Jeff Kallman's excellent The Easy Ace: A Journal of Classic Radio
is a wonderful place to spend hours on end, rediscovering the Golden Age of Radio
as it's meant to be discovered and celebrated. Article after article
is filled with a wonderful new vignette about Golden Age Radio History.
---The Digital Deli Online.

[I]n his matchless on-this-day approach to chronicling “yesteryear,”
he easily aces out a less organized mind like mine,
which promptly lapsed into a more idiosyncratic mode of relating the past.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Farewell, Major: The Way It Was, 13 June

1946---Edward Bowes, whose weekly amateur talent show will become perhaps the best-remembered old-time radio show of its kind, dies at home in Rumson, New Jersey---72 years to the day after he was born in San Francisco. The show will continue with Bowes's talent coordinator, Ted Mack, as its host; Mack will shepherd the show to television nineteen months after Bowes's death.

But the show will remain Major Bowes's Original Amateur Hour until 1951, when it drops Bowes's name from the title. One year later, the show will leave radio at last but remain a television fixture for almost two more decades---becoming Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour in 1955.

Despite the formal title of the show, it was actually an hourlong program only once in its long broadcasting life, on ABC television from March 1956 through June 1957.

And, for all that it's remembered, only a very few performers who ever appeared on the show went on to become major stars: jazz-pop titan Frank Sinatra, opera stars Lily Pons, Robert Merrill, and Beverly Sills, comedian Jack Carter, and pop singer Teresa Brewer.


1897: MAKING A JOYOUS BROADCAST NOISE UNTO THE LORD---Reuben Larson, the eventual co-founder (with Clarence Jones of the Salvation Army) of the World Radio Missionary Fellowship, is born. The fellowship, based in Opa Locka, Florida since 1969, will make its first broadcast (under the call letters HCJB, still in use today) 12 December 1931.


1946: RED-HEADED STRANGER---Driving around the San Fernando Valley one Sunday, Rogue (Dick Powell) calls on a friend with a property in the area and discovers him dead, right before he's knocked out cold himself, on tonight's edition of Rogue's Gallery. (Mutual.)

Additional cast: Unknown. Writer: Ray Bufham.

1946: TOO MANY SMITHS---A janitor (Hume Cronyn) finding a memo with the name of a toothpaste contest winner from Boston ponders a piece of the $25,000 pot but finds a deadly surprise when he hunts the winner, on tonight's edition of Suspense. (CBS.)

Additional cast: Unknown. Writer: Unknown.


1873---Jean Adair (actress: Radio Guild; Theater Guild on the Air), Hamilton, Ontario.
1890---Elmer Davis (news reporter/commentator, CBS, U.S. Office of War Information, NBC: Elmer Davis and the News), Aurora, Indiana.
1892---Basil Rathbone (actor: Sherlock Holmes; Scotland Yard's Inspector Burke), Johannesburg.
1894---Mark Van Doren (poet: NBC University Theater; Invitation to Learning), Hope, Illinois.
1900---Ian Hunter (actor: Hollywood Hotel), Kenilworth, South Africa.
1903---Jack Fulton (singer: Paul Whiteman's Painters Show), Philipsburg, Pennsylvania.
1913---Bob Bailey (actor: Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar; Let George Do It), Toledo, Ohio; Ralph Edwards (announcer/host: Truth or Consequences), Merino, Colorado.
1916---Mary Wickes (actress: Meet Corliss Archer; Lorenzo Jones), St. Louis.
1920---Ben Johnson (actor: Francis Burke for Attorney General), Pawnee, Oklahoma.


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