FRIDAY in Broadcast History .. Feb. 15th


ON THIS DAY in 1926 

 radio actress Mary Lee Robb was born in smalltown Illinois. She made her radio debut in 1947 on the “Lum and Abner” program, but it was a small part in a 1948 episode of NBC radio’s “The Great Gildersleeve” that led to her full-time role as Gildy’s niece Marjorie, which she played until 1954. She also appeared on “The Penny Singleton Radio Show,” “Father Knows Best,” “Burns and Allen” and others before retiring to raise her daughter and son.  She died of heart failure Aug. 26 2006 at age 80.

On this day in 1927, Harvey Korman was born in Chicago. He is best remembered for his broad slapstick comedy characterizations as the second banana on The Carol Burnett Show (1967-77), for which he was awarded Emmys in ’72 & ’74. He died May 29, 2007 at age 80, of complications from a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm he had suffered four months previously.

On this day in 1932, George Burns and his delightfully dipsy wife Gracie Allen debuted as regulars on “The Guy Lombardo Show” on CBS radio.  The couple was so popular that by Sept. 1934, they would have their own show “The Adventures of Gracie” on CBS.  Two years later it evolved into the “Burns & Allen Show.”  George and Gracie continued on radio for 14 more years before making the switch to TV. They were headliners on radio and TV combined for more than 30 years.

On this day in 1941, Duke Ellington and his orchestra recorded his signature song “Take the “A” Train” for the first time as a commercial single recording.  It had been waxed a month earlier for Standard Transcriptions, solely for radio play.

On this day in 1943, “My True Story” was heard for the first time on ABC radio. The daily program was presented in cooperation with “True Story” magazine, and continued on radio for nearly 19 years.

On this day in 1954, blues shouter Big Joe Turner recorded the original version of “Shake, Rattle & Roll” on the Atlantic label.  It is regarded as a pop music game changer, and helped turn Turner into a teenage favorite.

On this day in 1957, promoter Irving Feld began the cross-country tour of his “Greatest Show of 1957” in Pittsburgh. It featured Chuck Berry, Clyde McPhatter, Fats Domino, LaVern Baker, the Moonglows, Bill Doggett, andThe Five Satins. Many areas visited on the tour had never seen a rock ‘n’ roll show before.

Also in 1957, The Coasters recorded their future smash “Searchin'” in Los Angeles, with one of the composers Mike Stoller playing piano.

On this day in 1958, “The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show,” a musical variety half-hour, debuted on ABC-TV in the 7:30 time slot.  Connie Francis, Pat Boone, Johnnie Ray and Jerry Lee Lewis were among the first guest performers.

Also this day in 1958, Elvis Presley‘s five-song EP “Jailhouse Rock” hit #18 in the U.K. … and on the same day the Elvis single “Don’t” his #8 in the U.S.

On this day in 1961, singer Jackie Wilson suffered a stomach wound after a jealous girlfriend, Juanita Jones, caught him returning to his Manhattan apartment with another woman. Juanita’s gun went off as Wilson tried to disarm her.

Also in 1961, The Marcels recorded their doo-wop hit version of the standard “Blue Moon” at RCA Studios in New York.

On this day in 1962, at United Recording Studios in Hollywood, Ray Charles recorded his future #1 hit song, “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” and a track that peaked at #2, “You Don’t Know Me.”

On this day in 1964, comedian/actor Chris Farley was born in Madison Wisconsin.  He burst onto the world’s stage via Saturday Night Live, and starred in a large handful of successful comedic movies before dying of a drug overdose Dec 18, 1997 at age 33.

Also in 1964, The Beatles released the single “Eight Days a Week” but only in North America. Although it was a huge US hit, the group did not think highly of the song (John Lennon called it ‘lousy’) and they never performed it live.

Still in 1964, Sam Cooke announced a major reduction in his touring schedule, in order to concentrate on the day-to-day activities of his two new record labels, Sar and Derby. Ten months later he was fatally shot by a motel’s night manager.

On this day in 1966, The Beatles released the single “Nowhere Man” in North America. It was one of the first Beatles’ songs to be entirely unrelated to romance or love.

On this day in 1967, the first anti-bootlegging music laws were enacted.

Image result for chicago band members
Also in 1967, the band that eventually evolved into Chicago was formed by six students at Depaul University.

On this day in 1968, the Lennons and Harrisons arrived in India to study meditation with the Maharishi. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr arrived four days later. Ringo returned before the others comparing the experience to be like “a Butlins holiday camp” … very down-market.

Also in 1968, US blues harmonica player Little Walter died at age 37 from injuries incurred in a Chicago street fight. Little Walter had been the first harmonica player to amplify his instrument & giving it a distorted echoing sound.

On this day in 1969, a Florida hairdresser was arrested for fraudulently impersonating Aretha Franklin during a concert at a club in Fort Myers. Vickie Jones must have done a good job as Aretha since nobody asked for their money back.

Also in 1969, Sly and the Family Stone started a four week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘Everyday People’, their first No.1.

On this day in 1970, CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Show featured the New Supremes (without Diana Ross) singing “Up the  Ladder to the Roof,” while boxer Joe Frazier wearing a tuxedo, sang “Knock on Wood.”  Laughs were courtesy of comedians Robert Klein and Arte Johnson.

On this day in 1973, actor Wally Cox, who starred in TV’s Mister Peepers, and The Adventures Of Hiram Holliday, who was also a regular panellist on the original Hollywood Squares, suffered a fatal heart attack at age 48.

On this day in 1975, Linda Ronstadt went to No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘You’re No Good’, the singer’s only solo chart topper out of 12 other top 40 hits. Also this day Ronstadt went to No.1 on the US album chart with ‘Heart Like A Wheel.’

Also this day in 1975, Montreal-born singer Gino Vannelli became just the second white artist to appear on the 3-and-a-half year old syndicated TV show “Soul Train.”  He sang “People Gotta Move” & “Powerful People.”

On this day in 1976, singer Bette Midler had to bail seven members of her concert entourage out of jail in Buffalo NY, after they’d been arrested on cocaine and marijuana possession charges.

On this day in 1977, Sid Vicious replaced Glen Matlock as bassist when he joined the Sex Pistols, after Matlock was fired. Matlock rejoined the Pistols in the 90’s when the band reformed.

Also this day in 1977, the compilation album, “The Best Of George Harrison,” released without his input just as his contract with EMI expired, was certified to be a Gold Record.

On this day in 1981, guitarist Mike Bloomfield died of a drug overdose at age 37. A member of the Paul Butterfield band and Electric Flag, Mike also played on Bob Dylan’s album ‘Highway 61 Revisited.’

On this day in 1986, singer Whitney Houston reached the #1 spot on the music charts with the single, “How Will I Know.”  It replaced a song recorded by her first cousin, Dionne Warwick (“That’s What Friends are For”).

On this day in 1988, Def Leppard received threats and was forced to cancel a concert in El Paso, after singer Jo Elliot had referred to El Paso as ‘the place with all those greasy Mexicans’.

On this day in 1993, the U.S. District Court in Denver ruled that Michael Jackson did not steal the song “Dangerous” from songwriter Crystal Cartier.

Also this day in 1993, Little Richard expressed outrage after organizers wanted to give him his Lifetime Achievement Award during the non-televised part of the Grammy Award ceremonies.  As Richard put it, “It’s the crowning achievement of my career and they want to give it to me secretly.”

On this day in 1996, actor McLean Stevenson, who starred in TV’s M*A*S*H, Hello Larry, The Doris Day Show, The McLean Stevenson Show and The Tim Conway Comedy Hour, suffered a fatal heart attack at age 68.

That same day in 1996, a former young co-star on the TV series Lassie in the 1950’s, Tommy Rettig died after a heart attack at age 54.

Again, in 1996, CBC musical director Lucio Agostini died at age 82.  He emigrated to Toronto in 1943, and composed and conducted the music for CBC Radio’s Stage series and variety programs.  When TV arrived he provided the music for Front Page Challenge, the Juliette series, and many others well into the 1970’s.  

On this day in 2000, the Fox TV network aired Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire?, which drew huge ratings and also a great amount of notoriety.

On this day in 2002, former CBS Radio correspondent and ABC TV anchorman Howard K. Smith died of pneumonia at age 87.

 Also this day in 2002, CFBT-FM Vancouver (The Beat, later ‘Virgin Radio’) first began testing its transmitter, in preparation for the March 4th official startup.

On this day in 2004, actress Jan Miner died at age 86. Although much in demand for a wide variety of roles on bigtime radio and television, she is best remembered today for her iconic role as the manicurist Madge in a 27-year-long series of TV commercials for Palmolive dishwashing detergent.                                                                Image result for jan miner

Also in 2004, Kenny Chesney was at No.1 on the Billboard album chart with ‘When The Sun Comes Down,’ while Twista was atop the singles chart with ‘Slow Jamz.’  Twista was known for being the fastest rapper in the world.

On this day in 2006, U2’s ’05 mega-tour won the Major Tour of the Year honor, at the 17th annual Pollstar Concert Industry Awards in Las Vegas.

On this day in 2007, Oscar-winning Hollywood songwriter Ray Evans died at the age of 92. Evans enjoyed a career that spanned five decades with longtime partner Jay Livingston. Evans wrote the lyrics for three Oscar winning songs, in 1948 for Buttons and Bows, in 1950 for Mona Lisa, and in 1956 for Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be), sung by Doris Day.

Also in 2007, for his musical contributions, entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. was posthumously inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

On this day in 2008, a London flat once rented by the Beatles went up for sale for £1.75m (about $3 million). The band shared the three-bedroom top floor property in Mayfair in the autumn of 1963.

On this day in 2010, jazz accordionist Art Van Damme, who worked for NBC Radio & TV from 1945 to 1960, died of pneumonia at age 89.

On this day in 2011, Motley Crue frontman Vince Neil began serving a two week sentence following a DUI conviction in Las Vegas.

On this day in 2012, more than 1,000 people attended a Foo Fighters fundraising concert for President Obama’s re-election campaign at the home of soap opera writer/producer Bradley Bell in Holmby Hills, CA.

On this day in 2014, Detroit print and radio journalist and community activist Angelo Henderson, whose daily ‘Your Voice’ talk show on WCHB AM1200 was devoted to Detroit issues, died of surgical complications at age 51.

Also in 2014,  character actress Mary Grace Canfield, who played handywoman Ralph Monroe on the CBS sitcom ‘Green Acres’, succumbed to lung cancer at age 89.

On this day in 2015, The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special aired on NBC-TV, a three and a half hour prime-time special airing Sunday night, to celebrate Saturday Night Lives 40th year on the air.  The skit-filled special generated 23.1 million viewers, becoming NBC’s most-watched prime-time, non-sports, entertainment telecast (excluding Super Bowl lead-outs) since the Friends series finale in 2004.

On this day in 2016, actor George Gaynes, who is perhaps best remembered as the grouchy foster parent Henry Warnimont in the 1980’s NBC sitcom Punky Brewster, died at age 98. On the big screen he was prominent in the Animal House films.

Also in 2016, Denise MatthewsImage result for denise matthews the singer, model and actress known as Vanity, who (as his girlfriend) toured with Prince in the 1980s before eschewing her wild persona for life as a minister, died due to complications from breast cancer at age  57.

On this day in 2017, Stuart McLean, the popular host of CBC Radio’s The Vinyl Café and an award-winning humourist, died at age 68 after losing a 15-month battle with melanoma.

On this day in 2018, Marilyn Manson’s onstage meltdown at The Paramount in Huntington, NY, enraged fans causing them to vent on social media demanding refunds. The concert was a make-up date for a show that was cancelled after Manson broke his right leg (also while onstage).

Also in 2018, CBS Corp. reported that revenue rose 11% as it pulled in more money from pay-TV distributors, content licensing and its own direct-to-consumer streaming services.


Today’s Birthdays:

Actress Claire Bloom (Brideshead Revisited, Producers’ Showcase) is 88.

Motown songwriter Brian Holland is 78.

Actress Sherry Jackson (Make Room For Daddy) is 77.

Drummer Mick Avory of The Kinks is 75.

Actress Jane Seymour (Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, War & Remembrance) is 68.

Singer Melissa Manchester is 68.

Cartoonist Matt Groening (The Simpsons) is 65.

Actor Christopher McDonald (The Good Wife, Ballers, Boardwalk Empire, Harry’s Law) is 64.

Model/TV personality Janice Dickinson (America’s Next Top Model) is 64.

Singer Ali Campbell (UB40) is 60.

Actor Joseph R. Gannascoli (The Sopranos) is 60.

Bassist Mikey Craig of Culture Club is 59.

Actor Kurt McKinney (General Hospital, Guiding Light, As the World Turns) is 57.

Actress Renee Props (As the World Turns, Days of Our Lives) is 57.

Actor Steven Michael Quezada (Breaking Bad) is 56.

Actress Kim Meyers (10,000 Days, The Pretender, Key West) is 53.

Actress Cynthia Lamontagne (That 70’s Show) is 53.

Actor Mo Gallini (Chicago Fire) is 53.

Actor Michael Easton (One Life to Live) is 52.

Actress Kelley Menighan Hensley (As the World Turns) is 52.

Actress Megan Dodds (CSI: NY, MI-5) is 49.

Actress Renee O’Connor (Xena: Warrior Princess, Ark) is 48.

Actress/voicist Alex Borstein (Bordertown, Getting On, Family Guy, Shameless, Mad TV) is 48.

Actress Sarah Wynter (’24’) is 46.

TV personality Omarosa Manigault (Celebrity Big Brother, The Apprentice, The Surreal Life) is 45.

Singer Brandon Boyd of Incubus is 43.

Drummer Ronnie Vannucci of The Killers is 43.

Actress Suzi Lorraine (In Fear Of) is 31.

Vancouver-born actor Kaj-Erik Eriksen (The Commish, Beggars and Choosers, The 4400) is 40.

Actress/singer Ashley Tesoro {Bold & the Beautiful, Saved By The Bell) is 36.

Actor Josh Byrne (Step by Step) is 35.

Actress Amber Riley (Glee) is 33.

Actor Nick Eversman (Missing) is 33.

Actress Jessica De Gouw (Arrow) is 31.

Actress Tara Holt (Z Nation) is 31.

Actress Bonnie Dennison (Guiding Light, Third Watch) is 30.

Actress Greer Grammer (Awkward) is 27.

Actress Alex ter Avest (Eastbound & Down) is 26.

Actress Niki Koss (Famous in Love) is 25.

Actor/voicist Zachary Gordon (Bubble Guppies,Ni Hao, Kai-Lanis 21.

Actor Nicolas Bechtel  (Stuck in the Middle, General Hospital) is 14.


Chart Toppers – Feb. 15

Powder Your Face with Sunshine – Evelyn Knight
Far Away Places – Margaret Whiting
A Little Bird Told Me – Evelyn Knight
I Love You So Much It Hurts – Jimmy Wakely

Don’t/I Beg of You – Elvis Presley
Get a Job – The Silhouettes
Catch a Falling Star/Magic Moments – Perry Como
Ballad of a Teenage Queen – Johnny Cash

I’m a Believer – The Monkees
Georgy Girl – The Seekers
Kind of a Drag – The Buckinghams
Don’t Come Home a’Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind) – Loretta Lynn

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon
Love to Love You Baby – Donna Summer
You Sexy Thing – Hot Chocolate
The White Knight – Cledus Maggard & the Citizen’s Band

I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner
Careless Whisper – Wham! featuring George Michael
Loverboy – Billy Ocean
Ain’t She Somethin’ Else – Conway Twitty

The Power of Love – Celine Dion
Breathe Again – Toni Braxton
The Sign – Ace Of Base
I Swear – John Michael Montgomery

I’m With You – Avril Lavigne
Cry Me a River – Justin Timberlake
All I Have – Jennifer Lopez featuring LL Cool J
19 Somethin’ – Mark Wills


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