The Rudy Vallee Show, as the program came to be known, was a Radio Pioneer in many ways. Not only was the program a showcase for Vallee's unique brand of Showmanship; it was also a terrific vehicle for Vallee's "talent of finding talent."
At first the show was a bit of a risk for both NBC and sponsor Standard Brands. Rudy Vallee led a small band called the "Connecticut Yankees", and he had begun to take on the vocal duties (over his bandmates objections). The problem was that Rudy didn't have a very strong voice. Bertha Brainard, head of Programming at NBC, became a fan. "Only a woman" she would state, "could understand the appeal of Vallee's voice."
Vallee lead the Fleischman's Yeast Hour to immediate popularity beginning in 1929, even rivaling Amos 'n' Andy for popularity. In 1932 Vallee began pestering his sponsor to try a different type of show; one with a greater variety of guests, a greater variety of acts, and appealing to a greater variety of audiences. In short, a Variety Show. Modern day fans of Jay Leno or David Letterman will recognize the format. The new format featured an interview with one or more of the guests, musical numbers by the guests and the regular players, and dramatic and comic sketches.
Another reason that The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour is appreciated still is the number of great entertainers that were introduced to a national audience by the show. These include Burns and Allen, Milton Berle, Alice Faye, James Cagney, the Mills Brothers, and Kate Smith.
By 1935-36, Sponsor Standard Brands began to recognize changing audience tastes. Fleischmann's Yeast had been largely marketed as a health supplement, but this use began to fall from favor during the 30's (with the end of Prohibition, Yeast's role in homemade beer also fell off). But Standard still had products to move, and in 1936 the program was changed to The Royal Gelatin Hour, but little else was changed. And Rudy still brought new and wonderful shows and talent to the airwaves.