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Your Home Front Reporter - Pgm 1 - May 10, 1943

August 27th, 2008

Note: This program contains some World War II-era racial stereotyping slang that may be offensive to some listeners.

We're starting a new series on the blog with "Your Home Front Reporter". This half-hour program was broadcast in the afternoons, Monday through Friday, on the CBS network. Sponsored by the Owens Illinois Glass Company and produced by the D'Arcy Advertising Company, Inc in cooperation with the Office of War Information and other government agencies. I haven't seen any shows in the series in otr listings or in circulation.

The program consists of light opera and popular music along with news and commentary about the War and ways that women and families could help with the War effort. Most programs in the series feature vocalists Frank Parker and Met Opera star Eleanor Steber. It's a curious snap-shot of the War World II home front mindset and an opportunity to hear a Steber very early in her career. (Read the Wikipedia entry on Steber's career for some interesting highlights; I have a copy of the ultra-rare RCA album of her concert at New York's Continental Baths.)

The series also features commentator Fletcher Wiley, whose folksy style first came to notice with listeners in Southern California in the 1930s. Wiley was a pioneer in talking on radio to women about issues they were interested in; his style is similar to Arthur Godfrey and Paul Harvey in some ways. You can read a 1940 article about Wiley at the Time magazine archives. (On some of the "Your Home Front Reporter" shows from Fall 1943 I'll be posting later, Wiley is replaced by Don Regan, who concentrated more on harder news stories. I'm not sure if Regan was a temporary replacement for part of the run of the series.)

In this first program of the series, originally broadcast May 10, 1943, Fletcher Wiley talks at the beginning of the show about the purpose of the series, then offers a commentary on politeness and another on the many uses of the soybean. Frank Parker performs "Begin the Beguine" and Eleanor Steber sings "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia"; they perform a duet, "Dearly Beloved". The announcer is Ben Grauer and the show features the David Brookman Orchestra.

The program was transferred from a vinyl transcription, matrix numbers BB34870 and BB34871, pressed by World Broadcasting System, Inc. for the Owens Illinois Glass Company. This may be a rehearsal recording since it runs over 30 minutes (others in the series run 25 minutes). Note that there's a nasty scratch on second side at beginning for first three minutes or so.

I have ten other shows in the series I'll be posting in coming months; I ran into a set of eleven discs in the series, still in their original shipping containers where they were mailed to a staff member at the Owens Illinois Glass Company.

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