“How I Got This Way” by Regis Philbin
Chapter I Bing Crosby
It all began with Bing Crosby during the Depression of the thirties. I must have been six or seven years old at the time. My family lived on the bottom floor of a two-story house on Cruger Avenue in the Bronx, and every night at 9:30, I sat by my little radio in our kitchen and listened to a half hour of Bing’s records regularly spilling out over WNEW. His voice was so clear, so pure and so warm that after awhile I thought of him as my good friend. Even though he was out in faraway, glamorous Hollywood and I was in the humble old Bronx, in my mind we truly were friends and would always spend that special half hour together, just the two of us.
I listened to those songs of the Depression era and, even as a kid, I understood that the songwriters were trying to give hope to a struggling and downtrodden public. I grew to love those lyrics and what they said to me. I swear to you that those same songs have stayed with me for the rest of my life, and during various dark periods when I hit those inevitable bumps along the way, I would actually sing them to myself. Like “When skies are cloudy and gray, they’re only gray for a day. So wrap your troubles in dreams, and dream your troubles away.”
Thanks to Bill Diehl for reminding us of the excerpt above from the Regis Philbin autobiography “How I Got This Way,” Doubleday Book Club. Photos added by WNEW1130 editors.
In What’sNEW#1, posted February 2nd, mention was made of one of WNEW’s red mobile units, taking News Director Lee Hanna, Tech. Supervisor Shel Hoffman and engineer Howie Epstein to Washington D.C., Aug. 26, 1963 to cover the March On Washington. A photo of one of those Chrysler red hots, was discovered just a few days ago by chance on the internet. The photo, taken by Bill Cotter in April, 1965, shows the wagon in front of the Irish Pavillion, during the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair. Cotter posted the photo, and others, in 2010 on “World’s Fair Community.org.
When trade-in time came, WNEW stayed with the Chrysler New Yorker, but in quieter white.
John Crosby, was a columnist for The New York Herald Tribune from 1935 to 1941 and, after WWII military service, from 1946 to 1965.
He continued newspaper and novel writing into the mid-seventies, but is remembered best as the Tribune’s chief radio/TV critic during the 1950’s. This line of his about CBS-TV cancelling Edward R. Murrow’s “See It Now,” helps explain why Crosby was so well regarded: “See it Now… is by every criterion television’s most brilliant, most decorated, most imaginative, most courageous and most important program. The fact that CBS cannot afford it but can afford “Beat The Clock,”is shocking.” Another worthy observation of his concerned WNEW’s new, (1958) full-time news department and its “brash young news staff” whose news coverage was “busting out all over.” Read on.
The image above is a recreation of a 1959 John Crosby column as published in the New York Herald Tribune. Thanks to Bill Diehl for finding a copy of the original column. E.B.
April 1964. Marlene Sanders, after two years at WNEW, will leave for ABC (1964-1978) and later CBS (1978-1987) But before departing 1130, she served as Assistant News Director, produced the award-winning News Closeup series and was recognized for distinquished reporting. See What’sNEW#2, below.
Art Ford and the Night Visitor
The watercolor (above) by Tom Saunders is based on the photo (below) published in Arnie Passman’s book, “The Deejays,”* But, the woman in the painting is not the woman in the photo. Explanation, below.
As WNEW’s first Station Manager, Bernice Judis often dropped in on shows at any time of the day or night. In the photo above, she is seen during an after-midnight visit to “The Milkman’s Matinee” when it was hosted by Art Ford. (1942-1954) In an e-mail to long-time friend, and ‘NEW alum, ABC’s Bill Diehl, Saunders explained: “I read that Bernice Judis was the manager who fired Art Ford for playing too much ‘jazz and international’ music, so I purposely eliminated her and put in a blond groupie instead.” Saunders identified correctly the cause of Ford’s firing, but not his executioner. Judis retired from WNEW in 1954 after 20 years with the station, and about four years before Ford got word while in Europe in April, 1958, that his services were no longer desired.
Continue reading Art Ford And The Night Visitor
The CBS-TV “Sunday Morning” feature (1989) about The Make Believe Ballroom has been withdrawn by the provider, Metromedia Radio on Live365 broadcast. www.live365.com/stations/wnewradio1130, which has no connection to this website.
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(The photo and text above are reproduced from a 1958 newspaper ad. The ID overlays were added by this site’s editor.) Display Ad 60 — No Title New York Times (1857-Current file) Sept 3, 1958; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times pg.68
There was a time when most radio stations, no matter how big, were local and part of neighborhood life. WNEW-AM, where the forms of modern radio were invented and made personal, existed within a community of broadcasters and listeners who shared in life’s events and now, share memories. This blog, exists to collect as many as possible of the bits and pieces of that history. What do you remember? What part of the story can you tell?