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The Breakfast Club: An Annotated Program Log Part 3


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  1. August 1960, ABC net. AFRTS abridged rebroadcast. The program originates from the College Inn Porter House Room in Chicago’s Hotel Sherman. Don mentions that yesterday the cast had a meeting out at his lake. [Don McNeill owned a forty-five-acre tract of woodland near Barrington, Illinois that had a man-made lake and a house near the water. Named “Himself’s Hideaway,” this is where Don and his family spent many of their weekends.] In summarizing what was discussed during the meeting, Sam imitates the sound of someone snoring. The orchestra plays an unidentified mambo.  Don reads a poem that someone had written on their audience card: “Life is race we all must run, so go it, folks while you’re young.” Dick Noel, assisted by Sam, sings “Freight Train.” Don introduces the Anita Kerr Singers from Nashville who perform “I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.” Don tries to interview a little boy from Nebraska whose father wrote on the boy’s audience card, “I look like my daddy.  I’m adopted.”  The interview has to be cut short when the little boy becomes scared by all the unexpected attention and begins to cry.  Next comes the Moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don reads a “Resolution for Drivers” that urges them to be more thoughtful and considerate for the safety of others.  Dick sings “Follow the Golden Rule.” Before starting the March Around the Breakfast Table, Don reads a letter from a woman who requests a short march so that she can carry all of her children while they march.  The orchestra obliges her.  This week’s guest singer Geraldine sings “Wonderful Wonderful.” A woman from the audience challenges Don to guess what she does for a living.  Don guesses that she is a librarian, but it turns out that she is a nurse.  Earlier, Dick had mentioned that, while driving out to Don’s lake, he and his wife had seen a tree in a traffic island.  This leads into the Anita Kerr Singers performing “In the Middle of an Island.” Afterwards Don mentions that the group will be appearing regularly on Jim Reeve’s radio show. After describing the appearance of a man from the audience, Don guesses that he is an executive for a plumbing company and that he lives in Indio, California.  It turns out the man is from Michigan and works for the railroad.  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.

 

  1. September 2, 1960, ABC net. AFRS abridged rebroadcast. The program originates from the College Inn Porter House Room in Chicago’s Hotel Sherman. Following the First Call to Breakfast opening, the orchestra plays a quick chorus of “Jingle Bells.” Don explains that there is a reason for this Christmas broadcast taking place on September 2nd. It is being taped for the Armed Forces Radio Service Network and will be heard all over the world on Christmas morning. Don explains that AFRS will record the whole show and then chop it down to a half hour; “They’re doing their Christmas chopping early!”  The orchestra then plays a “big band” arrangement of “Jingle Bells.”  With almost four months to go before Christmas Day 1960, Don makes some predictions about the teams that will be playing in the 1960 World Series and the Rose Bowl.  He also predicts that the Presidential election will be “close,” but stops short of saying who will win. Dick Noel sings “The Christmas Song.”  Don mentions that Dick is the singer with the perfect name for Christmas: NOEL.  Assuming his “Boris Beatnik” character, Dick reads “A Very Hep Night Before Christmas,” accompanied by an ad lib solo flute and a bongo.  Don introduces singer Lorri Peters who, while touring with Ray McKinley and the Glenn Miller Band, visited U.S. Air Force bases in Europe and North Africa.  Lorri sings “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.”  Don does a comic interview with a street corner Santa played by Sam.  Don names the various groups that are in the audience including a veterans’ group. The orchestra plays a special “big band” arrangement of “Sleigh Ride.” Don observes that since cold makes things contract, that’s why the days get shorter in Winter.  Today in Chicago it is in the mid-90s. The orchestra plays “The Toy Trumpet” with Eddie Ballantine playing the trumpet solo.  After remarking that Christmas songs may come and go but that the old ones go on forever, Don asks the audience to join the cast in singing “Silent Night.”  This is followed by the Moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don reads an inspirational Christmas piece that appeared in Sunshine Magazine.  Aunt Fanny (Fran Allison) makes an appearance and talks about her Christmas shopping list.  Next, Don invites those audience members who have loved ones in the service to come forward and send them holiday greetings.  A retiree from Wisconsin tells how he went to California to see what a patio was like and found that it was “an umbrella on the rocks.” To conclude the broadcast, Don has the audience say “Merry Christmas” in unison. The orchestra then plays “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “Oh, Christmas Tree” as the broadcast closes with the announcement that, This has been a special Christmas holiday presentation of the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

 

  1. March 1961, ABC net. AFRS abridged rebroadcast. The program originates from the College Inn Porter House Room in Chicago’s Hotel Sherman. Don mentions that the audience is made up mostly of Wisconsin hotel and resort owners. Next, he interviews an 18-year-old boy who is taking his father on a tour that he won through a radio station contest. Don jokes that the boy left his mother at home to slop the hogs.  Guest singer Betty Cox sings “Indiana.”  Afterwards she admits that she has never been to Indiana.  Don interviews court hairdresser Dermot of London and comments on his brogue. (Dermot is Irish.) When asked about the current trends in women’s hairstyles, Dermot says that the “beehive” and “straw thatch” are on the way out since they are too impractical for women to maintain on their own.  Women are going back to short hair styles which make them look meek.  Dick Noel sings “Baby Face.”  This is followed by the Moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don reads a humorous poem about saying you feel fine even while suffering from the effects of old age.  Don’s special guest is actress/author Ilka Chase.  Don mentions that Ilka has appeared in 20 Broadway plays and that she is also a columnist and appears on TV panel shows.  She is in Chicago to promote her new book Three Men on the Left Hand.  [Ilka’s book was published in 1960, so her book tour probably took place early in 1961.]  She explains that “Ilka” is Hungarian and that she was named after one of her mother’s friends.)  Commenting on Dermot’s earlier appearance, she agrees that the “beehive” hair style is not practical and that it also makes women look older.  Regarding all the Westerns that are currently on TV, she remarks that there is a need for fresh new ideas, and that people should read more. Dick Noel sings “April in Paris.”  Following an unidentified orchestra number, Aunt Fanny (Fran Allison) make an appearance.  She says that she is “busier than a fan dancer during molting season,” and that she is helping a friend prepare her income tax return. [This reference to preparing an income tax return would tend to indicate that the broadcast took place around tax time in April.]  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.

 

  1. March 1961, ABC net. AFRS abridged rebroadcast. The program originates from the College Inn Porter House Room in Chicago’s Hotel Sherman. Don names some of the groups who are attending the broadcast: Girls Scouts, Bluebirds, a Radio Workshop Group, Iowa high school seniors, etc. The orchestra plays “The Breeze and I.” Don introduces guest singer Jeannie Thomas from Deep Creek, Virginia.  Jeannie was a former Miss Virginia in the Miss Universe Pageant.  She sang in her parents’ orchestra and now writes a beauty column.  Don has a group of Bluebirds from Mt. Prospect, Illinois sing their greeting song and repeat the Bluebird pledge.  The girls are all in the 3rd grade.  One of them presents Don with some fudge.  Sam offers to get the girls a can of worms in return, since bluebirds eat worms. Dick Noel sings “Zing Went the Strings of My Heart.” Don interviews a 12-year-old Chicago boy who, when he was 2, accidentally ate some arsenic.  The boy says he has a brother who is a radio ham.  When asked what kind, he answers “Kosher.”  Jeannie sings “I’m Sitting on Top of the World.” Dick sings “How Deep is the Ocean.” For Hymn Time, Jeannie sings “Beneath the Cross of Jesus.”  Next comes the Moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don reads “A Little Note on Friendship” which appeared in Sunshine Magazine. Don interviews a lady who is touring the country to introduce a revolutionary new table with no legs.  Designed by an aircraft engineer, it has such built-in features as a food warmer, a phone jack, and a television set.  Billed as “The Table of Tomorrow,” it is shaped like guitar.  Jeannie and Dick sing “True Love.”  Next, Dick sings “What’s Cookin’, Cookie?”  Don interviews a woman who is a “champion babysitter” with over 30 years of experience.  The woman advises parents to hire only reliable babysitters and to check their backgrounds before allowing them into their homes.  She doesn’t feel that teenagers make good babysitters for babies.  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.

 

 

The Third Call to Breakfast

(1965)

 

  1. June 17, 1965, ABC net. The program originates from the Clouds Room in Chicago’s Allerton Hotel.) [Early in 1963, it appeared that the Hotel Sherman would have to close because its site was needed for the construction of the State of Illinois Center (later renamed the Thompson Center.) Beginning on August 19, 1963, The Breakfast Club began broadcasting from a new location: an upper floor meeting room in the Allerton Hotel that had been converted into a radio studio complete with a stage and a technical control room. Renamed The Clouds Room, it would be the home of The Breakfast Club up through its final broadcast.] Don announces that 10 high school girls from Porter Michigan are in the audience. Following an unidentified orchestra number, Don asks the audience, on the count of three, to pretend to write their names on the floor in the front of them using their foot.  Afterwards he tells them that he always likes to start the show by kicking a few names around.  A vocal group sings “Saturday Night.”  Don mentions that Gemini 4 astronauts McDivitt and White had been in Chicago and that they had appeared before a group of 5,000 youngsters and had answered their questions.  When asked if there will be women astronauts, they tactfully answered that there are enough qualified men at present and that women are not needed yet.  Don mentions that when astronaut Ed White became the first American to walk in space [on June 3, 1965] he traveled 6,000 miles in 20 minutes.  Don said that it took him that long just to get out of a parking lot. Mary Ann Luckett sings “Look Down that Lonesome Road.  Afterwards, Don comments on Mary Ann’s black & white striped dress, which inspires some zebra jokes.  Don has the audience, on the count of three, smack their lips.  This is used as the lead-in to a commercial for Wyler’s Powdered Lemonade Mix.  Next, Don interviews a woman from the audience who married an iceman in 1934.  Another woman relates that her high school diploma was signed by both her father (who was a school board member) and her husband, who was the school’s principal and whom she married after she graduated.  The segment ends with an ABC network identification.  The second segment opens with more interviews.  A 15-year-old girl says that she is chaperoning her mother on this trip.  Don invites the mother to dance with Sam while the orchestra plays a jazz waltz.  Bob Newkirk sings “A Taste of Honey.”  For Hymn Time, Mary Ann sings “Abide with Me.”  Next comes the Moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don reads “Prayer for a Bride and Groom.”  He then introduces the day’s special guests, actor Don DeFore and his daughter Penny.  Penny recounts how she was inspired to go to Soule, Korea after high school to work in an orphanage.  Her father had appeared in the movie Battle Hymn, the story of Col. Dean Hess, who had founded an orphanage in Korea.  25 Korean orphans had been flown to Hollywood to appear in the movie and she had met them when she attended a screening of the film at the studio.  She left for Korea in December 1960 and ended up working with crippled children.  She wrote a book about her experiences titled With All My Heart, which her father hopes to produce as a motion picture that will be filmed on location in Korea.  The segment ends with an ABC network identification.  The third segment opens with the March Around the Breakfast Table.  Don and Sam do a short skit about the Battle of Bunker Hill which leads into a commercial for Juicy Fruit Gum.  Members from the audience ask Don DeFore about his career in movies and on TV.  (He appeared on the Ozzie and Harriet Show and also in the situation comedy Hazel.)  Asked if he married a movie star, he says that he married a Chicago girl who once sang in local hotel and who now just sings in the shower.  Don tries to pitch a script idea to Don DeFore, reading a long, convoluted story at a rapid-fire pace.  After he finishes, DeFore says the plot is a little thin.  Bob and Mary Ann sing “There’s a Chapel in the Valley.”  Don does a commercial for Ball Glass Jelly Jars.  Don interviews an exchange student from the Netherlands and has her repeat The Breakfast Club opening announcement in Dutch.  The segment ends with an ABC network identification.  Don and Eddie Ballentine discuss the proper pronunciation of the word eczema, which leads into a commercial for Cuticura Medicated Soap and Cuticura Ointment. Mary Ann sings “Dear Heart.”  Next, Sam tells a corny joke about a cannibal who, upon seeing a missionary asleep in a sleeping bag beside the trail says, “Breakfast in bed.”  Don mentions that someone wrote on their audience card, “How can Don McNeill be my age when I listened to him as child?”  Don explains that he just gets younger.  Don introduces Mary Pete, who he sees seated in the audience.  Don explains that Mary, who is from Montreal, sends him Memory Time material for time to time.  Sam tells a funny story about Eddie Ballantine and his wife “Frou-Frou.”  Following the Final Call to Breakfast, the program ends with and ABC network sign-off.  

 

The Last Call to Breakfast

(1968)

 

The decision to permanently retire The Breakfast Club occurred during the summer of 1968.  Earlier that year, the ABC radio network had been divided into four different networks, each tailored to a particular audience.  The American Entertainment Network served the more traditional stations.  The American Information Network served stations with talk or all-news programming.  The American Contemporary Network was tailored for rock music stations.  The American FM Network was created for FM stations.  Although intended for the American Entertainment Network, The Breakfast Club, which had been renamed The Don McNeill Show, was fed to all of the new networks, whether it fit their formats or not.  WABC in New York, which had a top-forty music format, saw a large portion of its audience tune to another station whenever The Breakfast Club came on. The same was true for AM stations in other major cities. Eventually, these stations opted not to carry The Breakfast Club, thereby reducing its reach.  On August 1, 1968, Don McNeill, who was probably ready to retire anyhow, announced that The Breakfast Club would be going off the air at the end of the year. 

 

  1. September 17, 1968, American Entertainment net. The program originates from the Clouds Room in Chicago’s Allerton Hotel. WLSF-FM air check. The program is introduced as The Don McNeill Show. [While it still followed the traditional Breakfast Club format, the program’s name had to be changed because many of the affiliate stations aired it at times other than in the morning.] The orchestra plays “Music to Watch Girls By.” Don does a commercial for Pream Non-Dairy Creamer. Cathie Taylor sings “My Bonnie Laddie.” [Based on the Scottish tune Scotland the Brave, My Bonnie Lassie had become a popular hit in 1955 when it was recorded by the Ames Brothers. For Cathie’s performance, the title and lyrics were changed to make it more appropriate for a woman to be singing it.] After saying that the show needs more class, Sam reads his comic poem “September Showers.” Singer Bob Newkirk says that he recently bought an antique nickelodeon that plays rolls.  When it was first demonstrated to him, it had played “Diane” which is his wife’s name.  He then sings “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife.” For Hymn Time, Cathie sings “In the Sweet By and By.”  This is followed by the Moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don reads from a piece that appeared in Sunshine Magazine titled “What Else” and which talks about vacations and what a relief it is when they are over.  Don, Sam and Bob do a commercial for Regal Paint Wall Set.  Bob sings “High Hopes.” Next, Don interviews a couple from Montreal. The husband was a locomotive engineer for 35 years and is about to retire.  Don tells a funny story about the thinking process of a hypochondriac.  The orchestra plays “Summer Samba.” With the fall football season soon to start, Don reads a comic poem about football announcers.  The first half of the program ends with the announcement There’s lots more of the Don McNeill Show to come on the American Entertainment Network, so don’t go away.  We’ll be back.  Next comes Paul Harvey News and Commentary: Today is J. C. Penney’s 93 birthday. There is flooding in England with more rain on the way. Detroit: car prices are going up.  Nixon’s lead is increasing in the Presidential election race.  The second half of The Don McNeill Show opens with March Time.  Afterwards, Don interviews an 83-year-old woman who was one of the marchers and who is traveling with her 71-year-old sister.  Bob talks about Denny McLain, the first major league pitcher to win 30 games and who also plays the organ.  Don gives a comical Las Vegas weather forecast that also includes gambling forecasts.  Bob sings “Father of Girls.” Don and Cathie discuss some humorous Pennsylvania Dutch superstitions.  Next comes a commercial for Sanka Brand Coffee which is 97% caffeine free. Aunt Fanny (Fran Allison) make an appearance and tells about her friend Annie who, although she doesn’t have a radio, picks up Don’s program on her electric blanket.  Next comes an unidentified orchestra number.  A lady from Niagara Falls asks Don if he’s going to publish another Breakfast Club yearbook.  She has the earlier ones and would like something current.  Don says he has no immediate plans for another book.  When the woman asks Don if the program will continue after he retires, he answers that everyone is retiring.  Next, she asks if Eddie Ballentine ever made a recording of “The Toy Trumpet,” which he hasn’t.  When she asks if Cliff Peterson is here today, he comes out of the control room to say hello.  Don tells some corny jokes that lead into a commercial for Beyer Aspirin.  Cathie sings “Amen.” To close the program, Lee Knight, a saxophone player the orchestra plays the novelty number “Corn Ball.” [Lee Knight was one of Don McNeill’s golfing companions.] The broadcast ends with the announcement that The Don McNeill Show came to you from the Clouds Room atop the Hotel Allerton in Chicago. This program is heard overseas through the worldwide facilities of the Armed Forces Radio Network Service as well as this American Entertainment Network.

 

  1. September 27, 1968, American Entertainment net. The program originates from the Clouds Room in Chicago’s Allerton Hotel. WLSF-FM air check. After mentioning that this is American Youth Month, Don reads a funny letter from a mother whose son is back in school. The orchestra plays a Tijuana Brass-style arrangement of the Habanera from the opera Carmen. Don interviews a woman from Maryland who lives about 9 miles from Governor Agnew. [Spiro Agnew was Richard Nixon’s vice-presidential running mate in the 1968 election.]  While the woman doesn’t know Agnew, she knows his wife.  Don has her read the first two lines of a western story to help introduce a commercial for Del Monte “Big Red” products.  Bob Newkirk sings “Indian Lake.” Afterwards, Don mentions that Bob is a new father.  After a few comments on the pitfalls of automation, there is a commercial for Measurin Pain Reliever.  Don mentions that after he announced his retirement, he received a letter from radio station KBIQ in Seattle, Washington, offering him a job as staff announcer. Changing subjects, he says that counting to one billion, if worked at for 8 hours a day, would take 48 years.  Cathie Taylor performs In a Mountain Greenery while singing along with a recording of herself doing the harmony part.  Next, comes a commercial for Ironized Yeast.  For Hymn Time, Bob sings “Perfect Love” which Don had co-written with orchestra leader Eddie Ballantine.  Next comes the moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don reads “The Readability Gap” about the jargon that is now in common use. During the reading of a commercial for Regal Wall Satin paint, Stubby (Tom Fouts) interjects some funny rural expressions.  Next, Don interviews an Indiana couple who got married when they were 18 and who are now celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.  Because the husband forgot to get a corsage for this wife, Sam provides a comical substitute.  Stubby does a folksong parody as a lead-in to a commercial for Cope pain reliever.  The first half of the program ends with the announcement that There’s lots more of the Don McNeill Show to come on the American Entertainment Network, so don’t go away.  We’ll be back.  Next comes Paul Harvey News and Comment: a tropical storm off Florida is moving away from the mainland. In Vietnam, a Communist attack on Saigon was driven back by the use of darts the size of carpet tacks, fired at point blank range. Third party candidate [George] Wallace is running strong in the presidential race and might very well be the man to beat.  A march and rally will take place in Chicago to protest the police actions that were taken during the recent Democratic National Convention that was held there.   The second half of The Don McNeill Show opens with Don interviewing George and Rose Matthews, the Pearly King and Queen of London[Originating the 1880’s, the “Pearlies” were cockney street traders who would decorate their clothing with thousands of mother-of-pearl buttons.  Pearlies were treated as royalty and would preside at public events.  In 1900, there were some 500 members of Pearly royalty in London. “Pearly” outfits are passed down to the next generation, who continue the tradition.] Rose’s outfit was started by her parents 66 years ago.  Her and George’s outfits each have about 30,000 buttons.  For “Education Time,” Don reads some comical Chinese fortune cookie fortunes as a lead-in a commercial for Sanka Brand Coffee. Cathie sings “Danny Boy.” At Don’s request, Rose and George sing a cockney song “Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner.”  Questioned by Don they admit that they never meet the Beatles or Queen Elizabeth, but they did meet her husband Prince Philip. They came to the U.S. to appear at a British Trade Fair.  They will be greeting visitors at King Arthur’s Pub here in Chicago.  Next, they will be appearing at a British Trade Fair in Dublin, Ireland.  Don mentions that one of his sons went to Oxford for four years and that he has visited England and London. Don asks George about words used in England that have different meanings in the U.S.  George gives some examples of cockney slang.  To close the program, Dick sings “Shalom.”  The broadcast ends with the announcement that The Don McNeill Show came to you from the Clouds Room atop the Hotel Allerton in Chicago. This program is heard overseas through the worldwide facilities of the Armed Forces Radio Network Service as well as this American Entertainment Network.

 

  1. November 28, 1968, American Entertainment net. The program originates from the Clouds Room in Chicago’s Allerton Hotel. WLSF-FM air check. During a morning news update it is announced that an earthquake was recorded in Central America. Meetings are taking place in Cairo, Egypt on how deal with student protests. Public enemy Alvin Karpis, who J. Edgar Hoover personally arrested in 1936, is being released and will be deported to Canada.  The Don McNeill Show opens with a few bars of the original Breakfast Club theme.  Since today is Thanksgiving Day, Don remarks that the trouble with big Thanksgiving dinners is that, after you eat one, in three days you’re hungry again. The orchestra plays a Benny Goodman-type arrangement of Weber’s “Invitation to the Dance.”  When asked by Don what she is most thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day, Cathie Taylor say that she’s thankful for her family and for the profession she’s in which gives her more freedom.  Don reminds her that being an entertainer also gives her the freedom to be out of work.  Cathie sings “Tell Me What’d I Say.” Afterwards, while praising Cathie’s performance, Don calls it one of the worst songs he’s ever heard.  Next is a skit that recreates the conversations between two Thanksgiving turkeys before and after they are put into the oven. This is followed by a commercial for Measurin Pain Reliever.  Don mentions that, over the next few days, there will be an increase in the number of people attending the broadcasts because of all the visitors coming to Chicago for the big International Live Stock Exhibition which will be opening on Friday in the International Amphitheater. Appearing at the Exhibition’s horse show and rodeo will be The Westernaires, a drill team of 30 top riders from Golden, Colorado.  Don interviews two sisters who are members of the group.  The Westernaires perform a 10-minute precision drill that includes riding through fire, trick riding, and trick roping.  Asked if they consider Arthur Godfrey to be a good rider, one of the sisters said that she’s seen him ride on TV and yes, he is pretty good.  She also says that Roy Rogers is a fabulous rider, although most movie cowboys aren’t very good.  Asked if any of The Westernaires ride side-saddle, the sisters say that the group does have a side-saddle act, but that mostly they ride western.  Stubby (Tom Fouts) sings “Never Take Away My Guitar.” For Hymn Time, Bob Newkirk sings “To Be with God.” This is followed by the Moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don recalls events that took place during The Breakfast Club’s 1952 tours of the south and east, and the time that Jerry Lewis visited the show.  The first half ends with the announcement that There’s lots more of the Don McNeill Show to come on the American Entertainment Network, so don’t go away.  We’ll be back.   Next comes Paul Harvey News and Comment, with Art Van Horn filling in for Paul Harvey: In Vietnam, every single man had turkey for Thanksgiving unless they were under fire.  President-elect Nixon and his family joined the Eisenhower family at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington for Thanksgiving dinner. [Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the hospital, suffering from congestive heart failure.  He died there on March 28, 1969.] Beatle John Lennon was fined $360 in London for the procession of marijuana and resisting the police. Similar charges against his girlfriend Yoko Ono were dropped.  A police dog was used to sniff out the marijuana in the couple’s apartment.  In Los Angeles, the trial of the man accused of killing Robert Kennedy may be postponed until after Christmas.  The second half of the program opens with Stubby relating some interesting facts about turkeys: the leading turkey-raising county in the U.S. is in Virginia.  Turkeys are not easy animals to raise.  They are not smart birds and can easily be stampeded.  Breeders have developed midget turkeys that are mostly white meat, and turkeys that weight 70-100 pounds.  Next comes March Time, accompanied by “Make America Proud of You.”  Among the marchers are two stewardesses who don’t fly.  They are stewardess onboard railroad passenger trains.  Cathie sings “Love Letters (Straight from Your Heart).” Don asks “Carlos Lopez” some questions about turkeys. “Carlos” answers every question with “Si.” Next there is a commercial for Ultra-Bright Toothpaste.  Don describes how music is programmed into an IMB 7090 computer as numbers on a punch card.  He then plays a recording of a computer performing the song “A Bicycle Built for Two.” Next, he plays a recording of a computer singing “A Bicycle Built for Two.” The orchestra plays a Glenn Miller-type “big band” arrangement of “Little Brown Jug.” Following a Measurin commercial, each of the cast members tells what they are most thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day.  Bob sings “Red Roses for a Blue Lady.” Don concludes the program by saying that he is most thankful for the outdoors, and for the many friends he has made over the years.  The broadcast ends with the announcement that The Don McNeill Show came to you from the Clouds Room atop the Hotel Allerton in Chicago. This program is heard overseas through the worldwide facilities of the Armed Forces Radio Network Service as well as this American Entertainment Network.

 

  1. November 28, 1968, American Entertainment net. The program originates from the Clouds Room in Chicago’s Allerton Hotel. WLSF-FM air check. Since today is the day after Thanksgiving, Don gives some humorous suggestions for using turkey left-overs. The orchestra plays “Mr. Sandman.” Don mentions that there are some foreign students from Finland, Vietnam, Malaysia, Peru, and New Jersey in the audience. Next, he talks about some of the phobias which the cast members suffer from.  This leads seamlessly into a commercial for Measurin Pain Reliever.  Don conducts a comic interview with an “American Indian” who uses a drum to send messages.  Next, he gives some new definitions for common items: flashlight: a case in which you keep dead batteries, etc.  This leads into a commercial for Olivetti Typewriters.  For Hymn Time, Bob Newkirk sings “Each Step I Take.” This is followed by the Moment of Silent Prayer.  For Memory Time, Don recalls Breakfast Club events from 1953, including tours of the Pacific Northwest, Canada and a visit to Hollywood, and the 25th Anniversary broadcast on June 23rd.  After remarking that the male singer back then was Johnny Desmond, Don plays a record of him singing “I’d Like to Take You Walking.”  A Breakfast Club Soap Opera skit leads into a commercial for Ultra-Bright Toothpaste.  Cathie Taylor sings “It’s a Long Drop from a Dream” from her latest album to be released on December 3rd.  The first half ends with the announcement that There’s lots more of the Don McNeill Show to come on the American Entertainment Network, so don’t go away.  We’ll be back.   Next comes Paul Harvey News and Comment, with Art Van Horn filling in for Paul Harvey: Next year, Soviet troops will be holding “maneuvers” in Romania.  It has been announced that the surtax will be maintained for the present. [In 1968, the U.S. Government added a 10% surtax on individual and corporate incomes to help pay for the war in Vietnam.] In Marshall, Michigan, evacuations have become necessary because of natural gas leaking from the ground. President-elect Nixon has sent a representative to the Middle East for talks with Israel and Egypt.  The second half of the Don McNeill Show opens with Don interviewing a student from Hawaii who will be going home for Christmas for the first time in four years.  Don offers to let her call her mother to let her know that she’s coming home.  Don then mentions that he wrote the song “I Could Never Learn to Hula” after a trip to Hawaii.  He also mentions that former Breakfast Club singer Jack Owens wrote “The Hukilau Song” which became a big hit, and which is still performed in Hawaii. Following a commercial for Measurin, Bob mentions that he has a recording session for Mercury Records that afternoon.  Don interviews a high school English teacher from the St. Louis area who is a member of the World Association for the Celebration of the Year 2000.  This interview is interrupted when the student from Hawaii is able to get a phone call through to her family.  With everyone listening in, she talks with her brother, who tells her their mother is at work.  Returning to the interview with the English teacher, he says that the purpose of the Year 2000 group is to help young people look upon the future with hope.  The group plants Year 2000 trees around the world to help promote discussions leading to the exchange of ideas.  Don mentions that a discussion is an exchange of ideas while an argument is an exchange of ignorance. Next, Don asks the foreign student from Malaysia what he sees for his country in the future.  The student hopes for improvements and modernization.  Don then asks him about the tricks that the girls in his country used to ensnare men.  The student replies that the girls in Malaysia are conservative and shy and that the men must take the initiative.  This same answer is given by the students from Vietnam and Peru.  The orchestra plays “Muskrat Ramble.”  After mentioning that Anita Bryant used to sing on The Breakfast Club, Don plays a record of her singing “Do-Re-Mi” from The Sound of Music. Next, he interviews an 86-year-old man from the audience who is there with a woman he met on a tour 20 months ago.  Asked if they play to get married, the woman answers, “He hasn’t asked me yet.”  After some more Indian drumming, the program ends with the announcement that The Don McNeill Show came to you from the Clouds Room atop the Hotel Allerton in Chicago. This program is heard overseas through the worldwide facilities of the Armed Forces Radio Network Service as well as this American Entertainment Network.

 

  1. December 27, 1968, American Entertainment net. The program originates from the Clouds Room in Chicago’s Allerton Hotel. WLSF-FM air check. Don McNeill opens his final broadcast by defining “end” as the part where a thing begins or ends and that “today is the end where she stops.” He adds that he was on hand for both ends, and that the thirty-five-and-a-half years between the two ends were a great treasure for him. After vowing not to tell a corny joke on the last show, he proceeds to tell a corny joke.  After referring to Don as a “legend in his own time,” singer Bob Newkirk thanks Don for the five-and-a-half years that he appeared on the show.  Next, the orchestra plays the “Bowling Polka,” which was written by long-time Breakfast Club announcer Ed McKean.  Don mentions that he’d been out with the Hong Kong flu for the last several days, but that he wanted to be on hand for the final broadcast. [The program had actually been taped the week before in front of an audience that included friends and family of the cast.] Orchestra leader Eddie Ballantine plays a number he calls “Music to get over the flu with” and which is punctuated with sneezes and coughs.  In his goodbye remarks, Sam Cowling thanks the listeners for their loyal support over the years.  This same sentiment is echoed by Ed McKean and Eddie Ballantine.  The orchestra then plays an unidentified “big band” number that features Eddie playing a trumpet solo.  After thanking Don, the cast and the musicians, singer Cathie Taylor reads a short poem that she had written for Don.  She then sings “Sam’s Lullaby,” a comic song about a baby that had been written by Sam.  After mentioning that Cathie is the last of The Breakfast Club girl singers, Don introduces Annette King (Charlotte Reid), who is in the audience and who had been one of the show’s first girl singers back in the mid-1930s. [Charlotte Thompson Reid also served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1963 to 1971 as the representative from Aurora, Illinois.] Next, Don introduces his youngest son Bob, who is an investment counselor in Chicago and the father of two children.  Bob Newkirk sings “Perfect Love,” which Don co-wrote with Eddie Ballantine. The first half ends with the announcement that There’s lots more of the Don McNeill Show to come on the American Entertainment Network, so don’t go away.  We’ll be back.   Next comes Paul Harvey News and Comment: The spacemen are hurtling towards earth and will be recovered by the USS Yorktown in the dark. [This was the Apollo 8 crew that had circled the moon as a precursor to the Apollo 11 moon landing. The splashdown occurred at about the same time that many Americans were listening to the end of the final Breakfast Club broadcast.] NASA expects to have a man on the moon by next April. [The moon landing did not take place until July.] Madalyn Murray O’Hare, the woman who got prayers removed from public schools is demanding that the astronauts be forbidden from praying in outer space.  The Hong Kong flu epidemic is increasing.  A new and efficient home furnace has been developed that is about the size of a 2-pound coffee can.  Actress Connie Stevens (Mrs. Eddie Fisher) is the mother of a baby girl.  Walter Winchell, Jr., 33, who was working as a dishwasher and living on welfare, has committed suicide.  The second half of the Don McNeill Show opens with Don taking questions from audience members.  When someone asks if any of the original Breakfast Club cast are still with the show, Don answers that orchestra leader Eddie Ballantine was a trumpet player in the orchestra during the first broadcast.  Asked if he could recall one of the funnier “bloopers” he made over the years, Don answers that he made so many that he can’t separate one from another.  Don introduces Stormy Bobula, a loyal listener who has been attending Breakfast Club broadcasts for 27 years and who has radios all over her house, so she wouldn’t miss hearing the show while doing her daily chores.  Someone asks if there is a scrapbook with the material that was used on the show over the years.  Don mentions the yearbooks that used to be published.  Cathie sings “Tomorrows are Made for People Like You.”   Next, Aunt Fanny (Fran Allison) reads a poem that she had written for the occasion and which expresses her appreciation for all the joy the program has brought her.  Next, Don introduces puppeteer Burr Tillstrom who, along with Fran Allison, did the popular Kukla, Fran and Ollie children’s TV show.  Kukla, Ollie and other members of the “Kuklapolitan” crew wish Don a happy retirement.  Also in the audience in Dick Noel, who was a Breakfast Club singer for seven-and-a-half years. Don acknowledges engineer Ralph Davey.  Stubby (Tom Fouts) expresses how much he enjoyed the three years that he was with the show. Don also acknowledges stagehand Bobby Becker and producer Cliff Peterson.  Next, he introduces his wife Kay, mentioning that his other two sons Tom and Don, Jr. couldn’t make it to the last show.  Kay remarks that now that Don is retiring, they’ll have even more time to babysit their grandchildren. Don mentions that he also plans to teach some seminars at a couple of universities.  Don concludes by saying,

 

(If) there’s been any secret of success in this show it’s believability.  I do stumble around and I do make mistakes, but I mean everything I say and have all these years.

 

Nothing I would say could mean more than having all of you, many of you, sometimes three generations of you, with me all these years.  And so, I hope you’ll be seeing me and hearing me hither and yon someplace.  I wish all of you the greatest of success and happiness.

 

The program ends with the Moment of Silent Prayer.


 

Eric BeheimABOUT 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.

Read more about Eric Behiem...

 

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