Tuesday, July 2, 2019

July 2 Radio History

➦In 1916...Radio personality Barry Gray born Bernard Yaroslaw (Died  – December 21, 1996). He is considered  "The father of Talk Radio" by many

Barry Gray
Initially a disc jockey (a role he portrayed in the 1949 short subject Spin That Splatter), Gray was working for New York's WMCA radio station in 1945 when he, bored one evening with simply spinning music, decided to put the telephone receiver up to his microphone and share his conversation with the listening audience. The caller that evening just happened to be bandleader Woody Herman, one of the most popular celebrities of the day. This spontaneous live interview was such a hit with both his listeners as well as station bosses, that the talk radio format resulted. Gray subsequently began doing listener call-ins as well.

Rival station WOR also saw the attraction of the talk format, and Gray worked an overnight shift there from 1945 to 1948 or 1949.  He also broadcast for WMGM from the Copacabana night club in the late 1940s.  In addition during 1947 he hosted the New York-based show Scout About Town for the Mutual Broadcasting System.

Gray also pioneered in early television, first as the host of The Barry Gray Show on New York's WOR-TV when Channel 9 went on the air in 1949, then more visibly as host of the first Goodson and Todman game show Winner Take All, replacing Bud Collyer in 1951.

In 2002, industry publication Talkers magazine selected Barry Gray as the 8th greatest radio talk show host of all time.  Beginning in 1950 he ran for 39 straight years late-night on WMCA, then moved to WOR until his death Dec. 21 1996 at age 80.

➦In 1939…The Aldrich Family debuted as the summer replacement for Jack Benny Sunday nights at 7 on NBC radio.

For the next 13 years the program would open to the sound of Mother Aldrich calling, “Hen-ree! Henry Aldrich!” Mrs. Aldrich was named Alice; Mr. Aldrich was Sam; Henry’s sister was Mary; Henry’s mischief-making friend was Homer Brown; and Henry’s girlfriend was Kathleen. The teenaged Henry was played delightfully by Ezra Stone who was then already in his mid-20’s.

The show moved to CBS from 1944 to 1946, then back to NBC until 1953.

➦In 1941...The Adventures of the Thin Man, based on the Nick & Nora Charles movie series of the same name, debuted on NBC radio. The radio series, initially starring Les Damon, was broadcast on all four major radio networks during the years 1941 to 1950. Claudia Morgan had the female lead role of Nora Charles throughout the program's entire nine-year run.

The first series, sponsored by Woodbury Soap Company, aired on NBC Wednesdays at 8pm from July 2, 1941 to December 23, 1942. Les Damon portrayed detective Nick Charles, and he continued in the role into 1943.

Sponsored by General Foods (Post Toasties, Maxwell House Coffee, Sanka), the next series began on CBS January 8, 1943, airing on Fridays at 8:30pm and some Sunday timeslots and continuing until December 26, 1947. Les Tremayne and David Gothard were heard as Nick Charles in 1944-45, with Tremayne still in the role in 1945-46. Les Damon returned as Nick in 1946-47, with Tremayne back in 1948-49 (sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon beer during the summer of '48). The last actor to do the part was Joseph Curtin in 1950.

➦In 1946…Radio personality Arthur Godfrey was signed by CBS Radio to host a weekly nighttime show called "Talent Scouts."

➦In 1951...Bob & Ray show premieres on NBC radio network.

Elliott and Goulding began as radio announcers (Elliott a disc jockey, and Goulding a news reader) in Boston with their own separate programs on station WHDH-AM, and each would visit with the other while on the air. Their informal banter was so appealing that WHDH would call on them, as a team, to fill in when Red Sox baseball broadcasts were rained out. Elliott and Goulding (not yet known as Bob and Ray) would improvise comedy routines all afternoon, and joke around with studio musicians.

Elliott and Goulding's brand of humor caught on, and WHDH gave them their own weekday show in 1946. Matinee with Bob and Ray was originally a 15-minute show, soon expanding to half an hour. (When explaining why Bob was billed first, Goulding claimed that it was because "Matinee with Bob and Ray" sounded better than "Matinob with Ray and Bob".) Their trademark sign-off was "This is Ray Goulding reminding you to write if you get work"; "Bob Elliott reminding you to hang by your thumbs".

They continued on the air for over four decades on the NBC, CBS, and Mutual networks, and on New York City stations WINS, WOR, and WHN. From 1973 to 1976 they were the afternoon drive hosts on WOR, doing a four-hour show. In their last incarnation, they were heard on National Public Radio, ending in 1987.

➦In 2015…Longtime CBS Radio News correspondent David Jackson died of cancer. He was 70.

Jackson reported on many of the important events marked on the timeline of modern history. He was on the ground in Beijing during the Tiananmen Square student protests. He was in Germany for the return of the American hostages from Iran. He was there when a gunman shot Pope John Paul II.

Jackson joined CBS News as a radio newswriter in 1972, becoming a reporter and special correspondent in 1976 and a full correspondent in 1981. Before joining CBS News, he was a radio and TV correspondent with the Marines and served one tour of duty in Vietnam from March 1968 to April 1969.

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