Thursday in Broadcast History .. December 1st


ON THIS DAY in 1898

Australian actor Cyril Ritchard was born in Sydney.  He became a star on Broadway in the role of Capt Hook in 1954’s Peter Pan, for which he receieved a Tony.   He recreated the role on TV in 1960, after recurring roles in early live TV’s Producers Showcase, the Goodyear TV Playhouse, and Hallmark Hall of Fame. Ritchard died Dec 18 1977 after a heart attack a month earlier, while touring in a Broadway road company.

Mary Martin

On this day in 1913,  actress Mary Martin, perhaps best known today as the mother of the late Larry Hagman, was born in Weatherford Texas.  She had great success on the Broadway stage, less so in film or TV.  But she did star in three TV productions of Peter Pan (1955, 1956 & 1960)  She was also featured in Annie Get Your Gun & Skin of Our Teeth, and recreated her South Pacific role as Nellie Forbush on a General Foods 25th Anniversary special.  Martin died of cancer November 3 1990 at age 76.

Johnny Johnston

On this day in 1915, singer/host Johnny Johnston was born in St Louis.  He appeared on the NBC Home show, Masquerade Party, and the Ken Murray Show.  He hosted Make that Spare and twice subbed for Ed Sullivan as MC on Toast of the Town.   He died Jan 6 1996 at age 80.

On this day in 1917, actor William Tracy was born in Pittsburgh.  The highlight of his film career was playing the lead in 1950’s Terry & the Pirates.  Ironically his memorable TV assignment was the part of Hotshot Charlie in the Terry & the Pirates series.  He died June 18 1967 at age 49.

On this day in 1921, actor Ralph Manza was born in San Francisco. In more than 40 years of TV supporting parts, he had recurring roles in the TV series Banacek, Barney Miller, Get Smart & Perry Mason. He died Jan 31 2000 at age 79, after a heart attack.


On this day in 1925, actor David Doyle (pictured, right) was born in Omaha. With his distinctive raspy voice his most memorable TV part was as Bosley in Charlie’s Angels.  He also had recurring roles in the series Bridget Loves Bernie, TaleSpin & General Hospital.  Doyle died Feb 26 1997 after a heart attack.  He was 81.

On this day in 1929, entertainer Dick Shawn was born in Buffalo. The one-of-a-kind talent was at his best in nightclubs, but won recurring parts in the unmemorable series Mary, Hail to the Chief, Mr. & Mrs. Dracula, and Slapstick Studios.  He died at age 63, having suffered a fatal heart attack on a San Diego stage.

On this day in 1930, soap opera actress Emily McLaughlin was born in White Plains NY.  Beginning in 1963 she played nurse Jessie Brewer on ABC’s General Hospital for more than 25 years. She succumbed to cancer at age 62 April 26 1991, and her passing was written into the show.

On this day in 1931, Gene Autry began his long association with radio by singing on WLS Chicago for $35 a week. He ended up stashing away millions as a multi-station owner.

Lou Rawls

On this day in 1933, singer Lou Rawls was born in Chicago.  He produced more than 70 albums, sold more than 40 million records, appeared as an actor in motion pictures and on television, and voiced-over many cartoons. His biggest single: “Youll Never Find Another Love Like Mine.”  Rawls had running parts in the TV series Hey Arnold & Baywatch Nights. He died from brain & lung cancer January 6, 2006 at age 72.

On this day in 1940, bandleader Glenn Miller got a call from ASCAP (American Society of Composers and Publishers). He was informed that he couldn’t use his ”Moonlight Serenade’ as his band’s theme song. He had to use “Slumber Song” instead for a period of time, because of an ASCAP ban.

Also this day in 1940,  comedian  Richard Pryor was born in Peoria Illinois.  He made a lot of movies, but also appeared frequently on TV on NBC’s Tonight Show, The Flip Wilson Show, Sanford & Son, Pryor’s Place & The Richard Pryer Show.  He died at 65 Dec. 10 2005 after a heart attack.

On this day in 1944, Vancouver’s CKWX AM 980 became the first station in Western Canada to join a U.S. network, the Mutual-Don Lee Broadcasting System.  This was a consolation prize after the station had first been signed to the CBC Dominion Network, then for political reasons lost the affiliation to CJOR.

Also on this day in 1944, in New York Duke Ellington and his ‘Famous Orchestra’ recorded a future Top Ten single, ‘I’m Beginning to See the Light’ for RCA Victor. Joya Sherill sang the vocal.

On this day in 1945, Burl Ives made his concert debut at New York’s Town Hall. We lovingly listen every year for the voice of this old-time personality as the narrator and banjo-pickin’ snowman in TV’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Abbott and Costello

On this day in 1952, the “Abbott and Costello Show” debuted in US TV syndication.  52 episodes were filmed over two seasons, with straightman and co-star Bud Abbott a paid employee of show owner Lou Costello. Jerry Seinfeld credits the funny situations at the core of this series as inspiring his own iconic sitcom.

On this day in 1956, CHEK TV Victoria signed on as B.C.’s first independently owned TV station.  It was Victoria’s CBC TV affiliate until 1981. Channel 6 signed on at 5 pm and had a special opening night broadcast from 6:30-7 pm.  In Sept. 1963, it would start broadcasting a mix of CBC and CTV offerings, after Frank Griffiths purchased CHEK from founder Dave Armstrong.

On this day in 1957, Buddy Holly & the Crickets performed “That’ll Be the Day” on CBS-TV’s “Ed Sullivan Show.” On the same program, Sam Cooke sang “You Send Me,” as both acts made their national TV debuts on Sullivan’s popular Sunday variety show.

On this day in 1958, the song “To Know Him Is to Love Him” by Teddy Bears topped the charts and stayed there for 3 weeks. The title of the Phil Spector song came from words on his father’s tombstone.

Also in 1958, singer Ricky Nelson was featured on the cover of LIFE magazine, becoming the first rock and roll act so honored.

Still in 1958, singer/songwriter Neil Sedaka signed to record with RCA Victor. His first single, ‘The Diary’ would soon make the Top 15.

On this day in 1960, Paul McCartney and Pete Best were deported from West Germany on suspicion of arson after their hotel room mysteriously caught fire.

Also this day in 1960, teen idol Bobby Darin married actress Sandra Dee.(pictured, right)

Still in 1961, one of the most successful daytime TV variety shows began a 20-year run in US syndication. ‘The Mike Douglas Show’ originated first from Cleveland, then moved in 1965 to Philadelphia, and in 1978 to Los Angeles. The host had been a big band singer with the Kay Kyser Orchestra.

On this day in 1962, a nightmare for CBC -TV Sports.  The Grey Cup game in Toronto was halted by fog, which made it impossible for TV viewers to follow the play. The game had to be completed the next day (Winnipeg 28, Hamilton 27.)

The Who 

On this day in 1964, The Who played the first of 22 consecutive Tuesday night gigs at The Marquee Club in London. The band was paid £50 (less than $100) for each gig.

Also in 1964, Buck Owens was in the Capitol Records studios in Hollywood to record his compositions “Cryin’ Time,” later a hit for Ray Charles, and “I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail,” which would spend five weeks atop Billboard’s country chart and become one of Owens’ signature songs.

The Rolling Stones 

On this day in 1965, during their first North American tour The Rolling Stones appeared at the PNE Auditorium in Vancouver.                                                                                         On this day in 1966, Tom Jones was at No.1 on the UK singles chart with his version of ‘Green Green Grass Of Home.’ It stayed at No.1 for seven weeks giving British Decca records its first million selling single by a UK artist.

Also in 1966, the LP “Cass, John, Michelle and Denny” by The Mamas and the Papas received Gold Record certification.

On this day in 1967 at 5 pm, CBUF FM 97.7 signed on in Vancouver and became the first French-language station in B.C.

Janis Joplin

On this day in 1968, before heading out as a solo performer, rocker Janis Joplin appeared for a final time with Big Brother & the Holding Company, at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco.

Also this day in 1968, British balladeer Englebert Humperdinck sang “Les Bicyclettes De Belsize” on CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Show. And Tiny Tim did ‘Great Balls of Fire.’  Comedy was supplied by Jack Carter and Scoey Mitchell.

Still this day in 1968, Pirate Radio Modern (259) (otherwise known as Radio Caroline South) began broadcasting from a vessel off the coast of England.

On this day in 1969, the Bee Gees’ Barry Gibb announced that he was “fed up, miserable and completely disillusioned” and was going out on his own. His brother Robin had already made that decision. All three brothers released solo recordings before reuniting as a group a year later.

On this day in 1971, John & Yoko released “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” in the US.

On this day in 1972, Martha & the Vandellas were in Detroit for their farewell performance.

Also in 1972, Wings released “Hi, Hi, Hi.” The BBC banned the song because they assumed that “We’re gonna get hi, hi, hi,” was a reference to drugs.

On this day in 1973, the song “Top of the World” by the Carpenters topped the charts and stayed there for 2 weeks.  It was their second US #1 single.

On this day in 1975, newspaper columnist/lyricist Nick Kenny died at age 80.  He had an early radio talent show, a 15-minute NBC-TV show, (1951-52) and he left us with a number of “square” pop hits, including Love Letters in the Sand, Gone Fishin’, Goldmine in the Sky, and Make Believe Island.

Also this day in 1975, “The Edge of Night” became the first serial in television history to switch networks, from CBS to ABC.

Still this day in 1975, on her 30th birthday, actress/singer Bette Midler underwent emergency surgery to remove her appendix.

On this day in 1976, the Sex Pistols used the “F-word” on the British TV Today Show, which got them branded as “rotten punks” & banned in several British cities.

On this day in 1977, during a tour of North America Queen appeared at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

On this day in 1978, the 100th episode of “The Rockford Files” aired on NBC.

On this day in 1980, the Inuit Broadcasting Corp. opened its new northern Canada TV network, with five broadcast studios, telecasting in Inuktitut to the eastern Arctic.

On this day in 1983, Neil Young was sued by Geffen Records because his new music for the label was “not commercial in nature and musically uncharacteristic of his previous albums.”

On this day in 1985, the “American Bandstand 33-and-a-third Anniversary Special” aired on A-B-C television in the U-S. “Bandstand” began as a local show in Philadelphia in 1952. Dick Clark became the host in 1956, and the program began its network run on A-B-C the following year.

Horace Heidt 

On this day in 1986,  orchestra leader Horace Heidt (“and his Musical Knights”) died at age 85. Heidt used a variety of quiz and talent show formats to keep himself on network radio from 1932 to ’53. Titles include Ship of Joy, Answers by the Dancers, Anniversary Night with Horace Heidt, Pot of Gold, Tums Treasure Chest, & Horace Heidt’s Original Youth Opportunity Program.  The latter was also seen on TV as of 1950.  Later he had “The Swift Show Wagon with Horace Heidt and the American Way” on the tube in 1955.

Also this day in 1986, singer Lee Dorsey died at age 61 of complications from emphysema. He’s known for the hits “Ya-Ya” and “Working In The Coal Mine.”

On this day in 1988, NBC bid a record $401 million to capture the US rights to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

On this day in 1989, Sly Stone was sentenced to 55 days behind bars after admitting to driving under the influence of cocaine.

On this day in 1990,  the song “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston topped the pop charts. It was her 8th US No.1 and the first for writers and producers Reid and Babyface.

On this day in 1991, British-born actor Byron Webster died of AIDS at age 58.  He was seen in dozens of TV shows, including recurring roles in Soap and Captains & the Kings.

Also this day in 1991, a fight broke out between the road crews of several rap acts and as many as two dozen police at the Emerald City nightclub in East St. Louis, Ill. Newspapers report that the fight started when someone assaulted a roadie for the group Naughty by Nature with a beer bottle.

On this day in 1993, the famous Vancouver recording studio Little Mountain Sound closed, 20 years to the day after it opened. Top producers Bob Rock and Bruce Fairbairn worked out of Little Mountain, attracting bands like Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi and Metallica.

On this day in 1994, the Game Show Network was launched on US cable TV.

Also in 1994, rapper Tupac Shakur was convicted of sexually abusing a woman in a hotel room. Shakur was also recovering from gunshot wounds suffered the day earlier after he was robbed outside a studio in New York.

On this day in 1995, Vancouver’s CKBD AM 600 played the longest Christmas music marathon in B.C. radio history (up to that point) until Dec. 26 8 pm.  This would continue in 1996 and in 1997.

Also this day in 1995, an auction of some of Frank Sinatra‘s possessions earned him a little over two million dollars.

On this day in 1996, songwriter Irving Gordon, who gave us the hits ‘Unforgettable’, ‘Allentown Jail’ and ‘Mister & Mississippi,’ among others, lost his battle with cancer at age 81.

Stephane Grappelli

On this day in 1997, jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli died in a Paris clinic after a hernia operation at age 89. Grappelli is often cited among the virtuosi on his instrument in his genre.

Also this day in 1997, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, founded in 1886, formally changed its name to CBS Corporation, until it was acquired by Viacom.

Still on this date in 1997, Celine Dion sang for the Queen and Prince Philip at the 69th annual Royal Variety Performance in London. Also on the bill for the fundraising concert — the Spice Girls, Michael Bolton, Enya and the cast of the musical Chicago.

Kenny G 

Again on this date in 1997, Kenny G   held an E-flat note for 45 minutes and 47 seconds on his soprano saxophone. (The record later was broken by Geovanny Escalante, who held a note for 1 hour, 30 minutes and 45 seconds, using a technique that allows him to blow and breathe at the same time).

On this day in 1999, Jay-Z stabbed Lance Rivera at a party at Manhattan’s Kit Kat Klub.  21 months later Jay-Z pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to three years probation.

Also this day in 1999, an estimated crowd of over 250,000 people brave freezing temperatures to see the 67th annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, featuring performances by ‘N Sync, Britney Spears, Enrique Iglesias, and Rosemary Clooney.

On this day in 2002, Shania Twain started a five week run at No.1 on the Billboard album chart with ‘Up!’

Tom Brokaw

On this day in 2004,  NBC newsman Tom Brokaw made his final appearance after more than two decades as anchor of “NBC Nightly News”.  He had begun his long run on the broadcast in April 1982.

On this day in 2005, actor Jack Colvin who played reporter Jack McGhee on the 70’s TV series The Incredible Hulk, died following a stroke at age 71.

Also in 2005, the White Stripes became the first musical group to perform live on Jon Stewart’s ‘Daily Show’.

On this day in 2006, Paul McCartney admitted to seeing a psychiatrist to help him get through his divorce from second wife, Heather Mills.

On this day in 2008, actor Paul Benedict (The Jeffersons, The Guiding Light, The Addams Family) died at the age of 70.

Also this day in 2008, Wham‘s Last Christmas was the UK’s most played festive track of the last five years. The Performing Right Society put the 1984 hit at the top of their chart of seasonal songs, just ahead of Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas. The Pogues came third with Fairytale of New York, recorded with the late Kirsty MacColl and first released in 1987.

On this day in 2010, in recognition of World AIDS Day, Elton John was a guest editor for The Independent, a U.K. newspaper. “I’m pleased to get the chance to put the subject of AIDS at the top of the editorial agenda,” Elton said in a statement. Proceeds from the day’s circulation revenues were donated to the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

On this day in 2011, comedic actor Alan Sues (pictured, right), whose career peaked as a member of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In on NBC-TV (’68-’72), died at age 85.

Also this day in 2011, opening bids were taken online by Gotta Have Rock And Roll for a to-do list written by John Lennon for May 22nd (the year was not indicated). The list included letting the cable man into his New York apartment to fix his HBO and getting books back from friends.

On this day in 2012,  TV writer Reinhold Weege, who created NBC-TV’s Emmy-winning sitcom “Night Court,” after writing for both “Barney Miller” and “M*A*S*H,” died of so-called “natural causes” at age 62.

On this day in 2014,  The Killers introduced “Joel, The Lump of Cole,” their Jimmy Kimmel-assisted holiday single on Kimmel’s late night ABC-TV show. The track was the band’s ninth annual Christmas single for AIDS charity (RED).

On this day in 2015, former Stone Temple Pilots frontman, Scott Weiland, played what turned out to be his last concert at Toronto’s Adelaide Hall with his solo band The Wildabouts. The singer died two days later.

Ken Berry

On this day in 2018, Ken Berry, the amiable and musically-talented TV actor of the 1960s and ’70s who starred in ABC’s “F Troop,” CBS’ “Mama’s Family” and “Mayberry R.F.D.” on NBC, died at age 85.

Also in 2018, the world’s first 8K super high-def TV channel was launched by Japan’s NHK.

Today’s Birthdays

Actor-director Woody Allen is 87.

Drummer Sandy Nelson is 84.

Singer Dianne Lennon (The Lennon Sisters) is 83.

Country musician Casey Van Beek (The Tractors) is 80.

Television producer David Salzman (The Jenny Jones Show, Vibe) is 79.

Rock singer-musician Eric Bloom (Blue Oyster Cult) is 78.

Rock drummer John Densmore (The Doors) is 78.

Actress-singer Bette Midler is 77.

UK singer Gilbert O’Sullivan is 76.

Actress Elizabeth Bauer (Ironside, Lancer) is 75.

Actor Keith Thibodeaux, or Richard Keith (I Love Lucy, Andy Griffith Show) is 72.

Actor Treat Williams (Chicago Fire, Heartland, Brothers & Sisters, Everwood) is 71.

TV host Bob Goen (Entertainment Tonight, Daytime Wheel of Fortune) is 68.

Country singer Kim Richey is 66.

Actress Charlene Tilton (Dallas) is 64.

Model/actress Carol Alt {Piper, Amazon, Thunder in Paradise) is 62.

Actor Jeremy Northam (Miami Medical, The Tudors) is 61.

Actor Stan Albers (Loving, Another World, All My Children) is 60.

Keyboardist Sam Reid of Glass Tiger is 59.

Actress Katherine LaNasa (Longmire, Deception, Three Sisters, Satisfaction) is 56.

Actor Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel, Ringer, Lost, Suddenly Susan) is 55.

Actress Julie Condra (Santa Barbara)  is 52.

Actress Golden Brooks (Girlfriends, Hart of Dixie) is 52.

Actress-voicist-comedian Sarah Silverman (Bob’s Burgers, Sarah Silverman Program, Mr. Show with Bob & David, Sat. Night Live) is 52.

Actress Emily Mortimer (The Newsroom) is 51.

Actor Ron Melendez (Legacy, General Hospital) is 50.

Contemporary Christian singer Bart Millard of Mercy Me is 50.

Actor Lombardo Boyar (Bernie Mac Show, Murder in the First) is 49.

Actor Michael Maize (Mr. Robot, Power Rangers in Space) is 48.

Actor David Hornsby (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) is 46.

Singer Sarah Masen is 46.

Actor Michael Esper (The Family, Shade of Blue, Nurse Jackie, Do No Harm) is 46.

Actor Nate Torrence (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Mr. Sunshine, Motorcity) is 44.

Calgary-born actor Mark Ghanime (Helix, Soldiers of the Apocalypse) is 44.  

Rock musician Brad Delson (Linkin Park) is 44.

Singer Mat Kearney is 44.

Actress Angelique Bates (All That) is 42.

Drummer Mika Fineo of Filter is 41.

Actor Riz Ahmed (The Night Of) is 40.

Actress Ilfenesh Hadera (Godfather of Harlem, She’s Gotta Have It, Deception, Billions) is 37.

R&B singer/songwriter Janelle Monae is 37.

Actress Karissa Lee Staples (Necessary Roughness, What’s Up Warthogs!) is 35.

Actress Ashley Monique Clark (The Hughleys, Bernie Mac Show, Sunset Beach) is 35.

Actress Zoe Kravitz (Californication) is 34.

Singer Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots is 34.

Singer Nico Sereba of Nico and Vinz is 32.

Actress Savannah McReynolds (Beyond the Blackboard, The Wrong Woman, Justified) is 21.

Chart Toppers – Dec. 1st

It’s Been a Long, Long Time – The Harry James Orchestra (vocal: Kitty Kallen)
Till the End of Time – Perry Como
I’ll Buy that Dream – The Pied Pipers
Shame on You – Lawrence Welk Orchestra with Red Foley

I Need You Now – Eddie Fisher
Mr. Sandman – The Chordettes
Teach Me Tonight – The De Castro Sisters
More and More – Webb Pierce

I’m Leaving It Up to You – Dale & Grace
Dominique – The Singing Nun
Everybody – Tommy Roe
Love’s Gonna Live Here – Buck Owens

I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash
I’d Love You to Want Me – Lobo
I’ll Be Around – Spinners
She’s Too Good to Be True – Charley Pride

Physical – Olivia Newton-John
Waiting for a Girl Like You – Foreigner
Every Little Thing She Does is Magic – The Police
My Favorite Memory – Merle Haggard

I’m Your Baby Tonight – Whitney Houston
Because I Love You (The Postman Song) – Stevie B
From a Distance – Bette Midler
Come Next Monday – K.T. Oslin

(You Drive Me) Crazy – Britney Spears
Heartbreaker – Mariah Carey featuring Jay-Z
Waiting for Tonight – Jennifer Lopez
I Love You – Martina McBride

Hot N Cold – Katy Perry
Whatever You Like – T.I.
Live Your Life – T.I. featuring Rihanna
Love Story – Taylor Swift

Today in Broadcast History compiled by Ron Robinson


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