In the years immediately following World War II, the New York Central Railroad’s streamlined passenger train the 20th Century Limited provided one of the fastest and most luxurious means of traveling between Chicago and New York City. Departing daily from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station at 4:00 p.m., it would arrive in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal at 8:30 a.m. the following morning. In addition to the gourmet meals served in its dining car, passengers enjoyed such amenities as private staterooms, a barber, a secretary, showers, and maid service. An extra-fare train, the 20th Century Limited boasted a passenger list that included movie stars & entertainers, captains of industry, prominent sports figures, world famous musicians, visiting royalty, scientists, educators, politicians, and other “leading personalities.”
On March 4, 1946, the Mutual Radio Network began broadcasting Bob Elson on the Twentieth, a 15-minute weekday program originating from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station and featuring veteran sportscaster Bob Elson interviewing passengers who were about to depart for New York City on the 20th Century Limited.
Elson would open each program with, “Hello folks. This is Bob Elson aboard the Twentieth Century Limited, one of the world’s great trains where we have a host of travelers today and some very interesting people.” He would then conduct spontaneous interviews (usually three per broadcast) with some of the more interesting passengers who were departing on that day’s Century. (During these interviews, train announcements and other station noises can be heard in the background.)
Bob Elson on the Twentieth was sponsored by Krank’s Shaving Cream, Marrow Oil Shampoo, and Color Back hair coloring, all Chicago-made products. The men that were interviewed received a complementary tube or one-pound jar of Krank’s Shaving Cream. (“Once you use it, you’ll never use anything else.”) Women sometimes received a bottle of Marrow Oil Shampoo but, more often than not, were given a tube or jar of Krank’s Shaving Cream, which was, they were told, “for the man in your life.”
Each broadcast would conclude with, “And now the Century is all set to pull out for New York. This is Bob Elson saying goodbye for today from the world-famous streamliner, the Twentieth Century Limited.” This program was last heard on June 11, 1951.
Bob Elson’s broadcasting career began in 1929 and lasted through the early 1970s. In addition to the Chicago White Sox baseball team, he called games for the Chicago Bears football team and the Chicago Black Hawks hockey team. He also hosted Bob Elson on the Flagships for station KNX, where he interviewed passengers about to depart on American Airlines flights. He died in 1981.
This log is an attempt to briefly summarize the surviving Bob Elson on the Twentieth broadcasts that are most likely to be encountered today. In addition to identifying the people whom Elson interviewed, there will be brief summaries of what they talked about. Additional information about the people being interviewed is contained within brackets.
- 1946, KNX. Program #47. The program originates from the Chicago Passenger Terminal of the American Airlines Flagships. [This particular broadcast is from the Bob Elson on the Flagships series.] The first interviewee is “Piggy” Lambert who was Purdue University’s basketball coach for 30 years. Now a commissioner in the Professional Basketball League, he is on his way to New York City to attend a meeting of the Basketball Association of America. [Ward Louis "Piggy" Lambert served as the head basketball coach at Purdue University during the 1916–17 season, and from 1918 to 1946. He died in 1958.] The next interviewee is C. Lambert Jones, chief engineer with a management and consulting firm that deals with labor-management issues. He is currently studying the feasibility of a guaranteed annual wage. Next comes an offer for a free map, measuring two feet by three feet, that shows the major airline routes. This map can be obtained by sending a Krank’s Shaving Cream box top to KNX. The next interviewee is A. K. Durr, a candy buyer for West Coast movie theaters and who typically buys candy in 20,000 to 30,000-pound lots. He is in Chicago because it is a leading candy manufacturer. Next to be interviewed is former child film star Bobby Breen. Breen mentioned that he was discharged from the Army five and a half months ago. While serving with an Army Special Services unit, he and Mickey Rooney entertained troops at the front lines. In the 1930’s, he had sung on Eddie Cantor’s radio show. Now he is making his comeback as a singer at Chicago’s Chez Paree nightclub. Appearing with him are Sophie Tucker and Willie Howard. Regarding his future plans, he would like to someday again work on radio, appear in Broadway shows, and be in pictures. He would also like to become an executive. [Although he never made another film, Bobby Breen continued working as a nightclub singer and was later a talent agent. He died in 2016.]
- January 8, 1946, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The program opens with comedian Milton Berle acting as host and interviewing Bob Elson. After Elson resumes his host duties, he interviews Henry Dunn of the comedy team of Cross & Dunn, which is currently appearing at Chicago’s Chez Paree nightclub. Dunn recalls the “fiddle player” on the Roxy’s Gang radio show who later became the famous tenor Jan Peerce. Next to be interviewed is a Mrs. Hermine Nussbaum (who is not the Mrs. Nussbaum from Fred Allen’s radio show.) While she is talking about a new educational film titled “Babies Can Be Fun,” the segment ends abruptly.
- March 16, 1946, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is 17-year-old actor Roddy McDowell. Roddy was born in London and had appeared in 15 pictures in England before coming to New York City with his family in 1940 to escape the Blitz. While in New York, he was tested for a role in the movie “How Green Was My Valley,” which led to him going to Hollywood. So far, he has made 13 films in the U.S. including “My Friend Flicka” and “Lassie Come Home.” He hopes to continue making films and to someday be a director. His sister is also in Hollywood and hopes to break into pictures. [Roddy McDowall appeared primarily as a character actor on radio, stage, film, and television. He died in 1998.] The next person to be interviewed is actress Margarite Chapman. Originally a model, she had started her film career while under contract to Howard Hughes. She recently completed “The Walls Came Tumbling Down” [which was released in June 1946.] Earlier, she had starred with Paul Muni in “Counterattack.” She would someday like to do comedy. [Margarite Chapman acted in over 30 movies, mostly in supporting roles. She died in 1999.] Next up is actor Lee Bowman, who had co-starred with Margarite Chapman in “The Walls Came Tumbling Down.” A friend of sportscaster Red Barber and a baseball fan, he and Bob Elson talk about the possibility of major league baseball coming to the West Coast. Regarding his film career, after playing a variety of supporting roles, his big break came when he was cast opposite Rita Hayworth in “Cover Girl.” He also worked with actress Jean Arthur. His hobbies include tennis and golf. [Often cast as a smooth, wise-cracking bon vivant, Lee Bowman rarely enjoyed top billing and was often third or fourth on the list of credits. He died in 1979.]
- 1946, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is comedian Hugh Herbert who is going to New York to do some radio appearances. When asked about some of the people he met in Hollywood, he remembers Rudolph Valentino as being a “short little man.” At the conclusion of the interview, he mentions that he currently lives in the San Fernando Valley. [A former stage actor and playwright, Hugh Herbert wrote over 150 plays and vaudeville sketches before going to Hollywood in the early 1930s. There, he was often cast as eccentric millionaires, tycoons and dimwitted professors. He died in 1952.] Next up is Trixie Firschke, a juggler with the Ice Capades. Her father, who owned a small circus in Austria, taught her how to juggle plates. When asked how many plates she breaks, she admits that they are made of wood. The third interviewee is impressionist Dean Murphy. While a law student, Dean discovered that he had a talent for doing impressions of his friends, which eventually led to a career in show business. His impression of President Franklin Roosevelt was so good that he was invited to appear at the White House 22 times, mostly for social gatherings that the President gave for cabinet members and special friends such as Winston Churchill. He also performed at the hotdog picnic that FDR gave for the King and Queen of England at his Hyde Park estate in 1939. During the interview, Murphy impersonates Hugh Herbert, Charles Boyer, James Stewart, Ronald Coleman, Elinor Roosevelt and, of course FDR. He picks up the voices by listening records, radio, and movie soundtracks.
- February 7, 1947, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is Howard Dietz, the vice-president in charge of advertising for the MGM studios. It was Dietz who was responsible for the famous MGM lion trademark. In 1916, while designing the trademark for Goldwyn Pictures, Dietz chose a lion, because it was the mascot of his alma mater Princeton University. After Goldwyn Pictures became part of MGM, the lion trademark was retained. [At this point the program ends abruptly.]
- December 4, 1947, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is sportscaster Harry Wisner. After discussing the latest sports news with Bob Elson, they talk about the recent prizefight between Rocky Graziano and Tony Zale [which took place July 16, 1947.] As a lead-in to a Krank’s Shaving Cream commercial, Bob Elson mentioned that he first got into radio back in 1929. Next to be interviewed is Lewis Wise, a salesman who recently visited all of the major cities in South America while on a business trip. (The company he represents sells knives and cutlery.) Argentina is major customer for U.S.-made products. Conditions in South America are good, but in order to do business there, it is necessary to speak Spanish. The next interviewee is actress Irene Dunn, who talks about appearing in “Anna and the King of Siam” with Rex Harrison. She recently completed “Life with Father” with William Powell and Elizabeth Taylor, and which hasn’t been released yet. [“Life with Father” was released on September 13, 1947.] She cuts the interview short, saying that her husband is waiting.
- March 1947, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is famous chef George Rector who relates how, in 1902, he was sent to Paris by Diamond Jim Brady to obtain the recipe for Sole Marguery. Rector also mentions that both George Burns and Rudolph Valentino once worked as dancers in his New York City restaurant. When asked about turn-of-the-century actress Lillian Russell, he admits that she weighed 165-pounds and was rather stout but had great personality and beauty. Next to be interviewed is the famous pianist Rudolph Ganz. He and Bob Elson discuss the recent appointment of Artur Rodzinski as conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Ganz mentions that he recently celebrated his birthday by playing a two-hour piano recital in Salt Lake City. Next comes an offer of a Revere ballpoint pen (a $15 value) for only 50 cents plus the top from a Krank’s Shaving Cream box. The last interviewee is actor Victor Mature who is going to New York to shoot scenes for his upcoming picture “Kiss of Death.” [“Kiss of Death” was shot on location in New York City between March and May 1947, with additional scenes being shot in June.] Mature mentions that he is originally from Louisville, Kentucky and that he served in the Coast Guard during World War II. After Bob Elson signs off, Claude Kirchner announces that he will be filling in as host while Bob is on vacation. [Claude Kirchner is best remembered today as the host of the popular children’s television show “Super Circus,” which originated from Chicago in the 1950s.]
- February 26, 1948, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is Dr. Thomas A. Hart from the Biology Department of Roosevelt College in Chicago. He describes how, during World War II, he fought a typhus outbreak at a military hospital in New Guinea. Since typhus is caused by rodents, it was necessary to clear away all of the foliage and vegetation from the hospital’s grounds. He was also involved in malaria control in the lowlands of Bolivia. This involved killing malaria mosquitos using DDT. Next to be interviewed is sugar broker William J. Carrol. The U.S. is the world’s largest consumer of sugar with the average yearly consumption being about 100 pounds per person. (In China, the average yearly consumption is about 10 pounds per person.) Next comes a promotion for a men’s Style King belt, a $3 value that can be had by sending in 50 cents and a Krank’s Shaving Cream box top. Listeners are told to hurry, since this offer will be ending March 14th. The last interviewee is actor Robert Young, who talks about his picture “Relentless” a Western produced for Columbia Pictures by his own company Cavalier Productions. [“Relentless” was released on February 20, 1948.] He also appeared in “Sitting Pretty,” which will be released in April. Young mentions that he has a farm in Carmel Valley, California and that he has four daughters ages 14, 10, 4, and 2 years old. [Robert Young entered films in 1931 and continued working in movies and on television up through the 1980s. He died in 1998.]
- March 2, 1948, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is Dr. Jonathan Foreman, editor of the Ohio State Medical Journal and a member of the organization Friends of the Land, which promotes soil conservation. Next to be interviewed in Herman Stein, vice president of the National Millers Association. Last year’s wheat crop was the largest in the history of the country. Wheat products make up 20-25% of the food consumed each year. Next comes a promotion for a men’s Style King belt, a $3 value that can be had by sending in 50 cents and a Krank’s Shaving Cream box top. The last interviewee is actor Gregory Peck, whose current film “Gentlemen’s Agreement” was filmed on location in Connecticut and New York City. [Gentlemen’s Agreement was released in March 1948.] He is now heading to Nassau in the Bahamas for a 2-week vacation. Peck also talks about his 1947 film “The Paradine Case,” a courtroom drama directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
- March 3, 1948, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is Dr. Sam C. Udall, Director of Health Services at Chicago’s Roosevelt College and who recently spent three months doing charity work at a mission hospital in India. He was there for the “cataract season” when the temperatures are low enough to perform cataract surgery. The hospital he worked at was located in a jungle region in the central provinces. Professional vision care is not generally available to India’s four hundred million people. Traveling “witch doctors” perform crude forms of cataract surgery, which do more harm than good. Poverty is rampant, and the doctor saw hundreds of children begging at a railroad station. The Indian authorities want to abolish the use of the English language in India. Next comes a promotion for a men’s Style King belt, a $3 value that can be had by sending in 50 cents and a Krank’s Shaving Cream box top. Next to be interviewed is Senator Joseph C. O’Mahoney from Wyoming, who first went to Washington in 1934. He is a former chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, which was set up by an act of Congress in 1946 to help keep the economy strong and to maintain maximum employment. Small business owners are currently facing stiff competition from larger businesses. [Joseph Christopher O'Mahoney served four complete terms as a U.S. Senator from Wyoming, first from 1934-1953 and then again from 1954-1961. He died in 1962.]
- March 9, 1948, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is former announcer Lee Cooley, who is currently working in New York as a television producer. Television is growing so fast that the networks can’t provide enough programs to meet the advertisers’ demands. While there has been some concern that the televising of sporting events will hurt ticket sales, television is actually helping to introduce sports to people who would not otherwise have been aware of them. [Lee Cooley produced network TV shows in the late 1940s and 1950s. He died in 1998.] Next to be interviewed is W. Blaine Redford from Toronto, Canada and who is a member of a consulting engineering firm that builds water works, bridges, industrial buildings, etc. Toronto does not yet have a subway system, but one is being planned. [When Toronto’s subway opened in 1954, it was Canada’s first underground rail line.] Next comes a promotion for a men’s Style King belt, a $3 value that can be had by sending in 50 cents and a Krank’s Shaving Cream box top. Krank’s brush-and-lather shaving cream comes in a blue box, while the brushless shaving cream comes in a red box. The final interviewee is Prince Peter, a member of the Royal Family of Greece and a cousin to the current king. On this, his first visit to the U.S., he is touring major American cities to lecture on conditions in Greece. He is tremendously impressed by the size and prosperity of the U.S. and its fast pace. During World War II, he served in China as the Greek Army’s representative there. His first cousin is Lord Louis Mountbatten. [Prince Peter’s 1939 marriage to a married Russian woman with an ex-husband ended any hope that he might have had of becoming king. An anthropologist specializing in Tibetan culture, he died in 1980.]
- March 11, 1948, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is Anatol Rapoport, a concert pianist and a mathematical psychologist from the University of Chicago who works in the field of General Semantics and its relationship to mental health. His still plays piano recitals and uses them as part of his work. [Anatol Rapoport died in 2007.] The next person to be interviewed is Dr. Thomas W. Bresnahan of McCall’s magazine’s home furnishings department. He reports that new home construction still remains slow. The postwar trend in home furnishings is for modern furniture. Bright colors are popular as well as pastels. The use of glass in building construction will increase, and home air conditioning will soon become more common. The last interviewee is British actress Gertrude Lawrence who appeared in the play “Pygmalion” for two years. She also appeared in “Lady in the Dark” which utilized four revolving stages, and “Private Lives” with Noël Coward. She made eight motion pictures in England, but so far has not done any in the U.S. [Gertrude Lawrence’s last stage role was as Anna Leonowens in the original Broadway stage production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I. She died in 1952, the year after the show opened.]
- [This audio file appears to be made up of excerpts from two different broadcasts.]
Late 1940’s, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is Dr. E. H. Gehrman, a psychiatrist who works in the area of Industrial Relations and who uses psychology to create better relations between labor and management. He has a home in Chicago and also an office in New York City. Next to be interviewed is Horace Mason who is in the building and real estate business. He is also on the city planning committee and zoning board for Rock Island, Illinois. He is currently working on plans to handle Rock Island’s anticipated traffic problems once more automobiles return to the road. There are no immediate plans to clear Rock Island’s slums since it will first be necessary to find other housing for the residents.
Circa 1946, KNX. The program originates from the Chicago Passenger Terminal of the American Airlines Flagship. [This particular broadcast is from the Bob Elson on the Flagships series.] The first interviewee is Al Kelly, an associate of comedian Willie Howard. (Kelly replaced Howard’s brother Eugene after he retired in 1938.) Kelly’s specialty is doing double-talk, a form of speech in which inappropriate, invented, or nonsense words are used to give the appearance of knowledge and so confuse or amuse the audience. When given some Krank’s Shaving Cream at the end of the interview, Kelly adds a few words of praise for the product using double talk. [In addition to Willie Howard, Al Kelly also worked with Ernie Kovacs and Soupy Sales. He died in 1966.]
- June 3, 1950 [This is a short audio clip of Bob Elson announcing a baseball game between the Yankees and the White Sox. The broadcast is joined in progress during the last half of the 8th inning and ends abruptly after 2 minutes and 43 seconds. From 1946 to 1970, Elson broadcast exclusively for the Chicago White Sox.]
- circa 1946, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is Dr. Henry Pratt Fairchild, a professor emeritus from New York University. A professor of Sociology for 26 years, he also worked with the Army War College, lecturing there on the relationship between population growth and war. He was one of the first to warn that Japan’s population explosion would result in war. He has also written books and magazine articles on immigration control. He sees a need for friendlier relations with the Soviet Union in order to maintain world peace. Next to be interviewed is Thomas E. Neuberger whose company Anniversaries, Inc. provides a sort of “reminder service” for commercial organizations, making them aware of important upcoming dates. Next is Anulda, an Eskimo woman from Baffin Island, which is located between Greenland and the Canadian mainland. She is currenting on a lecture tour of the U.S. When asked about the weather on Baffin Island, she says that for 4 months of the year they have continuous sunshine, while for another 4 months they have continuous darkness. The population of Baffin Island is about two to three thousand people. There are no schools, but most people can read and write in their native language. They have no calendars, and no one counts time. During the winter, the people live in “snow houses,” using seal oil for heating and light. The people have no need for money but do use pennies to decorate their clothing. Their diet consists mostly of meat from polar bears, caribou, seals, walrus, and whales, all of which make good eating.
- circa 1949, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. This episode has an opening not heard on the other broadcasts: first there are some sound effects of a railroad crossing bell and the air horn of the 20th Century Limited’s diesel engine. This is followed by an opening announcement, “Stop! Look! Listen! Here comes the Twentieth Century Limited streamliner between New York and Chicago. Yes, stop, look, and listen to celebrated sports announcer Bob Elson as he interviews some of America’s leading personalities on the new luxurious New York Central streamliner the Twentieth Century Limited, brought to you by Krank’s Shave Cream, Color Back, and Marrow Oil Shampoo.” At this point, Bob Elson does his regular introduction and then interviews newspaperman and author Herman Kogan, who talks about his book Bet a Million, the Story of John W. Gates. [This book was published in 1948.] Gates was originally from Chicago and became rich selling barbed wire in Texas. (At the time of his death, his fortune was estimated at forty million dollars.) Gates got his nickname after winning over a million dollars while betting on a horserace in England. (Although he liked to gamble, Gates disliked being called “Bet a Million.”) Another of Kogan’s books is Lords of the Levee, the Story of Bathhouse John and Hinky Dink, about two corrupt Chicago politicians. (Kogan admits he likes writing about the “bad people” of Chicago.) Next to be interviewed in English actress Francis Rowe who is appearing in Maurice Evans’ production of George Bernard Shaw’s play Man and Superman. She recently visited Shaw at his home in England. He is 93 years old but is still writing. [George Bernard Shaw was born in 1856, which helps to date this broadcast as taking place in 1949.] At the conclusion of the interview, Bob Elson gives her a complementary bottle of Marrow Oil Shampoo.
- 1946, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is famous comedian Jack Benny. Bob Elson points out that both he and Jack Benny were once stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Trainer Center north of Chicago. Benny was there during World War I, where he entertained the troops. Elson was there during World War II, where he was in charge of entertainment. During World War II, Benny made three overseas trips to entertain the troops. One was to North Africa, one was to the South Pacific, and last summer he was in Germany. Although his family lived in Waukegan, he was born in Chicago. When his radio show resumes in the fall, it will still have the same four writers and will retain its usual format. Dennis Day (who had been away serving in the Navy) will be back and will also have his own radio show. [Dennis Day’s radio show began in 1946, which helps to date the year of this particular broadcast.] When asked why he is going to New York, Benny explains that there is no particular reason. He just likes to go there occasionally. Next to be interviewed is John L. Kassoff, manager of Mutual Life Insurance in New York. He advises GIs to maintain their government life insurance by continuing to make premium payments. Next is Dr. Dr. Herman N. Bundesen, Chicago’s Health Commissioner. As keeper of Chicago’s records, he jokes that he plans to look up Jack Benny’s birth certificate to see if he was born in Chicago. Polio is on the increase and parents are advised not to let their children become over-exhausted as they will then be more likely to catch polio. They should also avoid crowds. He also advises parents to have their children vaccinated for diphtheria and whooping cough. [Dr. Herman Bundesen turned the obscure office of Chicago’s health commissioner into a headline-generating machine. His career as the city's coroner and health commissioner spanned a remarkable four decades. He died in 1960.]
- 1946, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee in Wendell Berge, Assistant U.S. Attorney General of the Antitrust Division and who is leading the Department’s efforts to restore commercial competition and break up monopolies in the wake of World War II. His 1944 book Cartels: Challenge to a Free World describe how international monopolies divide up world markets. [Wendell Berge returned to private practice in 1947, which helps to date the year of this particular broadcast. He died in 1955.] Next to be interviewed is Dr. Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association. One of the greatest medical advances to come out of World War II was the use of blood and blood plasma, which saved thousands of lives. Atomic research is now being applied to the curing of cancer. Life expectancy in 1825 was 33 years. Today  it is 65 years. [Dr. Morris Fishbein died in 1976.] The last interviewee is Congressman Estes Kefauver from Tennessee who first went to Congress in 1939. He was in Chicago along with Wendell Berge to attend a conference on the plight of the small businessman. [Estes Kefauver was later a U.S. Senator (from 1949 to 1963) and the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 1956. He died in 1963.]
- 1946, KNX. Program #68. The program originates from the Chicago Passenger Terminal of the American Airlines Flagship. [This particular broadcast is from the Bob Elson on the Flagships series.] The first interviewee is Harry Black Young, Secretary of the Presbyterian Church’s Foreign Mission Board. Black was a boyhood friend of famous war correspondent Ernie Pyle and attended Indiana University as a journalism student with him. He has been the Board’s secretary for 11 years. Earlier, he was with the Associated Press and covered the coronation of the Shah of Iran in the 1920s. He also spent a year in Russia from 1924-1925. For 10 years, he was the dean of a college in Persia (Iran). He is an educational missionary, supervising 1,200 mission workers in 27 countries as well as hospitals, schools and agricultural projects. He spends about 1/3 of his time out of the country. Next to be interviewed is Henry Goddard Leach, President of the American Scandinavian Foundation from 1922 to 1940. He is also editor of Forum and Century magazine. Recently, he had breakfast in Copenhagen, took off in an airliner, and arrived in time to have supper in New York on the same calendar day. A Krank’s Shaving Cream promotion for a free airlines map, mentions that the offer ends on Saturday, December 7th, which dates the year of this broadcast as 1946.
- circa 1949, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. This program has the same opening as program No. 16, and features the sound effects a railroad crossing bell and the air horn of the 20th Century Limited diesel locomotive. The first interviewee is Florence Mary Fitch, a former professor of religion at Oberlin College and the author of several books on religion. She has been in the Orient several times to study Hinduism, Buddhism, Shintoism, etc. Her father was a clergyman in Buffalo, New York, which is how she became interested in the various world religions. Although the war has created many changes in China, the Chinese are still very loyal to Confucius’ beliefs about social behavior. [Florence Mary Fitch’s papers are currently held by Oberlin College. She died in 1957.] Next comes a commercial for Color Back hair coloring, which is applied using a comb and which brings about a gradual change of hair color. Next to be interviewed is Lee Duncan, the owner/trainer of famous movie dog Rin-Tin-Tin. The original Rin-Rin-Rin was an orphan German Shepard puppy that Duncan picked up in France during World War I. “Rinty” first appeared in the Warner Brothers 1923 silent feature film “Where the North Begins” and went on to star in 27 additional features. The original Rin-Tin-Tin died in 1932 and was buried in a bronze casket. During World War II, Duncan trained some 5,000 dogs and their handlers at Camp Hahn in California for the Army’s K9 Corps. With Duncan is Rin-Tin-Tin III, a grandson of the original Rinty. Last year, Rin-Tin-Tin was made the official mascot of the Boy Scouts of America. One cue, Rinty barks and growls for the microphone. [Lee Duncan died in 1960.]
- circa 1947, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is Ken Pettus, the former editor of the Stars and Stripes newspaper in Tokyo. [The Stars and Stripes was founded by the U.S. Department of War (later Department of Defense) and functioned journalistically independent from the military.] Prior to that he was a radio news editor. Publishing the Stars and Stripes in Japan was difficult because there were very few working printing presses, and the typesetters didn’t speak English. The Stars & Stripes was published daily, seven days a week. He was in Tokyo for seven months from September 1945 to April 1946. Japan’s ruling class is counting on Japan being seen as an ally of the U.S. in the struggle against Soviet Russia. [Kenneth Pettus lost his job from the staff of the Stars and Stripes newspaper in 1946 amid accusations that he was "disloyal." It has been suggested that he might have been an FBI informant. He later worked in Hollywood as a scriptwriter for such network television shows as Mission Impossible and The Wild Wild West. He died in 1992.] Next to be interviewed in William Sampson, a legal administrator for the U.S. Government. His job is helping to settle legal claims against the Government. He is looking forward to returning to private practice. The last interviewee is Donald Nelson, a former Sears executive who, during World War II, was chairman of the War Production Board, a job that required him to work between 16 to 17 hours a day, seven days a week. He had to make several trips to China to set up war production facilities there, since was too difficult to fly in war supplies to the Chinese Army. He also made several trips to Russia and found the Russian people to be very friendly. He is currently working in Hollywood with independent filmmakers. [Nelson’s 1946 book Arsenal of Democracy is one of the major works on the U.S. industrial mobilization effort during World War II. He died 1959.]
- circa 1948, Mutual net. The program originates from Chicago’s LaSalle Street Station. The first interviewee is Merle Miller, author of the current best seller That Winter, telling about the postwar readjustment of three World War II veterans. [That Winter was published in 1948, which helps to date the year of this broadcast.] During the war, Miller was editor of Yank, the Army Weekly. He is now on the editorial staff of Harper’s Weekly. During the war he spent eighteen months in the Pacific, one and a half years in Europe, and six months in England. He was in New York City on VJ Day. He is from Iowa, and his next book will be about Iowa. [Miller died in 1986.] Next to be interviewed is C.E. Gelb, president of Society Brand Clothing. After discussing the latest fashion trends in men’s clothing, he explains why English tweed can’t successfully be duplicated in America. Camel hair is once again being imported from China. His goal is for every man in America to have at least three suits. The last interviewee is Stanley Vainrib, the host of the radio program Dr. I.Q. He explains that, when they are at home, most people can answer about two-thirds of the questions asked on radio quiz shows. In the studio, however, their minds go blank. [Remembered as radio's first major quiz show, Dr. IQ popularized the catch phrase,“I have a lady in the balcony, Doctor."]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Eric Beheim is a life-long radio enthusiast. A former commanding officer of a Naval Reserve Combat Camera unit based in San Diego.
Eric Beheim leads a multi-faceted career as a free-lance writer, professional musician, and owner of his own music and sound project studio.
Born in the first wave of "baby boomers" he grew up with radio and remains a life-long radio enthusiast. His particular interests are collecting news and commentary programs from the late 1930s and early 1940s (including World War II news), and programs that feature performances of operettas and musical theater presentations.
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