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1930, WFBR, Baltimore. First appearance on the air..
l930-33, NBC staff announcer.
1934-45, CBS staff announcer and personality. Heard on the Chesterfield program (1934), Professor Quiz (1937), and on both CBS and Mutual for Barbasol (1937-38); had shows of his own for Carnation Milk and Barbas-Cremo Cigars. His fortunes began to rise with his early-morning broadcasts over WJSV, the CBS station in Washington, D.C., which later became WTOP. This series ran 1933-45 and was relayed to New York 1941-45. Godfrey hit the network briefly as announcer of Fred Allen's Texaco Star Theater (CBS, Oct. 1942), but Allen dropped him after a few broadcasts.
April 30, 1945-April 30, 1972, CBS. Arthur Godfrey Time. Daily at midmorning (10, 10:15, or 11 A.M.) in timeslots of 30m, 45m, 60m, 75m. Sustained for two years, then an avalanche of sponsorship, notably Chesterfield Cigarettes.
Announcer: Tony ("Here's that man himself") Marvin.
Vocalists: Janette Davis, Bill Lawrence, Patti Clayton, Frank Parker, Julius LaRosa, Marion Marlowe, Hawaiian singer Haleloke, Pat Boone, Carmel Quinn, Lu Ann Simms.
Vocal Groups: The Mariners (Thomas Lockard, James A, Lewis, Martin Karl, Nathaniel Dickerson), the Chordettes (Virginia Osborn, Dorothy Schwartz, Janet Ertel, Carol Hagedorn), the McGuire Sisters (Christine; Dorothy, Phyllis).
Orchestra: Hank Sylvern, Archie Bleyer.
July 2, 1946-0ct. 1, 1956, CBS. Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. 30m, Tuesdays at 9 until mid1947, then Fridays at 9:30 briefly, then Mondays at 8:30 after Aug. 1947. Lipton Tea, on radio and TV after 1947.
Announcer: George Bryan.
Vocalists: Peggy Marshall; the Holidays.
Orchestra: Archie BIeyer.
Jan. 28, 1950-Sept. 30, 1955, CBS. Arthur Godfrey Digest; also known as The Arthur Godfrey Round Table. Taped highlights from the weekday show. Mostly 30m timeslots initially Saturday nights, then Sunday afternoons (1950-53) and Friday nights (1953-55).
Theme (Both Shows): Seems Like Old Times (Beautiful Dreamer in the earliest days of Arthur Godfrey Time).
Talk, variety, and music; best known in its early-morning CBS format that spanned 27 years, but a broadcast phenomenon that had many spinoffs. Godfrey had a fabled radio career, progressing from one-night stands to top network star status.
People trusted Arthur Godfrey. They liked his humor; which skirted the risque but seldom went too far. They liked the fact that, as he himself would put it, he had no talent whatever.
They loved hearing him give the needle to a client. This was something new. When Godfrey chided the sponsor's ad copy, people laughed. Sometimes he would ball up the script noisily and throw it away. "Boy, the stuff they give me to read," he would moan, and the audience laughed. Network vice presidents who dared suggest that something might be done more effectively would find themselves ribbed by Godfrey on the air. When CBS chairman William S. Paley hinted that a certain Godfrey show lacked movement, Godfrey brought on a team of hula dancers. "That enough movement for you, Bill?" he asked at the end of the number.
By then he was the most powerful man in broadcasting. He was fond of saying that he made $400,000 before the average guy got up in the morning. In a parody of breakfast shows, Fred Allen once barked, "Six o'clock in the morning! Who's up to listen to us? A couple of burglars and Arthur Godfrey!" A lot of people were up -- listening to Godfrey. CBS estimated that he was heard by 40 million people a week. In the loudest statistic of all, sales of Chesterfields and Lipton Tea soared during their sponsorship of Godfrey's shows. In the words of Time magazine: "He is the greatest salesman who ever stood before a microphone."
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