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Richard M Roberts
Posts: 2410
Joined: Sun May 31, 2009 6:30 pm


Postby Richard M Roberts » Sat Feb 23, 2019 3:39 am

Here's a segment from Arthur Godfrey's Daily morning show from November 6, 1958, Jackie Gleason and the vocal group The Big Four are in the studio with Arthur, it's a relaxed fifteen minutes:

It's TV and radio personalities like Godfrey, or Garry Moore, Arlene Francis, Robert Q. Lewis, and others of their ilk that you just can't really explain to a modern, edgy ADD audience, someone who was more good company than great talent. Godfrey did several hours of radio and television a day in the 1950's, and it was just relaxed chit-chat with whomever showed up at the studio, but he had a good band, and kept things relaxed and fun, one tuned in just to see what they were up to at CBS that day. All the folk I mentioned did many hours of live broadcasting five or more days a week on television, these were people who knew how to converse, and were actually likeable (at least on television). This was the kind of television you could just leave on while you did the chores, and focus on when it got interesting. These people were more like old friends than performers, but they were performers talented enough to project that image. Beats the angry and vapid crap on the airwaves these days.


Chris Snowden
Posts: 58
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:16 am


Postby Chris Snowden » Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:38 pm

I agree completely about Godfrey, and the bewilderment modern audiences feel when confronted with a host who isn't telling jokes, spouting political commentary or introducing amateur singers.

For me there's something oddly compelling about Godfrey. He rambles away at whatever pops in his head, and that's often nothing in particular, yet I can't stop paying attention to him.

There's probably a literal ton of unseen, unheard Godfrey material yet to be cataloged and preserved. The Library of American Broadcasting has his personal collection of 5000 hours of fragile wire recordings dating from 1949 onward, and besides an unknown quantity of salvaged television work there's an unpublished autobiography out there as well. But unfortunately there isn't a lot of interest, and he's quickly becoming the forgotten giant of 1950s broadcasting, even among old-time radio buffs who ought to know better. I hope that gets turned around someday.

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