Saturday, October 30, 2021

October 31 Radio History

➦In 1912...actress & singing cowgirl Dale Evans was born as Lucille Wood Smith in Uvalde, TX (Died of congestive heart failure at age 88 – February 7, 2001) She was the third wife of singing cowboy Roy Rogers.

She had a tumultuous early life. Her name was changed to Frances Octavia Smith while she was still an infant. She spent a lot of time living with her uncle, Dr. L.D. Massey, a general practice physician, in Osceola, Arkansas. At age 14, she eloped with and married Thomas F. Fox, with whom she had one son, Thomas F. Fox Jr., when she was 15. A year later, abandoned by her husband, she found herself in Memphis, Tennessee, a single parent, pursuing a career in music. She landed a job with local radio stations (WMC and WREC), singing and playing piano. Divorced in 1929, she took the name Dale Evans in the early 1930s to promote her singing career.

➦In 1942..."White Christmas" by Bing Crosby hit No. 1 on the pop singles chart for the first time.

➦In 1942...CBS radio debuted 'Thanks To The Yanks', a wartime themed game show starring Bob Hawk, the quizmaster who had introduced Take it Or Leave It to radio, the original $64 Question show.

➦In 1963...The Beatles returned to London from Sweden to be greeted by hundreds of screaming fans and a mob of photographers. Ed Sullivan happened to be at Heathrow, and was struck by the sight of Beatlemania in full swing. This was the day he determined to have the Fab Four appear on his Sunday night CBS TV variety show, thus introducing The Beatles to North America.

➦In 1968
..'The War of the Worlds' was a radio drama, was aired by Buffalo, New York radio station Top40 WKBW 1520 AM.

It was a modernized version of the original radio drama aired by CBS in 1938.

WKBW program director Jefferson Kaye (d. 2012), a big fan of the original Orson Welles version from three decades earlier, wondered what The War of the Worlds would sound like if it was made using up-to-date (for 1968) radio news equipment, covering the "story" of a Martian invasion. Up until this point, most radio renditions of the 1938 broadcast were simply script re-readings with different actors or had minor variations to account for significantly different geographical locations. Kaye decided to disregard the original script entirely, move the action to Grand Island, New York, and use actual WKBW disc jockeys and news reporters as actors.

Other changes reflected the changing state of the industry: instead of the old-time radio programming fare of the 1930s, WKBW's War of the Worlds broadcast was interwoven into the station's Top40 programming.

Initially, a script was written for the news reporters to act out; however, upon hearing the rehearsals, it was evident that the news reporters were not adept at scripted radio acting. So instead, Kaye wrote an outline based on the events that were to occur, and the news reporters were then asked to describe the events as they would covering an actual news story. The results were much more realistic for its time, and this was the process used for the actual broadcast.

Jeff Kaye
Despite an exhaustive advertising campaign by WKBW for this show, several people were still convinced upon listening to it that the events unfolding in the show were genuine. Among those fooled included a local newspaper, several small-town police officers and even the Canadian military, which dispatched troops to the Peace Bridge. Although the public concern over the legitimacy of the broadcast was not as great as in 1938, creator Kaye and director Dan Kriegler feared that they were going to lose their jobs as a result of the broadcast; Kaye claimed that he actually submitted his resignation, certain that he was going to be fired the next day. However, no one involved in the broadcast was fired and the resignation was not accepted.

It was a generally conceived notion before the broadcast that a mass hoax, even one as unintentional as the 1938 program, could never be duplicated again by a lone radio broadcast. The rise of television as a preferred news medium was a factor in this notion that radio could no longer produce such a drastic response from its audience. The fact that the WKBW broadcast could unintentionally re-create that response on a smaller scale surprised many people and garnered a lot of post-broadcast attention on the radio station. In this way, it was a successful marketing gimmick.

➦In 1981...NBC Radio produced its first live radio drama in 25 years (“Halloween Story.”)

Ken Niles
➦In 1988
..Radio Announcer Ken Niles died (Born - December 9, 1906 or 1908, in Livingston, Montana)   Niles debuted in radio on KJR in Seattle, WA in the late 1920s.

Niles also served as commercial announcer and foil for Bing Crosby in the Bing Crosby Entertains series (1933-1935) and also on several series sponsored by Camel Cigarettes, notably The Abbott and Costello Show.  Niles was frequently paired in comedy skits opposite Elvia Allman as his fictitious wife Mrs Niles. Niles was also the announcer for The Amazing Mrs. Danberry.

For his work in radio, he received a "Star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as did his brother Wendell, making them the first brothers to be so honored. Ken Niles' star is at 6711 Hollywood Avenue, in the Radio section. It was dedicated February 8, 1960.

➦In 2008...Louis "Studs" Terkel died (Born - May 16, 1912). He was an author, historian, actor, and broadcaster. He received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for The Good War and is best remembered for his oral histories of common Americans, and for hosting a long-running radio show in Chicago.

A political liberal, Terkel joined the Works Progress Administration's Federal Writers' Project, working in radio, doing work that varied from voicing soap opera productions and announcing news and sports, to presenting shows of recorded music and writing radio scripts and advertisements. His well-known radio program, titled The Studs Terkel Program, aired on 98.7 WFMT Chicago between 1952 and 1997. The one-hour program was broadcast each weekday during those forty-five years.

Dan Rather is 90


  • Actor Lee Grant is 96. 
  • Anchorman Dan Rather is 90. 
  • Folk singer Tom Paxton is 84. 
  • Actor Ron Rifkin (“Alias”) is 83. 
  • Actor Sally Kirkland is 80. 
  • Actor Stephen Rea (“The Crying Game,” ″V For Vendetta”) is 75. 
  • Actor Deidre Hall (“Days Of Our Lives”) is 74. 
  • Journalist Jane Pauley is 71. 
  • Broadway performer Brian Stokes Mitchell is 64. 
  • Director Peter Jackson (“Lord of the Rings”) is 60. 
  • Drummer Larry Mullen Jr. of U2 is 60. 
  • Guitarist Johnny Marr of Modest Mouse (and The Smiths) is 58. 
  • Actor Dermot Mulroney is 58. 
  • Drummer Mikkey Dee of Motorhead and of Scorpions is 58. 
  • Holly Taylor is 24
    Actor Rob Schneider is 58. 
  • Country singer Darryl Worley is 57. 
  • Actor Mike O’Malley (“Glee”) is 56. 
  • Guitarist Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys is 55. 
  • Musician Rob Van Winkle (Vanilla Ice) is 54. 
  • Guitarist Rogers Stevens of Blind Melon is 52. 
  • Singer Linn Berggren of Ace of Base is 51. 
  • Reality show host Troy Hartman (“Extreme Survival,” ″No Boundaries”) is 50. 
  • Gospel singer Smokie Norful is 48. 
  • Actor Piper Perabo is 45. 
  • Actor Samaire Armstrong (TV’s “Resurrection”) is 41. 
  • Keyboardist Tay Strathairn of Dawes is 41. 
  • Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas (“American Pie”) is 41. 
  • Guitarist Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) is 40. 
  • Actor Justin Chatwin (“American Gothic”) is 39. 
  • Actor Holly Taylor (“The Americans”) is 24. 
  • Actor Danielle Rose Russell (“Legacies,” “The Originals”) is 22. 
  • Singer-actor Willow Smith is 21.

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