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The Breakfast Club: An Annotated Program Log Part 1


Prepared by Eric Beheim

5/3/19

 

Hosted by Don McNeill and originating from Chicago, The Breakfast Club first went on the air on June 23, 1933 on the NBC Blue Network and was last heard on December 27, 1968 on the American Entertainment Network.  Combining human interest, music, song, unabashed sentiment and just plain corn, it was one of radio’s longest running and best-remembered morning variety shows.

 

This log is an attempt to briefly summarize the surviving Breakfast Club broadcasts that are most likely to be encountered today.  In addition to identifying the cast members and guests who appeared, each program’s listing will include the network and the location where the broadcast originated from, the songs and orchestra numbers that were performed, highlights from the audience interviews that were conducted, the jokes, poems, and funny comments that were told, the sponsors whose products were advertised, and anything else of interest that occurred during the program. 

 

Those broadcasts taken from Armed Forces Radio Service transcription disks, while undated, often contain clues as to the year, month and even the day when they took place.  A best effort was made to date these AFRS broadcasts and then organize them into chronological order.

 

Additional information about the cast members and guests, and which explains and clarifies what was being discussed during the broadcasts is contained within brackets.

 

The First Call to Breakfast

(1937-1953)

 

  1. December 6, 1937, NBC Blue net, sustaining. The program originates from Studio A on the 19th floor of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The program is joined in progress at the start of the Second Call to Breakfast. Don mentions that staff musician Chester Picarrro has lost his electric razor. Walter Blaufuss and the orchestra perform an unidentified dance tune. Don chats with singer Jack Baker, who describes the funny road signs he saw while on vacation. Jack then sings “There’s a Goldmine in the Sky.”  Don mentions that it is currently 15 degrees in Chicago and that yesterday (Sunday) he was in Pittsburgh to appear at a benefit for the Milk Fund.  The orchestra performs the rhumba “La Cucaracha.”  Don interviews Chester about this missing razor, which apparently disappeared from his locker.  The Hollywood High Hatters perform a song medley that includes “Posing” and “Life of the Party.”  Don reads a gag message about Chester’s missing razor that was just received, and which is signed “Bluebeard and his gang.” The orchestra performs the light classical “Intermezzo” by Granados.  Singer Annette King comments on Don’s tie, then she and Don perform a comic exchange about the differences between men and women.  Afterwards, Annette sings “Moon and You,” which sounds like it might have been based on an American Indian theme.  For Memory Time, the orchestra plays “Nearer my God to Thee” as Don reads an inspirational piece sent in by a listener.  The orchestra then plays the dance tune “It Goes to Your Feet.”  The Third Call to Breakfast opens with the March Around the Breakfast Table, accompanied by “March Lorraine.”  Don reads a parody commercial for winter vacations in Hawaii as a lead-in to Jack Baker singing “When You Dream About Hawaii.”  After commenting on orchestra leader Walter Blaufuss’ reputation as an insatiable diner, Don reads a comic poem about Methuselah’s dining habits.  The orchestra plays “You Made Me Love You.”  The segment ends with the NBC network identification.

 

  1. December 8, 1941, NBC Blue net. The program originates from Studio A on the 19th floor of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. [On December 7, 1941, following its surprise attacks on Hawaii and at various points in the Far East, Japan declared war on both the United States and Great Britain. For most of December 7th and continuing into December 8th, the NBC radio network provided 24-hour service, interrupting its regularly scheduled programs with news updates.] The Breakfast Club is proceeded by the latest war bulletins from the NBC newsroom in Chicago: Panama and several South American countries have declared war on Japan.  Britain is expected to declare war on Japan shortly.  The program is introduced as the NBC Breakfast Club.  Following the First Call to Breakfast, The Vagabonds sing “Swing for Sale.” Don mentions that it is 35 degrees in Chicago and that it is windy with snow flurries.  Don tells orchestra leader Joe Gallichio that men’s pants made of glass will soon be on the market.  The orchestra plays “Two in Love,” which Don describes as “noisy but nice.” Singer Nancy Martin suggests that those listeners who are thinking of sending cookies, candies, and other edibles to the Breakfast Club cast for Christmas should send them to servicemen instead. Nancy is just about to sing “Why Don’t We Do This More Often” when the program abruptly switches to the NBC newsroom in New York for the latest war news: the Chinese government has formally declared war on Japan. Thailand has been overwhelmed by Japanese forces.  Singapore experienced a 45-minute air raid.  The Philippines have been bombed, and Wake Island and Guam have been attacked.  President Roosevelt’s address to Congress [about the Pearl Harbor attack] will take place at 12:30 p.m. EST.  NBC is now broadcasting on a 24-hour basis.  There is a brief segment of orchestra music before the network breaks in to announce that Britain has declared war on Japan.  It then switches to London for a live report from correspondents Charles Collingwood and John MacVane, who provide quotes from the address that Prime Minister Winston Churchill is making in the House of Commons, as well as updates on British war news.  The Japanese have landed on the coast of Malaya.  The British battleship HMS Prince of Wales has arrived in Singapore. On board is Admiral Sir Tom Phillips who is only 5’ 4’’ tall and who is referred to as the “Tom Thumb” admiral. [Two days later, on December 10, 1941, the Prince of Wales was sunk by Japanese aircraft off the coast of Malaya.  Among those who went down with the ship was Admiral Phillips.]   There is concern in Britain as to whether or not the U.S., which has been shipping supplies to England and Russia, will still be able to do so. The NBC newsroom in New York reports that Manila has not yet been bombed.  The program is rejoined at the start of the Third Call to Breakfast, which opens with the March Around the Breakfast Table. Don and Nancy do a brief skit about a college student and her professor that takes place in “a college in College Park, Georgia.” Nancy then sings “Who Cares.” Don asks the orchestra to play a chord in G for radio station KGMO in Kansas City, Mo., which recently joined the Blue Network, and which is now carrying The Breakfast Club.  Don interviews an audience member from Louisiana who will be leaving for South America that afternoon, and a woman from Chicago who is looking for clerical work.  Singer Jack Baker jokes that he could use a secretary who will sit on his knee to take dictation.  The network switches to London for more quotes from Churchill’s speech to the House of Commons.  The program is rejoined in progress while the orchestra is playing “I Want to Be Happy.” Jack tells Don that he is having budget problems: the cost of the darning materials he needs to repair his socks and underwear has gone up. He then sings “Still Reveille.”  For Inspiration Time, Don talks about the importance of keeping the Christmas spirit no matter how bad things may look.  [While McNeill doesn’t specifically mention the Pearl Harbor attack of the day before, he does refer to the consequences of striking a “sleeping giant.”] The orchestra then plays “The White Cliffs of Dover.” The Vagabonds sing “I’d Love You Again.”  Jack and Nancy harmonize on “Shine On, Harvest Moon.” Don reads the poem “Santa’s Answer to a Little Boy’s Letter.” Pianist Bill Kranz performs “Make Believe.”  During the Last Call to Breakfast closing announcement, Don refers to the program as The Breakfast Table of the Air.  The broadcast closes with the announcement that The Breakfast Club with Don McNeill comes to you from Chicago.  The Breakfast Club is heard in Canada through the facilities of the Canadian Broadcasting Company.  This is the National Broadcasting Company.

 

  1. 1943, NBC Blue net, Office of War Information abridged rebroadcast. The program originates from Studio A on the 19th floor of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The program is introduced as the Blue Network Breakfast Club. Singer Jack Baker fills in as toastmaster because Don’s train was late reaching Chicago. (Don is returning from one of his annual fishing trips.) Jack assures everyone that Don’s train is in the station and that he should be arriving shortly.  The Three Romeos perform “Sugar Blues” with Sam doing a vocal imitation of trumpeter Clyde McCoy performing this number.  [Sam Cowling joined the Breakfast Club cast in 1937 as member of the singing group The Three Romeos. His on-air banter with Don was so successful that he soon became the show’s resident comic, creating skits, poems and comic songs. He would remain in the cast up through the final broadcast.]  Because listeners have requested more polkas, Harry Kogen and the orchestra play “The Clarinet Polka” with Jackie Cordell as clarinet soloist.  Jack mentions that Don’s family is in the studio waiting to surprise him.  While Jack is interviewing 7-year-old Don McNeill, Jr., applause from the audience announces Don’s arrival in the studio. When asked if he had any luck on his fishing trip, Don replies that he brought home 10-20 good fish.  Nancy Martin sings “Take Back Your Love.”  Sam and Jack joke that they thought Don had taken his 2-year-old son Robert along as bait.  Sam and Jack ask Don if he caught any rubber boots or tires, both of which are now valuable because of rubber shortages caused by the war.   The Second Call to Breakfast opens with some comic banter between Don and Jack.  Then Jack sings “Just the Way You Look Tonight.” Don mentions that there were about 20 Army boys on his train and that they had awakened him this morning by singing The Breakfast Club theme outside his compartment.  Prior to the orchestra playing the “Prelude to Act I” from the opera La Traviata, Don provides a brief summary of the opera’s plot and relates a funny incident that happened during its first performance. There is some more comic banter between Jack and Sam.  Don welcomes radio stations KENO in Las Vegas, Nevada and WKEY in Covington, Virginia which recently joined the Blue Network. During Memory Time, the orchestra plays “Song Without Words” by Tchaikovsky while Don reads a poem sent in by an army private and titled “Being Just a Private.”  The Three Romeos sing the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”  The orchestra plays an unidentified dance number to end the segment.  The closing announcement mentions that the program is being provided by the Office of War Information.

 

  1. February 13,1943, NBC Blue net. The program originates from Studio A on the 19th floor of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The program is joined in progress at the beginning of the third quarter hour with Jack Baker singing the special lyrics for Swift’s Third Call to Breakfast. [The Breakfast Club’s first sponsor was Swift & Company, a Chicago meat packer. Beginning in 1941, Swift sponsored the third quarter hour segment of the program which was the one known as the Third Call to Breakfast.  This and the following three programs are the third quarter hour segments that have the Swift commercials. These recordings might have been made for Swift’s Advertising Department so that the commercials could be reviewed by company executives.]  Accompanied by "Semper Fidelis March,” Chicago Naval cadets from Thurman Field in Enid, Oklahoma lead the March Around the Breakfast Table.  After announcing that Nancy Martin will sing “There’s a Ray of Sunshine,” Don asks her if she knows what a “ray” is.  When she answers that it is a man’s name, Don says that he knows Ray’s “ultra” sister Violet.  Nancy sings “There’s a Ray of Sunshine.”  Next, announcer Bob Brown reads a letter from “Jimmie” who, it is implied, is a former member of The Breakfast Club cast or crew.  “Jimmie” is now in the service and is stationed somewhere where it’s hot.  He is writing to express his appreciation for the bacon and other meat he is receiving as a member of the military.  This leads into a commercial on how meat is providing “high test” power for Army and Navy personnel, and that civilians should “share the meat with a smile and not a growl.” Don mentions that the current ration of meat allowed for each adult is under 2-1/2 pounds per week.   Violinist Jack Voss from the Breakfast Club’s orchestra performs Fritz Kreisler’s thoroughly delightful “Schön Rosmarin.” Next Don tells a joke about 50 Nazi pilots who, when knocking at the Pearly Gates, are informed by St. Peter that he was only expecting 6 because that’s the number that Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels said were shot down.  Bob Brown announces that three members of Friday’s audience, who submit the best questions on meat cookery, will be having breakfast after the show with Don and Martha Logan, Swift’s Home Economics Expert.  The segment ends with the announce that This program is coming to you from Chicago.  This is the Blue Network.

 

  1. June 21, 1945, ABC net. The program originates from Studio A on the 19th floor of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. The program is joined in progress at the beginning of the Third Call to Breakfast. [In 1944, due to a Federal Communications Commission ruling, NBC was forced to sell off its Blue Network.  It was purchased by industrialist Edward J. Noble, who owned New York City radio station WMCA. Beginning on December 30, 1944, the Blue Network became the American Broadcasting Company and The Breakfast Club became part of the new ABC radio network’s program schedule.] The March Around the Breakfast Table is accompanied by “El Capitan March.” (The screams of laughter coming from the audience are probably being caused by the antics of comic Sam Cowling who is leading the marchers.)  Don interviews a woman from Boston who would like to move to Chicago.  She tells Don that she knows he has a two-car garage, and couldn’t she have part of it?  Singer Curley Bradley mentions that he has an empty stall in his barn. [Bradley, who was substituting for regular singer Jack Owens, was a member of the singing group The Ranch Boys which appeared on The Breakfast Club.  He was also one of the actors who played Tom Mix on the radio.]  Don also interviews an Army flight surgeon who was married five days earlier, and a young boy who had earned money to come to The Breakfast Club by doing odd jobs in his home town of Davenport, Iowa.  Don suggests that the boy and his friend, who is also present, call themselves the “Davenport Handymen.” Curley Bradley sings “There Must Be a Way.”   Curley then reads a “Corn Time” comic poem about Little Boy Blue that is part of a Swift commercial.  Don Dowd, the regular Swift announcer takes over and finishes the commercial.  Don and Curley (who is from Oklahoma) discuss the proper pronunciation of Chickasha, a town in Oklahoma.  Don Dowd reads a commercial for Swift Premium Table Ready Meats.  The segment ends with the ABC network identification.

 

  1. June 22,1945, ABC net. The program originates from Racine, Wisconsin and is joined in progress at the beginning of the Third Call to Breakfast. Substituting for singer Jack Owens is Jack Baker, who was once part of The Breakfast Club cast and whom Don refers to as the “Louisiana Lark.” Jack mentions that his son, who was born last June 29th (which is also Jack’s birthday) will celebrate his first birthday next week. Jack then sings “The Night is Young and You’re So Beautiful.”  Don and Swift Meats announcer Don Dowd perform a comic skit that recreates Dowd’s audition to join The Breakfast Club cast.  This leads into Dowd doing a commercial for Swift Premium Bacon.  After some comic banter between Sam and Don, Marion Mann sings “There! I’ve Said it Again.” Don tries to get a little 6-year-old girl to come up on stage for an interview, but she is too shy.  He then introduces a young man from Kenosha who has a comic item for Sam’s Almanac of Fact and Fiction: “Your heart’s on your left side. If it’s on your right side, it would be on the wrong side.” Don Dowd’s commercial for Swift mentions that the shortages of Swift’s Premium Ham and Bacon are due to the war-time requirements of the Armed Forces.  The segment ends with the ABC network identification.

 

  1. June 23,1945, ABC net. The program originates from Sheboygan, Wisconsin and is joined in progress at the beginning of the Third Call to Breakfast. The segment opens with March Time. Don mentions that the program is coming from the Sheboygan Armory and that it is a warm day.  Don and Sam join announcer Don Dowd in a comic skit/commercial for Swift Brookfield Cheese Spread.  Representatives from the U.S. Treasury Department are introduced and present Don with the U.S. Treasury’s Distinguished Service Award, (the Treasury’s highest honor) for his work in helping to promote the sales of U.S. War Bonds. One of the representatives mentions that The Breakfast Club is the only radio program that works daily to help sell War Bonds.  Marion Mann sings “The Dixieland Band.”  Don Dowd’s commercial for Swift Brookfield Cheese Spread mentions that, because of the war, it is scarce but worth waiting for.  The segment ends with the ABC network identification.

 

  1. 1947, ABC net, U.S. Treasury Department abridged rebroadcast. The program originates from Studio A on the 19th floor of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. [A portion of a 1947 Breakfast Club broadcast was recorded and used in an episode of Guest Star, a 15-minute program produced by the U. S. Treasury Department to help promote the sale of U.S. Savings Bonds. The episode is introduced by Bob Murphy, who mentions that The Breakfast Club has been on the air for 14 years, thereby helping to date the year of this broadcast as 1947. Murphy also mentions that Guest Star “is produced and transcribed in Chicago and is presented by this radio station and United States Savings Bonds as a public service.”] The Breakfast Club portion of the program begins with the usual First Call to Breakfast introduction. Don mentions that the broadcast is being done on behalf of U.S. Savings Bonds. He then interviews a woman from Texas who says that she plans to use her Savings Bonds to pay back a loan made to her by her father so that she could buy a car.  The orchestra plays “Exactly Like You.” A man from Massachusetts plans to use his Savings Bonds to send his children to college.  His sons will go to the University of Notre Dame and his girls can decide where they want to go.  Patsy Lee sings “Only a Paper Moon.” [Patsy Lee joined The Breakfast Club cast in 1947, helping to further confirm the year of this broadcast.] Jack Owens sings “Put Your Little Head on My Shoulder” to some lady in the audience.  For Memory Time, Don reads a stirring poem about buying Savings Bonds. This reading ends with the audience joining the cast in singing “God Bless America.”  Don then does a commercial for buying Savings Bonds “where you work or where you bank.” Sam reads a corny poem about buying Savings Bonds: “If you like this Breakfast Club of Don’s, go out and buy some Savings Bonds.”   A little Girl Scout from West Chicago says that her folks have Savings Bonds.  When asked what she plans to use hers for, she answers, “to get married.” A woman from Lombard, Illinois is buying Savings Bonds to help save for a house and for college. She also uses them as a source of ready cash.  Following the Last Call to Breakfast, Bob Murphy returns to thank Don McNeill and The Breakfast Club cast for their appearance.  The program concludes with another Saving Bond commercial that ends with, “They’re a good buy.  Good bye that is.”

 

  1. June 23,1953, The Breakfast Club’s 20th Anniversary Show) ABC net. WLS air check. The program originates from the Terrace Casino in Chicago’s Hotel Morrison. Don mentions that it is 82 degrees in Chicago. He also mentions that the program is being televised.  The program opens with the orchestra playing “Too Much Mustard,” a number that it had played on the first broadcast back in 1933.  The arrangement used is the same one that was performed in 1933, with Bill Krenz playing ragtime piano. The orchestra then plays a modern arrangement of the same number.  Next, Don introduces 20 “Breakfast Club Babies” who were all born on June 23, 1933 while the first broadcast was taking place.  Don also mentions that there are another 21 confirmed “Breakfast Club Babies” who couldn’t attend today’s broadcast.  One of the “Breakfast Club Babies” participates along with Don and announcer Jack Callahan in a commercial for Bobbi Home Permanent kits.  Don interviews a woman from the audience who measures her husband by putting her arms around him.  Don has her measure Sam.  Don then does a commercial for White Rain shampoo.  During a WLS station break, it is reported that it is 72 degrees in Chicago with 59% humidity.  The Second Call to Breakfast opens with Don interviewing a 14-year-old boy who wrote on his audience card: “Peggy has the shape. Johnny has the voice. Sam has the weight.  But Don, what do you have?”  When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, the boy answers “garbage collector.”  While Peggy Taylor sings “What You Gonna Do?” audience laughter can be heard in the background as some horseplay takes place involving the boy who wanted to be a garbage collector.  Don mentions that the show’s first sponsor was Swift Premium Ham. Swift announcer Don Dowd then takes over and plugs Swift Premium Bacon, Brookfield Sausage, and Pard Dog Food.  Peggy and Johnny Desmond begin to sing “Smiles” when they are interrupted by Sam who presents Don with a card signed by every hospital and institution that listeners were asked to send cards and letters to over the years as part of the Breakfast Club’s Sunshine Shower feature.  Following the Moment of Silent Prayer, Don shares memories of the show’s last 20 years, recalling former cast members, memorable broadcasts, tours, etc.  He also mentions that orchestra leader Eddie Ballantine and pianist Bill Krenz were both in the orchestra for that first broadcast. (Eddie was a trumpet player back then.) Don then introduces his wife Kay and sons Tom, Don, and Bob.  The boys joke as to who will someday succeed Don as toastmaster.  The segment ends with another Swift commercial.  The Third Call to Breakfast opens with the March Around the Breakfast Table, accompanied by “National Emblem March.” Don, Peggy and announcer Don Dowd do a commercial for various Swift meat products.  Johnny Desmond sings “Somebody Stole My Gal.”  Don interviews a 9-year-old girl from the audience who corrects his grammar.  Sam Cowling then reads an item from his Fiction and Fact from Sam’s Almanac.  Don interviews a 7 ½-year-old boy from the audience whom he addresses as “Hopalong.” (The boy might have been wearing a Hopalong Cassidy cowboy outfit.)  When asked by Don who his favorite TV cowboys are, the little boy answers that he doesn’t have a TV and only listens to radio.  The segment closes with another Swift commercial. The Fourth Call to Breakfast opens with announcer Bob Murphy reading a proclamation from Chicago’s mayor making June 23, 1953 Don McNeill Day.  Don then introduced his mother, father and sister Agnes, who are in the audience.  Don and Bob Murphy do a commercial for the new Philco refrigerator.   Next, Aunt Fanny (Fran Allison) makes an appearance. [Fran Allison first joined The Breakfast Club in 1937 as a singer.  In 1944 she rejoined the cast as “Aunt Fanny,” a gossipy old spinster who would regale Don with the “goings on” in her rural small town.  She remained a fixture on The Breakfast Club up through the final broadcast.] At the end of her segment, Fran drops out of character to credit Don for having brought “brightness, happiness, and comfort” to so many people.  Don and the cast join Bob Murphy in discussing the various features of the new Philco refrigerator, which costs $269.95 [or about $2,561.00 in 2019 dollars.] Next, Don introduces “Breakfast Club Baby” #21, a sailor whom the Navy flew to Chicago from Pearl Harbor in order to attend the 20th Anniversary broadcast.  As a surprise, Don brings out the sailor’s mother, who he hadn’t seen in 16 ½ months.  Don then reads a list of the gifts that the “Breakfast Club Babies” will be receiving.  Next, he tells the audience that he is treating them all to breakfast and then instructs the waiters to start serving them.  The program ends with the Final Call to Breakfast and the ABC network sign-off.

 

The Second Call to Breakfast

(1958-1960)

For the first 24 years of its existence, The Breakfast Club was fed live to stations in the mid-west and east, beginning at 8:00 a.m. Chicago time. (West Coast audiences heard the show on a time delay.)  The cast, musicians, and crew had to be in the studio by 7:00 a.m., and audience members attending a broadcast had to arrive by 7:30 a.m. to be assured of getting a seat. In 1957, a special agreement was worked out with the Musicians’ Union so that the show could be taped an hour or so later and then broadcast the next day at the usual 8:00 a.m. time.  For remote broadcasts or when the day of the show had a special meaning, The Breakfast Club was done live.

 

  1. Spring 1958, ABC net. AFRS abridged rebroadcast. [The Breakfast Club was one of the first network radio programs to be rebroadcast by the Armed Forces Radio Service Network to U.S. military personnel deployed around the world. The one-hour broadcasts, minus commercials, would be abridged to 30 minutes and then mailed to overseas military radio stations on 16-inch transcription disks, to be rebroadcast about two to three weeks after the original broadcasts had taken place.] The program originates from the College Inn Porter House Room in Chicago’s Hotel Sherman[The Breakfast Club began broadcasting from the Hotel Sherman in 1955.] Don mentions that singer Dick Noel is out sick with a strep throat but should be back on Monday. Today’s audience is made up mostly of high school seniors visiting Chicago.  The orchestra plays an unidentified number using a Lawrence Welk-style arrangement.  Don interviews some of the high school students, asking them, “Describe how you might look and live when you reach the peak of success in your life.”  Guest singer Carol Ann Jarvis sings “Lover Boy.”  Afterwards, Don recognizes orchestra musician Lee Knight who played the tenor sax solo during Carol’s song.  [Lee Knight was one of Don McNeill’s golfing companions.] There are some more interviews with the high school students before the Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don reads an inspirational poem sent in by a woman from California. Then, Carol sings “Mother Machree.” Don mentions that Carol is this week’s guest singer as part of the search for a new singer to replace Betty Johnson, who left the cast eight weeks ago to get married. [ Betty Johnson left The Breakfast Club in 1957, which tends to indicate that this broadcast took place early in 1958.] Listeners are invited to send in their comments and votes to help select the new singer.  Among the guest singers who Don mentions as having been heard so far is Connie Francis. [The singer eventually selected was 19-year-old Anita Bryant.]  Cliff Peterson sings “Minnesota Polka” using a comic Swedish accent.  [Peterson originally joined The Breakfast Club in 1936 as a member of the singing group The Escorts and Betty. In 1945, he was named the show’s producer, a position he held up through the last broadcast.  Occasionally, he would step out of the control booth and sing in a comic Swedish accent.] Next Aunt Fanny (Fran Allison) makes an appearance.  Seeing the high school students’ chaperons, Aunt Fanny quips, “They’re too old to get in the game but they like to know the score.”  Don interviews a high school student who plays the clarinet.  Don mentions that he used to play the clarinet and might do so again someday.  When the student mentions that he likes Dixieland music, Don has the orchestra play “South Rampart Street Parade.”  Next, Don reads some corny jokes sent in by a listener from Cincinnati.  Following the Last Call to Breakfast closing, there is an announcement that This is the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.  

 

  1. Spring 1958, ABC net. AFRS abridged rebroadcast. The program originates from the College Inn Porter House Room in Chicago’s Hotel Sherman. Don mentions that it is 60 degrees in Chicago and that the temperature is falling. Following an unidentified “big band” number, Don introduced Ann Leonardo who is that week’s guest singer.  Ann is 19 years old and is from Fresno, California.  Accompanying herself on the piano, she sings “Everybody Loves My Baby.” Next, Don interviews some high school seniors, asking them how they view themselves and what are their future plans.  Filling in for Dick Noel (who still has a bad throat) is Gary Mann, a 22-year-old singer who is 6’4” tall.  Gary sings “Never Make Eyes.”  Next comes the Moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don reads “Recollections of a Very Young Person,” which appeared in an April issue of the Saturday Evening Post.  Ann sings “Thank Thee, Lord.”  Next comes the March Around the Breakfast Table.  When Gary tells Don that he would someday like to appear in musical comedies, Don mentions the musical Li’l Abner, which is currently playing on Broadway. [Li’l Abner opened on Broadway on November 15, 1956 and closed on July 12, 1958, which helps to date the year of this broadcast.] Gary sings “Night and Day.” Next, Aunt Fanny (Fran Allison) makes an appearance.  Having heard about Dick Noel’s sore throat, she offers her own home remedy for sore throats.  Don reads a letter from a woman who recently started re-listening to The Breakfast Club.  Following the Last Call to Breakfast, the program concludes with the announcement This is the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

 

  1. Spring 1958, ABC net. AFRS abridged rebroadcast. The program originates from the College Inn Porter House Room in Chicago’s Hotel Sherman. The program opens with 22-year-old Gary Mann singing “Dream Your Troubles Away.” Don mentions that Gary is 6’ 4” tall.  Don gives a 7-question quiz to a group of 8 high school seniors on the subject of “How Does the Future Look to You?”  Afterwards, he interviews them about their answers and their ambitions.  Guest singer Ann Leonardo sings “When My Cutie Walks Down the Street.”  Next comes the Moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don reads from a Reader’s Digest article on teenage relationships and “going steady.”  Ann sings “Oh, How I Miss You Tonight.” Don interviews an 8th grader from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, (Don’s home town.)  Don mentions that Gary Mann is filling in for Dick Noel who is recovering from a bad throat.  Gary then sings “But for the Grace of God,” an inspirational song that he had introduced on The Breakfast Club a year earlier. Following the Last Call to Breakfast, the program concludes with the announcement This is the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

 

  1. April 28, 1958, ABC net. 22-minute segment with guest Bob Hope. The program originates from the College Inn Porter House Room in Chicago’s Hotel Sherman. Bob Hope mentions that he just flew in from Las Vegas. Don and Bob talk about Bob’s recent television special that was done in Moscow.  An audience member asks Bob why he has to plug his movies during his TV appearances.  “Aren’t they any good?” Bob explains that he makes 8 to 10 television appearances a year and must remind audiences that he is still making movies.  His latest is “Paris Holiday.”  Asked if he had a language problem while doing his TV special in Russia, Bob explains that the monologue was filmed at the American Embassy in Moscow.  When asked who his favorite comedians are, he names Jack Benny and Milton Berle.  When asked if he is ever able to spend time with his wife, Bob jokes that this wife thinks he’s an airline pilot.  He does mention that he and his wife have been married for 24 years.  When Don tries to do a Bufferin commercial, Bob breaks in to say that his first sponsor was Bromo-Seltzer (a competitor!)  Asked if the Russian people are happy, Bob jokes that Russia looks like a country of Ed Sullivans.  Don and Bob comment about Bing Crosby’s new and much younger wife.  Don asks Bob how he is able to maintain such a pace, doing tours, TV, movies, radio, etc.  Bob asks Don why he’s not on television.  The segment ends with Bob saying that he’s going back to bed. 
  2. June 1958, ABC net. AFRS abridged rebroadcast. The program originates from the College Inn Porter House Room in Chicago’s Hotel Sherman. Ted Mack fills in as guest toastmaster while Don McNeill is on vacation. Sam reads off the names of the various groups that are in the audience.  Someone wrote on their audience card, “Why doesn’t [orchestra leader] Eddie Ballentine play more solos like he used to?  Eddie obliges by playing a few bars of “Stardust” on his trumpet.  Ted mentions that Ben Stalh’s painting “Moment of Silent Prayer” was unveiled last Monday. [The unveiling took place on June 23, 1958, which helps to date the month and year of this broadcast.] Full color prints of this painting can be ordered by sending $1 to Don McNeill, c/o P.O. Box 00, Chicago, Ill. Proceeds will go to a “worthy cause.”  Ted interviews a school girl who gives Sam an “Idiot Test:” If a plane crashes on the U.S./Mexico border, where would the survivors be buried?  Eddie Ballantine explains that the orchestra has been performing state medleys for all of the states in the union and that they are now up to 34.  Today’s medley includes “Maryland, My Maryland,” “The Tennessee Waltz,” “Massachusetts,” and “Louisiana Hayride.” After some more questions from the audience, Carol Richards sings “This is a Very Special Day.”  For Hymn Time, Dick Noel sings “Little Brown Church in the Vale.” [When Richard “Dick” Noel joined The Breakfast Club cast in 1954 as its regular male singer, he already had an established singing career, having toured the country with the Ray Anthony Orchestra in the late 1940s and recorded for Decca and Columbia.  He would remain with The Breakfast Club for seven-and-a-half years.] This is followed by the Moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Ted reads “Thoughts While Strolling,” which is followed by the singers performing a quick chorus of “Mockingbird Hill.”  A woman wrote on her audience card that every time she comes to Chicago her feet become uncomfortable and she needs to buy new shoes.  (Her husband thinks that this is just an excuse for her to get new shoes.) Ted reads a letter with someone’s “Formula for a Successful Marriage.”  The March Around the Breakfast Table is accompanied by “The Polka March.”  A woman in the audience asks to be allowed to stand up since she had been sitting on a bus all day.  Ted reads a poem sent in by “an 11-year-old teenager.” Next, he interviews a woman in the audience who baked for Ike’s [President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s] homecoming to Abilene, Kansas before he became President.  She later baked a birthday cake for Mamie [Mrs. Eisenhower].  Someone in the audience requests that Sam’s comic song “Take Back Your Sack” be performed.  Sam has Dick Noel sing it.  Following the Last Call to Breakfast, the program concludes with the announcement that Don McNeill’s Breakfast Club has come to you through the world-wide facilities of the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.  

>>> Continue to The Breakfast Club: An Annotated Program Log Part 2 >>>