Solomon and Anna, Russian-Jewish immigrants who settled in Tennessee were happy to welcome their daughter Frances Rose, and surely dismayed when at the age of two she contracted infantile paralysis, as polio was known at the time. The doting parents provided intense care for their little girl, and she made a near complete recovery with a deformed foot and a slight lifetime limp.
The little girl loved to sing, and she was encouraged by her mother, who had operatic ambitions, and her father, who took her to his store to sing for his customers. Although shy because of her limp, she seems to have had a precocious streak; at the age of 14 she was hired as a torch singer in a Nashville nightclub only to find that when the lights went up for her first performance that her parents were sitting at a table in the front row - she finished the show but her premier was also her closing.
She went on to eventually graduate from Vanderbilt University, but never lost her dreams of a singing career. Part of her repertoire of audition numbers was the popular song "Dinah". When a New York disc jockey couldn't remember her name, and began referring to her as "that Dinah girl" the stage name Dinah Shore stuck.
Dinah auditioned for Benny Goodman and both of the Dorsey boys, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, but failed to raise any interest. She went on to establish herself as a solo artist.
She was soon headlining her own radio program, at first under the sponsorship of Bristol Myers. In 1943 The Dinah Shore Program became Birds Eye Frosted Food's first foray into the world of Radio Sponsorship. Flash-frozen foods were new to the American marketplace, and it certainly didn't hurt Birds Eye to have a wholesome, pretty girl that they could put in their print ads as well as on the radio.
During the first two seasons the show featured a comic sketch starring Roland Young and Cornelia Skinner playing married couple "William and Mary". They were eventually replaced by comedian Wally Brown, who also failed to fit the program.
For the 1944 fall season Birds Eye took their sponsorship, singer, and announcer Harry Van Zell from CBS to NBC and the show, now titled Birds Eye Open House, seemed to click. Dinah's singing continued to be the big draw, with her banter with Van Zell and the Guest Star holding things together. The weekly sketch now starred Dinah and the guest (and was greatly helped by the better writers hired for the show by NBC). During it's last season Birds Eye Open House found itself in the time slot immediately following The Burns and Allen Show; George and Gracie were guests during the "Sugar Throat Burns/Gracie Barges In" running gag. The two programs also combined for the 1945 Christmas show. Groucho Marx was also a frequent guest.