Saturday, May 28, 2022

May 30 Radio History

➦In 1894...John Florence Sullivan was born (Died – March 17, 1956).  Known professionally as Fred Allen, he was a comedian. His absurdist, topically pointed radio program The Fred Allen Show (1932–1949) made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the Golden Age of American radio.

His best-remembered gag was his long-running mock feud with friend and fellow comedian Jack Benny, but it was only part of his appeal; radio historian John Dunning (in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio) wrote that Allen was radio's most admired comedian and most frequently censored. A master ad libber, Allen often tangled with his network's executives (and often barbed them on the air over the battles) while developing routines whose style and substance influenced fellow comic talents, including Groucho Marx, Stan Freberg, Henry Morgan and Johnny Carson; his avowed fans also included President Franklin D. Roosevelt, humorist James Thurber, and novelists William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and Herman Wouk (who began his career writing for Allen).

From 1942...

Allen has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: a radio star at 6713 Hollywood Blvd. and a TV star at 7001 Hollywood Blvd

➦In 1908...Melvin Jerome Blanc born (Died – July 10, 1989). He was a voice actor and radio personality. 

Mel Blanc & Characters
After beginning his over-60-year career performing in radio, he became known for his work in animation as the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, the Tasmanian Devil, and many of the other characters from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoons during the golden age of American animation. He voiced all of the major male Warner Bros. cartoon characters except for Elmer Fudd, whose voice was provided by fellow radio personality Arthur Q. Bryan, although Blanc later voiced Fudd, as well, after Bryan's death.

He later voiced characters for Hanna-Barbera's television cartoons, including Barney Rubble on The Flintstones and Mr. Spacely on The Jetsons. Blanc was also the original voice of Woody Woodpecker for Universal Pictures and provided vocal effects for the Tom and Jerry cartoons directed by Chuck Jones for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, replacing William Hanna. During the golden age of radio, Blanc also frequently performed on the programs of famous comedians from the era, including Jack Benny, Abbott and Costello, Burns and Allen and Judy Canova.

Having earned the nickname The Man of a Thousand Voices, Blanc is regarded as one of the most influential people in the voice acting industry

Blanc began his radio career at the age of 19 when in 1927 he debuted as a voice actor on the KGW (Portland OR) program The Hoot Owls, where his ability to provide voices for multiple characters first attracted attention. He moved to Los Angeles in 1932, where he met Estelle Rosenbaum (1909 - 2003), whom he married a year later, before returning to Portland. He moved to KEX in 1933 to produce and co-host his Cobweb And Nuts show with his wife Estelle, which debuted on June 15. The program played Monday through Saturday from 11:00 pm to midnight, and by the time the show ended two years later, it appeared from 10:30 pm to 11:00 pm.

With his wife's encouragement, Blanc returned to Los Angeles and joined Warner Bros.-owned KFWB in Hollywood, California, in 1935. He joined The Johnny Murray Show, but the following year switched to CBS Radio and The Joe Penner Show.

Blanc was a regular on the NBC Red Network show The Jack Benny Program in various roles, including voicing Benny's Maxwell automobile (in desperate need of a tune-up), violin teacher Professor LeBlanc, Polly the Parrot, Benny's pet polar bear Carmichael, the tormented department store clerk, and the train announcer. The first role came from a mishap when the recording of the automobile's sounds failed to play on cue, prompting Blanc to take the microphone and improvise the sounds himself. The audience reacted so positively that Benny decided to dispense with the recording altogether and have Blanc continue in that role.

By 1946, Blanc appeared on over 15 radio programs in supporting roles. His success on The Jack Benny Program led to his own radio show on the CBS Radio Network, The Mel Blanc Show, which ran from September 3, 1946, to June 24, 1947. Blanc played himself as the hapless owner of a fix-it shop, as well as his young cousin Zookie.

Blanc also appeared on such other national radio programs as The Abbott and Costello Show, the Happy Postman on Burns and Allen, and as August Moon on Point Sublime. During World War II, he appeared as Private Sad Sack on various radio shows, most notably G.I. Journal. Blanc recorded a song titled "Big Bear Lake."

He passed away on July 10, 1989.

➦In & voiceover artist Peter Leeds was born in Bayonne, New Jersey. He appeared on television more than 8,000 times, on radio programs more than 3,000 times, and also had many film and Broadway credits. The majority of his work took place in the 1950s and 1960s,; he was best known as a straight man for funnyman Stan Freberg.  Leeds died of cancer Nov. 12 1996 at age 79.

➦In 1922...Smilin' Ed McConnell made his first radio broadcast in Atlanta. He was best known as the host of the children's radio and television series, Smilin' Ed's Gang, closely identified with its sponsor, Buster Brown shoes, and also known as The Buster Brown Program. For his work in radio, McConnell was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Smilin' Ed McConnell
In 1937, he moved to NBC as their "Sunshine Melody Man", offering hymns and uplifting messages. McConnell’s blend of "songs, humor and philosophy" aired over network affiliates at 5:30pm. Guests included the Doring Trio, The Four Grenadiers, The Campus Choir and the Rhythmaires.

McConnell became known in New York City when he was heard over WJZ, though the show was broadcast from Chicago and he lived in Elk Rapids, Michigan.

McConnell grabbed children's attention when he created the character Froggy the Gremlin, performing with Irma Allen on the organ or Del Owen on the piano. Even though McConnell became famous as "Smilin' Ed," he continued to host programs for religious adults. While his Buster Brown show was running, McConnell presided over a five-minute show sponsored by the American Poultry Journal. It reached over 50 stations.  Another Smilin' Ed show was a 15-minute program sponsored by the Purity Baking Company.

By 1948, 145 ABC stations were subscribing to his 15-minute programs. Smilin' Ed's humor, songs, and music were condensed into a five-minute program especially for electric lamp dealers. So it is very likely that this series originated after 1948.

➦In 1928...Legendary radio personality Herb Oscar Anderson was born. HOA was the morning drive-time personality on WABC Radio in New York City December 1960 to September 1968. He referred to himself as the Morning Mayor Of New York.

He also worked at KSTP and WDGY St. Paul-Minneapolis during the '50s. Also in the '50s HOA appeared on a number of shows for the ABC Radio network. He started in 1958 at WMCA NYC, worked WMGM in '59 and became the Morning Mayor on WABC in 1960.

HOA died January 29, 2017 at age 88.

➦In 1935…"America's Town Meeting of the Air" was first heard on NBC Blue (the predecessor to ABC radio) for the first time. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the debaters on the opener. The issues-oriented discussion program lasted a total of 21 years, with a name change to America’s Town Meeting of the Air.  It was moderated throughout by George V. Denny Jr.

➦In 1943...the "Archie" comic strip was first aired on radio.

➦In 1989...the 20,000th "Rambling with Gambling" Radio show aired on WOR-AM, New York City. (Several generations of Gamblings kept the program going continuously)

John A, John R, John B Gambling

John B. Gambling started the show in March 1925, when WOR was a promotional arm of the Bamberger's department store in Newark. His son, John A. Gambling became host in 1959. He brought his son, John R. Gambling, to the show as co-host from 1985 until his retirement in 1991. John R. Gambling has been solo host since that time.

In September 2000, WOR cancelled the program. At the time, it was the longest continually-running radio broadcast in America, a position now held by the Grand Ole Opry.

After a brief hiatus, WABC hired John R. Gambling.

WOR owned the rights to the name Rambling with Gambling, so the revived show was renamed The John Gambling Show.

In January 2008, WABC laid off Gambling in a cost-cutting measure.

On Wednesday, April 30, 2008, WOR and John R. Gambling announced the return of the show to its original station.

They began broadcasting on Monday, May 5, 2008, from 6 AM to 10 AM. despite the return to WOR.

Gambling retired from WOR radio at the end of 2013, bringing an end to the almost 89-year combined run of The John Gambling Show and Rambling with Gambling.

➦In 2014...Radio, TV actress Joan Lorring, who began her career in 1940’s Hollywood radio and was regularly of member of the cast on CBS Radio’s Mystery Theater in the 70’s died at age 88. She was also featured in the early TV series ‘Norby,” and guested in anthology & episodic TV until 1980. Her many small screen appearances included The Star Wagon, a 1966 movie with Dustin Hoffman and Orson Bean, and The Love Boat in 1980.

Wyonna Judd is 58

  • Actor Ruta Lee (“High Rollers,” “What’s My Line?”) is 87. 
  • Actor Keir Dullea (“2001: A Space Odyssey”) is 86. 
  • Guitarist Lenny Davidson of The Dave Clark Five is 78. 
  • Actor Stephen Tobolowsky (“Groundhog Day,” ″Sneakers”) is 71. 
  • Actor Colm Meaney (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”) is 69. 
  • Actor Ted McGinley (“Hope and Faith,” ″Married... With Children”) is 64. 
  • Idina Menzel is 51
    Actor Ralph Carter (“Good Times”) is 61. 
  • Actor-filmmaker Tonya Pinkins (“All My Children”) is 60. 
  • Country singer Wynonna Judd is 58. 
  • Guitarist Tom Morello of Audioslave and Rage Against the Machine is 58. 
  • Actor Mark Sheppard (“Supernatural”) is 58. 
  • Actor John Ross Bowie (“Speechless,” ″The Big Bang Theory”) is 51. 
  • Guitarist Patrick Dahlheimer of Live is 51. 
  • Singer-actor Idina Menzel is 51. 
  • Singer Cee Lo Green (Gnarls Barkley, Goodie Mob) is 47. 
  • Rapper Remy Ma is 42. Guitarist James Smith of Underoath is 40. 
  • Actor Javicia Leslie (“God Friended Me”) is 35. 
  • Actor Sean Giambrone (“The Goldbergs”) is 23. 
  • Actor Jared Gilmore (“Once Upon a Time,” ″Mad Men”) is 22.

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