WGN, Chicago, Cubs discussed on Patti Vasquez
Hall of Famer Chuck shade about the ninety fifth anniversary of WGN radio and it storied history. So WGN we were talking about the nineteen thirties. They were part of a network at the time called the mutual broadcasting system. It was the only network that did not have any owned and operated stations. It was a programming service kind of network, and they were formed by WGN Chicago. W O R in New York. It was also w l w in Cincinnati and XYZ in Detroit, and all of those stations join together to really form, what was called mutual broadcasting system and the each of the stations to some degree provided programming. They'll pitched in. Yeah. Yeah. For original programming that was heard prior the prior to their organization together. But also, and after that would be heard locally, and then it would be heard on the national scale more or less and those stations constituted, a gigantic part of the coverage because they're all powerful stations. And so the mutual broadcasting system continued for many, many years, it was finally, it dwindled down to just a news and sports service, kind of network. And but at the time in the nineteen thirties. Because in competition with CBS and NBC there was no television. This was your source for entertainment. Yeah. Oh, that's right. That's right. And, and they did all these original programs from the stations that had more or less. Part of the audience, some programming that they had was was basically well, like a bulldog Drummond radio program detective kind of show with not very well known actor portraying bulldog Drummond, with a little organ music, and sound effects guy, and never studio audience for anything like that. But it fill the time, and then the local stations would sell into those programs as well. But there were a number of major programs heard the mutual network that really boomed out across the country and became very, very famous shadow is probably one of the biggest who knows what he will lurk in the hearts of men have Shanteau, and that was on the air for ten or fifteen ten or fifteen years. And it was when you think about that these radio shows were on for very long periods of time anymore. Kids and you talk today. Everything is what primetime demographic and all of this stuff. This shadow was on so. In Chicago at four thirty in the afternoon on Sunday. Now, you think Sunday, the afternoon, there's not wouldn't who would be listening, but it was five thirty in the east and the, you know, it was a great Phil. And it was you, you heard had heard at one time. Orson Welles as Lamont Cranston wealthy, young man about town who went to the orient and learn the powers to cloud men's minds. And Agnes Moorehead was his companion, the lovely Margot lane as they as they always said and Orson, you might know this orbison had difficulty saying the shadow knows. And he didn't like to do that. He didn't want to do it. So they had used the voice a recording of an earlier actor who preceded Orson came up. Yeah. And they use that layoff because Orson while he didn't want to do it. He was busy, and he was he was playing the shadow even at the time around the time he was scaring, the dickens out of the country with his war of the worlds broadcast. Now, you mentioned Sunday afternoons different back, then you had an early dinner and after dinner, maybe one two three o'clock. And then by that time you were kind of settled in and ready to listen to some radio. Well, that's it. And, and, and you would, you know, some people were real radio families than they listen to all day long on the weekends and all into the evening, but and, and sometimes they were visiting people used to a lot of relative visiting to one another, and you may not have been to listen to every show and every every station every time, but they were so dependable the programs, especially. These mutual programs. They were there year in and year out. You can always depend on. They didn't do a lot of juggling around with the with the timetables. They didn't put this program over here. They weren't word you know what the what the biggest rating acknowledgement was. It was so much, what, what the Hoover rating had for the station. But it was how many products sponsor soul. You know, some of those afternoon kids shows you had Jack Armstrong, for example, Tom mix, and all those other shows, if they were moving the product off the grocery shelves sponsors. That's the rating, I want matter what the agency would say, well, you've got this kind of an on it. Yeah. Yeah. I know that's fine. But I want I want the boxes to move off the shelves. That's why they used to get the premiums secret. Decoders whistles all those highly collectible, and you get you see those things going to sales would be going up and sponsors, would be happy agencies would be happy. And that's where that went. Now in ranger used to be part of this as well. And that went over to NBC blue and then the adventures of superman was picked up through WR. That's right. Well, now those shows were the, the shadow was originating in, in w are in New York, and the lone ranger originated at W XYZ in Detroit. And that was so, so big that was starting in thirty three in. It was picked up as as mutual became an entity. And, and then that was followed or added to the success of the lone ranger who wrote on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. The green hornet game in there and sped with his black beauty automobile with his scientific his his Japanese valid Cato Cato was Japanese until December seven th and then he became a Filipino. Valid is. Well, sure. Because. Attack. And then later on sergeant Preston and the challenge of the Yukon came in there to take care of Saturday's. And so or one other day during the week if there was one opening these shows these adventure shows lone ranger superman were they written for kids? Or was it really written for everybody? The most of the shows were written for an audience that could be there listening to it. Together. Okay. And family audiences dads, and boys. Love the lone ranger. Sure absolutely. But fathers and sons listen to dramatic programs as well. And with the mothers, everybody was together. If you had you had to radios in your home was consul in the living room with a flickering green, I and the other was a small radio that said upon the top of your refrigerator in the kitchen. So and mom was in the kitchen listening to some of the soap operas WGN on every room of the house at some point. Well, it didn't come the radio was on in the two places that was stereo while your kitchen. No one in the while you're walking through the house and missing that one of the longest mutual shows that aired on WGN was the return of Nick Carter. And Nick Carter master detective. That's right. Yeah. They've there'd be knock at the door, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, may, what is, what is it? This is a case for Nick Carter. We used to laugh case a coke or a case of beer. But, but that was those were very low budget programs. But they were but they were very effective. And it gave good programming to these independent stations, who independently would not want to have big cast of actors all the time will, you know, suspense, which was on CBS head-on famous actors, but they that on mutual. There was the mysterious traveler, which was kind of like a twilight zone and series. Yeah, it was it was a traveller was aboard a train, and he would be telling the story and you do the train chugging along. And he was he he was not identified as, as with any name character name. But he was the mysterious traveler, MAURICE Tarpley was the actor who played the mysterious traveler, and then there was quiz shows, too. So there was twenty questions which ran on the air and then quiet, please, now, now, that is a little bit more. It's a horror like a horror genre. Quiet. Please was a little like lights out not quite as violent as inner sanctum, but a little more subtle, like like the lights. Oh, but that was very good show. And it was on the mutual network that came out of Chicago. That was that was come out of Chicago. You know and, and all there's so many so many things that came out of WGN in Chicago. But it came out of our studios, right? Yeah. Which were in the Tribune tower and time right now and that was that show quite please on a very short period of time. But there's some very, there's episodes that are very highly regarded. Oh, yeah. In the classic radio days. So w radios legends radio hall of Famer Jack brickhouse began his career WGN radio all the way back in nineteen forty Chuck, yet, he started in when he was only eighteen years old in Peoria on a radio station called w m b that was back in nineteen thirty four and then WGN hired him in nineteen forty two broadcast cubs and White Sox games. Now, some gene carried both the cubs and white over there. And they were they were introduced brick house. By their by WGN's top announcer at the time. Bob elson. I just can't believe that Jack was not only, you know, obviously one of the first big sports guys WGN radio. But he was the first face to be seen on WGN television. Well, he was a long lived guy here on Santa line and GM. That's, that's for sure he was in the marines during World War Two, and he missed the nineteen forty five season, but the and that was the only time in his long career as a cubs announcer, and the cubs would win the National League pennant at that time his only pennant as a broadcaster would belong to the White Sox, fifty nine but then either the cubs nor the White Sox won the World Series in forty five or fifty nine Jack brickhouse covered many other events. He always considered himself as an announcer rather than a sports announcer. He said he told me that he would he would rather be known as an announcer, because he did so many different things. I mean he he announced radio programs. He announced dramatic programs. He announced band remotes, and he did all of that, sort. Thing he did other sporting events to. I mean he did some professional wrestling. I guess that must've been television. I don't imagine the Hans and Fritz tabulated tag team match on on radio with Chicago Bears football WGN radio. Forget that it was the nineteen twenty through seventy I believe that the, the bears played and Wrigley field Irv cups in from the daily news. A daily news. The sometimes yeah. Was was his cO list on the whole Kobe commentators, I guess, and that and Jack recaps would say something and, and couplets debts..