Saturday, August 6, 2022

August 7 Radio History

➦In 1885...Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke born (Died at age 84 – May 14, 1970). She was professionally known as Billie Burke and was famous on Broadway, on radio, early silent film, and subsequently in sound film. She is best known to modern audiences as Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movie musical The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Billie Burke and Judy Garland

Burke was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1938 for her performance as Emily Kilbourne in Merrily We Live and is also remembered for her appearances in the Topper film series. Her high-pitched, wavering, aristocratic voice was her trademark, which made her a frequent choice to play dim-witted, spoiled society types.

Billie Burke was the wife of Broadway producer and impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. founder of dance troupe and theatrical revue (and adapted to a radio program from 1932 and 1936), the Ziegfeld Follies which operated from 1914 until his death in 1932.

On CBS Radio, The Billie Burke Show was heard on Saturday mornings from April 3, 1943, until September 21, 1946. Sponsored by Listerine, this situation comedy was initially titled Fashions in Rations during its first year. Portraying herself as a featherbrained Good Samaritan who lived "in the little white house on Sunnyview Lane," she always offered a helping hand to those in her neighborhood. She worked often in early television, appearing in the short-lived sitcom Doc Corkle (1952). She was a guest star on several TV and radio series, including Duffy's Tavern.

➦In 1886...Louis Hazeltine, who  invented the neutrodyne circuit, was born. (Died - May 24, 1964).

➦In 1906...Actress/singer Ernestine Wade born (Died at age 76 – April 15, 1983). She is best known for playing the role of Sapphire Stevens on both the radio and TV versions of The Amos 'n' Andy Show.  Ernestine began playing Sapphire Stevens in 1939, but originally came to the Amos 'n' Andy radio show in the role of Valada Green.  In her interview which is part of the documentary Amos 'n' Andy: Anatomy of a Controversy, Wade related how she got the job with the radio show. Initially there for a singing role, she was asked if she could "do lines". When the answer was yes, she was first asked to say "I do" and then to scream; the scream got her the role of Valada Green.

Stan Freberg
➦In 1926...Stan Freberg was born (Died – April 7, 2015). He was an author, actor, recording artist, voice artist, comedian, radio personality, puppeteer and advertising creative director, whose career began in 1943. He remained active in the industry into his late 80s, more than 70 years after entering it.

His best-known works include "St. George and the Dragonet", Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America, his role on the television series Time for Beany, and a number of classic television commercials.

Freberg began making satirical recordings for Capitol Records, beginning with the February 10, 1951, release of "John and Marsha", a soap opera parody that consisted of the title characters (both played by Freberg) doing nothing but repeating each other's names (with intonations to match the moods).  Some radio stations refused to play "John & Marsha," believing it to be an actual romantic conversation between two real people. In a 1954 follow-up, he used pedal steel guitarist Speedy West to satirize the 1953 Ferlin Husky country hit, "A Dear John Letter", as "A Dear John and Marsha Letter".  A seasonal recording, "The Night Before Christmas"/"Nuttin' for Christmas", made in 1955, still remains a cult classic.

The popularity of Freberg's recordings landed him his own program, the situation comedy That's Rich. Freberg portrayed bumbling but cynical Richard E. Wilt, a resident of Hope Springs, where he worked for B.B. Hackett's Consolidated Paper Products Company. Freberg suggested the addition of dream sequences, which made it possible for him to perform his more popular Capitol Records satires before a live studio audience. The CBS series aired from January 8 to September 23, 1954.

The Stan Freberg Show was a 1957 replacement for Jack Benny on CBS radio.

➦In 1941...TV station WNBT, Channel 4 in New York City, broadcast the first audience-participation show. Studio guests played charades as part of the fun.   Now known as, NewsChannel 4, the station signed on the air as WNBT on July 1, 1941, at 1:29 p.m. This historic event was the beginning of commercial television in the United States. But the imminent start of WWII for America put TV on the back burner for another five years.

➦In 1969...Charlie Greer aired his last show on WABC 770 AM New York.

Charlie Greer (1923-1996) did mid-days and overnights. Given WABC's 50,000 clear channel signal, Greer became a popular all-night disc jockey heard on more than 38 states punching his way through famous tongue twister commercials for an all night men's clothing store called Dennison's in Union, New Jersey.

Greer also spent time with New York City's WCBS-FM in 1973, then and became part of WCBS-FM's Rock and Roll Radio Greats Weekend in the '80s and '90s.

From WAKR in Akron Ohio, Charlie started at WABC on December 7, 1960. He moved back and forth between overnights and middays a couple of times. He was one of the original Swingin’ Seven from Seventy Seven.

He moved to Philadelphia's WIP in 1969 and then back to the New York area to WRKL in New City for a short while, and later worked at WHAM in Rochester, before returning to Akron.

➦In 1971... 93KHJ - Los Angeles early evening DJ/personality - “Humble’ Harve Miller pleaded guilty to second degree murder of his adulterous wife Mary. In a short statement, he said he accidentally shot his wife and still loved her. Miller was the subject of a 13-day nationwide search after the murder in May.

"Humble" Harve Miller began his career in 1958 at WAAT in Trenton, NJ. Soon after, he moved to WIBG 990 AM in Philadelphia, where he worked from 1958 to 1962. Miller subsequently moved to Los Angeles, California, and became part of the enormous hit station KHJ as part of the "Boss Radio" DJ teams working under Bill Drake and other executives.

Humble Harve was the top-rated nighttime DJ throughout a five year period, and also did commercials, voice-over work, and narrated the 1967 counterculture documentary film Mondo Mod. He also narrated the late-1969 syndicated version of KHJ's The History of Rock and Roll 48-hour special, which aired throughout the early 1970s.

In 1971, Miller's career took a dramatic turn when he was found guilty of murdering his adulterous wife Mary and wound up serving a ten-year prison sentence for manslaughter. In 1980, Harve was released from prison and soon found work at LA station KKDJ.

Among the Los Angeles radio stations Humble Harve has worked for throughout the years are KIQQ, KIIS, KUTE, KRLA, KRTH, KCBS-FM, and KZLA. In addition, Miller also again worked for WIBG in Philadelphia in 1985 and KVI in Seattle, Washington from 1986-1989, and also narrated a variety of syndicated radio specials during the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1995 Miller was inducted into the Rock&Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. He died in June 2019.

Cousin Brucie - Then

➦In 1974...Cousin Brucie (Bruce Morrow) aired his final show on MusicRadio 77WABC and moved over to WNBC 660 AM.

Morrow worked for WABC for 13 years and 4,014 broadcasts until August 1974, when he transferred to rival radio station WNBC; after three years there, he quit performance to team with entrepreneur Robert F.X. Sillerman to become the owner of the Sillerman Morrow group of radio stations.

Morrow - Today
In 1982, Morrow resumed working as a radio announcer, for New York's oldies WCBS 101.1 FM. Initially, he filled in for Jack Spector every third Saturday evening for the Saturday Night Sock Hop program. After Spector's resignation during 1985, Morrow became the main performer for the program and renamed it the Saturday Night Dance Party. The station also added his nationally syndicated show Cruisin' America. During 1986, he began working the Wednesday evening shift, where he hosted The Top 15 Yesterday and Today Countdown. During 1991, the Wednesday show became The Yearbook, emphasizing music from the years between 1955 and 1979. Cousin Brucie was also the "breakfast presenter" on Atlantic 252 from 1992 to 1996.

When the radio program Cruisin' America ended during December 1992, Morrow continued hosting a WCBS radio program named Cruising with the Cuz Monday evenings until the end of 1993. After that program ended, he hosted the Saturday night and Wednesday night programs there until the station's change to an adult hits format named Jack FM on June 3, 2005. Soon thereafter, he signed a multi-year deal to host oldies SiriusXM Satellite.  Morrow can now be heard on 77WABC NYC hosting a Saturday evening oldies show.

➦In 1981...FCC established General Radiotelephone Operator License and ceased issuing First and Second Class Operator licenses.

➦In 2000...NYC's WADO 1280 AM increased power to 50 Kw Day / 7.2 Kw Night-DA.

➦In 2015…Art Finley died of a heart attack at age 88. (Born Arthur Finger 1926). He was a TV and radio personality, mostly in San Francisco and Vancouver, until his retirement in 1995.

His broadcasting career began at KXYZ Houston in 1943.   During the last half of his 50-year career, Finley returned to radio as a newsman and talk-show host. He relied on his wife Geraldine as his career advisor, researcher and editor throughout their 56-year marriage. She died in 2006.

In the U.S., Finley's station affiliations were primarily in San Francisco: 10 years at KGO, and KCBS. Three interim years were spent at XTRA in San Diego and WNIS in Norfolk. Two radio stations in Vancouver, B.C., needed a talk-show host.  He spent five years at CKNW, and later, six years at CJOR. He retired in 1995; his final years in broadcasting were as a KCBS news anchor.

Art Finley served as Master of Ceremonies for San Francisco's official celebration of Independence Day for 14 years between 1960 and 1979.

Charlie Theron is 47

  • Humorist Garrison Keillor is 80. 
  • Actor John Glover (“Smallville”) is 78. 
  • Actor David Rasche (“Sledge Hammer!”) is 78. 
  • Country singer Rodney Crowell is 72. 
  • Actor Caroline Aaron (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) is 70. 
  • Sydney Penny is 51
    Actor Wayne Knight (“Seinfeld”) is 67. 
  • Singer Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden is 64. 
  • Actor David Duchovny (“Californication,” ″The X-Files”) is 62. 
  • Actor Delane Matthews (“Dave’s World”) is 61. 
  • Actor Harold Perrineau (“Lost,” ″Oz”) is 59. 
  • Jazz pianist Marcus Roberts is 59. 
  • Country singer Raul Malo of The Mavericks is 57. 
  • Actor David Mann (“Madea” films) is 56. 
  • Actor Sydney Penny (“The Thorn Birds,” ″All My Children”) is 51. 
  • Actor Greg Serano is 50. Actor Charlize Theron is 47. 
  • Drummer Barry Kerch of Shinedown is 46. 
  • Actor Eric Johnson (“Fifty Shades Darker,” ″Smallville”) is 43. 
  • Actor Liam James (TV’s “Psych,” film’s “The Way, Way Back”) is 26.

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