July 20, 70 Years Ago

Bits and Pieces of BC Radio History

July 20, 70 Years Ago

Postby cart_machine » Mon Jul 20, 2020 3:37 am

Dick Diespecker's radio column in Province on this date in 1950 comments on Doug Gourlay, who ended up taking over ownership of the Commodore in the '60s. Gourlay was a stenographer who started at 'OR in November 1934. One of the shows he announced there (according to a 1935 Province story) was called "Bathnight Revue" which was hosted by Billy Browne "and stars Angus Young, 15-year-old mimic." Mr. Young changed his name to Alan and is best known for acting opposite a talking horse.
Gourlay left 'OR to work in Ogden on June 24, 1937. Six weeks later, he found his way to KDYL Salt Lake City, thence to KPO San Francisco and then NBC (Blue) in Los Angeles where he replaced Ken Carpenter, who quit the network to freelance. When Gourlay left for Canada and a job with Alberta Distillers in Vancouver, he was replaced by Donald Rickles, whose name had to be a little uncomfortable after a while. Gourlay announced Bob Burns show and had just started announcing a dramatic show starring Charles Boyer when he quit the network. It's mentioned somewhere he was with Fibber McGee and Molly, but I can't imagine that unless he did the hitchhikes.
CJOR's "Beach Party" is a Best Bet. Part of the show on this date is in the BC Archives, which describes it as "a program which features the singing of Juliette, backed by the Harry Oswell orchestra." This was a CBC Dominion Network show.


A revealing story has just come out of Hollywood. It seems there is to be a brand new formula for radio soap operas.
Top Hollywood names, including Mary Pickford, Rosalind Russell, Charles Boyer, Burt Lancaster and Gloria Swanson are going to be included in the cast lineups of some of the soapiest of these radio masterpieces of human misfortune.
According to the official story the new plan follows completion by NBC of a survey covering rating histories of the past four years. This survey is said to reveal the sentimental "sudsshows" still command the majority of the daytime audience. Soooo . . . the network is now adding the appeal of big name stars.
How dumb do they think we are? If the soap shows are so good and command such a big audience, why do they need name stars in the casts?
An actual breakdown of figures which I have seen shows that the lead enjoyed by the soapers is so slim it needs a magnifying glass to find it. I think the sad truth is that daytime radio generally is falling apart. For a good many years the big money has been poured into night time shows. This applies to the American nets, CBC and all private stations.
The result of this is that general daytime listening in all types of shows has fallen off badly. Aside from noted exceptions people are getting pretty fed up with the hash thrown at them through the daylight hours, and NBC is probably one of the first networks to recognize this fact. That, in this writer's opinion is the real reason behind the sudden deluge of Hollywood name stars in some of the daytime soapreels.
FLASH . . . Defence Minister Brook Claxton will broadcast an important message on the Korean situation tonight at 6 o'clock Vancouver time. It will be heard over CJOR, CKWX, CBR, CKMO, Vancouver, and CKNW, New Westminster, and cancels previous programs listed for these stations.
* * *
The second program of a new series which started July 13 will be heard tonight over CBR at 8. The series title is "Proposals for Peace" and it also is an NBC origination.
Tonight's program, subtitled Security and Arms Control, will have as speakers Sir Benegal Rau of India; Prof. Harrison Brown of the University of Chicago and Prof. Phillip Jacob of the University of Pennsylvania.
The purpose of the series is to explore the possibility of eventual permanent peace and the ways in which it might be effected.
* * *
Many of you will remember Doug Gourlay, once an announcer at CJOR in Vancouver. He left here in 1937, worked for some time with NBC in Salt Lake City, later in San Francisco and for the past few years as a successful big time announcer on the networks out of Hollywood. An item in the current issue of Variety says that Doug is quitting radio to return to Vancouver as a sales manager. It is nice to think he is coming back to Vancouver, but American radio will be the poorer for his loss. He was a fine announcer.
6:30 p.m.—Duffy's Tavern, KOMO.
7:30 p.m.—Beach Party, CJOR; Skippy Hollywood Theatre, KIRO; Showtime, CKNW.
8:00 p.m.—Proposals for Peace, CBR; Open House, CKMO.
8:30 p.m.—Look Back at Yesterday, CKNW; Mr. Keen, KIRO.
9:15 p.m.—Builders of B.C., CJOR.
9:30 p.m.—Vancouver Concert Orch., CBR; Murder at Midnight, CKWX.
6:00, Test Pattern; 7:00, Kukla, Fran and Ollie; 7:30, The Lone Ranger; 8:00, Sport Thrills of a Lifetime; 8:15, Vincent Lopez Show; 8:30, King's Command Performance; 9:00, Comedy Theatre; 9:30, King's Square Dance; 10:00, Tele-news Daily.
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Re: July 20, 70 Years Ago

Postby jon » Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:32 am

Alan Young talks about his earliest days of acting at CJOR in his autobiography, noting that his father's attitude towards his "frivolous work" suddenly changed when he brought him his first Pay. Alan was making as much in one night's performance (including all the prep time in the days prior) than his father made most months.

Of course, this was The Great Depression and both Youngs were happy to be making any money.

As for the "Man and his Horse" on television decades later, Alan had done a lot of comedy work with animals on live television in the early 1950s. There were very few actors in Hollywood at the time who had the patience to work with larger animals when Mr. Ed was being cast, so Alan was an obvious choice, even though his early 1950s weekly TV show was mostly forgotten by that time.
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