Old Radio Programs

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Strange As It Seems

Strange as It Seems appeared as a syndicated cartoon feature in 1928 and became a familiar brand to millions around the globe for its comic strips, books, radio shows and film shorts. Created by John Hix, Strange as It Seems was distinguished for its adherence to Hix's standard that every published fact be verified by a minimum of three sources. In Hix's words, Strange as It Seems is a library of the curious, in nature and humankind, set adrift on the vast sea of public opinion with the hope that it will fulfill its mission to entertain and acquaint its viewers with some of the marvels of the world in which we live. Strange as It Seems was a radio program of strange and unusual tales about fantastic people and events, based on the daily syndicated newspaper cartoon panels of John Hix of the same name. Strange as It Seems began as a 15-minute radio program on March 22, 1935. It was broadcast over the Columbia Don Lee Coast radio network. The schedule was 3 nights a week - Sunday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:45 PM (6:45 during summer daylight saving time). The sponsor was Ex‐Lax. In late September 1935 the show changed to two shows per week, dropping the Sunday show. In late September 1936 the schedule changed again to Tuesday and Friday nights. A 1936 booklet of the Strange as It Seems stories was sponsored by Ex-Lax and given away as a free promotion of the radio program by writing to the station. The show was hosted by Gayne Whitman, produced and directed by Cyril Armbrister and the music was composed and directed by Felix Mills. Whitman had been the announcer on the Strange as It Seems movie shorts from 19301934. The programs included two or three segments of dramatized events in mini plays with dramatic, fanfare music interspersed in the show between segments. After the opening line, an Ex-Lax commercial would follow. Then two or three strange stories would be presented. The show would conclude with a preview of the next show's stories, an Ex-Lax commercial, a strange fact of trivia, such as "butterflies smell with their feet" and finally a short musical ending. There were occasionally live interviews with unusual personalities, such as the World's Fastest Talker. Many of the programs were distributed on 16" 33 RPM records with one 15 minute show on each side. Many sources list at least 39 of these records with a total of 78 programs recorded. This run of the shows concluded at the end of January 1937, after over 210 shows. The show began again in January 1938 as a 15-minute once a week program, airing on Sunday afternoons at 3:00 (2:00 during daylight saving time). The show ended at the end of December 1938, with 53 shows in this run. The Strange as It Seems radio program was picked up as a 30-minute network program on the Columbia Broadcasting System from August 17, 1939 to December 26, 1940 on Thursdays at 8:30 P.M. (7:30 P.M. during the summer daylight saving time). There were 72 broadcasts of these 1⁄2 hour broadcasts. The sponsor was Palmolive Shave Cream and the host was Alois Havrilla. Havrilla was the announcer on the Stranger Than Fiction movie shorts beginning in 1934 and continuing in that role until the shorts were ended in 1942. Stranger Than Fiction was the successor to the Strange as It Seems movie shorts that ran from 1930 until 1934. The program had one final run in its original 15 minute format from Nov. 10, 1946 to April 13, 1947, airing at 7:30 PM on Sunday nights. There were 22 episodes aired in this run. In the newspaper story about the death of John Hix on June 6, 1944, Ernest Hix stated there were over 600 radio programs produced, indicating there were other shows than those so far identified. [wikipedia]


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