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Gunsmoke Director Norman Macdonnell On How Executive Committees Hurt Radio in the 1950s

In the 1970s, Radio producer/director Norman Macdonnell sat down with a documentary crew for an interview on his time in the radio industry. During the interview, he spoke of how radio's changing executive in the 1950s helped hasten radio drama's network demise.


Red Skelton on How Ed Wynn Got Him Started in Comedy

In the early 1990s, Red Skelton was a guest of Canadian television host Dini Petty's talk show. They spoke about his life and career. In this clip, Red Skelton explains how comedian Ed Wynn got him started in show-biz when he was just a kid.


Elliott Lewis on Working With Jack Benny

In the early 1980s, Elliott Lewis was a guest of John Dunning's on his 71K Newstalk Radio program in Denver, CO. During the conversation Elliott spoke about working with Jack Benny early in Lewis' career.


William Conrad on the Importance of Charisma & Gunsmoke

In the early 1970s, William Conrad, then starring in TV's Cannon, spoke about his career as a radio actor and his time as star of radio's Gunsmoke for a 5-part Gunsmoke audio documentary. In this clip he speaks about the need for the essential element of high charisma in your lead performer in order for any show to be successful. He also spoke about his time working on Gunsmoke.


When Bing Crosby's NBC Strike Opened The Ratings Door for CBS and Suspense—12/1945

Newscasting had become a full fledged wing of broadcasting during the war. In 1945 there were twenty-nine separate prime-time news programs appearing in the ratings books. But the audience was rapidly shrinking. Lowell Thomas fell from 27th to 40th in the ratings. H.V. Kaltenborn lost 30% of his audience, dropping out of the top 50 for the first time in five years. He would never return. Gabriel Heater lost over 45%—an estimated 4 million listeners—of his 9:00 nightly audience on Mutual....


Announcer Don Wilson on Jack Benny's Comedic Philosophy & Christmas Shows in Palm Springs

In June of 1980 famed radio announcer Don Wilson, who starred on Jack Benny's program for decades, sat down with Chuck Schaden for a conversation about his life and career (full interview here - During the conversation Don Wilson spoke of Jack Benny's comedic philosophy and the program's yearly Palm Springs Christmas season shows.


Radio Director William N. Robson Explains Why Gunsmoke And Other Adult Westerns Came Late To Radio

In the early 1970s, famed radio writer and director William N. Robson was interviewed for a documentary on the history of Gunsmoke. During the course of the interview Robson explained why good, adult westerns developed late in radio's Golden Age.


Stories From Radio's Christmas Day Programming—12/25/1945

As night fell on Christmas Eve, a crowd of 10,000 gathered on the snow covered south lawn of the White House to witness the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. They were a mix of men, women, and children with all kinds of faces. There were civilians and military personnel, some healthy, some wounded and recovering. Many in the crowd had been waiting in the frigid cold for almost three hours, singing christmas carols to keep warm and joyous. Even a stray dog had managed to wander in and...


Radio Legend Elliott Lewis Explains Why He Called Ad Execs The League of Frightened Men

In the early 1980s, radio actor/writer/producer/director Elliott Lewis was a guest of John Dunning's Old-Time Radio program for 71K Newstalk Radio in Denver, CO. During the course of the conversation the two were talking about the need for ad execs to be less paranoid and to butt out of the creative process more often.


Radio Announcer Tony Marvin on Life as a CBS Staff Announcer in the 1940s

In the spring of 1973, longtime radio announcer Tony Marvin sat down with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran for WTIC's The Golden Age of Radio to discuss his life and career (full interview here - during the course of the interview Marvin described life as a CBS staff announcer during the golden age of radio


Radio Actor John Gibson on When He Knew TV was Going To Kill Radio Drama

Radio actor John Gibson (of Casey, Crime Photographer; Terry and the Pirates) seen here (far left) with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran, was a guest of the pair for their WTIC Golden Age of Radio Program in September of 1970 (full episode here During the course of their interview he told a story of when he sensed television would displace radio. This early realization helped John get a head start on breaking into television after World War II.


Stories From NBC's Tuesday Night Comedy Lineup—December 1945

Tuesday night’s comedy lineup featured the three highest-rated shows on the air. Between 9 and 11 PM eastern time on Tuesdays, NBC ran Amos n’ Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Bob Hope Show and The Red Skelton Show back to back. Bob Hope was radio’s highest rated comedian, scoring a 27.7 hooper rating that season. Fibber McGee and Molly came in at a 27.1 and the returning Red Skelton show was third at 23.1. All on NBC.


Eve Arden On How Our Miss Brooks Was Created

In the early 1980s, radio, film, and theater actress Eve Arden spoke with John Dunning for 71K News Radio in Denver, Co. During the course of the conversation John asked her how Our Miss Brooks, her most famous radio role, was created.


Network Radio's Soap Opera Programming in December of 1945

In New York, WABC signed on at 5AM the morning of Wednesday December 5th, 1945 with news. WEAF followed at 5:30 with recorded music. WOR at 5:45 with the Farmer’s Digest, and WJZ at 6AM with Galen Drake. At 6:30AM on CBS, Arthur Godfrey Time went on the air. Godfrey was a special assignment announcer in April of 1945 when he was a mournful reporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s funeral coverage. Positioned near the White House, he gave a detailed and emotionally-wrought description of the...


Radio's Involvement in the US Victory Bond Drive—December 1945

Normally after Suspense aired at 8:00 over CBS stations on Thursdays, The FBI in Peace and War followed at 8:30. Thursday December 6th 1945’s usually scheduled FBI in Peace and War was preempted for a special Victory Bond program, hosted by Bing Crosby and orchestra leader Paul Whiteman. Although In December of 1945 Bing Crosby was on strike with NBC, he had no problem donating his time and talent to CBS to help sell Victory Bonds. US Government Series E Bonds were first issued in 1941 to...


BW - EP86: Home For the Holidays—December 1945 On the Air

In Breaking Walls Episode 86, we spotlight what was on the air over the US’ major radio networks during December of 1945. Highlights: • The First Peacetime Holiday Season in Five Years Begins • Radio’s Three Main Production Hubs • Macabees • Frank Nelson, Lurene Tuttle, and Mandel Kramer • I Can’t Stand Jack Benny • Soap Operas and Kid’s Shows • NBC Dominates Sunday and Tuesday Nights • Falling Mid-Week Ratings Open the Door for CBS • Victory Bonds and Bing’s Strike • Christmas Draws Closer...


Ventriloquist Dummy Charlie McCarthy Flirts With Susan Hayward on His Radio Program—12/16/1945

Almost nine years to the day after making his first appearance on Rudy Vallée's Royal Gelatin Program, Edgar Bergen and his alter-ego Charlie McCarthy hosted Susan Hayward on their radio program. McCarthy, always the wooden flirt, cracks jokes and attempts to seduce Ms. Hayward to no avail.


Actress Jan Miner Tells a Funny Radio Drama SFX Flub Story

In the 1970s, Prolific New York stage, radio, and TV commercial actress Jan Miner sat down with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran for their WTIC Golden Age of Radio program (Full interview here - During the course of their conversation about her career, Jan told a funny story about a time the sound effects man accidentally hit the sound of an upcoming automobile accident a few minutes too early when she was playing the female lead on Boston Blackie...


The Open of NBC/RCA's First Television Broadcast—07/07/1936

In 1932 RCA field engineers were testing an Iconoscope pickup tube linked to a transmitter installed on the roof of a Camden, NJ research plant. Still pictures were broadcast via ultrahigh frequency over a few miles’ distance to a prototype set equipped with an experimental cathode ray receiving tube. It would come to be known as the Kinescope. An RCA transmitting antenna was implanted at the top of the Empire State Building and several receivers were scattered about the New York...


Jackson Beck's Thoughts on the Radio industry of the 1970s

In March of 1973, Jackson Beck was a guest of Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran on WTIC's The Golden Age of Radio (full interview here - Beck was a New York city native that had, to that point, had a forty year career as a voice actor and announcer in every format from radio (The Adventures of Superman, Philo Vance), commercials, and cartoons (Bluto in Popeye). In this clip, Mr. Beck talks about his feelings on the radio industry back in the (then...