Monday, June 18, 2012

Charm Kitchen Radio

This is the "Charm Kitchen Cook Book" compiled by Edythe Fern Melrose, better known in Detroit as WXYZ-TV's Lady of Charm. One source claims that in the 1920s as the first woman to manage a radio station. There are several claimants to that title and her claim is totally uncorroborated. She did manage WJLB-AM in the 1930s, but that seems to be after Vaughn DeLeath managed WDT-AM so she may legitimately be the second.

When Melrose moved from WJLB to 1270 WXYZ-AM in 1941, the old slot was taken over by Miriam Lane. Sources claim that Miriam Lane had a program called "Modes and Manners." It is entirely unclear if thei was before, during or after the tenure of Ms. Melrose. A 1955 cookbook bearing her name and the title "Charm Kitchen" serves to further confuse the matter. It indicates a possible passing of the crown, or a simple branding rip-off.  Regardless, Lane remained at WJLB while Melrose was building an empire starting with her daily, hour-long afternoon show.

Even in the beginning her program was special. She did not go to the studios. She broadcast from her private offices at the New Center building.  Fred Foy recalls some playful animosity between Melrose and the announcers who had to be on stand-by through out her remotely broadcast program. [More here.] It comes as no surprise that she didn't want to go to a TV studio to do her TV show either.

On Channel 7, WXYZ-TV her show aired from her home, the "House O' Charm," the first of which was built in 1948 at Eagle Point at St. Clair Shores and the second at 906 Lakeshore, Grosse Pointe. It was the first home to be built for testing all the products before she recommended them.Her TV program ran for 12 years. In addition to product testing she also continued to discuss cooking, table settings, etiquette, and fashion. The program continued until 1960.  She died in 1976.