Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Golden Age of Radio - 1942-43 Season

As you know my favorite OTR podcaster Buck Benny has started his new season of shows and among the seasons he is spotlighting is the 1942-43 season.   That season in during the Golden Age of Radio holds a special place in the annals of old time radio.

1942-43 was the highest rated season of the 1940s and being in the heart of the war years, radio provided not only top notch entertainment but up to the minute news of the war raging now raging on two fronts.

This season Buck is highlighting these wonderful shows, The Grape Nuts Flakes Program starring Jack Benny, Raleigh Cigarette Program starring Red Skelton, Fibber McGee and Molly and Texaco Star Theater starring Fred Allen.  All of these programs rated in the Top 15 of the show airing that season, and 3 of these were in the Top 5 (Jack, Fibber and Red).

NBC ruled the airwaves in the 40s with all these programs. They would have 15 of the top 20 programs for 1942-43 and Tuesday night was the night of, (to borrow a television theme) Must Hear Radio:

9-930pm -  Burns and Allen
930-10pm  - Fibber McGee and Molly
10-1030pm - The Pepsodent Show with Bob Hope
1030-11pm -  Raleigh Cigarette Program withe Red Skelton

Here are the top 5 final season ratings for 1942-43:

1 - The Pepsodent Show starring Bob Hope  (40.9 rating)
sadly there are not many surviving episodes of this wonderful from 1942-43

2 - Raleigh Cigarette Program starring Red Skelton  (40.7)

3 - The Johnson Wax Program starring Fibber McGee and Molly  (37.7)

4 - Chase and Sanborn Program with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy  (34.8)
again we are missing several season of the Edgar and Charlie, but here is one from the 1937 season.

5 - Grape Nuts and Grape Nuts Program starring Jack Benny   (33.9)

coming in at #15 with his new 30 minute version of Texaco Star Theater, Fred Allen  (21.6)...Fred would eventually find his way to #1 in the 1947-48 season.

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