Radio stars (May 1933)

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RADIO STARS How SHERLOCK HOLMES got on the air Edith Meiser is the name of the woman who does the Sherlock Holmes sketch. An amazing person J Culver Service By CAROLINE SOMERS HOYT things that go wrong, and plenty of things have gone wrong. She laughs at the vanity of the world and the men and women in it. THE office boy said, "That lady's here again, sir." "That lady" had been there a lot of times during the past year. She had an idea, it seemed. The advertising agency chief re- membered vaguely that it had something to do with some dead-and-forgotten detective. . . . Sherlock Holmes, wasn't it? She had an idea that a Sherlock Holmes series on the air would interest a lot of people. "Nothing doing—now or ever," he told the office boy. And the office boy went back to the lady with the brutal message. Edith Meiser heard that depressing story for about a year. Edith Meiser, who doesn't remind you of crime or criminals nearly so much as of a Park Avenue drawing room or the society box at Belmont Park, wasn't dis- couraged. Some day, she knew, she would find an ex- ecutive who would agree with her. Until that day, it was her destiny to pound the pavements in search of him. Of course, she found him. For years now, Sherlock Holmes has been one of the radio's outstanding char- acters. And the amazing thing to me is that he, the virile, brainy, vigorous he-sleuth of the air, is the creation of a woman. That's she in the picture above—with Richard Gordon who plays Sherlock Holmes. I want to tell you more about her. I think she has a spark that most of us lack—and need so badly in times like these when the cupboard is the next thing to bare. One gift—it is largely responsible for her success—is that of humor. She laughs delightedly at her own faults and her own petty pretensions. She laughs at the HER husband, who is Thomas H. McKnight, is part of the firm of McKnight and Jordon, a company given to pro- ducing a goodly part of the entertainments that come to your parlors. Edith is a part of that company. One- third, actually. "We're all vice-presidents," she says. "Like generals in the Mexican army." The way she got into this broadcasting business is . . . but let's start at the beginning. Detroit. Michigan. Edith Meiser was a debutante with practical notions. That was Mr. Meiser's idea. His daughter, he said, should know how to earn her own living. Even though he took her abroad to Dresden and Geneva where she got part of her education, she was far from a lily-fingered hot-house flower. At Vassar in 1921, she was a veritable tornado. Doing all the things that mattered. And many that didn't. President of this, leader of that. Mostly, dramatics ab- sorbed her time. And rehearsals for the Vassar show. Jessie Bonstelle, whose famous stock company has started more stars on the road to roses than any one agency in America, came to visit Vassar. The energy and ambition and talent of the dynamic Meiser girl captured her imagination. When she left, she took with her Edith Meiser's promise to play in Jessie Bonstellc s troupe. So—the secret bursts out—Edith was an actress. And a pretty dumed good one. (Continued on pageSS) 25