Friday, December 28, 2012
The Prudential Family Hour
As you might imagine, the variety part of the program wasn't slapstick and redneck jokes. They aired carefully scripted sketches on the lives of composers like Beethoven and Schubert. Prudential Insurance hadn't done much in radio prior to the Family Hour. It sponsored the short-lived Jack Berch Show, and possibly a soap opera in the 1930s. I've not confirmed that yet.
You probably have never heard of Gladys Swarthout. Born in 1900, she studied at the Bush Conservatory of Music in Chicago and started out at the Chicago Civic Opera Company. She debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in 1929. In the 1930s she began appearing in films. She guested on many radio programs including "What's My Line?," "The Railroad Hour,""Firestone Theater," "Palmolive Beauty Box Theater," "Camel Caravan", "Ford Symphony" and many others. More here.