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Wrong Randy Blake?

Randy Blake Blake

Announcer for An Early AM Program



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Background Information


Stewart Sales Company


Web References(12 Total References)

hillbilly-music.com - Randy Blake

www.hillbilly-music.com [cached]

Randy Blake
Hillbilly music fans knew him as Randy Blake. Randy began as an opera singer and performed for three years on stage. Randy didn't speak Italian. Randy said he played on the Orpheum circuit for three years. He said he made good money back then, $250 a week, all expenses paid. He was young and frugal at the time. He sent $200 home each week to his father to put in the bank. He kept the other $50 and his golf clubs. He left the circuit when they changed the schedule where he would have to do five shows a day. When he went back home, seemingly quite well off having saved about $35,000 during that stint. (Note: The math does check out - 52 weeks times $200 is about $10,400 a year). But he seemingly was also a bit of a soft touch. Everybody he knew back then seemed to be broke, so he made a lot of loans. He told Mr. Green, only one paid him back. He basically gave away most of what he had saved. He went out to California for a time after losing his truck driving job when he caught the flu. He had two brothers living out in California and tried to find something out there. But he ended up coming back to Chicago. Randy found himself drifting into the hillbilly music field because he saw the waning interest in 'crooning' and felt that hillbilly (or folk) music was really the "American opera." He began helping Harry find hillbilly and western talent. But eventually he felt the urge to try his own hand at singing. He joined the Suppertime Frolic over radio station WJJD in 1935 as a sacred singer. Randy Blake at WJJD in 1949 Perhaps we can shed light on how he came to be known as Randy Blake. His daughter, Penny Winston Blake Stein, tells us she has only heard one version of how he became Randy Blake. One day he was appearing live over WJJD and the commercial announcer had not shown up. Harold stepped up to the microphone and on the spur of the moment uttered, "Howdy folks, this is Randy Blake". It turns out that a representative of the sponsor was in the station's control room at the time and heard Randy and stated, "I want that man to be the voice for our commercials. He used this name on the air only; he never changed it legally. A 1949 article tends to lend credence to this event, but doesn't mention he took the name Randy Blake in doing so. The talent roster for the show at that time included Jack McCoy and the Cumberland Ridge Runners; Doc Hopkins; Buster Glosson; Karl and Harty; the Flannery Sisters; Randy Blake (identified as a cowboy singer). The article noted, "They unearth selections, vocally and musically popular long ago and those still enjoying a following in the rural districts. Entertainers are well versed in this type of work and undoubtedly have an audience in the hick towns. One might say that Chicago was hardly a hick town. In the April 2, 1938 issue of WLS' weekly publication "Stand By", it mentions that Randy had recently married about then. But actually, they were married in 1932. Randy noted in a 1974 interview that when he got married, he didn't have a job. And when he did get one, it was driving a truck at 4:00 in the morning delivering newspapers and magazines in Chicago. In 1941, Constance Keith reported that she was hearing Randy over radio station WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky. She noted the show was a Morning Jamboree and played music by transcription or by Uncle Henry and his Kentucky Mountaineers. Randy found himself at WHAS due to his job with the Benson and Dall agency because a friend of his owned the Consolidated Royal Chemical Corporation. He sold something called Peruna (a tonic), Kolorback (hair coloring) and Zumol Trokeys (cough drops). He asked Harry O'Neil if he could sing on the Suppertime Frolic show? When asked what he would sing, he noted, a hymn. He was not welcomed with open arms at the show. They viewed him as a "nightclub singer". But he persisted. In early 1942, Sam Abbott reported that Randy was the emcee of the 5am to 6am morning show, "Homefolks Jamboree" over KNX. Later in the spring of 1942, Mr. Abbott told his readers that Randy had left Hollywood to work at radio station WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky. It was stated that Randy would return to KNX and the Homefolks Jamboree in the fall. But he apparently did not return to the West Coast in the fall. Sam Honigberg told The Billboard readers that Randy had joined the announcing staff at WJJD in Chicago in September. Randy was to appear on the show with her as well. Bonnie's show was to start in June 1943. In his May 1949 column, Arlie Kinkade reported that Randy Blake was signed to a record deal with Capitol Records. Mr. Blake took a break from WJJD during World War II and when he returned to WJJD, the station decided they would have Randy play records during the Suppertime Frolic two-hour show. He was on the last shift and was on until WJJD had to go off the air at sundown each day. It was said that he offered a minimum of comment as he played the recordings from hillbilly music in that era. Proof of his popularity lay in the fact that he got over 100,000 mailings from every state in the USA. We get some indication of his popularity from a 1943 article. The Suppertime Frolic show that was emceed by Randy aired from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. In 1946 Randy Blake had a hand in getting Mercury Records to setup a Nashville operation. Randy knew Murray and suggested to the Mercury Records executives that they should contact Murray to setup a country music recording studio. In 1947, Randy tried his hand at songwriting. He penned his first tune, "You Never Shoulda Done That" . December of 1947 found him cutting his first recordings for the Gold Seal record label. It was reported that the two tunes he cut were "Howdy Friends, Good Evening, Neighbors" b/w "The Little Golden Locket. The first tune was said to be based on the Suppertime Frolic opening. Randy and Ken Nelson were listed as the songwriters for that tune. (Note: Mr. Nelson was a long time executive for Capitol Records on the west coast and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.) A few weeks later, Billboard reported that he had already sold 5,000 copies of the record. In 1948, another sponsor wanted Randy for their products - records. Columbia sponsored a nightly 15-minute segment that Randy hosted. He would provide short biographies of the artists and play their latest recordings. National Jamboree magazine reported in the summer of 1949 that Randy had received a "huge" gold loving cup from Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl and Rod Brasfield for "...the many years spent in promoting folk music. In April of 1949, Capitol Records announced they had signed Mr. Blake to a recording contract to record sacred songs for the label. At that time, Randy was being heard seven hours a day over border radio station XENT out of Laredo, Texas, presumably by transcriptions. He also had transcribed programs airing over 20 radio stations in the South. Just how popular was Randy Blake? But Randy was in the runner-up position. In late 1949, Randy Blake's father passed away. Somewhere in the late 1940s, MGM records were being distributed in Chicago by the Zenith Corporation that was on Jackson Boulevard. Frank Walker called the sales manager and told him he was sending him a record by Hank Williams and was not to open it, but take it to Randy Blake at WJJD. Randy didn't think much at the time. Randy told Mr. Walker that "...Obviously he has a lot of talent because he writes and writes and writes. Walter Hudnall noted in National Hillbilly News that Randy was featuring a song called "Charleston Is the Place For You" by Johnny Smolen over WJJD. In several older The Billboard magazines, we have seen advertisements for records that featured Randy or a quote about the air play and response the record was generating over WJJD. A 1950 publication noted that Randy had received his 600th namesake that year. Parents were naming their new born children after him. Randy


www.crb.org [cached]

Randy Blake Beginning in 1935 and running for 23 years, Randy Blake was host of the two-hour Suppertime Frolic and the one-and-one-half-hour Breakfast Frolic over radio station WJJD Chicago.These programs were heard seven days a week in 39 states and Canada.It all started with Randy being given a position with an advertising agency that was selling a product called Nu-Peruna.The agency was one of the first to use country music and it was Randy's job to hire country talent for many stations in the US, including WJJD.Randy talked them into letting him sing a gospel hymn every night on the Frolic.A spot as a regular resulted.The mail response was so tremendous, it prompted the agency to transcribe 84 programs, 15 minutes in length, of Hymns for use at other stations.During a transcribing session, Randy picked up a copy of the Peruna commercial and pretending to be announcing in his own style.The head of the agency was in the studio, heard him and was so impressed he signed Randy as an announcer for an early AM program at WHAS Louisville.In the first few weeks he received almost 25,000 pieces of mail.Since the talent was live, Randy produced a Saturday night show called Kentucky Play Party produced live from a theater.He used much of the talent from his 5AM broadcast, including Pee Wee King, Randall Atcher, Gordon Sizemore and Little Jimmy Dickens.In 1935, he returned to WJJD to take over the Suppertime Frolic as host and announcer, continuing through 1957 except for a short leave of absence for the purpose of handling other country music shows on KNX Hollywood, WCKY Cincinnati and KMOX St. Louis.He also recorded gospel hymns for Capitol Records and started Stewart Sales Company through which he sold country records over the air.Following the demise of the Frolic, Randy continued doing commercial announcements on radio and TV.Randy was elected posthumously into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in 1976.

Hillbilly-Music.com - Home of Old-Time Country Music

hillbilly-music.com [cached]

His first break came when Randy Blake, DJ for WJJD heard him sing and recommended him to Lee Gillette of Capitol Records.

Hillbilly-Music.com - Bob Flannery

www.hillbilly-music.com [cached]

Bob got his first break from the legendary disc jockey Randy Blake of WJJD in Chicago.
But Bob Flannery and Randy Blake of WJJD cut four sides on February 7, 1950.

Randy Blake | countryradioseminar.com

countryradioseminar.com [cached]

Randy Blake
Randy Blake was born Harold Winston in Chicago, IL, in 1906. By the early 1940s, "Randy Blake's Suppertime Frolic" was heard in more than half of the 48 states. At this time he was invited to move to California in order to train younger disc jockeys for CBS radio. World War II brought radio to the troops around the world through The American Forces Radio Service. Following the war, Blake was given a medal by the U. S. government for his help in bringing music to the soldiers overseas. Randy Blake had a smooth, resonant voice and never used a country or regional accent, delivering a more sophisticated presentation to what was then called "hillbilly" music. Blake was always proud to be associated with this true "music of the people" throughout his career. He stayed with WJJD in Chicago until the station gave in to the "pop" craze of the late 1950s and went to an all music and news format. At that time, Blake created the Stewart Sales Company, a surplus record company, and moved into recording television commercials. When the Country DJ Hall of Fame was created, Randy Blake was inducted in its second year, 1976, also, unfortunately, the year of his death.

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