Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 25 Radio History

In 1910...Actress/dancer/radio personality Portland Hoffa was born in Portland, Oregon.  After beginning a career in vaudeville she became known nationally as Fred Allen‘s wife and performing partner on his network radio series (1932-49).  She died of natural causes on Christmas Day 1995 at age 85.

In 1915...Alexander Graham Bell in New York spoke to his assistant (Thomas Watson) in San Francisco, inaugurating America’s first transcontinental telephone service.

In script writer Les Crutchfield was born.  He became a prolific writer for Gunsmoke on both radio and television and wrote frequently for the CBS radio shows, Suspense, Escape, Yours Truly Johnny Dollar, Romance and Fort Laramie, popular during the 1940s and 50s. He died while still quite young Oct. 6 1966 at age 50.

In 1919...Longtime Radio/TV journalist Edwin Newman was born. He died August 13, 2010 at 91.

In announcer Roy Rowan was born in Paw Paw, Michigan.  He is best remembered as the warmup guy and announcer for all of Lucille Ball’s TV shows over two decades, but is also fondly recalled as the announcer for “People Are Funny” and especially “Gunsmoke” on radio, and “I Married Joan,” “Rawhide,” “Simon and Simon,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “The Lonesome Dove” miniseries and “Dallas” on television.  He died of heart failure May 10 1998 at age 78.

In 1937...NBC Radio debuted the soap opera The Guiding Light. The longest running daytime drama in history, it moved to CBS-TV in 1952 and aired there for 57 years until the final episode on September 18, 2009.

In 1938...Blues singer Etta James was born. She died on January 20, 2012 at 73.

In 1944...a black maid named Beulah (played by a white man, Marlin Hunt) joined the “Fibber McGee and Molly” radio show for the first time. A spinoff show, “Beulah”, became a radio series in 1945.  But it didn’t last long .. Hurt died a year later.

In 1960…The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) threatened to fine any disc jockey who accepted payola – money, goods or services for playing particular records on the radio.

In 1961...President John F. Kennedy gave the first live Radio/TV presidential news conference from Washington, DC which was broadcast on radio and television.

In 1964...the Beatles reached the #1 spot on North American music charts, as their hit single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, grabbed the top position in “Cash Box” magazine.

In 1999…Radio and television announcer/radio newsman (WOR-New York's Jean Shepherd and Long John Nebel shows) Ted Mallie died at the age of 74.

Mallie started at WOR-Mutual Radio in New York in the mid-1940s. There he announced on such programs as John Steele, Adventurer and I Love a Mystery. He is perhaps better-known to old-time radio buffs, however, as the final announcer for The Shadow during its last two seasons (1953–1954) on the air.

Following the end of WOR's affiliation with Mutual in 1959, Mallie remained with the station as announcer, handling such duties for, and occasionally serving as newsman on, the Long John Nebel and Jean Shepherd shows. After WOR's FM outlet (now WRKS-FM) launched its progressive rock format on July 30, 1966, he even served a spell as a disc jockey for a time, due to a strike by its regular disc jockeys that lasted until October of that year.

Not long afterward, Mallie gravitated towards the station's TV outlet (now WWOR-TV), where he handled station identifications, promos, bumpers and program introductions, most notably for their long-running Million Dollar Movie and horror-movie series Fright Night. By the time Channel 9 moved its studios to Secaucus, New Jersey in 1986, three years after they transferred their city of license there, he and Phil Tonken were the last of the WOR radio announcers from the old-time radio era to still be employed at the station. His last major announcing duties for channel 9 included handling voice-overs for the children's show Steampipe Alley, and announcing for The Richard Bey Show. Mallie's announcing career at WWOR ended in 1994.

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