Radio stars (Dec 1938)

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For diversity of talents—aside from radio—and really expert versatility, meet Joan Blaine, heard on the Valiant Lady program. Joan has been in pictures, seen her name in lights on Broadway in the legitimate theatre, and before that had practiced law as head of a gold mine's legal department, doubling up with running a mine hospital as head nurse during an epidemic. Before that, Joan was an in- fant prodigy, a school superintendent and a concert platform singer and harpist. And she worked with entire success at all of those before she went into radio—which she did in order to stay at her father's bedside before he died. By the time he had passed away she was so busy and so enthralled by radio she forgot all about the five-year movie contract she had been offered, and carried on in radio. Before Curtis Arnall began as a radio actor in 1932 he appeared on the stage. But Arnall's work was not always in the- atre or radio. Back in Omaha, Nebraska, Curtis Arnall was known not as the hero of Pepper Young's Family, but as a prom- ising young stockbroker It was while working with the Omaha brokerage firm that he became interested in a local Little Theatre group, and every night forgot stocks and bonds for make-up and foot- lights. But that was only for fun ; it didn't pay anything. It was two years later that he finally abandoned the brokerage busi- ness to go to Honolulu with Mabel Talia- ferro's repertory company. When he re- turned to the States the die was cast: he was an actor, and has been ever since. orators or elocutionists. Don Wilson, who as a salesman. While exploiting his vari- ous lines—drugs, oil, gasoline and coal— Wilson got together with a couple of other fellows and formed a harmony trio. It was so successful that they gave up their jobs and went on a tour of the West. An ad- vertiser who heard them in San Francisco put them on the air for a year, and for the next year Wilson and one of his pals put on programs in Los Angeles. Then he took a job as announcer at KFI. But equally, in fact even more round- about was Special Events announcer George Hicks' road to the microphone. When he was a kid, George didn't know what he wanted to do but, being willing to try anything, he started with jobs as a day laborer. Brought up in the lumber country, he worked in sawmills, door fac- tories, logging camps and ship-yards. He's been a truck driver, a ditch digger, a hard- 'ware store clerk and haberdashery sales- man. But Hides' career was not yet rounded out. He was once a hand in a pickle factory, went north to Alaska and south to Panama; got a job on a freighter as a sailor and drove a car across the American continent. Hicks acquired his schooling the same way; he's gone to the College of Puget Sound in Tacoma, U. of Washington, and Corcoran Art School— none for more than a year. Ready to en- roll in a school for consular service, George saw an ad for a radio announcer and answered it along with two hundred other applicants. He was terrible—but the oth- ers were worse so he got the job, in Sep- tember, 1928. By November, 1929, he had become an excellent announcer, and NBC took him to New York. The field of sports, also, has produced several radio personalities. Ford Rush, star of Mutual's Wheatena show, came to radio from the baseball diamond. Starting as a sand-lotter, Rush was ordered to come south to Bradentown, training headquarters for the St. Louis Cardinals, where, the then manager, Miller Huggins, looked him over. If Rush had had a better pitching arm he'd be one of the Cards now; instead, when Huggins turned him down, he got out his guitar and tried working as an entertainer, winding up in radio instead of the pitcher's box. Sam Baiter, Mutual sports commentator, was a former Olympic basketball star, and still referees games in Los Angeles. Another far cry was the jump Harry Einstein took from a job as advertising director for a chain of seventeen stores into the stupid, funny stooge known as Parkyakarkus. "Parky" came by his Greek dialect in his youth. His father was an importer, dealing with many Greeks, and young Harry used to mimic the dialects he heard just for laughs. He never thought of utilizing this talent through school, where he distinguished himself at football, debating and dramatics as well as landing the honor of class orator. His first job was an ad solicitor on the Boston American. In 1932, Joe Rines, the orchestra leader and Harry's friend, persuaded him to do a Greek comedy bit on Rines' program. The sponsor was so delighted that he signed Harry to a twenty-six-week con- tract, and Einstein was both ad man and comedian. He became a New England sensation, and in '34 met Eddie Cantor while in New York for a week-end. Cantor needed a dialect stooge, signed Harry and thereafter he worked at his job all week, then commuted to New York week-ends for the Cantor program. Finally he was offered the chance to become Cantor's associate full-time, and after debating with himself a while he gave up his job to be- come Parkyakarkus; a name, incidentally, which originated through his habit of say- ing to office visitors: "Sit down and park your carcass," and which he has patented. Bill Bacher, CBS director of the Texaco show, came into radio through an unpaid