Saturday, June 24, 2017

June 25 Radio History

➦In 1942...the first broadcast of the unique, hilariously-scripted panel show “It Pays to Be Ignorant” was aired on WOR Radio and the Mutual Broadcasting System. It eventually spanned 9 years on the air, moving first (in 1944) to CBS and in 1951 to NBC.

The satirical series featured "a board of experts who are dumber than you are and can prove it." Tom Howard was the quizmaster who asked questions of dim-bulb panelists Harry McNaughton, Lulu McConnell and George Shelton.

Each episode would start with some jokes ("Do married men live longer than single men?"... "No, it only seems longer.") and an introduction of the experts. After this, three or four questions would be discussed in detail: some posed by Howard, some picked at random by a guest from the audience. These questions often had the answer obvious in the query ("What town in Massachusetts had the Boston Tea Party?") or were common knowledge.

➦In 1949…Billboard magazine changed the name of its country music hit parade from Hillbilly Music Chart to Country & Western.

➦In 1970…The U.S. Federal Communications Commission ruled it illegal for radio stations to put telephone calls on the air without the permission of the person being called.

➦In 1976...songwriter/singer & broadcast personality Johnny Mercer, who wrote the lyrics to more than 1,000 songs, including That old Black Magic, Swinging on a Star, Accentuate the Positive, Hooray for Hollywood, and Days of Wine & Roses,  who had 19 Academy Award nominations, died asa result of brain cancer surgery at age 66.  In 1942 he had become a co-founder of Capitol Records.

➦In 1988...Radio disc jockey Mildred E. Gillars, better known during World War Two as "Axis Sally" for her Nazi propaganda broadcasts, died. She was 87. Gillars served 12 years in prison for treason.

Mildred Gillars
Born Mildred Elizabeth Sisk in Portland, Maine, she took the surname Gillars in 1911 after her mother remarried. At 16, she moved to Conneaut, Ohio, with her family.  In 1918 she enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan University to study dramatic arts but left before graduating. She then moved to Greenwich Village, New York City, where she worked in various low-skill jobs to finance drama lessons. She toured with stock companies and appeared in vaudeville but she was unable to establish a theatrical career.

In 1929, Gillars left the U.S. for France. In 1934 she moved to Dresden, Germany, to study music, later being employed as a teacher of English at the Berlitz School of Languages in Berlin.

In 1940 she obtained work as an announcer with the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft (RRG), German State Radio.

By 1941, as the U.S. State Department was advising American nationals to return home, Gillars chose to stay in Germany after her fiancé, a naturalized German citizen named Paul Karlson, said that he would never marry her if she returned to the United States.

Until 1942 Gillars' broadcasts were largely apolitical. This changed when Max Otto Koischwitz, the program director in the USA Zone at the RRG, cast Gillars in a new show called Home Sweet Home.

Soon she acquired several names amongst her GI listeners, including Berlin Bitch, Berlin Babe, Olga, and Sally, but the one that became most common was "Axis Sally".

She remained in Berlin until the end of the war. Her last broadcast was on May 6, 1945, just two days before the German surrender.

➦In 2006…Music producer/arrranger Arif Martin, who spent 30 years with Atlantic Records, died from pancreatic cancer at age 74.

Arif Martin
He produced many hit artists including The Rascals, Carly Simon, Petula Clark, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, the Bee Gees, Diana Ross, Queen, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Lulu, Anita Baker, Judy Collins, Phil Collins, Scritti Politti, Culture Club, Roberta Flack, Average White Band, Hall & Oates, Donny Hathaway, Norah Jones, Daniel Rodriguez, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Melissa Manchester, Side Show, The Manhattan Transfer, Modern Jazz Quartet, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Leo Sayer, Dusty Springfield, David Bowie, Raul Midon, Mamas Pride, Jewel and Ringo Starr.

It was Mardin who, when producing the Bee Gees' 1975 hit "Nights on Broadway," discovered the distinctive falsetto of Barry Gibb, which became a familiar trademark of the band throughout the disco era.

➦In superstar Michael Jackson died at age 50, after suffering heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills.

Jackson is credited with transforming the music video into an art form and a promotional tool. Four of his solo albums are among the world’s best-selling records: Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991) and HIStory (1995), while his 1982 Thriller is the world’s best-selling record of all time with sales of over 50 million. Guinness World Records list’s him as one of the “Most Successful Entertainer of All Time”, with 13 Grammy Awards and 13 number one singles.

No comments:

Post a Comment