Radio Programs beginning with "R"
"Believe it... or... not!"
The Red Skelton Show
Stars: Red Skelton, Rod O'Connor, Harriet Hilliard (Nelson), Verna
Felton, Ozzie Nelson, others
Sponsor: Avalon cigarettes (program was called Avalon Time),
Raleigh cigarettes, Norge, others
Network: NBC (Red), CBS
Aired: 1939-1944; 1947-1950 (break for military service)
Type of Show: Variety (musical comedy)
NB: The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet was created on account
of Red's miltary service. Ozzie Nelson was originally the
orchestra leader on Red's show; the idea was taken from Phil Harris
on The Jack Benny Program for him to be a part of the action.
(Phil didn't actually lead that group though: The leader was Mahlon
Merrick. Ozzie Nelson was a professional saxophonist and band
leader going all the way back to the 1920s. He was the first to make
a hit of the song, "Dream a Little Dream of Me," which would also
be a hit for Cass Elliot almost thirty years later.)
Richard Diamond, Private Detective
Star: Dick Powell
Sponsor: Sustaining (none), Rexall, Camel Cigarettes
Network: NBC, ABC
Type of Show: Detective Drama (PI)
NB: Would later be a TV show starring David Jansen.
The Right to Happiness
Sponsor: Crisco shortening, Ivory soap
Network: NBC (Blue), CBS, NBC
Type of Show: Soap Opera
NB: One of the many soaps produced and sponsored by Procter
What happened on the show when Bob Ripley didn't like you!
Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Star: Robert Ripley
Sponsor: Colonial Oil, Esso Oil, Fleischmann's Yeast, Post Bran
Flakes, Jell-O, Royal Crown Cola, Pall Mall Cigarettes, Bourjois, others
Network: NBC (Red), NBC (Blue), CBS, Mutual, ABC (all of them!)
Type of Show: Variety
NB: This wasn't the exploitation program we usually expect with
such a program. It was a well rounded variety program. Of course,
Mr. Ripley was always there to offer some new facts to know, complete with
sounds and pictures (for the guests in studio!) An
interesting trivial fact is that Royal Crown Cola was Ripley's sponsor
from 9/40-12/40. The show was produced in New York City where RC
Cola wouldn't be available for a few years after that. So the announcer
would tell all the wonderful things about this drink and no one in the
audience could buy it unless they too a long trip south!
Here's something interesting--Where you could
use your Esso Gasoline Credit Card over 60 years ago:
The California Company was a Pennsylavania based company
with no outlets anywhere near the Golden State
Rudy Vallee helps costar Alice Faye before going on
Rudy Vallee (aka "The Fleischmann Hour," "The Sunshine Hour,"
"The Royal Gelatin Hour," "Vallee Varieties")
Star: Rudy Vallee (and hundreds of other folks!)
Sponsor: Fleischmann's Yeast, Royal Gelatin, Sealtest Dairies,
Drene Shampoo, Philip Morris Cigarettes, Kraft Foods, others
Network: NBC (Red), Mutual, CBS
Type of Show: Variety (Musical/Comedy)
NB: Vallee introduced such entertainers as Joe Penner,
Faye, Red Skelton, Ozzie Nelson, Harriet Hilliard,
and Jack Pearl to radio. Always cocky on the air, Vallee
was one of the most helpful and resourceful entertainers in show business.
He was best known in the 1920s as the leader of a band called the Continental
Yankees, which he also played the clarinet and saxophone. His
theme song was, "I'm a Vagabond Lover." The program was off
the air briefly during World War Two while he served as an officer in the
States Coast Guard. The Coast Guard is still proud to consider
Prior Vallee one of their alumni as he is listed on their website.
Updated November 23, 2001
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