Chicago

Follow these links for blog entries about Chicago.

Roy C. Knapp Followed the Beat of His Own Drum

A 1952 ad for the Roy C. Knapp School of Percussion A series of accidents led Roy Knapp Into the life of a professional musician. Of course, Knapp had been reared in music. His father was a violinist, and from his earliest days Knapp was taught to play the violin. Then he broke his left arm in such a way that, even after it healed, it was impossible for him to finger the strings of the violin. So he took up the trumpet. His father wanted Knapp to be a farmer, and several times Knapp was ... (read more)

Betty Lou Gerson, Star of Arnold Grimm's Daughter

Betty Lou Gerson in the movie The Red Menace (1950) When a little six-year-old kid named Betty Lou Gerson stopped the show back in Birmingham eighteen years ago during an amateur performance, the home folks predicted that someday she'd blaze her name along the footlight trails. And they might have been right about this child of the southland -- except for the fact that radio snatched her up before she had her feet firmly planted on the theatrical stage. For more than four years now, this ... (read more)

Jim and Marian Jordan Were the O'Henry Twins

Marian and Jim Jordan of Fibber McGee and Molly on NBC radio The velvet drop concealing the skinny legs of marimba said "Marian and Jim Jordan," and the names sparkled with all the fine, phony brilliance of a dancer's exit smile. The act on stage in this small-town theater was a harmony team -- the girl at the piano, the man leaning debonairly against it and singing a pleasant tenor to the girl's contralto. The keynote was a jaunty good cheer. They sang "When You're Smiling," and a comedy ... (read more)

Fibber McGee and Molly at Home in Chicago

Jim and Marian Jordan perform Fibber McGee and Molly on NBC News of their impending assault on the screen capital had just broken when I called on Jim and Marian Jordan, who are Fibber McGee and Molly as well as sundry other quaint characters on a weekly radio program. I found them at a modest but quite fetching home in Peterson Woods, an attractive, spic-and-span district of Chicago's North Side, neither exclusive nor ritzy. It is the Wistful Vista of the McGee radio script. No ... (read more)

Bob Sylvester and his Orchestra Featuring Olga Vernon

Associated Radio Artists ad from 1937 Five feet, five inches of scintillating personality, a voice with soft, mellow depths and a soothing quality, red hair (though she insists it's auburn), a creamy complexion. In short, an eyeful. That's Olga Vernon, the Sophisticated Lady of Song, who appears with Bob Sylvester and his Orchestra on a hand-picked network of Southern stations. You can hear her every Tuesday night at 10 p.m. EST over WJSV, Washington; WRAV, Richmond; WBT, Charlotte; ... (read more)

Mexican Police Band Performs Concert to Entire U.S. on Radio

The WJAZ broadcast control room in 1922 The Zenith-Edgewater Beach Hotel broadcasting station in Chicago on the evening of Sunday September 30 gave to its listening audience throughout the United States a rare treat which was fully appreciated, as evidenced by the thousands of letters pouring into the station. The official Mexican police band of 87 pieces, sent to this country by President Álvaro Obregón, appeared in full uniform and rendered a concert of continuous playing, lasting ... (read more)