Chuck Cecil, whose radio show “The Swingin’ Years” ran for decades, died on April 30th, he was 97. He attended high school with actresses Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, and attended Monroe’s 1942 wedding. That year also found him briefly in his first radio job before he was called up for the war, where he worked in a pilot training program.
When he got home he settled in Oregon and got back into radio as the announcer for “Baldy’s Band”, a popular orchestra. He married the group’s vocalist, Edna Brown, in 1947. From 52-73 he worked for Los Angeles station KFI. In the 70s and 80s, he worked at Los Angeles stations KGIL-AM and KPRZ. From the 60s to 80s he also hosted the “Big Band Countdown” on Armed Forces Radio spreading the gift of jazz to servicemen throughout the world.
Throughout all these changes he ran the show he is most known for. He launched “The Swinging Years” in 1956 while at KFI and only hung up his headset in 2016. The show became nationally syndicated in 1973 and was heard on hundreds of stations at its peak.
Recently, “The Swingin’ Years” has been produced at Cecil’s home utilizing “a massive library of more than 30,000 78-, 45- and 33-rpm records, and his own personal library of interviews with 356 band leaders, singers and sidemen…”. Still in terrestrial syndication until the end, the show discovered a new loyal following through internet streaming.
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