Friday, June 26, 2020

June 26 Radio History

➦In 1909...Thomas Andrew "Colonel Tom" Parker was born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk (Died from a stroke at age 87 -  January 21, 1997).  He was the  was the Dutch-born manager of Elvis Presley. Before managing Elvis, Parker handled the careers of Minnie Pearl, Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow and Tom Mix.

At age 18, Parker had arrived in America by jumping ship, and never held a US passport, even when the 1940 Alien Registration Act would have entitled him to one. This is attributed to his uncertain legal status, possibly connected to police inquiries about a murder in his native Breda. To the puzzlement of overseas fans, he never allowed Elvis to work abroad.

Col.Tom Parker -1969
A carnival worker by background, Parker moved into music promotion, earning the courtesy rank of ‘Colonel’ from a grateful singer Jimmie Davis, who had become governor of Louisiana. After discovering the teenage Tommy Sands, Parker talent-spotted the unknown Elvis Presley, and skillfully maneuvered himself into position as his sole representative with control over much of his private life. Within months, he had won Presley a recording contract with the prestigious RCA Victor record label, made him a star with his first single Heartbreak Hotel, negotiated lucrative merchandising deals, made plans for TV appearances as well as a new career as an actor in film musicals.

When Elvis was drafted into the Army in 1958, Parker was shrewd enough to see that military service would boost his image, and made no attempt to stop his posting to Germany. He also judged correctly that public demand would be whetted by his two-year absence, and he stage-managed a triumphal homecoming rail-tour to Memphis.

But the 1960s would impact hard on Elvis's public and private life. The youth market was suddenly being taken over by The Beatles. The films were starting to look more like low-budget production-line work, however profitable. Also his bachelor live-in arrangement with the teenage Priscilla Beaulieu, against her father's wishes, threatened a possible image crisis, and Parker urged marriage. By the end of the decade, Elvis had gone back on tour, but years of binge-eating and unofficially prescribed drugs had ruined his health, and Parker saw very little of Presley before his death in 1977.

Parker continued to manage the Presley estate, but he had unwisely sold the rights to Elvis's early recordings, which would have ensured a steady income. Meanwhile, his gambling problem increasingly eroded the huge fortune he had built up by claiming between 25% and 50% of Elvis's earnings, and he died worth only $1 million.

Alex Drier
➦In 1916...Alexander M. Dreier born in Honolulu (Died at age 83 – March 11, 2000). He was a news reporter and commentator who worked with NBC Radio during the 1940s, and later with the ABC Information Radio network in the 1960s and early 1970s. As Chicago’s ‘man on the go’ he anchored first at WNBQ and then WBKB-TV’s top rated news in the late 50’s and 60. He later moved to California where he pursued a TV acting career and was a newscaster for KTTV.

➦In 1933…The Kraft Music Hsall Program debuted as a musical-variety program featuring orchestra leader Paul Whiteman and served to supplement print advertising and in-store displays promoting Kraft products.

During its first year the show went through a series of name changes, including Kraft Musical Revue, until it finally settled on Kraft Music Hall in 1934. Whiteman remained the host until December 6, 1935. Ford Bond was the announcer.

Billed as "The King of Jazz", Whiteman was arguably America's first popular music superstar. Whiteman's foresight regarding the coming of the jazz age and his decisions to hire the best jazz musicians was a powerful boost for jazz, swing and blues. Though he was prohibited from hiring black performers, he hired arrangers and composers.

Bing Crosby took over as master of ceremonies January 2, 1936. Crosby was host until May 9, 1946. Other entertainers who appeared regularly during Crosby's tenure included Connie Boswell, Victor Borge, and Mary Martin.

For the advertising managers at Kraft, it was imperative that advertising and entertainment be kept separate. For this reason, Kraft insisted that an announcer, not cast members, read its commercials. Additionally, Kraft commercials were single-product focused during the radio days, short and to the point in order to keep with Kraft's philosophy that quality entertainment.

The Kraft Music Hall continued on NBC radio until 1949 and then on TV for many more years ; the first year as Milton Berle Starring in the Kraft Music Hall, later it was Perry Como‘s Kraft Music Hall for four seasons. From 1967 on, TV’s Kraft Music Hall featured a variety of guest hosts. Bring on the Velveeta and the Philadelphia brand cream cheese!

➦In 1946...Fred Allen's last radio show, his guest is Jack Benny

➦In 1959…"Mad Daddy" Pete Myers broadcast his last show on WHK-AM, Cleveland, Ohio.

Pete Myers 1959
In January 1958, Pete "Mad Daddy" Myers joined WJW-AM  from WHKK 640 AM in Akron. His "Mad Daddy" persona later was adapted by Ernie Anderson for his "Ghoulardi" character on sister station WJW-TV in 1963.

Myers had a brief but meteoric career at WJW, lasting only until May 13, 1958, when he resigned to go to Metromedia's WHK which was establishing itself as the new Top 40 powerhouse in Cleveland.

WJW enforced a 90-day noncompete clause, and "Mad Daddy" could not be heard on WHK until August 10. To keep his name in front of the public while he was off the air, Myers concocted a publicity stunt on June 14, 1958, parachuting from a Piper Cub 2200 feet over Lake Erie, and composing a poem on his way down.

He was fished out the waters shortly thereafter, and handed out copies of the 45 record "Zorro" to hundreds of fans who greeted him when he got to shore.

"Mad Daddy" reached the peak of his popularity at WHK, hosting record hops and live after-midnight shows dressed in a Dracula costume. In July 1959 he moved to WHK's sister station in New York, WNEW 1130 AM, where "Mad Daddy" was not well received. He played it straight as Pete Myers there until 1963, when he moved to 1010 WINS and resumed the "Mad Daddy Show." This show was syndicated to other stations until WINS changed format to all-news in 1965.

As again just Pete Myers, he returned to WNEW once more. Myers lived until October 4, 1968, when he took his own life in New York City.

➦In 1971…WNEW 102.7 FM in New York City became the first radio station anywhere to play Don McLean‘s “American Pie,” in its extended playing time of 8:36.

➦In 1977…Elvis Presley's final concert took place at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Before the show Elvis was presented with a plaque commemorating the 2 billionth Presley record to come out of RCA's pressing plant. He appeared pale, weak, and overweight. He died 51 days later.

➦In 1990...8 Radio stations in Kansas and Oklahoma boycott k d lang, due to her anti-meat ad.

k d lang
LS Radio Inc., a Wichita-based company with seven stations in Kansas and one in Oklahoma, pulled k.d. lang's records Thursday. So did the Shepherd Group, which has three stations in Missouri and one in Montana.

The spot also irritated Larry Steckline, a Wichita broadcaster who owns five country stations in Kansas, the top beef state in the United States. Steckline, a farmer-rancher, said he had ''no problem with her being a vegetarian. . . . My problem is somebody with a name in this industry coming down hard on the number one industry in our state. That's not what I call ladylike.''

Great Empire Broadcasting Inc., another Kansas chain with 10 stations in five states, gathered listener reaction as it considered joining the boycott. Mike Oatman, Great Empire's chief executive officer and general manager of a station in Wichita, reported that 60 percent of the callers favored continuing to play k.d. lang's records and 40 percent favored banning them.

Jeanette McCurdy is 28

  • Jazz pianist Dave Grusin is 86. 
  • Singer Billy Davis Junior of the Fifth Dimension is 82. 
  • Singer Georgie Fame is 77. 
  • Actor Clive Francis (“The Crown”) is 74. 
  • Singer Brenda Holloway is 74. 
  • Actor Robert Davi (“Profiler”) is 69. 
  • Musician Mick Jones of The Clash is 65. 
  • Actor Gedde Watanabe (“ER,” ″Sixteen Candles”) is 65. 
  • Singer Chris Isaak is 64. 
  • Singer Patty Smyth is 63. 
  • Singer Terri Nunn of Berlin is 61. 
  • Singer Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays is 57. 
  • Guitarist Eddie Perez of The Mavericks is 52. 
  • Bassist Colin Greenwood of Radiohead is 51. 
  • Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson (“Magnolia,” ″Boogie Nights”) is 50. 
  • Actor Sean Hayes (“Will and Grace”) is 50. 
  • Actor Matt Letscher (“Eli Stone,” ″The New Adventures of Old Christine”) is 50. 
  • Actor Chris O’Donnell is 50. 
  • Actor Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”) is 50. 
  • Keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein of Newsboys is 46. 
  • Country singer Gretchen Wilson is 46. 
  • Drummer Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon is 41. 
  • Singer Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic is 41. 
  • Actor Jason Schwartzman (“Slackers,” ″Rushmore”) is 40. 
  • Actress Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”) is 36. 
  • Actress Jennette McCurdy (“iCarly”) is 28. 
  • Singer-actress Ariana Grande is 27.

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