Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Martha Brooks

Martha Brooks began her career as as actress under her real name, Irma Lemke Forman. She was born before radio, in 1908 and became a household name at WGY-AM in Schenectady, NY.
She started with television first with the Jenkins Television Company in Jersey City. It was a company founded by Charles Francis Jenkins one of televisions early pioneers. In 1925 he demonstrated the synchronized transmission of pictures and sound. That same year he was granted U.S. patent No. 1,544,156.

In 1928, the Jenkins Television Corporation began broadcasting on W3XK the very first TV station. They also operated W2CXR in New jersey. It was based at the Jenkins Labs in Washington and moved to Wheaton, Maryland in 1929. There she was the first television programming producer. Jenkins sold retail TVs as kits, the RK-1 model debuted in 1931. But it was not to last. In March 1932, Jenkins Television Corporation was liquidated, and its assets were acquired by Lee DeForest who promptly declared bankruptcy and sold out to RCA. More here.

Brooks began voice acting at WGY radio in 1931. She expanded into writing and with "The Mister and the Misses" she acted as writer, director and performer. She also did the series "The FBI in Action," which ran from 1945 to 1955. She hosted a consumer affairs program called "Market Basket." In 1937 WGY launched the morning radio talk show, "The Martha Brooks Show." In 1945 she tried to TV again hosting similar programs at WGY-TV and WRGB-TV. She retired from broadcasting 1971.


  1. i remember her radio show. her catch phrase was...good morning all my parents once rented her camp on galaway lake.

  2. Jenkins briefly had THREE tv stations - W3XK in Wheaton, W2XCR in New York, and W2XCD at Passaic, where Jenkins and DeForest shared lab facilities.

    AIUI, RCA bought out Jenkins to gain C.F. Jenkins' mechanical tv patents, which would have been a fallback technology if RCA's electronic system hadn't come to fruition.

  3. The mechanical TV patents were not really impressive.. he had hundreds of them so there was probably something valuable in there... but the RCA solutions were more practical.