Thursday, May 11, 2017

May 11 Radio History

➦In 1912...comedian & actor Foster Brooks was born in Louisville.

Foster Brooks
His career started in radio, notably with Marshall Krieger at station WHAS-AM in Louisville. He was a staff announcer, and his deep baritone voice was also well-suited for singing. Brooks gained fame for his reporting of the Ohio River flood of 1937, where he was featured on emergency broadcasts by WHAS and also WSM-AM from Nashville, Tennessee. In 1952, Brooks appeared on local TV in a short-lived spoof of Gene Autry and his "Singing Cowboys".

He later worked in local broadcasting as a radio and TV personality in Buffalo and Rochester, New York, before moving to the West Coast to launch a career as a stand-up comic and character actor. In Buffalo, Brooks performed with a country and western vocal group known as the Hi-Hatters.

In 1960, Brooks moved with his family to Los Angeles to seek more professional opportunities

He then began his drunk act, which went over well with crowds at Las Vegas nightclubs and on television. Brooks was a frequent guest on talk and variety shows and numerous Dean Martin celebrity roasts. Despite his on-screen personna he actually quit drinking in the early 1960s, on a bet, and remained a teetotaler for the rest of his life. He died Dec. 20 2001 at age 89.

➦In 1946...Jack Barry, later a familiar face on TV game shows, hosted Juvenile Jury as it premiered on WOR radio in New York City. The show was such a hit after five weeks on the air that it moved to the Mutual Broadcasting System coast to coast. Maybe Barry became a bit too familiar in 1959. It was Twenty One, the enormously popular show that Barry hosted, that led to the Quiz Show Scandal that rocked television and the U.S. Congress.

➦In Frankie Thomas, the star of the juvenile adventure series “Tom Corbett Space Cadet” on both radio and TV (he beat out Jack Lemmon for the role), died of respiratory failure following a stroke at age 85.

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