Jack Benny

Jack Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky) was born in Chicago, Illinois, on this date in 1894. His parents were immigrants from Poland and Lithuania. One of America’s favorite comedians in vaudeville, on radio and TV, and in film, Benny was married to Sadye Marks, who some say was a cousin of the Marx Brothers and who played his […]

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George Burns

George Burns (Naftaly — later Nathan — Birnbaum) was born in New York City on this date in 1896 to a family that had immigrated from what is now southeastern Poland. He quit school in the fourth grade to become an entertainer. Burns’ vaudeville career was floundering until he met Gracie Allen in 1923 (they would […]

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A Singer in Every Category

Georgia Gibbs (Frieda Lipschitz), a tremendously versatile singer who found steady work on radio and vaudeville stages in the 1940s and in the recording studio and television studios in the 1950s and ’60s, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on this date in 1919. She landed her first singing gig at age 13, and was a […]

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The First Woman Anchor

Dorothy Fuldheim, a journalist who interviewed both Hitler and Mussolini before World War II and was the first woman to anchor a television news broadcast, was born in Passaic, New Jersey on this date in 1893. Fuldheim began her career in radio as the first woman commentator on the WABC network. At age 54 she […]

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A Tinkling Piano in the Next Apartment

Eric Maschwitz, who wrote the lyrics (under the name Holt Marvell) for “These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)” and became one of Great Britain’s leading television producers and executives, was born in Birmingham on this date in 1901. Maschwitz was an actor and radio host before serving as an intelligence and communications officer and postal censor […]

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Abie’s Irish Rose

Abie’s Irish Rose, a play about a young Irish woman and a young Jewish man who marry despite the objections of their families, premiered at Broadway’s Fulton Theater on this date in 1922. It would run for  2,327 performances until October 1, 1927, a record that would not be broken until Hello, Dolly! came to the stage in […]

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The Master of Radio Drama

Norman Corwin, one of the most popular radio writers during the Golden Age of radio drama in the 1930s and ’40s, was born in Boston on this date in 1910. Corwin brought culture, historical consciousness, and progressive patriotism to the airwaves, with such radio plays as  Spoon River Anthology (1939), We Hold These Truths (1941), […]

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October 26: The Broadcast Pioneer

William S. Paley, who built the Columbia Broadcasting Service (CBS) from a struggling radio network into the premier nationwide radio and TV consortium, acquiring tremendous political and cultural clout along the way, died at 89 on this date in 1990. His father was a successful cigar manufacturer, who in 1927 acquired a Philadelphia radio network […]

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October 10: Eddie Cantor

Eddie Cantor (Iskowitz), one of America’s first radio stars and wildly popular, cross-platform entertainers, died at 72 on this date in 1964. Known as “Banjo Eyes” and “The Apostle of Pep,” Cantor mixed intimate stories about his wife and five daughters with high-energy dancing, vaudeville songs, jokes, and sentimental sincerity to charm his audiences on […]

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