Radio stars (Oct 1938)

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MAY EXPECT T+*IS FAIL old, to be on the air during the current season they take charge of a Saturday evening varietv program of their own. One star comedy act a year has been Vallee's annual output. So far there are no signs of what it will be (or whether) this winter. Kate Smith has tried to experiment along Vallee lines with new comedians in her Thursday evening variety show the past couple of seasons. To date, the trials have been productive of no new stars, though her Henny Youngman bobs up in the schedules as a guest star now and then. The comedy leaders are changing no details of their program styles and most of them are staying on with their old sponsors. Jack Benny. Charlie McCarthy, Fred Allen, Fibber McGee and Bob Burns remain in their old spots. Burns and Allen move to a new sponsor, with their salary boosted to $12,000 per week. Joe Penner also has a new boss and salary increase this year. As this is written, Phil Baker's fall plans still are in the negotiation stage. A comedian of his long service is not likely to be allowed out of the lists long, however. A run through the list, day by day, emphasizes the stagnancy that development of programs has slid into. In almost all details, each evening's schedule is the same this fall as it was last spring. Charlie McCarthy and Jack Benny again are the anchor men of Sunday evenings. Tyrone Power, Manhattan Mcrry-Go-Round, Frank Munn's show and the Ford Symphony return, too. Eddie Cantor's standing in the popularity surveys declined sharply when he moved to an early Monday evening hour last spring, but he will try again in the same spot this fall. Eddie feels that his great popularity with children makes it important for him to get his program on the air before bedtime. In most homes, the children choose the programs to be tuned in around that time of day. The odd part of all that attention to children, however, is the product Eddie is adver tising— Camel Cigarettes. The other principal Monday program will be the Lux Radio Theatre, again broadcast from Hollywood with filmdom's great ones as guest stars each week. Its policy remains unchanged. Radio versions of recent movies and Broadway plays of the past few seasons will be used as material. Tentatively, write Al Pearce's Gang into your Monday evening plans. Al signed with last season's Burns and Allen sponsors and, likely as not. will step right into the half hour they filled all last fall. Richard Crooks, Pick and Pat and the Contented Hour are the other principal Monday evening items. A surprise entry in the Tuesday evening popularity race last season was Edward G. Robinson's drama series, Big Town. It started inconspicuously but quickly zoomed up among the most popular dramatic programs on the air. Robinson's crisp, decisive style of acting was extremely effective, compensating for the uneven quality of the air dramas written for him. The rise of the Robinson program also carried Al Jolson to higher popularity levels than he had been accustomed to in recent seasons. A year ago. Jolson was frank in speaking his dissatisfaction about having Martha Raye and Parkyakarkus as co-stars on his program. He felt their crude styles of comedy would not please his own followers. His program came immediately after Robinson's and on the same network. In addition to his own regular following, the Jolson show had most of Robinson's Telephone surveys among listeners showed the Jolson audience had increased some thirty percent (Cont. on page 66) (9) Fibber McGee and Molly. (10) Walter Winchell. (II) Lowell Thomas. (12) Bob Hope. (13) Rudy Vallee. (14) Lum and Abner. (15) Eddie Cantor. (16) Mary Livingstone and Jack Benny. 31