Thursday, July 11, 2019

July 11 Radio History

➦In 1906.
..Harry Von Zell born in Indianapolis (Died of cancer at age 75 – November 21, 1981), He was an announcer of radio programs and an actor in films and television shows. He is best remembered for his work on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, and for once mispronouncing President Herbert Hoover's name on the air, a slip that was exaggerated on a later comedy record album.

Von Zell broke into show business as a singer and announcer at radio station KMIC in Inglewood, California in the mid-1920s. Later, auditioning for Paul Whiteman's radio show in 1929, he was chosen from a field of 250 announcers. When that series came to an end in 1930, he headed for New York and became a CBS staff announcer, working with Fred Allen, Phil Baker, Eddy Duchin and Ed Wynn. He also announced for The Aldrich Family, The Amazing Mr. Smith, and The March of Time. During the 1920s and 1930s von Zell served as announcer on some 20 shows a week.

His longest-running radio partnership was his nine seasons with veteran comedian Eddie Cantor. From October 1940 to June 1949 von Zell served as Cantor's commercial spokesperson and straight man. As Cantor cast member Dinah Shore's solo career began to blossom, she brought von Zell in as announcer on her Birds Eye Open House program.

As a young announcer, von Zell made a memorable verbal slip in 1931 when he referred to U.S. President Herbert Hoover as "Hoobert Heever" during a live tribute on Hoover's birthday. Hoover was not present at this tribute. Zell's blooper came at the end of a lengthy coverage of Hoover's career, in which Zell had pronounced the President's name correctly several times.

➦In 1934...the first appointments to the newly created Federal Communications Commission were made. The governing body was first served by seven men named as commissioners.

➦In 1938...Orson Welles brought his Mercury Theatre Players to CBS radio network for a critically-acclaimed 60-minute weekly series that Campbell’s Soups sponsored.

➦In 1951...Alan Freed debuted his "Moondog Rock 'n' Roll Party," playing mostly rhythm & blues records, on WJW 850 AM in Cleveland.  Freed had been inspired by an offbeat instrumental called "Moondog Symphony" that had been recorded by New York street musician Louis T. Hardin, aka "Moondog". Freed adopted the record as his show's theme music. His on-air manner was energetic, in contrast to many contemporary radio presenters of traditional pop music, who tended to sound more subdued and low-key in manner. He addressed his listeners as if they were all part of a make-believe kingdom of hipsters, united in their love for black music.He also began popularizing the phrase "rock and roll" to describe the music he played.

➦In 1970...Dandy Dan Daniel did his final show on WMCA 570 AM, NYC.

Roger Christian
➦In 1991...Los Angeles radio personality/lyricist Roger Christian died at age 57.

Christian worked as a radio personality in Los Angeles in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. He was one of the original "Boss Jocks" when 93KHJ debuted in 1965. His radio career started in Buffalo, New York in the mid-1950s.

He moved to the west coast and worked for other radio stations in Los Angeles, including KFWB (AM), KGBS (AM-FM), KBLA, KDAY, KRTH-FM, KRLA (AM), and KIQQ-FM.  Christian was also one of the writer/narrators on the 1964 Capitol Records documentary LP The Beatles' Story.

Christian suffered from periodic depression.  He was the only original KHJ "Boss Jock" not to appear at the 25th reunion on May 9, 1990. He died of complications of kidney and liver failure.

➦In 2005...singer Frances Langford died of heart failure at age 91. She sang weekly on Bob Hope’s NBC radio show in the 1940’s, and co-starred with Don Ameche in the wildly popular radio skit “The Bickersons”.

➦In 2010...the inimitable Yankee Stadium PA announcer for an incredible 56 years Bob Sheppard died at age 99.  He was also the in-house voice for a half-century of NY Giants football games.

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