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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chase And Sanborn Hour


The Chase and Sanborn Hour was the umbrella title for a series of US comedy and variety shows, sponsored by Standard Brands' Chase and Sanborn Coffee, usually airing Sundays on NBC from 8pm to 9pm during the years 1929 to 1948.

The series began in 1929 as The Chase and Sanborn Choral Orchestra, a half-hour musical variety show heard Sundays at 8:30pm on NBC. When Maurice Chevalier became the show's star, he received a record-breaking salary of $5000 a week. Violinist David Rubinoff (September 13, 1897 – October 06, 1986), became a regular in January 1931, introduced as "Rubinoff and His Violin."

With Chevalier returning to Paris, Eddie Cantor was chosen as his replacement and the new 60-minute program, The Chase and Sanborn Hour, was launched September 13, 1931, teaming Cantor with Rubinoff and announcer Jimmy Wallington. The show established Cantor as a leading comedian, and his scriptwriter, David Freedman, as “the Captain of Comedy.” When Jimmy Durante stepped in as a substitute for Cantor, making his first appearance on September 10, 1933, he was so successful that he was offered his own show. Then the world's highest paid radio star, Cantor continued as The Chase and Sanborn Hour's headliner until November 25, 1934.

With a new format, The Opera Guild, hosted by Deems Taylor, began December 2, 1934, Sundays at 8pm, on The Chase and Sanborn Hour, and that concert series continued until March 17, 1935. Major Bowes' Amateur Hour had the slot from March 24, 1935 until September 11, 1936, followed by Do You Want to Be an Actor?, with Haven MacQuarrie, broadcast from January 3, 1937 until May 2, 1937, a series that continued Sundays at 10:30pm as a half-hour show from December 5, 1937 until February 20, 1938.

Chase and Sanborn found a gold mine with a wooden dummy when Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy began an 11-year run, starting May 9, 1937. The 1945 summer replacement series, with Spike Jones and Frances Langford as co-hosts, was titled The Chase and Sanborn Program.

Although the series ended December 26, 1948, it was followed by a compilation show on NBC, The Chase and Sanborn 100th Anniversary Show (November 15, 1964), assembled by writer Carroll Carroll and narrated by Bergen. This became an annual event with The Chase and Sanborn 101st Anniversary Show (November 14, 1965), a Fred Allen tribute, followed by The Chase and Sanborn 102nd Anniversary Show (November 13, 1966), which turned out to be the last of the series.



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References: Old Time Radio Researchers Group, Wikipedia, Frank Passage & Others OTR Logs, Archive.org, Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning, Australian Old Time Radio Group

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