Major Bowe's Original Amateur Hour

8:00-9:00 PM


This program began in 1934 and debuted on NBC in 1935, when it immediately became an enormous success. Desperate performers flocked to New York to try to get on the show to earn a little money and to try to become stars. Of course, almost no one from the show found fame through their talents, although Frank Sinatra is a notable exception. The media began investigating the show with a year to answer a variety of questions about the show's credibility. It appears that much of the banter was scripted, and that the show predetermined people to "gong" and embarass. Questions also arose concerning Bowes' large income when his performers (some of whom joined his travelling road shows) made so little. In any event, the show remained relatively popular throughout the 1930s, but when its audience declined in the next decade, it went off the air in 1945.

This first segment includes four acts, and features Red Bill Lane, who does animal impressions.

In this section, we get three yodelling sisters, a tap dancer, and some information about Plymouth's new cars. See how well tap-dancing translates to radio.

Next we get a rendition of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and a scintillating (and bizarre) performance from John Tucker, better known as the Whistling Wizard.

Finally we're treated to four musical acts. The best performance of the broadcast comes during this segment, when Martha Booker sings some blues.

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