Note: This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.
This past week, I spent time transferring a group of "throw away" discs from station WREN in Lawrence, Kansas. We heard one show from this set of discs a few weeks back, a local country music program by Ted West and His Range Riders. The discs contained snippets and parts of local and network programming that were recorded for time-shifted broadcast or to test equipment. Several contained half-episodes of a rare, seldom heard game show called "Ladies Be Seated", originally carried on ABC in the 1940s.
"Ladies Be Seated" was a "stunt" show, similar to "Truth or Consequences", hosted by Johnny Olson. It was sponsored by Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix and Aunt Jemima herself shows up to engage in banter with Johnny about the product. Not well remembered today, there was also an "Aunt Jemima" minstrel-type program that was carried on network radio from 1929 to 1951. According to John Dunning's "On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio", the character was played by Black actress Amanda Randolph for part of the run and it sounds like it may be Randolph in the role here. (Amanda Randolph also appeared on the television version of "Amos N' Andy" and many other programs of the time such as the "Danny Thomas Show".)
In the listing for "Ladies Be Seated" in Dunning, he notes that the show grew out of another program that lampooned household hints shows and was originally carried on NBC's Blue Network, starting in 1944 and, after the network was sold to create ABC, "Ladies Be Seated" was carried there until 1950. "Ladies Be Seated" was also one of the first game shows broadcast on the ABC television network, starting in 1949.
In the previously lost program of December 21, 1944, we hear Aunt Jemima doing a commercial with Johnny Olson, then one of the contestants in the "Ladies Be Seated" singing contest, some talk about the rarity of nylons during the War when the contestant gets her prizes, and a stunt that has a man from the audience playing "Spin the Bottle". This is part two of the program only; the first half of the show doesn't survive.
The show was transferred from an original lacquer from WREN in Lawrence, Kansas. It's been run through some click-reduction software to eliminate as much surface noise as possible.