Radio stars (July 1933)

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RADIO STARS THEY stepped out of the elevator at the thirteenth floor into a scene of mad confusion. A hundred or more people crowded the small hallway. More persons streamed out of big doors marked "Studio. Visitors not allowed." The lx)y and girl did not know it hut they had arrived a moment after the hour—a time when re- hearsals were just ended or just beginning. Musicians, carrying everything from tiny flutes to cumbersome bass fiddles were rushing from one studio to another. A tall, heavy set man, his face as pink as a boy's, came out of a studio and was immediately surrounded by eager young men who thrust sheet music at him. He brushed them aside impatiently. Peggy looked twice at the man, then recognized him. He was B. A. Rolfe, the leader whose fast tempos had made him nationally famous. Later she and Pat were to know that the young men with sheet music were "song pluggers" —representatives of music publishers and their job was to per- suade the famous band leader to select their tunes for his next broadcast. Pat, shielding Peggy from the frantic crowd, shoved through to a desk where an attrac- tive girl seemed to be answering a telephone and three or four ques- tions at once. EVERYTIME the boy started to speak someone interrupted him with a question about a studio, about mail or about someone due at a rehearsal but missing. Graham Mc- Namee dashed up and wanted to know if the hostess had seen Ed Wynn. Eddie Cantor, his coat collar turned up and wearing dark glasses, wanted to know if anyone had seen Jimmy Wallington. Peggy's eyes opened wide when a tiny bit of a girl with blue wistful eyes and corn-colored hair answered a call from the hostess and picked up a telephone. The hostess had called "Miss Dragonette" and it was Jessica Dragonette. Peggy couldn't help hearing her speak when she answered the phone. Her voice was very low and very sweet. She almost sang when she spoke. Two minutes must have passed before Pat managed to ask his question. In that two minutes things became more quiet. The musicians had either disappeared through studio doors or had crowded into the elevators to grab coffee in the drug store on the main floor. The hourly shift from studio to studio was over for the time. "We'd like to see about an audition," Pat finally told the hostess. "Have you an audition scheduled?" the girl asked, pick- ing up a mimeographed sheet of studio assignments. "No," Pat admitted. "We just got in town at noon." The hostess looked at him with just a trace of pity. She had met so many youngsters seeking auditions. "Go down to the twelfth floor and speak to the hostess 12 there," she directed. "You'll probably have to fill out an application blank and wait some time for the audition." She didn't add that he might have to wait two or three weeks. Peggy and Pat took the stair down to the twelfth floor. Not quite as much confusion here though there were fifteen or twenty people sitting on narrow benches against the wall. They looked like actors to Pat—and they were. The twelfth floor of NBC is where radio actors lie in wait for radio casting directors and button- hole them as they pass through the hall en route to some rehearsal. Pat asked the hostess about an audition. Reaching into the drawer of her desk she produced two sheets of paper on which were printed dozens of questions. She handed the two sheets to the boy and girl. "Fill these out and I'll see if I can get some action for you," she said. She was a smiling, pleasant girl. Pat noticed a brass plate on her desk with her name on it: Doris Campbell. 'HE hostess had small There was no mistaking the massive building with the magic name en- graved over the brass-framed doors. Peggy and Pat, their hearts pounding, entered. Would they meet with success? ndicated two desks at the end of the hall and Peggy and Pat went there to fill out the application blanks. There were many ques- tions to answer. NBC, it seemed, wanted to know everything. In addition to information about past experience, education and musical training, knowledge of foreign languages seemed important. Pat smiled to himself at one question. "How much salary do you ex- pect?" it said. He wisely left that question un- answered and when Peggy whis- pered a question about it, told her not to answer it. "Wait until we get on the air —then we can talk about that," he said. Pat took the filled in sheets back to Miss Campbell. "How long will we have to wait ? "We haven't anything else important to do this after- noon," Pat continued. "We don't mind waiting!" The hostess looked at him in surprise. "This afternoon?" she exclaimed. "Why, why . . ." Then her voice became kinder. "You haven't been around here long, have you? Sometimes, if you get an audition at all, you have to wait two or three weeks. Or longer." Pat, being a man, didn't show his emotions in his face. But Miss Campbell saw the consternation in Peggy's face. Miss Campbell liked this fresh faced girl. She decided to try to help them. "Tell me something about yourselves," she said. Peggy told her almost everything. "I'll see what I can do," Miss Campbell said. Peggy and Pat sat down and waited. "Peg," said Pat suddenly. "There's only one way I know to save money now. Let's get married right away." But before Pat had a chance to hear Peggy's answer, Miss Campbell interrupted them. Peggy knew it must be about the audition. Were they going to get it? Don't fail to follow the career of these two lovable greenhorns in the next issue of Radio Stars.