jack Benny Show – Last minute Christmas shopping – MP3
(Reference to the “shoelaces episode”)

12-17-1950 – Jack Benny buys golf tees for Don – MP3
(Reference to the “shoelaces episode”)

12-02-1951 – Jack buys cuff links for Don – MP3

12-14-1952 – Jack buys a gopher trap for Don – MP3

12-27-1953 – Jack buys a box of dates for Don – MP3

12-05-1954 – Jack buys a paint set for Don

“Santa Got Held Up By a Flapper” Sweatshirt – Available from Our Krazy Kulture

The Deseret News – December 23, 1949

Edmund Gwenn to Give Famous Santa Program

The award-winning “Miracle on 34th Street,” with the original star Edmund Gwenn, will be the presentation on Screen Directors’ Playhouse” tonight on KDYL (NBC), heard at 8:00 p.m.

The “Miracle” of the story’s title is brought about by a bewhiskered old fellow who calls himself Kris Kringle, and claims to be the original, the one and only Santa Claus.  As such, he is well pleased to take the throne in the R. H. Macy and Company’s toy department, where he raises hob with the Christmas rush by directing customers to rival stores.

Edmund Gwenn’s Santa role will continue even after he goes into the studio audience and off the air.  He will step down [and] present gifts to some 500 underprivileged children who will be the special Christmas Hollywood guests of the Screen Directors’ Guild.

George Seaton, who directed the film version of “Miracle on 34th Street” will be guest commentator.

Miracle on 34th Street – MP3s
The first episode below is the episode which is mentioned in the above article, from December 23, 1949.  The following episodes are listed chronologically.

12-23-1949:  Screen Directors’ Playhouse – 30 minutes

12-22-1947:  Lux Radio Theater  Poor audio – 1 hour

12-20-1948:  Lux Radio Theater – 1 hour

12-21-1950:  Screen Directors’ Theater – 1 hour

12-21-1954:  Lux Radio Theater – 48 minutes

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December 21, 1934 – St. Petersburg Times

Santa Claus Already Drops In on Radio Entertainers With New Contracts for ’35

By C. E. Butterfield NEW YORK, Dec. 20—Santa Claus has dropped in already on many of the top-notchers of radio.

But it isn’t the old gentleman’s dropping in alone that has ushered in a burst of early Christmas cheer—it’s the breath-taking contracts he’s dropped into many a prematurely hung rock or stocking.

To Eddie Cantor has gone the bulkiest gift of the lot to date. When the heavy-browed comedian returns to the air in February, he will top them all with a contract calling for $10,000 a Sunday—divided $7,000 for himself and $3,000 for needed program makeup.

This figure isn’t so far above the amount due Kate Smith beginning with her new series, Christmas eve. Altogether she will be making $7,150 per week, $5,000 for a Monday night show, $1,500 for a local station appearance and $650 for her Wednesday matinee.

The Revelers quartet will rate $1,500 per microphone singing. Edwin C. Hill can figure up approximately $2,500 for four programs a week as commentator. The highest paid orchestra on the networks is declared to be the Fred Waring group at $6,000 for one program, or $10,000 for two a week.

It was in this $6,000 a week class that Santa already has placed Will Rogers, Ed Wynn, Jack Benny, John Charles Thomas, and Morton Downey, although out of his $6,000 for two programs Downey must pay the orchestra and narrator.

The list doesn’t stop there. Santa hasn’t done so badly by some others as the following list shows:

$5,000—Phil Baker and his accodion; Rosa Ponselle, operatic soprano.

$4,500—Grace Moore, soon to start a new series.

$4,000—Bing Crosby and Lawrence Tibbett.

$3,500—Guy Lombardo’s orchestra and Fred Allen.

$3,000—Roxy (S. L. Rothafel). Burns and Allen and Joe Penner.

$2,800—Rudy Vallee.

$2,500—Helen Hayes beginning a new series soon and Nino Martini.

$2,000—Stoopnagle and Budd and Alexander Woollcott.

$1,200—Gertrude Niesen.

CHARLIE MCCARTHY

December 1, 1939
The Free-Lance Star

White House favor means nothing to Edgar Bergen (Charlie McCarthy).

When the National Press Club made preparations for their annual dinner honoring the President, they asked Roosevelt what American entertainer he would most like to hear.  The answer was—Charlie McCarthy.

Promptly a wire went to Hollywood, telling Bergen of the President’s desire to hear him, and asking him to come to the dinner.  A note of caution was added that Bergen should not exploit this appearance to his own advantage.

To the dismay of Press Club officers, the reply came that Bergen was about to start production of a new picture and could not come.

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