Radio stars (July 1933)

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RADIO STARS Grand Slam in Hearts Jane did. So she and Goodman ran away one rainy day five years ago and were married. Those first three months were beauti- ful and hectic and awful. They ran up bills for $2,000, furnishing a chummy apartment. They threw parties and en- tertained friends and visiting theatrical celebrities. And then, Goodman was fired. Out of a job. with debts hanging over his head, with a brand new wife to keep comfortable and happy. Good- man looked about. He found nothing, nothing, nothing. All day long, be searched. Those nights were bitter times, for then he had to come back to Jane and tell her that he had got no new work. For Jane, though, they were the peaks of her busy days. For her. they were an opportunity to prove that -he was the sort of wife and help- mate she should be. Soothing, encour- aging. Aspiring, she helped Goodman back on his feet after each'discouraging day. Six weeks passed.. The first dav of the seventh. Ace was reinstated on his old paper at a raise in salarv. That was the turn of the tide. Their apartment in the fashionable Rellerive Hotel in Kansas City became a scene of industry. Ace had always l>een a hard worker. He turned to talk- ing over the radio. He wrote skits. He wrote stories and articles. Tt mat- tered little enough to him or to Jane (Continued from page 25) that theirs was the only Ford among all the straight eights and twin sixes in the Bellerive garage. They knew in- stinctively, I think, that they were on their way up. AAAYBE you heard his first radio pro- gram. Station KMBC put it on the air under the title, "Where's a Good Show ?" It was really a radio guide to local motion picture showings. Always Jane went to the studio and waited pa- tiently outside the glass partition. One night, as she waited, she saw Ace jump suddenly from his chair and run to the door. Why? What was it all about? He opened the door, grabbed her hand, and dragged her into the studio. "Ladies and gentlemen," he sang into the mike. "I want you to meet my new roommate." That was Jane's first audition, her first time on the air. Goodman had run short of material and her homey chat- ter filled out the fifteen minutes. Not until many months later, how- ever, did the "Easy Aces" idea arrive. While both of the Aces were ardent followers of the game of bridge, they didn't take it too seriously. They chose as fellow players others with the same views. The result was bridge games that sparkled with better wise cracks than squeeze plays and finesses. One night. Ace suggested: "I'd like to put this bridge game on the air." "You wouldn't need a radio station." Jane retorted. "Just open the window and the whole town could hear." "But we need the radio," said Ace. "The way you play, we'd need a net- work and a five-thousand-dollar salary. In two years, we would be almost even." And the very next day, Goodman Ace wrote the first episode of "Easy Aces." When fie went out to peddle it to a sponsor, he was offered $20.00 a week. THE rest is an old story. The program grew in popularity, one sponsor suc- ceeded another, the price went higher and higher. He went to Chicago with it and tried it out locally over WGN. Lavoris sponsors visualized a national audience for the program and put it over the Columbia network. The con- tract that Goodman and Jane signed was for four years. In radio history, there has been only one longer contract, the five-year agreement under which Amos 'n' Andy are working. In the preparation of their scripts, Goodman is the writer and Jane the audience. Always, he tries eacb episode on her before it hits the air. Each gag is put on parade for her reaction. If she says, "Oh, it will do," the gag is thrown out. If she laughs, it stays in. It's a job this Goodman Ace has cut out for himself, isn't it? Trying to sell Lavoris, trying to entertain an au- dience that spreads from coast to coast . . . and trying to make his wife laugh. What About the Kids? only the first two are at all popular with the children. So what? QBVIOUSLY, it is the age old prob- lem of conflict between mother and child. Kids inevitably want one thing and parents, with the best intentions in the world, attempt to steer them toward other things. Which is right and which is wrong? No national board of re- view can guide us, nor should it. We must depend upon our own good taste and good judgment. Of all the women in the United States equipped by education and train- ing to give an opinion upon this knotty question, none is perhaps more fitted than Sidonie Matsner Gruenberg. Mrs. Gruenberg's life has been devoted to child study. She is director of the Child Study Association of America. As chairman of the Parent Education Committee of the National Advisory Council of Radio in Education, she has made special studies of children and parents in relation to radio. Probably, you have heard her talk on the air. Most important of all, she has children. SO (Continued from page 23) Mrs. Gruenberg believes that it is not safe for parents to censor what is offered to the public on the assumption that any of them already knows what is best for all of us and all of our chil- dren, especially as there are a great variety of views as to what actual ef- fects are produced upon children by this or that type of picture, this or that broadcast feature. Here is a significant statement she made recently. "It is true that some children are decidedly upset by a mys- tery thriller. Shall we then declare that such thrillers shall never be broadcast? Some children are decidedly upset or misled by nursery rhymes and fairy tales and by commonplace fiction. But we shall nevertheless continue to tell them tales and to teach them to read for themselves." A STUDIED judgment, that. Based on years of experience. And one with which I must agree, though the mothers of Scarsdale may not. I know a two-year-old child who runs shrieking to his mother whenever he hears bass notes played on a piano. I know an- rrinted in tht U. other child of the same age who always says, "Listen to the thunder," at the same piece of music. And he says it with real delight in his voice. So it's the old, old story, isn't it, of one man's meat being another man's poison ? Can it be that those mothers in Scarsdale are unduly alarmed? Might they not be frightened over the excep- tional child's reaction rather than the average ? And isn't it logical to suppose that such a program which frightens its listeners into nervousness or hysterics defeats its own purpose? No smart sponsor, it seem to me, would permit such a thing to happen after it had been called to his attention, because the prime purpose of his program is to build good-will. A hair-raising kid- scarer does not do that. Quite possibly, this conclusion is wrong. Perhaps broadcasters have dis- covered a dollar and cents value in nightmare broadcasts. If they have, and if they are exploiting them, then every mother should follow Scarsdale's lead and say seriously, "What of the kids? Should they hear such things?" S. A. by Art Color Printing Company. Dunellen. N. J.