Friday, September 14, 2012

Hollywood Walk of Fame: S - Z

At long last this research project has come to an end. I have asked the question repeatedly why these people are famous within radio and the answer appears to be that some of them were not. Though the walk even includes some misspelled names, cartoon characters and animals, there are no erroneous inclusions. There is always a reason, it's just not always apparent, though it is sometimes a parent. No doubt these oddities will spawn many future posts.(and corrections)

Julia Sanderson - Julia Sanderson and her husband Frank Crumit were a comedy and singing duo in 1928 on CBS as the "Singing Sweethearts" even though they were already divorced. In 1930 they started co-hosting a quiz show called "The Battle of the Sexes", which ran 13 years.

Vin Scully
- starting out at WFUV as a student DJ, he graduated and got a job filling in at WTOP. He did well enough there to get a better job doing college football coverage on the CBS Radio Network. He currently does Play-by-play for the Los Angeles Dodgers on KLAC.

Ryan Seacrest
- An internship at WSTR turned into an overnight shift which inexplicably parlayed into a Hollywood career hosting vapid reality TV programs. In 2004 he took over American Top 40 from a retiring Casey Casem, and later that year starting doing "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" mornings on KIIS.

Dinah Shore
- By all reports her radio debut was actually on the Grand Ole Opry on WSM-AM with a Vanderbilt singing troupe. She left for New York and began singing on WNEW. There she sang with Frank Sinatra and for Xavier Cugat which began her recording career.

Ginny Simms
- She was in the Kay Kyser band circa the Kollege of Musical Knowledge. The Ginny Simms show ran from 1941 to 1942 on CBS went thru a couple changes becoming the Purple Heart Show, and Talent Theater around 1945. She sang on many other programs including The Pause That Refreshes, The Bob Burns show, and others.

Penny Singleton
- He fame originate in one character, Blondie of the comic strip of the same name. She played opposite Arthur Lake (as Dagwood) starting in 1939 on their radio show until it ended in 1950. In 1967 she famously led the Rockettes in a strike against Radio City Music Hall.

Red Skelton - His first appearance on the Rudy Valee show was in 1937. the appearance went so well that in 1938 1938, Skelton replaced Red Foley as the host of "Avalon Time" on NBC. He started doing MGM films and did another radio show "The Raleigh Cigarettes Program" starting in 1941. It lasted until 1953. He moved on to a 3-year syndicate deal with Ziv radio. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994

Smilin' Jack Smith
- (Not to be confused with "Whispering" Jack Smith) He first appeared on KFRC with Anson Weeks and His Hotel Mark Hopkins Orchestra. More radio work followed and he guested on The Kate Smith Show, and The Prudential Hour. Jack got his own radio show in 1945 and it lasted until 1952. He moved into TV afterwards.

Kate Smith
- See previous post here.

Phil Spitalny
- See previous post here.

Hanley Stafford - His most popular role was as Lancelot Higgins on The Baby Snooks Show. He also played parts on several classic programs such as Popeye, Flash Gordon, Calling All Cars, Jungle Jim, and "The Shadow of Fu Manchu."
Jo Stafford

The Real Don Steele - As a Boss Jock he became nationally-known during his run on KHJ which lasted from 1965 to 1973. (He hosted a TV version from 1965 to 1975 on KHJ-TV.) He also spent time on KIQQ, KTNQ, KRLA, KODJ, KCBS-FM and KRTH.

Bill Stern - Known by me only for announcing the nation's "first" remote sports broadcast. He started out doing play-by-play in 1925 on WHAM-AM. Then was hired by NBC Blue in 1937 to host The Colgate Sports Newsreel as well as Friday night boxing on radio. It ran until 1956. He later did sports commentaries for Mutual. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1988.

Cliffie Stone - See previous post here.

Ezra Stone - His biggest role was as Henry Aldrich in t"The Aldrich Family" which ran 1939-1953. The Aldrich family sketch started out in a stage show, then was reworked to a bit for both Rudy Vallée and Kate Smith's shows. NBC brought it in to develop into a 30 minute program. He went on to direct programs.

Gale Storm - She beat all the odds and won a 1939 "Gateway to Hollywood" radio contest and got a 2-year contract with CBS. She appeared on variety programs like The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, Lux Radio Theater, Family Theatre, My Little Margie and a number of feature films.

Igor Stravinsky - (There are multiple alternate spellings) I can fine no records of live radio broadcast US performances. His inclusion appears to be dubious.

Alec Templeton - He played with several orchestras and played on piano on The Rudy Vallée Show, The Chase and Sanborn Hour, Kraft Music Hall and The Magic Key of RCA. His own program, Alec Templeton Time ran from 1939 to 1941.

Jay Thomas - Best known for a reoccurring role on Mork & Mindy he started in radio as a high school football announcer. He went on to KPWR, WXLO, WKTU and many others. Billboard magazine like to refer to him as semi-legendary. He now hosts the Jay Thomas Show on XM/Sirius.

Lowell Thomas - In 1930 he became a news commentator with the CBS radio. He switched to NBC and in late 1930 he hosted the first-ever television-news broadcast. He came back to CBS in 1947. He retired in 1976. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.

Bill Thompson - Starting in 1934, he was a regular on Don McNeill's morning show "The Breakfast Club" He was also in the choir on "The Sinclair Weiner Minstrels" in 1937. He was also a regular in the cast of "Fibber McGee and Molly." In the 1950s he was in several episodes of CBS Radio Workshop. He went on to do voice over for Walt Disney cartoons.

Tommy & Betty Lou Riggs - In 1931 Riggs was running a poultry business and Tommy was a pianist-vocalist on WCAE-AM. Then they began doing the Tom and Betty bit together on WCAE's. Tommy voiced both himself and a 7-year old girl... which is creepy. the program moved to KDKA, then WTAM then WLW in 1937. They did a stretch on Rudy Vallée's Royal Gelatin Hour. they also did the Kate Smith Show and were a summer replacement for Burns and Allen in 1942. In 1950 Tommy Riggs and Betty Lou ran for one season on CBS.

Arturo Toscanini - He conducted Operas and led the NBC Symphony Orchestra. In 1963, NBC Radio broadcast a weekly series of programs entitled Toscanini: The Man Behind The Legend, commemorating Toscanini's career. Like Stravinski this is a dubious inclusion. The series was rebroadcast by PBS radio in the late 1970s.

Charlie Tuna - See previous post here.

Lurene Tuttle - Another claimant to the title of "The First Lady of Radio," she was reputed to be appearing in 15 programs a week at her peak. She did play virtually every female character "The Adventures of Sam Spade" in addition to appearing on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, and the Great Gildersleeve. She was in a slew of soap operas, The Red Skelton Show, Hollywood Hotel, The Restless Gun, Dragnet, Lux Radio Theater, The Screen Guild Theater, Suspense... the list seems to go on forever.

Vera Vague - Barbara Jo Allen got her star in the name of a fictional spinster-type character she created and portrayed on radio and in film. After Vera was introduced in 1939 on "NBC Matinee," she became a regular on Bob Hope's show around 1941. In 1937, she had debuted in network radio as Beth Holly on NBC's "One Man's Family." She also did roles in "Death Valley Days," "I Love a Mystery" and others. In 1952, still in the role of Vera, she hosted her own television series "Follow the Leader" on CBS.

Rudy Vallée - See previous post here.

Harry von Zell
- His first radio gig was as an announcer for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra program, then he relocated to New York There he got a job as a CBS staff announcer and announced for Fred Allen, Phil Baker, Eddie Cantor, Eddy Duchin, Ed Wynn and others. He later headlined his own show "The Smiths of Hollywood" which lasted 1946 - 1947.

Mark Wallengren & Kim Amidon
- In 1986, Mark Wallengren and Kim Amidon debuted their new eponymous morning show on KOST. Following a 2007 purchase by Clear Channel Amidon left the show and was replaced. Amidon was last known to be doing fill-ins on KTWV.

Jimmy Wallington
- He was the announcer for several popular NBC radio shows including Carnation Contented Hour, Eddie Cantor, Fred Allen, the Screen Directors Playhouse, Jimmy Durante, The Big Show, and many others. He also announced for Voice of America for years.

Fred Waring
- See previous post here.

Willard Waterman - His biggest role was in replacing Harold Peary as the title character of The Great Gildersleeve from 1950 to 1957. At the same time he had a recurring role as Mr. Merriweather in "The Halls of Ivy." Prior to all that he was on soap operas and a variety show called Chicago Theater of the Air .

Jack Webb - See previous post here.

Orson Welles
- See previous post here.

Paul Whiteman
- He started on the Old Gold Hour in 1930 but Whiteman had several radio shows, including The Philco Hour, Kraft Music Hall, the Chesterfield hour and Paul Whiteman's Musical Varieties on WJZ. He semi-retired in the late 1940s but He continued to perform on air and was also the music director for the ABC Radio Network.

Dick Whittinghill - He spent 30 years as a DJ at KMPC-AM starting in 1950. He also later did a the afternoon drive slot at KPRZ. He had previously DJ'd at AFRN, KPFA in Helena, MT, KIEV and KGFJ.

Tex Williams - His last appearance on radio was by phone from his hospital bed on Bill Aken's radio program "The Country Call Line" two days before he died. He was a western swing musician who had appeared on WSM at the"Grand Ole Opry," "The National Barn Dance" and Gene Autry's Melody Ranch. Williams also hosted his own radio program, "Riverside Rancho" in 1949.

Meredith Willson - A conductor and songwriter who in 1929 became the concert director for radio station KFRC then became the musical director for the NBC radio. He also appeared on on Good News, Maxwell House Coffee Time, Burns and Allen, and The Big Show. He later hosted his own variety show, the Musical revue which ran 1935-1953.

Don Wilson - Probably best remembered as the fat guy who announced on The Jack Benny show. But his career went back further than Benny's. Don started out singing on KFEL-AM in Denver in 1923. He had also been a sportscaster doing the Olympics in 1932. He also announced for Alan Young, Bing Crosby, Ginny Simms, Music by Gershwin and Baby Snooks.

Marie Wilson - Starting on Broadway she gained national prominence playing the lead role of a dumb blonde in My Friend Irma on film, TV and radio. The TV show and the radio show ran concurrently. The radio series ran from 1947 to 1954.

Paul Winchell - A ventriloquist, singer and comedian, whose he had many guest appearances on various radio programs starting in 1936, on Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour. He had a season as WOR-AM in 1943, then again as 1948 Summer fill-in. He later did voice over on numerous cartoons and had a TV program where the ventriloquist thing makes more sense.

Walter Winchell - See previous post here.

Charles Winninger - A vaudeville actor who got typecast as a a riverboat captain and eventually ended up playing it on the NBC Maxwell House Show Boat program. He also made appearances on Lux Radio Theater.

Ed Wynn - He was the host of The Fire Chief on NBC from 1938 to 1949. In 1933 he founded his own radio network the Amalgamated Broadcasting System, which lasted only five weeks. He moved onto television. Also notable that He was once knocked unconscious by W.C. Fields with a pool stick.

Alan Young - His biggest roles were in television playing Wilbur Post in the television series Mister Ed, and as was the voice of Scrooge McDuck. He actually started out on the CBC in Canada, then in 1944 did a summer fill-in show, The Alan Young Show on NBC which was a hit. It ran for nine years 1944-1949 and then crossed over to television.

Carleton G. Young - He played many roles on may different soap operas such as "The Heinz Magazine of the air." He also played parts in some classic mystery and suspense programs. He played the character Phillip Galt on the suspense series "The Whisperer" in 1951, and "Jim Laughton" in Hollywood Mystery Time.

Robert Young - He always seemed to be playing doctors. He acted in "The Doctor Fights" in 1944, and played ones on TV as well. His biggest roles was as Jim Anderson, in "Father Knows Best" which ran on NBC radio1949 - 1953. Prior to that he acted on the CBS Studio One program, which ran 1947 - 1948 and "Passport for Adams which started back in 1944.