She is best remembered as Kingfish’s mother-in-law in Amos & Andy, both radio & TV. In the late 1930’s she had been featured on the radio soaps Young Dr. Malone, Romance of Helen Trent and Big Sister. She was one of several actresses to play Beulah on TV, and was a cast member on The Danny Thomas Show.
She suffered a fatal stroke August 24, 1967, a week short of her 71st birthday.
She created the inimitable radio character Vera Vague in the late 1930’s, and played the wise-cracking man-chasing spinster to the hilt in her regular spots on Bob Hope’s Pepsodent radio programs. She was part of his USO troupe during WWII. In addition to an extensive radio resume she appeared in some 60 films, and hosted (as Vera) the CBS TV audience participation show Follow the Leader in 1953. She died Sept. 14 1974, just 12 days after turning 68.
➦In 1931...the radio show, "15 Minutes with Bing Crosby", debuted on CBS.
By 1925, Crosby had formed a vocal duo with partner Al Rinker, brother of singer Mildred Bailey. Bailey introduced Rinker and Crosby to Paul Whiteman, who was at that time America's most famous bandleader. Hired for $150 a week in 1926, they made their debut on December 6 at the Tivoli Theatre in Chicago. Their first recording was "I've Got The Girl", with Don Clark's Orchestra, but the Columbia-issued record did them no vocal favors, as it was inadvertently recorded at a speed slower than it should have been, which increased the singers' pitch when played at 78 rpm. Throughout his career, Crosby often credited Mildred Bailey for getting him his first important job in the entertainment business.
Even as the Crosby and Rinker duo was increasing in popularity, Whiteman added a third member to the group. The threesome, now including pianist and aspiring songwriter Harry Barris, were dubbed "The Rhythm Boys". They joined the Whiteman touring act, performing and recording with musicians Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy Dorsey, Eddie Lang and Hoagy Carmichael, also appearing together in a Whiteman movie.
Crosby soon became the star attraction of the Rhythm Boys, and in 1928 he had his first number one hit with the Whiteman orchestra, a jazz-influenced rendition of "Ol' Man River". However, Crosby's reported taste for alcohol and his growing dissatisfaction with Whiteman led to his quitting the Rhythm Boys to join the Gus Arnheim Orchestra. During his time with Arnheim, the other two Rhythm Boys were increasingly pushed to the background as the emphasis was on Crosby. Harry Barris wrote several of Crosby's subsequent hits including "At Your Command", "I Surrender Dear", and "Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams". But the members of the band had a falling out and split, setting the stage for Crosby's solo career.
On September 2, 1931, Crosby made his solo radio debut. Before the end of the year, he signed with both Brunswick Records and CBS Radio. Doing a weekly 15-minute radio broadcast, Crosby quickly became a huge hit. His songs "Out of Nowhere", "Just One More Chance", "At Your Command" and "I Found a Million Dollar Baby (in a Five and Ten Cent Store)" were all among the best selling songs of 1931.
➦In 1945…Aboard the USS Missouri, Japan formally surrendered to the United States, ending World War II, six years and one day after it began.
➦In 1963..."The CBS Evening News," anchored by Walter Cronkite, became network television's first half-hour weeknight news broadcast, lengthened from its original 15 minutes.
➦In 1968...Music Directors at radio stations across the country received a new 45 from a new group called Creedence Clearwater Revival. They didn't know much about them other than their first single was called "Suzie Q". They played it, and the rest is history.
➦In 1973...Some of The Top Albums of 1973* were out on this date. Chicago VI remained at #1, Pink Floyd moved back up to #2 with The Dark Side of the Moon, Foreigner from Cat Stevens was fourth while the Allman Brothers Band moved from 13 to 4 with the biggest album they would ever have--Brothers and Sisters. The rest of the Top 10: Touch Me in the Morning from Diana Ross, A Passion Play from Jethro Tull dropped from 2, Machine Head by Deep Purple had been out a year and was moving up to #7, We're An American Band from Grand Funk moved from 15 to 8, Made in Japan by Deep Purple was #9 and Fresh by Sly & the Family Stone completed the list.
➦In 1974...Reunion released "Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)" on this date. Many custom versions were made for Top40 stations across the country. WCFL 1000 AM in Chicago had one. Here is the version for crosstown rival WLS 890 AM...
➦In 1986...WAPP changed to WQHT 103.5 FM.