Friday, August 27, 2021

August 27 Radio History

➦In 1910...The first aircraft-to-ground wireless message was transmitted.   The tests were conducted at Selfridge Field, near Mount Clemens, MI and were under the direct charge of Lieutenant Paul W. Beck and representatives of the Western Wireless Equipment Company, who designed and built the apparatus for the experiments.

The maximum distance covered was 40 miles and the greatest altitude attained during the tests was 500 feet, at which time Lieutenant Beck, carried as a passenger in a Wright machine, transmitted two complete messages in the Morse code to the wireless station on the aviation field while traveling at an approximate speed of 55 miles per hour. Both messages were received at the field station as well as by other stations, one of which was over 40 miles distant, with absolute clearness and accuracy.

➦In 1960…After almost 12½ years on the air, the series "Louisiana Hayride," known as "The Cradle of the Stars," presented its last performance on radio station KWKH in Shreveport, LA.  However, KWKH continued to use the Louisiana Hayride name for packaged music tours throughout the 1960s on a bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, finally ending operations entirely in 1969.

In August 1974, Shreveport businessman David Kent mounted a country music show originally called Hayride U.S.A., which was retitled Louisiana Hayride in 1975 after KWKH agreed to let Kent use the name. Located at a new dinner theater facility in Bossier City, this new Louisiana Hayride was syndicated on radio and ran until 1987.

In 2009, after several years of litigation over the Louisiana Hayride name and trademark, a federal court ruled that Margaret Lewis Warwick owned the rights to the name. As of May 31, 2012, KWKH had changed to a sports format and ceased producing the classic country music format reminiscent of the Hayride era.

Gracie Allen
➦In 1964...Actress Gracie Allen, co-star of radio & TV’s George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, died of a heart attack at age 69.

The Burns and Allen act began with Allen as the straight man, setting up Burns to deliver the punchlines—and get the laughs. In his book Gracie: A Love Story, Burns later explained that he noticed Allen's straight lines were getting more laughs than his punchlines, so he flipped the act over—he made himself the straight man and let her get the laughs. Audiences immediately fell in love with Allen's character, who combined the traits of naivete, zaniness, and total innocence. The reformulated team, focusing on Allen, toured the country, eventually headlining in major vaudeville houses. Many of their famous routines were preserved in one- and two-reel short films, including Lambchops (1929), made while the couple was still performing onstage.

Burns attributed all of the couple's early success to Allen, modestly ignoring his own brilliance as a straight man. He summed up their act in a classic quip: "All I had to do was say, 'Gracie, how's your brother?' and she talked for 38 years. And sometimes I didn't even have to remember to say 'Gracie, how's your brother?'"

In the early 1930s, like many stars of the era, Burns and Allen graduated to radio. The show was originally a continuation of their original "flirtation act" (as their vaudeville and short film routines had been). Burns realized that they were simply too old for that material ("Our jokes were too young for us," he later remarked) and changed the show's format in the fall of 1941 into the situation comedy vehicle for which they are best remembered: a working show business married couple negotiating ordinary problems caused by Gracie's "illogical logic," usually with the help of neighbors Harry and Blanche Morton, and their announcer, Bill Goodwin (later replaced by Harry von Zell during the run of their television series).

Gracie Allen fought a long battle with heart disease.

High Island as seen from Orchard Beach, Bronx County, NY
NY Times story
➦In 1967...An airplane knocked down transmitting tower on High Island, NY (Bronx County) shared by WCBS 880 AM and WNBC 660 AM (now WFAN).

The pilot and a passenger died. The crash destroyed the antenna taking WCBS and WNBC off the air.  The mishap occured  just hours before WCBS was to have dropped its full-service format to go all news, challenging Westinghouse's two-year-old 1010 WINS format.
WCBS, WFAN Doghouse

The news format debuted instead on WCBS 101.1 FM, which had itself been readying a new "Young Sound" format.

 WNBC found a temporary home back in New Jersey, diplexing into the Lodi tower of rival WABC 770 AM, whose audio could be heard not so faintly behind WNBC's on 660 for a time.

WCBS accepted an offer from WLIB 1190 AM to use the site along the East River in Astoria, Queens that it had just abandoned in favor of a site in Lyndhurst, N.J. Within a few weeks, WCBS and WNBC were back on the air from High Island with a temporary tower; it would be the end of the year before both were back to 50 kilowatts from the current tower.

The taller of the towers is 548 ft. The shorter tower is 300 ft and was built in 2001 to replace the emergency tower erected in 1967.

Click Here for more details.

➦In 2003...Eugenia Lincoln "Jinx" Falkenburg died (Born - January 21, 1919). She  was an actress and model. She married journalist and publicist Tex McCrary in 1945. Known as "Tex and Jinx", the couple pioneered and popularized the talk-show format, first on radio and then in the early days of television. They hosted a series of interview shows in the late 1940s and early 1950s that combined celebrity chit-chat with discussions of important topics of the day.

Falkenburg was an actress, expert swimmer and tennis star, and one of the highest-paid and most ubiquitous cover-girl models in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s - one of the first supermodels. She married journalist and influential publicist Tex McCrary in 1945.

In 1941, Liebmann Brewery, the maker of Rheingold beer, decided it might sell a lot more of the brand if each year it bestowed on some attractive young woman the title Miss Rheingold. Miss Falkenburg was the first. It was a plum for any model, since, for starters, it put her name and face in every store in New York that sold beer.

Falkenburg first met John Reagan "Tex" McCrary when he came to photograph and interview her for a military publication. He was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Air Forces. They were about to be engaged in 1942 but World War II intervened and, after a globe-trotting romance during the hostilities,  they married on June 15, 1945, in a civil ceremony.

During the war Falkenburg traveled extensively on USO tours entertaining troops. The most arduous was a 42,000 mile 80-stop series of shows in the rugged China-Burma-India theatre of operations. In 1945 she was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal for her contributions.

Backed by some of his well-connected friends like millionaire statesman Bernard Baruch, McCrary convinced David Sarnoff, the chairman of RCA which owned NBC, to give the couple a morning show on the network's New York radio station, WEAF. The show was called "Hi, Jinx" and first aired on April 22, 1946. Reviews ranged from "sprightly" to "rather intense discussions of foreign affairs." In a cover story about the couple, Newsweek wrote: "A soft-spoken, calculating Texan, Tex McCrary, inched up to the microphone and drawled 'Hi, Jinx.' A voice with all the foam substance of a bubble bath answered, 'Hello Tex.'"  Over time they came to be known as "Mr. Brains and Mrs. Beauty."

The McCrary's radio show was broadcast five mornings a week on New York radio station WEAF, and became a hit with critics and the public for tackling controversial issues like the A-Bomb, the United Nations and venereal disease along with talk about theatre openings and New York nightlife.

McCrary wrote the scripts and taught Falkenburg the art of interviewing and the basics of broadcast journalism. Over time she was considered the better interviewer, eliciting candid responses, often from the show's more intellectual guests. Her technique was to ask questions until she understood the answer and so presumably, did all the housewives at home listening to her.

In January 1947, McCrary and Falkenburg had their first network TV show, Bristol-Myers Tele-Varieties, also known as Jinx and Tex at Home, broadcast Sunday nights on NBC. The program combined film and live interviews of celebrities in their residences.

In May 1947, The Swift Home Service Club combined household tips with breezy interviews. Another radio show, Meet Tex and Jinx got such a big audience that in 1947 and 1948 it became a summer replacement for one of radio's most popular shows, Duffy's Tavern.

Falkenburg informally retired from broadcasting in 1958.

For her contributions to the television industry, Jinx Falkenburg has a star on the Hollywood Blvd. Walk of Fame at 1500 Vine St.

➦In 2016…Dr. Joy Browne died at the age of 71. She was a clinical psychologist and radio talk host.

Her syndicated show was one of the longest-running call-in therapy shows in the United States.
Browne took a no-nonsense approach to callers, trying to zero in on a problem without getting caught up in a caller's long stories or digressions. Browne was also known for her "one-year rule", which states that people who have lost a spouse or long-time partner due to break-up, death, or divorce should wait at a minimum one year before resuming romantic relationships.

Browne's call-in therapy show was heard for two decades at WOR 710 AM in New York and was syndicated to other cities. She was released by WOR on December 20, 2012, after iHeartMedia bought the station and brought in its own network hosts.

Singer, Actor Tommy Sands is 84
  • Bluegrass singer-banjo player J.D. Crowe is 84. 
  • Actor Tommy Sands is 84. 
  • Actor Tuesday Weld is 78. 
  • Actor G.W. Bailey (“MASH,” ″The Closer”) is 77. 
  • Actor Marianne Sagebrecht is 76.
  • Guitarist Jeff Cook of Alabama is 72. 
  • Actor Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman) is 69. 
  • Guitarist Alex Lifeson of Rush is 68. 
  • Actor Peter Stormare (“Fargo,” ″The Big Lebowski”) is 68. 
  • Actor Diana Scarwid is 66. 
  • Bassist Glen Matlock of The Sex Pistols is 65. 
  • Gospel singer Yolanda Adams is 60. 
  • Guitarist Matthew Basford of Yankee Grey is 59. 
  • Amanda Fuller is 37
    Bassist Mike Johnson (Dinosaur Jr.) is 56. 
  • Percussionist Bobo of Cypress Hill is 54. 
  • Country singer Colt Ford is 52. 
  • Actor Chandra Wilson (“Grey’s Anatomy”) is 52. 
  • Bassist Tony Kanal of No Doubt is 51. 
  • Rapper Mase is 46. 
  • Actor Sarah Chalke ("Scrubs", second Becky on "Roseanne") 45. 
  • Actor RonReaco Lee (“Madea Goes To Jail”) is 45. 
  • Actor Demetria McKinney (“House of Payne”) is 43. 
  • Actor Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad,” ″Big Love”) is 42. 
  • Guitarist Jon Siebels of Eve 6 is 42. 
  • Actor Shaun Weiss (“The Mighty Ducks”) is 42. 
  • Keyboardist Megan Garrett of Casting Crowns is 41. 
  • Actor Patrick J. Adams (“Suits”) is 40. 
  • Actor Karla Mosley (“The Bold and the Beautiful”) is 40. 
  • Actor Amanda Fuller (“Last Man Standing”) is 37. 
  • Singer Mario is 35. 
  • Actor Alexa PenaVega (“Spy Kids”) is 33. 
  • Actor Ellar Coltrane (“Boyhood”) is 27. 
  • Actor Savannah Paige Rae (“Parenthood”) is 18.

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