Friday, May 7, 2021

May 7 Radio History

➦In 1941..."Chattanooga Choo Choo" was recorded by the Glenn Miller Band. The song by Mack Gordon and composed by Harry Warren was featured in the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade. It was the first song to receive a gold record, presented by RCA Victor in 1942, for sales of 1.2 million copies.

➦In 1945...On radio Americans learned that the war in Europe was over...

NY Times 5/7/45
There were two sources of news during the World War II era - newspapers and radio.  Radio was faster, just as the internet and social media are (generally) faster with the news today.

NY Times 5/8/45
On May 7, an Associated Press reporter broke an embargo and sent first word of the German surrender to his wire service, ostensibly to be passed on to newspapers (the news was supposed to be embargoed to allow the leaders of the three Allied nations - the U.S., Britain and the Soviet Union - to jointly announce the surrender on May 8.  But radio stations and networks also subscribed to the AP wire, and as soon as the news was reported, it was on the radio - hours before it could be printed in a paper.  Thus began a long period, though short by today's cable news endless coverage standards, of reporting about the end of the first half of the war.

➦In 1946...Sony, originally known as Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering was founded with around 20 employees.

➦In 1955...Decca Records released, for the second time, “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets. It was first issued in May 1954 as a B-side to "Thirteen Women (and Only One Man in Town)."  While the song did make the American Cashbox music charts (contrary to popular opinion that it was a flop), it was considered a commercial disappointment. It was not until 1955, when "Rock Around the Clock" was used under the opening credits of the film Blackboard Jungle, that the song truly took off.

Many versions of the story behind how "Rock Around the Clock" was chosen for Blackboard Jungle circulated over the years. Recent research, however, reveals that the song was chosen from the collection of young Peter Ford, the son of Blackboard Jungle star Glenn Ford and dancer Eleanor Powell. The producers were looking for a song to represent the type of music the youth of 1955 was listening to, and the elder Ford borrowed several records from his son's collection, one of which was Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" and this was the song chosen.

The version of "Rock Around the Clock" that was used in the movie Blackboard Jungle differs from the hit single version. The difference is in the two solo breaks. The record has the guitar solo taking the first break and the sax solo taking the second break. The movie version is just the opposite with the sax solo coming first.  In 2004 the song finished at #50 in AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

➦In 1982...Dan Ingram aired his final music show on 77WABC (Sound quality is fair, it was recorded 100 miles from NYC.). WABC would change to Talk Radio three days later.

➦In 1996...Don McNeill died at age 88 (Born - December 23, 1907).  He is  best known as the creator and host of The Breakfast Club, which ran for more than 35 years.

McNeill began his radio career in Milwaukee in 1928, first as a script editor and announcer at The Milwaukee Sentinel's WISN, and later working for crosstown competitor WTMJ, owned by Sentinel rival The Milwaukee Journal. McNeill moved on to Kentucky, working for the Louisville Courier-Journal's station, WHAS. This was followed by working in San Francisco as a comedy act with singer Van Fleming, called "The Two Professors." following a failed career move to New York City, McNeill returned to Illinois in 1933.

McNeill applied for a job at NBC and was sent to Chicago to audition. He was assigned to host an un-sponsored early morning variety show called The Pepper Pot, which had an 8 AM time slot on the NBC Blue Network (later to become ABC radio). McNeill re-organized the hour show as The Breakfast Club, dividing it into four segments he called "the four calls to breakfast."

The show premiered on June 23, 1933, with informal talk and jokes based on topical events, and often included audience interviews. In its final form, the show featured piano music and vocal groups and soloists, with recurring comedy performers. McNeil gained a sponsor, Swift and Company. McNeill is credited as the first performer to make morning talk and variety a viable format in radio. (Countless local shows even now refer to themselves as The Breakfast Club).

McNeill attempted to transfer the show to television as Don McNeill's TV Club (1950–1951). The Breakfast Club was simulcast on television in 1954-1955. McNeill appeared occasionally on game shows, and in 1963 hosted a short-lived game show Take Two, built around photo comparisons. McNeill's radio series finally ended in 1968, when McNeill retired from entertainment and public life.

 McNeill is credited as the first performer to make morning talk and variety a viable radio format.

The program featured Fran Allison (later of Kukla, Fran and Ollie fame) as "Aunt Fanny", plus Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers and various comedy bits. Every quarter-hour came the "Call to Breakfast" -- a march around the breakfast table. A featured vocalist on the show, under her professional name of Annette King, was Charlotte Thompson Reid, who later became an Illinois congresswoman for five terms (1962–71).

From 1993....

After ABC Radio was split into four networks in 1968, The Breakfast Club was moved to the new American Entertainment network, and was known for its last months on the air as The Don McNeill Show.

➦In 2002...WYNY 107.1 FM NYC dropped its country music format.

Traci Lords IS 53
  • Singer Thelma Houston is 78. 
  • Actor Robin Strasser (“One Life To Live,” “Passions”) is 76. 
  • Singer-songwriter Bill Danoff (Starland Vocal Band) is 75. 
  • Drummer Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead is 75. 
  • Drummer Prairie Prince (The Tubes) is 71. 
  • Director Amy Heckerling (“Clueless,” “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) is 69. 
  • Alexander Ludwig is 29
    Actor Michael E. Knight (“All My Children”) is 62. 
  • Guitarist Phil Campbell of Motorhead is 60. 
  • Actor Traci Lords is 53. 
  • Actor Morocco Omari (“Empire”) is 51. 
  • Singer Eagle-Eye Cherry is 50. 
  • Actor Breckin Meyer (“Herbie: Fully Loaded,” “Road Trip”) is 47.
  • Drummer Matt Helders of Arctic Monkeys is 35. 
  • Comedian Aidy Bryant (“Saturday Night Live”) is 34. 
  • Actor Alexander Ludwig (“Vikings,” “The Hunger Games”) is 29. 
  • Actor Dylan Gelula (“Jennifer Falls,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”) is 27.

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