MONDAY in Broadcast History .. Jan. 26th


ON THIS DAY in 1899

writer/producer Willis Cooper was born in Pekin Illinois. He was the creator of NBC Radio’s scary series “Lights Out.” Besides writing, producing and directing, he hosted the show from its start in 1934 to 1936, when Arch Oboler succeeded him. He also was creator/writer/producer of “Quiet, Please!” on Mutual (1947-1948 ) and ABC Radio (1948-1949), and producer/narrator of the early TV series Volume One.  He died June 29 1955 at age 56.

On this day in 1905, character actor Charles Lane was born in San Francisco. Among his many mean spirited roles, Lane is perhaps most widely remembered for his portrayal of J. Homer Bedloe on the TV series Petticoat Junction. He also had recurring appearances on The Lucy Show, Dennis the Menace, Beverly Hillbillies & Soap.  He was still working (on a TV movie) in 1995 at age 90.  He was thought to be the oldest American actor when he passed July 9 2007 at age 102.

On this day in 1907, bandleader Eddie Ballantine was born in Chicago. He was musical director of the Don McNeill Breakfast Club on NBC Blue/ABC Radio for almost thirty years.  When that program ended in 1968 he became a stock market reporter for a Chicago TV station.  He died Nov. 14 1995 at age 88.

On this day in 1908, pioneering jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli was born in Paris.

With gypsy guitarist Django Rheinhardt he formed the Hot Club of France jazz quintet. He continued staging concerts around the world well into his 80’s. He died Dec 1 1997 at age 89, after a hernia operation.

On this day in 1912, puppeteer Cora Baird was born in New York City. With husband Bil she formed the most popular children’s puppet team in early TV, The Baird Marionettes.  She died Dec 7, 1967 at age 55.

On this day in 1913, actor William Prince was born in smalltown New York.  Although he was involved in many live dramas in early TV, his biggest impact was from hundreds of appearances in TV soaps Young Dr. Malone, Another World, The Edge of Night, Search for Tomorrow and A World Apart. He died Oct 8, 1996 at age 83.

Also this day in 1913, Oscar-winning composer Jimmy Van Heusen was born Edward Chester Babcock in Syracuse NY. He wrote the music to over 75 songs for Frank Sinatra with lyricists Johnny Burke and Sammy Cahn, including My Kind of Town & The Second Time Around. He died Feb 7, 1990 at age 77.

On this day in 1915,  actor William Hopper was born in New York City.  The son of actress-turned-gossip columnist Hedda Hopper is best remembered for his long-running TV role as Perry Mason’s private investigator Paul Drake. He died of pneumonia March 6 1970 at age 55.

On this day in 1922, pianist Page Cavanaugh was born in Cherokee Kansas. He formed & led his own trio from 1943-1960, which was featured on NBC Radio’s Jack Paar Show in 1947.  They worked as backup to Mel Torme recordings, and also were featured repeatedly on CBS Radio’s Songs by Sinatra.  He died of kidney failure Dec. 19, 2008 at age 86.

On this day in 1925, actor Paul Newman was born in Shaker Heights Ohio.  He starred in TV at both ends of his remarkable Hollywood career, notably on the live Playhouse 90, Producer’s Showcase, US Steel Hour and Philco Playhouse of the 1950’s, and in the HBO production Empire Falls in 2005. He succumbed to cancer Sept. 26 2008 at age 83.

On this day in 1926, the medium of television was first demonstrated, in London by John L Baird.

On this day in 1934, the Apollo Theatre in Harlem presented its first live stage show, featuring Benny Carter and his Big Band.

On this day in 1946, film critic Gene Siskel (below) was born Eugene Kal in Chicago. He & Roger Ebert formed the pre-eminent TV movie reviewing team, first on PBS, and then syndicated as Siskel & Ebert At the Movies.  He died after brain surgery Feb 20, 1999 at age 53.

On this day in 1947, “The Greatest Story Ever Told” was first heard on ABC radio. It was the first radio program to dare to portray the voice of Jesus Christ.

On this day in 1953, Les Baxter and his Orchestra recorded their future #2 pop single, the instrumental “April In Portugal.”

On this day in 1956, Buddy Holly had his first of three recording sessions that year for Decca Records and producer, Owen formed the group, The Three Tunes (changed later to The Crickets), Bradley, in Nashville. Nothing much came out of those sessions. He and went on to find fame and fortune when he hooked up with producer Norman Petty in New Mexico. Holly died in a plane crash near Mason City Iowa, February 3, 1959 (“the day the music died”). He was only 22. Holly was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

On this day in 1958, singer & radio star Jack Smith took over from actor/broadcaster Art Baker as host of one of TV’s most popular shows, “You Asked for It,” which Baker had created 7 years earlier.

Also in 1958, Buddy Holly and the Crickets were in New York to record “Rave On,” their 5th single to make Billboard’s Hot 100.  That evening they appeared for the second time on CBS-TV’s “The Ed Sullivan Show,” where they performed “Oh Boy.”

On this day in 1959, the drama series “Alcoa Presents” debuted on ABC-TV. The show would later be renamed “One Step Beyond”.

On this day in 1961, Elvis Presley‘s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” jumped to #1 on the pop charts.

On this day in 1962, country singer Claude King recorded his lone million seller “Wolverton Mountain” in Nashville. It topped the Billboard country chart for 9 weeks and became a huge crossover pop hit single, peaking at #6.

On this day in 1963,  “Walk Right In” by the Rooftop Singers topped the charts and stayed there for 2 weeks.

Also in 1963, VeeJay records released The 4 Seasons‘ “Walk Like A Man,” their third straight hit.  It was #1 on Billboard just five weeks later.

On this day in 1966, The Animals’ Eric Burdon sang lead vocals for Manfred Mann at a London concert.

On this day in 1969, The Beatles recorded “The Long And Winding Road.” AndRingo Starr wrote “Octopus’s Garden.”

Also this day in 1969, CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Show featured Tommy James and the Shondells performing “Crimson & Clover” & “Mony, Mony.”  Other musical guests were Shirley Bassey and (believe it or not) actor George Hamilton.  And John Byner helped supply the laughs.

On this day in 1970, commissioner Pete Rozelle of the NFL announced that the three major TV networks, NBC, CBS and ABC, had agreed to pay a total of $124,000,000 over four years to televise the National Football League games. CBS carried the NFC games and NBC had the AFC. ABC came in with an idea to broadcast a thing called “Monday Night Football”. Few thought it would go over well, but the broadcast soon made believers out of millions of fans.

Also this day in 1970, John Lennon took just three takes to record “Instant Karma (We All Shine On)” which he had written earlier in the day.  Phil Spector finished production that evening and the single was released just ten days later.

Still in 1970, the No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit was “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5.

On this day in 1973, actor & movie star Edward G Robinson died of bladder cancer at age 79.   Rising to stardom in Warner Bros. movies of the 30’s, his most important broadcast credit was the lead role of crusading newspaperman Steve Wilson in CBS radio’s “Big Town” for 5 years beginning in 1937.

On this day in 1974, the Global Television Network began operations as a six-transmitter regional service covering southern Ontario. 

Also in 1974, “You’re Sixteen” by Ringo Starr topped the charts but only for a week.

On this day in 1975, the BBC showed a documentary on David Bowie called “Cracked Actor.”

On this day in 1977, guitarist Peter Green, formerly of Fleetwood Mac, was committed to a mental hospital in England, after he waved a gun at a delivery boy who was bringing him a royalty check.

On this day in 1979, “The Dukes of Hazzard” made their first appearance in CBS’s vast wasteland. The hour-long family-friendly mix of action and comedy continued weekly through 146 episodes ending in 1985.

Also in 1979, Bob Dylan formed Accomplice Records, his own label.

On this day in 1980, 21-year-old Prince made his TV debut on Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand,” performing his #1 R&B hit “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” and “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?”

On this day in 1984, CBS television was brave enough to bring back the sexist, violent, wisecracking Mike Hammer. Mickey Spillane’s extremely violent novels were equally as violent on TV. But this time, all the murder, extortion, kidnapping and robbery cases were solved by the handsome Stacy Keach (below).

The TV movie “More Than Murder” was followed two nights later by the start of the weekly series.

Also this day in 1984, Michael Jackson was hospitalized with scalp burns after a spark ignited his hair during filming of a Pepsi TV commercial.

On this day in 1986, in Super Bowl XX (at New Orleans): Chicago Bears 46, New England Patriots 10.  Nielsen TV ratings indicated that exactly 50 percent of the U.S. population watched at least some part of the game, making it, at the time, the most watched TV program in history.

On this day in 1991, the song “The First Time” by Surface topped the charts and stayed there for 2 weeks.

On this day in 1992, actor Jose Ferrer died of colon cancer at age 80.  Best known for his Oscar-winning performance as Cyrano de Bergerac,(which he also played on Broadway,) he had only a handful of TV credits on his resume, including a recurring role on the sitcom Newhart, and starring in two mini-series, “{George Washington” & “The French Atlantic Affair.”

On this day in 1994, “Babylon 5” began airing on the US cable channel TNT.

On this day in 1995, Joni Mitchell (below) made a rare concert appearance at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum theater in Los Angeles. Highlighting material from her new album “Turbulent Indigo,” the show was broadcast by more than 150 radio stations across North America. 

On this day in 1997, ZZ Top, James Brown and the Blues Brothers performed during the half-time show at Super Bowl XXXI in New Orleans.

On this day in 1998, President Clinton used TV to indignantly proclaim his innocence. “I want to say one thing to the American people, I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.”  And if you believe that, I have a bridge ………

Also this day in 1998, blues drummer S.P. Leary died at the age of 67 of complications from cancer. During his half-century-long career, the Texas-born musician supported such performers as T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, Magic Sam, Lowell Fulson, Otis Spann, and James Cotton.

On this day in 1999, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that singer John Denver died in a 1997 plane crash because he took off with insufficient fuel in one tank; that he had difficulty switching to his backup tank, and had accidentally put the plane into a roll while his attention was elsewhere.

On this day in 2001, CHEK TV Victoria began broadcasting some “Global” network  programming, beginning with the Super Bowl Game and the new Survivor series.  This was in anticipation of its move to the GLOBAL network on Sept. 1.

On this day in 2003, Jimmy Kimmel Live! made its debut on ABC-TV, in the post-midnight spot formerly occupied by Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect.”

On this day in 2004, Victoria radio stations C-FAX & CHBE FM (KOOL FM) were sold by Mel Cooper to CHUM Radio for $7.5 million.  CRTC approval came on September 3, and ownership was transferred on October 1.

On this day in 2005, it was announced that drummer Ryan Vikedal had left Nickleback after six years. Vikedal said the Vancouver-based group had fired him in favor of Daniel Adair. 

On this day in 2006, Edmonton-born narrator and voice actor Len Carlson died after a heart attack at age 68.  Len was the voice of Kraft (in Canada) for years; he was also the real Jolly Green Giant, and spoke for Canadian Tire and Kellogg’s, among many other commercials. 

On this day in 2007, Michael Jackson returned to his California ranch after living overseas in self-imposed exile. He fled the country in 2005 after being acquitted in a high-profile child molestation case.

Also in 2007, former disc jockey/recording artist/songwriter and promoter Tommy Donaldson, who as Tommy Dee recorded his tribute to Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper (The Three Stars), died at age 73.

Still in 2007, The Rolling Stones topped the US music rich list for the second year running after making $151 million in 2006. Tim McGraw and Faith Hillwere second in the poll with a combined fortune of $132 million, and American country band Rascal Flatts appeared third, having earned $111 million in the past year.

On this day in 2008, Alicia Keys was at No.1 on the Billboard album chart with her third album ‘As I Am.’ The album sold over 742,000 copies in its first week, the largest ever first week sales for any female R&B artist.

On this day in 2010, country music’s Lady Antebellum released their second album “Need You Now,” named after their second straight #! hit.

We lost a pair of notable vocalists this day in 2011. R&B singer Gladys Horton, lead singer with the Marvelettes, suffered a fatal stroke at age 66. And the surviving member of country’s Louvin Brothers, Charlie Louvin lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at age 83.

Also this day in 2011, Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil pleaded guilty to a Las Vegas drunk driving charge from the previous summer and was sentenced to fifteen days in jail.

On this day in 2012, actor Robert Hegyes, best remembered as “Epstein” in the 1970’s sitcom “Welcome Back Kotter,” suffered a fatal heart attack at age 60.

Also in 2012, onetime Miami disc jockey Bob Green, who married pop singer (and Florida citrus spokesperson) Anita Bryant, then followed her into anti-gay activism, was found dead at his Miami Beach home at age 80.  The activism ultimately destroyed their careers — and marriage in 1980.

On this day in 2013, Adam Levine of Maroon 5 made his hosting debut on Saturday Night Live. He is also a coach on NBC’s singing completion, The Voice.

On this day in 2014,  at the 56th annual Grammy Awards in L.A. Paul McCartney nabbed five Grammy trophies, including Best Rock Song for “Cut Me Some Slack,” his collaboration with the surviving members of Nirvana.


Today’s Birthdays: 

Actress Anne Jeffreys (Topper, Love That Jill, Port Charles) is 92.

Actress Joan Leslie (Charley Hannah, Turn Back the Clock) is 90.

Pianist/songwriter Huey “Piano” Smith is 81.

Milwaukee baseball announcer-actor Bob Uecker (Mr. Belvedere) is 80.

Actor Scott Glenn (Monk, Naked City: Killer Chistmas, Naked City: Justice With a Bullet) is 74.

Singer Jean Knight is 72.

Drummer Corky Laing of Mountain is 67.

Actor David Strathairn (Sopranos, Big Apple, Days & Nights of Molly Dodd) is 66.

Singer Lucinda Williams is 62.

Guitarist Eddie Van Halen is 60.

Percussionist Norman Hassan of UB40 is 57.

Actress/comedian/TV host Ellen DeGeneres is 57.

Guitarist Andrew Ridgeley (Wham!) is 52.

Singer Jazzie B. of Soul II Soul is 52.

Spokane-born actor Paul Johansson (One Tree Hill, Lonesome Dove) is 51.

Actor Bryan Callen (Mad TV, Fat Actress) is 48.

Actress Tracy Middendorf (Scream, Boardwalk Empire) is 45.

Gospel singer Kirk Franklin is 45.

Actor Dorian Gregory (Charmed, Baywatch Nights) is 44.

Actress Jennifer Crystal Foley (House, Once & Again) is 42.

Drummer Chris Hesse of Hoobastank is 41.

Actor Gilles Marini (Switched at Birth, Dancing With the Stars) is 39.

Actress Kelly Stables (The Exes, W.I.T.C.H.) is 37.

Actress Sarah Rue (Less Than Perfect, Popular, Rules of Engagement) is 36.

Actor Colin O’Donoghue (Once Upon a Time) is 34.

Country guitarist Michael Martin of Marshall Dyllon is 32.

Actor Edwin Hodge (Chicago Fire, Jack & Bobby, Boston Public) is 30.

Actor Christopher Massey (Zoey 101) is 25.

Seattle-born actress Cassidy Lehrman  (Entourage) is 23.  

Victoria-born actor Cameron Bright (Motive) is 22.


Chart Toppers – Jan. 26

For Sentimental Reasons – Nat King Cole
A Gal in Calico – Johnny Mercer
Oh, But I Do – Margaret Whiting
Rainbow at Midnight – Ernest Tubb

Memories are Made of This – Dean Martin
The Great Pretender – The Platters
Moritat (A Theme from ‘The Three Penny Opera’) – Dick Hyman
Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford

Downtown – Petula Clark
You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’ – The Righteous Brothers
The Name Game – Shirley Ellis
You’re the Only World I Know – Sonny James

You’re Sixteen – Ringo Starr
The Way We Were – Barbra Streisand
Love’s Theme – Love Unlimited Orchestra
I Love – Tom T. Hall

Down Under – Men at Work
Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye
Africa – Toto
(Lost His Love) On Our Last Date – Emmylou Harris

All 4 Love – Color Me Badd
Can’t Let Go – Mariah Carey
Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me – George Michael/Elton John
Sticks and Stones – Tracy Lawrence

It Wasn’t Me – Shaggy featuring Ricardo ‘Rikrok’ Ducent
He Loves U Not – Dream
Don’t Tell Me – Madonna
Born to Fly – Sara Evans

TiK ToK – Ke$ha
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z + Alicia Keys
Consider Me Gone – Reba McEntire


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