Old Radio Programs

An Archive Of Historical Old Radio Broadcasts


Index-Menu Home

 

Bob Crosby And Eileen Barton

During World War II, Bob Crosby spent 18 months in the Marines touring with bands in the Pacific. His radio variety series, The Bob Crosby Show, aired on NBC and CBS in different runs from July 18, 1943, to July 16, 1950. This was followed by Club Fifteen on CBS from 1947 through 1953 minus a brief interlude when he was replaced as host by singer Dick Haymes during parts of 1949 and 1950. During his stint on Club Fifteen, he was teamed with the ever-popular Andrews Sisters three nights per week, singing with them and engaging in comedy skits. He first met the trio in 1938 when his orchestra backed their Decca recording of "Begin the Beguine," their popular vocalization of Artie Shaw's big band hit. One can't help when hearing these old Club Fifteen broadcasts how eerily similar Bob and the Andrews Sisters sound to the trio's very frequent and hugely successful pairings with brother Bing Crosby on the Decca label. Bob and Patty even scored a hit duet on Decca Records with their duet recording of the novelty "The Pussy Cat Song (Nyow! Nyot Nyow!)," which peaked at No. 12 on Billboard. A half-hour CBS daytime series, The Bob Crosby Show, followed from 1953 to 1957. Bob introduced the Canadian singer Gisele MacKenzie to American audiences and subsequently guest-starred in 1957 on her NBC television series, The Gisele MacKenzie Show. On September 14, 1952, Bob replaced Phil Harris as the bandleader on The Jack Benny Program, remaining until Benny retired the radio show in 1955 after 23 years. In joining the show, he became the leader of the same group of musicians who had played under Harris. According to Benny writer Milt Josefsberg, the issue was budget. Because radio had strong competition from TV, the program budget had to be reduced, and so Bob replaced Phil. Prior to joining Benny on the radio, Crosby, who was based on the east coast, would often play with Benny during Benny's live New York appearances, and he was seen frequently throughout the 1950s on Benny's television series. As a performer, Crosby had tremendous charisma and wit combined with a laid-back persona. He was able to swap jokes competently with Benny, including humorous references to his brother Bing's wealth and his string of losing racehorses. An exchange during one of the popular Christmas programs ran thus: Crosby muses to Jack that he's bought gifts for everyone but band member Frank Remley. When Jack suggests "a cordial, like a bottle of Drambuie," Crosby counters that Drambuie is an after-dinner drink and adds, alluding to Remley's penchant for alcohol, that "Remley never quite makes it to after dinner." [wikipedia]

Barton soon became a child star. By age 6, she appeared on The Horn and Hardart Children's Hour, a radio program sponsored by Horn & Hardart's Automat, a then-well-known restaurant chain, and, by age 7, in 1936-37, she was working with Milton Berle on his Community Sing radio program, using the name "Jolly Gillette" and playing the sponsor's "daughter" (the sponsor was Gillette Razors).[4] She would ask to sing, he would tell her she couldn't, and she would remind him that her daddy was the sponsor, so he'd let her sing a current hit song. She also was a regular on The Milton Berle Show in 1939. At 8, she had a daily singing program of her own on radio station WMCA, Arnold's Dinner Club. At 10, she appeared twice on Rudy Vallée's network radio program in 1936. She also acted on radio series such as Death Valley Days. At age 11, she left show business briefly. At age 14 she went on the Broadway stage as an understudy to Nancy Walker in Best Foot Forward, followed by an appearance under her own name with Elaine Stritch in Angel in the Wings. At age 15, she appeared as a guest singer on a Johnny Mercer variety series, leading to her being noticed by Frank Sinatra, who took her under his wing and put her in a regular spot on the CBS radio show that he hosted in the 1940s. She co-starred on Sinatra's show beginning August 16, 1944, and was also part of Sinatra's act at the Paramount Theater in 15 appearances there. She also appeared on her own and as a guest performer with such stars as Count Basie, Nat King Cole, and Danny Kaye. In 1945, Barton had her own radio program, Teen Timers. That November, the program's name was changed to the Eileen Barton Show. It was broadcast Saturday mornings on NBC. In 1954, she starred in the The Eileen Barton Show, a 13-episode transcribed program for the United States Marine Corps. [wikipedia]

 

Play all episodes.