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Entertainment/Radio

 

 

 

Big Wheel From Wheelrim,  by E. Paul "Jack" Davis

 

The radio career of E. Paul "Jack" Davis spanned more than 30 years and spilled over at times into stage work and television.  Jack likes to boast that he also made countless screen appearances---i.e., when he found it necessary to supplement his income with door-to-door sales and spoke to housewives through their front screen doors.  If you enjoy such homespun humor, there's a treat in store for you in Jack's autobiography.  It's the rags-to-not-quite-riches story of how he parlayed singing in a church on-air choir into an audition and his first announcing job.  Thus began a radio odyssey that took him as far west as Colorado, south to Florida and back east with a stop-over job in Chicago.  Never affliated with a network, he did not become a national celebrity, but in every town where he worked he became a "household name."  When he signed off for the last time in 1970, he had rubbed elbows with dozens of current and future "personalities."  He fondly recalls working with such folk as Gene Autry, Eddie Cantor, Rosemary Clooney, Ralph Edwards, Spike Jones and a host of others.  This book chronicles a love affair with radio that endured well beyond the medium's "Golden Age."

 

Softcover, 5.5 x 8.5, 446 pgs.     
Price: $15.95

 

Bob and Ray and Tom,  by Tom Koch

 

In the twilight of radio's Golden Age, none carried the comedy torch higher or farther than Bob (Elliott) and Ray (Goulding).  Their wacky but on-the-mark satire led them from obscure announcing jobs at a local station to network radio, television and the stage.  Part of their success was due to a fellow named Tom Koch, who wrote many of their hilarious sketches.  This is Tom’s own story of his association with the beloved team.  And it can be yours at what Bob or Ray would call “the laughably low (ho, ho!) price of just $8.50!”  At 57 pages, it’s conveniently sized to fit inside your lunchbox or conceal behind the covers of a more respectable book.  Laugh-In alumnus Gary Owens says: “I love it.  I will put it next to my Captain Marvel necktie, my Porky Pig soap dish and my bottomless Don Knotts calendar.”


Softcover, 5.5” x 8.5”, 57 pgs.
Price: $8.50

 

 

 

Boston Radio: 1920-2010, by Donna L. Halper

 

Boston's radio history begins in 1920 with station 1XE/WGI, one of America's first stations, and includes the first station to receive a commercial license, WBZ; the first FM radio network, W1XOJ and W1XER; and one of the first news networks, the Yankee News Service.  Nationally known bandleaders were first heard on Boston radio, as were a number of legendary announcers, such as Bob and Ray, Arnie Ginsburg and Dick Summer; talk show giants Jerry Williams and David Brudnoy; and sports talkers like Eddie Andelman and Glenn Ordway.  Many Boston radio personalities, including Curt Gowdy and Louise Morgan found fame on television, but first established themselves on Boston's airwaves.  With rare photographs from some of Boston's best-known air personalities, the author tells the story of the stations and announcers Bostonians have loved for decades.


Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs. 
Price:  $21.00

 

 

Chattanooga Radio and Television,  by David Carroll

 

Certain names bring a smile to the faces of those born and raised in Chattanooga: Miss Marcia, Bob Brandy, Mort Lloyd, Dr. Shock, and, of course, "Luther."  These are among the icons of Chattanooga broadcasting.  They are the faces and voices that awakened Chattanoogans each morning, delivered the news, or made them laugh.  Ever since two high school pals put the city's first radio station on the air in 1925, Chattanooga has been blessed with an abundance of memorable personalities.  Some passed through on their way to national fame, while others have made Chattanooga their home for more than half a century.

 

David Carroll grew up as a fan of these broadcasters and later became a Chattanooga radio and television personality.  His career has included a stint at AM top 40 radio giant WFLI, hosting The Morning Show on WDEF-TV for four years, and anchoring the evening news on WRCB-TV since 1987.  His friendships with hundreds of local radio and television personalities bring their stories to life, providing an informative entertaining look at Chattanooga's broadcast history.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.
Price:  $21.00

 

 

Chicago's WLS Radio,  by Scott Childers

 

From its early days as the farmer’s companion to over a quarter century as the nation’s premier rock-and-roll station, WLS has touched the lives of millions of listeners.  Many well-known celebrities, like Gene Autry, owe their careers to the Big 89, through the famous Saturday night program The National Barn Dance.  Local personalities such as Dick Biondi, Larry Lujack, and John Records Landecker became household names thanks to Chicago’s 50,000-watt blow-torch.  The images in Chicago’s WLS Radio scan the entire history of the station, featuring engaging hosts, the biggest stars, and lots of fun.  The book also covers WLS’s move in the 1990s to become a leader in the news and talk format.


Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.   
Price:  $19.99

 

Cincinnati Radio,  by Michael A. Martini 

 

As in many other cities, Cincinnati listeners have kept their ears tuned to their local radio stations for music, news, and entertainment for nearly a century.  Cincinnati enjoyed several unique broadcast stories ranging from some of the earliest forays into radio dramatics to the country’s first 500,000-watt superpower radio station.  Listeners were treated to such up-and-coming celebrities as Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Andy Williams, and “Fats” Waller; the rise of three major communications corporations; and an amazing array of nationally broadcast network shows and talents that, for a brief period, placed the city’s broadcasters behind only New York and Chicago in terms of importance.  In word and pictures, longtime Cincinnati radio host Mike Martini captures the first 50 years of that golden era of the city’s radio history.


Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.          
Price:  $21.00  

 

Comic Strips of Radio’s Golden Age,  by Ron Lackman

 

During the memorable years when radio was America’s favorite home entertainment medium, the airwaves were filled with all sorts of programming.  Daytime dramas (often called soap operas) enthralled at-home moms.  Prime time programming offered something for everyone: mystery and comedy, variety shows, game and panel programs, even adaptations of great works of theatre and literature.  Among the many programs aimed at kids were dozens that featured characters drawn from comic books and comic strips.  Even a few that appealed to adults were adapted for radio.  From Archie Andrews to Tom Mix, all the radio characters and programs that drew life from a comic book or comic strip are collected here in a skillfully researched guide.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 199 pgs. 
Price: $19.95

 

 

 

 

Davenport's WOC AM-FM-TV,  by David T. Coopman

 

Beginning in 1922, Davenport's WOC has charted an impressive list of broadcasting firsts: the first licensed commercial radio station west of the Mississippi River; first station to establish logging, the practice of recording program schedules down to the minute and second; the use of time signals at the beginning of programs; first to build and use audio mixing controls that allowed multiple microphone usage; first to broadcast from a state legislature; and first to broadcast programming meant specifically for children.  WOC-TV was the first television station in Iowa on the air when it began regular programming in 1949.  This volume of images presents an overview to the history, facilities, programming, and technology of the WOC stations and provides a glimpse at the stations today, as new ownership carries on an outstanding tradition in Quad City broadcasting.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs. 
Price: $21.00

 

Fibber McGee and Molly On the Air, 1935-1959,  by Clair Schulz 

 

Airing from the dark days of the Depression right into the space age, Fibber McGee and Molly was one of radio's greatest triumphs.  At the peak of its popularity during the 1940s, millions of Americans tuned in Tuesday evenings to hear the Old Timer, Gildersleeve, Mrs. Uppington, Doc Gamble, Mayor LaTrivia, and other visitors to radio’s most famous residence, 79 Wistful Vista.  The show was unique in that it aired in 3 different formats: 30-minute productions, 15-minute shows, and vignettes heard on NBC Monitor.  This guide covers over 900 episodes in all 3 formats with entries listing broadcast dates, cast, summary, musical numbers and running gags (including openings of that famous hall closet).  It also spotlights the talents of writers Don Quinn and Phil Leslie, and includes rarely seen photographs of stars Jim and Marian Jordan.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 370 pgs.     
Price: $23.50

 

Fibber McGee's Scrapbook,  by Charles Stumpf and Ben Ohmart

 

This scrapbook traces the career of Jim Jordan (Fibber McGee) from the early years, to his final days.  It contains a 7-page biography of Jim Jordan (and the Fibber McGee and Molly team) written by OTR historian, Charles Stumpf (author of Heavenly Days), plus over 100 reproductions of original newspaper and magazine clippings (full articles, pictures, news items, much rare stuff) and photos.  For fans of the McGees, it’s like sitting down with Fibber and flipping through his scrapbook as he fondly recalls a hall closet full of memories.

 

Softcover, 8.5 x 11, 100 pgs.     

Price: $15.00

 

The Great Radio Comedians,  by Jim Harmon 

 

Born in Mt. Carmel, Illinois, in 1933, Jim Harmon barely survived a childhood too ill to do anything except listen to the radio.  Reading The Great Radio Comedians is like hearing those broadcasts again.  From a major collection of radio recordings, Harmon draws upon interviews with such stellar radio comics as Edgar Bergen, Ezra Stone (Henry Aldrich) and Jim Jordan (Fibber McGee) to produce a broadcast history that reads like a revival of those memorable comedy broadcasts.  The first edition received enthusiastic reviews from Time, Life, Newsweek and others.  In this reissue he adds revelations of what has transpired in the art form in recent years, including a chapter on Garrison Keillor and Prairie Home Companion.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 247 pgs.       
Price: $19.95

 

The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance 

 

The National Barn Dance was the nation's most popular country music radio show during the 1930s and 1940s, defining country and western entertainment until it was supplanted by the Grand Ole Opry and rock 'n' roll in the 1950s.  For more than three decades, from the 50,000-watt signal of Chicago station WLS, the show reached listeners throughout the Midwest, the East Coast, and large regions of the South, delivering popular entertainment to rural and urban areas and celebrating the folk traditions that were fading in an increasingly urbanized America.
Drawing on the colorful commentary of performers and former listeners,  this volume analyzes the National Barn Dance and its audience, traces the history of barn dance radio, and explores the paradox of country music in a major urban center and provocative issues raised by the barn dance phenomenon.

 

Softcover, 7 x 10, 215 pgs.

Price:  $24.95

                                                                                          

 

 The Hellyer Say,  by Art Hellyer

 

Art Hellyer probably holds the record for being fired from more stations than any other radio personality.  His on-air antics drove program directors up the wall, but delighted listeners, who faithfully followed him from station to station.  Sponsors who did not take themselves too seriously often acknowledged that his deviations from their printed “spots” actually resulted in increased sales.  During more than 55 years behind the mic, Art got to meet and often interview the likes of Liberace, both Mayors Daley, Leo Durocher and a host of other diverse notables.  Author Studs Terkel says, “There was something joyous, heart-warming and graceful” in Art’s broadcasts.  The wonderfully wacko personality that made that true floats off the pages as Art recalls those fun years.


Softcover, 6 x 9, many photos, 412 pgs.
Price:  $22.95 

 

Hartford Radio,  by John Ramsey

 

Radio broadcasting has been an integral part of Hartford history since the early part of the 20th century.  WDRC, the state’s first station (1923), helped pioneer FM radio technology in the early 1940s.  Many Hartford residents learned about the end of World War II via radio, and the medium played a key role in keeping people informed during the floods of 1938 and 1955, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the great Northeast Blackout of 1965.  Surprisingly, Hartford, the capital of “the land of steady habits,” saw two stations break from the pack to help bring the British Invasion to the state in the early 1960s.  And thousands of schoolchildren eagerly listened to WTIC’s legendary Bob Steele on wintery mornings as they excitedly awaited school closing announcements.  The author, a broadcast engineer since 1978, offers a glimpse into the history of the area’s broadcast stations and the people who ran them.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    
Price: $21.00

 

 

How Fibber McGee and Molly Won World War II,  by Mickey Smith 

 

This entertaining essay chronicles a special period in the broadcast life of one of radio's most popular comedy series.  During one of America’s darkest hours, Jim and Marion Jordan joined forces with the writing genius of Don Quinn and the unparalleled support of the Johnson (Wax) Company to produce a consistently entertaining series of programs that melded laughs and patriotism with an unwavering message--America was in the right, the men (and women) in the military deserved unflagging support, and the folks at home had a vital role to play, assuring the ultimate victory.  As our government and the broadcast industry adapted to wartime conditions, Fibber McGee and Molly highlighted subjects not usually given a lot of attention, such as the Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, "WACS", inflation, aaid to European war victims.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 258 pgs.        
Price: $21.95

 

Knoxville's WNOX,  by Ed Hooper 

 

WNOX was the eighth radio station to sign on the air in North America and the first in Tennessee.  No station has left a bigger footprint on American popular music or the radio industry as WNOX.  Its AM signal could be heard as far south as Daytona Beach and as far north as New York City in the day of uncluttered airwaves.  It helped write the book on radio broadcasts and productions with programs like the Mid-Day Merry-Go-Round and the Tennessee Barn Dance.  Its legendary programs helped pioneer an entire genre of American popular music and served as a launching pad for country music’s greatest stars and some of the nation’s best broadcasters.  The call letters remain an iconic landmark of Knoxville and East Tennessee.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.    
Price: $21.00

 

Let's Pretend and the Golden Age of Radio,  by Arthur Anderson
Forward by Norman Corwin
 

 

For those who grew up with what is now called “old time radio,” the name Nila Mack prompts a quick response: “Let’s Pretend!”  On August 18, 1930, Nila Mack took over a children’s program that had been on the air and evolving under several names since 1928.  The format and name changed one more time when it became Let’s Pretend in 1934.  By then, the former actress and writer had taken over writing, casting, producing and directing the program that became a Saturday morning favorite of kids everywhere for 24 years.  Arthur Anderson joined the cast at age 13 and was on almost every week until the program ended.  He presents a fond remembrance that covers all aspects of the show, its producer and cast. Dozens of cast photos and a complete log of the series.


Softcover, 6 x 9, 263 pgs.    
Price: $19.95

 

 

Nashville Broadcasting,  by Lee Dorman

 

Built by a 16-year-old high school student named Jack DeWitt, the first radio station in Nashville went on the air in 1922.  Three years later, DeWitt helped start WSM, arguably one of the nation’s greatest radio stations, and in 1950, he and WSM put Nashville’s first television station on the air.  Over the years, Nashville has had its share of local radio personalities, such as Noel Ball, Coyote McCloud, and Gerry House, as well as television personalities like Jud Collins, Bill Jay, and Larry Munson.  Nationally recognized stars such as Dinah Shore, Oprah Winfrey, Pat Sajak, and Pat Boone started their careers in Nashville as well.  Here are the stories and images of the people heard on transistor radios and the programs—including Five O’Clock Hop, Ruffin’ Reddy, and The Mickey Mouse Club—watched by children while they did their homework.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.      
Price: $21.00

 

Philadelphia Radio,  by Alan Boris

 

Philadelphia radio broadcasting began in 1922, when the city's first officially licensed stations went on the air.  Within a few years, a small, experimental medium became a full-fledged craze as families listened to live news, sports, and entertainment for the first time.  In 1932, the first building designed for radio broadcasting opened on Chestnut Street, coinciding with the “golden age of radio,” that featured live orchestras, soap operas, and imaginative dramas.  In the 1950s, a few stations began playing rock and roll, and Philadelphia became known as a city that not only produced hit music but also consistently broke new acts.  By the 1970s, FM radio began to grab the majority of listeners, and once again Philadelphia stations were responsible for breaking new artists, such as Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen.

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs. 
Price: $21.00

 

 

Pittsburgh's Golden Age of Radio,  by Ed Salamon 

 

Pittsburgh is the birthplace of radio, the location of many of radio's first and most influential stations and broadcast personalities, and a key market for the development of new formats. Pittsburghers' reaction to the music they heard on the radio helped to break records and create stars.  Radio provided an unprecedented audience for live performances by local artists.  After the big band era, radio gave voice to pop, rock and roll, and rhythm and blues. Pittsburgh's Golden Age of Radio celebrates the city's radio history, deejays, contests, concerts, public service, and promotions from radio's beginnings in the 1920s through the late 1970s.  Most of the images in Pittsburgh's Golden Age of Radio were contributed by people who worked in Pittsburgh radio, who also contributed their memories. 

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs.        
Price: $21.00

 

Private Eyelashes: Radio's Lady Detectives,  by Jack French 

 

Private Eyelashes presents a complete history of all the feminine sleuths in the Golden Age of Radio.  Every lady detective series is set forth in detail, including origin, plot synopsis, identity of cast and productions crew, as well as the careers of the stars after their series ended.  Meticulously detailed and infused with a tongue-in-cheek humor, this entertaining survey covers the surprising number of female radio detectives.  Factual and fascinating, it traces the intriguing past of both the well-known and obscure female crime solvers on network radio.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 234 pgs.

Price: $19.95                                    

 

 

 

Remembering Radio: An Oral History of Old Time Radio,  by David S. Siegel 

 

Radio historian and archivist Davis S. Siegel shares 14 of his interviews with people intimately involved in radio during its years as a prime source of entertainment.  In addition to the inimitable singer Hildegarde, Parker Fennelly (Titus Moody on the Fred Allen program), and Frank Nelson (nemesis of Jack Benny in countless personas), he speaks with musicians, writers, technicians, producers and directors.  All share their first-hand accounts of the programs they were associated with and the stars and behind-the-scenes people with whom they worked during radio’s Golden Age.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 394 pgs.      
Price: $24.95

 

The Story of Vic and Sade,  by Bill Idelson

 

 Paul Rhymer created radio’s home folks, Vic and Sade, in 1932 as a two-character play.  Art Van Harvey and Bernadine Flynn were just right as the couple in the small house halfway up the next block.  Young Bill Idelson later joined the cast as 9-year-old Rush.  Drawing upon 1,800 scripts preserved at the University of Wisconsin, Idelson illustrates the gamut of Rhymer's humor, from trenchant satire to human comedy.  He also presents loving portraits of Van Harvey and Flynn. Any fan of old time radio will enjoy this book.  Fans of Vic and Sade will love it.  

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 308 pgs.     
Price: $24.50

 

Well!  Reflections on the Life and Career of Jack Benny,  Edited by Michael Leannah  


If he were still with us, Jack Benny would have celebrated his 39th birthday again this past Valentine's Day.  Just as the kid from Waukegan, Illinois refused to grow old, his comedy remains as fresh and funny today as when he presented it on radio, screen and television.
Presented here is a collection of rare and delightful essays and personal reminiscences on perhaps the greatest comedian who has ever lived.  Jack Benny's impact on the world of entertainment was profound, and the ripples of his influence are still expanding today. 
Jack Benny gave the world a tremendous amount of laughter and pleasure.  His work demands, and deserves, continued scrutiny and analysis, which the writers of this volume are honored to provide.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 161 pgs.   
Price: $19.95

 

KMOX: The Voice of St. Louis,  by Frank Absher  

 

Since its debut on December 24, 1925, KMOX has been the “Voice of St. Louis.”  Through the years, KMOX listeners have heard hillbilly music, local drama, award-winning news, soap operas, soothing nighttime voices, sports play-by-play, call-in talk shows, world leaders, local events and editorials, and announcers who became like friends of the family.  In radio’s heyday, hundreds of CBS network programs heard around the nation originated from the Mart Building studios of KMOX, and the station was a national leader in radio market share.  Frank Absher, a former announcer on KMOX, recalls a station that has won every major broadcast award imaginable, directly reflecting its influence and local dominance.


Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs. 
Price: $21.00

 

WNAX 570 Radio: 1922-2007,  by Marilyn Kratz and Stan Ray

 

Life on the northern plains was lonely in the early 20th century.  Farmers and ranchers went for weeks without hearing any voices other than those of their families.  Then, in 1922, Al Madson, proprietor of a Yankton radio parts shop, made a radio transmitter.  He formed a broadcasting company, and on November 25, 1922, WNAX broadcast its first program.  People of the northern plains now had a daily “visitor.”  Gurney Seed and Nursery Company owned the station for its first 16 years, adding distinctive innovations to its programming.  In its constant commitment to agriculture, the station has influenced the history of the five-state area it covers.  Lawrence Welk got his start there.  Wynn Speece, known as the Neighbor Lady, still broadcasts daily after starting at WNAX in 1941.  This history is compiled by two long-time Yankton residents and listeners to WNAX.  Stan Ray’s father was an engineer at the station.

 

Softcover, 6 x 9, 128 pgs. 
Price: $19.99