Radio stars (Oct 1938)

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RADIO STARS POU T LOOK MOW. BUT YOU'RE IN TOR A TREAT! | A/ Want to enjoy the w smoothest, tastiest gum you ever tucked in your mouth? The clean, fresh, breezy flavor of real mountain tea? • Easy! Step up to the counter, lay down a nickel—and reach for Clark's Teaberry! <f<m'U like CLARK'S Teaberry GrlJM WE, THE PEOPLE, Are Never the Same BY CHARLES MORAN Gabriel Heatter brings people from all over the country to tell their stories, reveal their problems and heartaches. HOW many times have you tuned in your radio of a certain evening, and sat back with a sigh of pleasure and anticipa- tion as Gabriel Heatter's voice announced: "We, The People, speak"? And through the ensuing half hour, how many times have you smiled, how many times have you surreptitiously wiped away a tear, how many times have you nodded your head in sympathy or understanding while We, The People, have spoken? "I am a widow from Kansas," has come to you in a Middle-Western twang. "I am a farmer from New England," has come in firm, confident accents. "I am an aver- age boy," has trembled over the air. "I am from South Carolina," has come in a slow, mountaineer drawl. "I am a champion husband-caller," a clarion call through the mike. "I am a man with a borrowed eye," has reached your ears, and "I am a Hot- tentot!" has made you turn startled eyes to your loudspeaker! We, The People, have spoken. You reach over and switch off your radio to think about the program, or turn it to another station for some other favorite program. But have you ever stopped to wonder, later, what happens to these men and women who talk to you on the We, The People show, once they have left the studio in New York and gone back to their various homes? These people from all over the country, who tell their stories, reveal their problems and heartaches over the air, are for the most part people in humble circumstances —people who don't get into the news of the day, whose lives unfold in a quiet routine, their problems and perplexities unguessed by their fellow townsfolk. Then they write to Gabriel Heatter, asking for advice and help, and for one brief moment they be- come part of a great drama, played over the air to a multitude of listeners! What does this sudden floodlight of pub- licity do to them? Are their circumstances dramatically changed by the results of the broadcast? Do they return to their homes wrapped in an aura of fame, to become im- portant to their neighbors and friends, or do they become, once more, the forgotten man or woman? Following up some of these people, we come upon strange and surprising cir- cumstances—things that make you marvel, and tremble a little, at the far-reaching, uncanny power of the radio voice. For, once We, The People, have spoken, they never again are quite the same! It might really be said that, for most of them, life begins after they have spoken. And what do they think of Gabriel Heatter, the man who brings them from their far-off homes and elevates them to such dizzy pinnacles of fame thereafter? To the younger generation, he is Aladdin himself, with his magic lamp. One rub, and lo! life takes on a magic glow that, no matter how it may dim with the years, never will be entirely forgotten. And to the older men and women, who have en- dured a lifetime of hardship and suffering— and who find themselves suddenly sur- rounded with the things they have always longed for most—he is nothing short of a Miracle Man. To begin with, let us take the most aver- age boy Gabriel Heatter could find, who came to New York to speak for himself over the air on this novel program (which its director calls "air entertainment in reverse" because it is provided by the listener as well as for the listener). This average boy was James W. Patter- son. He was sixteen years old, five feet, five inches tall. He weighed one hundred and iorty pounds; his eyes were of in- determinate hue; his hair was brownish; his studies were neither good nor bad; he was neither a tough guy nor a sissy; he was not too popular, not too unpopular. He was average. He was brought to New York for an appearance on We, The People, and Jimmy is average no longer. His popularity taxes his time and studies. In Newtown, North Carolina, where he lives, Jimmy is no longer just another boy. He is the boy who was taken to New York, a character with an adventurous ex- perience to recount, the recipient of more luncheon and dinner invitations than he can fill! He is now a celebrity, sought after for public appearances! As far apart as the problems of youth •and age, were the stories of Jimmy and