Radio stars (Dec 1938)

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RADIO STARS dentist bill. Bill was Dr. William Bacher, D.D.S., L.L.D.. M.A., B.A., and a practicing dentist in Bayonne. X. J. In liis spare time he studied law and took that degree It was in 1932 that a patient, who was unable to pay his bill, gave Dr. P.acher a couple of tickets to a broadcast. Bill, who had never seen a broadcast, ac- cepted and attended the show with a friend who was in the advertising business. He didn't like the show, so he wrote a let- ter to the directors outlining his criticisms which were so valid that he was invited to come in to see them. In the course of conversation it was discovered that Bill Bacher not only could criticise but also could make constructive suggestions. He was offered a job at a figure that made him accept and close up his dental office, to become one of the leading directors in radio. Oh, they come from all parts of the country, all walks of life, the great of radio. Take Johnny, who calls for Philip Morris. Five years ago Johnny Roven- tini was a page boy in the Xew Yorker Hotel. A man came in. sat down and asked him to page a friend. For five min- utes Johnny wandered around calling at the top of his voice. When he returned after failing to find his man he was told that he had passed an audition for a radio job: the man in the easy chair was a radio agency man. You all know the genial Major Bowes as entrepreneur of the Amateur Hour; some of you may know him also as direc- tor of the Capitol Theatre. But before busying himself with radio, Major Bowes was—and still is—a highly successful real estate operator, dealing mainly in the- atrical properties. The Easy Aces. too. or at least Good- man Ace. came to radio indirectly. Ace was a newspaperman for many years as re- porter on the Kansas City Journal-Post, then dramatic critic and column conductor. In 1928 he broadcast a radio edition of his column, calling himself The Movie Man. It was a year later that he started the Easy Aces over a Kansas City station with his new wife of one year playing op- posite him. Ace had been wooing Jane since they were kids at school. Easy Aces was an immediate hit, and they've been on the major networks almost continuously ever since. Gertrude Berg is a refutation of the be- lief that radio writers and actors need a stage background. Mrs. Berg came to radio with only one thing behind her: she had been a housewife and mother. True, she had been trying her hand at writing ever since childhood. She would study the characters around the family's summer hotel in the Catskills. and write skits which she presented at the entertainment evenings. But when she finally placed The Goldbergs with a radio station she was so ignorant of radio that she didn't know what it meant when she was told the program would go on "sustaining." Xot long afterward, a sponsor took up the show—and the rest you know. Bob Burns had a checkered career be- fore radio. Though he has played half a dozen musical instruments since child- hood and was first cornetist in the Van Buren City Queens Silver Cornet Band, he worked for a living selling hay, piloting a river ferry, raising peanuts and playing, along with his brother, in honky-tonks. He wound up selling advertising in Chicago, when the War came. Bob served in France with the Marines and back in the States organized an orchestra and con- ducted it in night spots in Xew York. He invested the money he had saved in a car- nival concession wheel game and cleaned up $8,000 in a month and a half. After eight years in carnivals he came to Holly- wood and picked up a few parts in pictures, but nothing really important happened un- til he went to Xew York determined to get on the Vallee program . . . and the rest is history. But there's one big radio star who is ab- solutely unique in his pre-radio career. 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