Selling Products On The Air
Stepping Stone
To Greater Things

Lucky Strike tobaccos are the
cream of the crop of many lands.”

                                          --- Frank Singiser

Lincoln, Me. (DG)— 

New Gyro Churn CriscoIf there is one thing I noticed about my work in researching radio’s golden age, you never know who appeared on the air as an announcer.  While some people achieved a good living announcing radio programs, others were trying their best to sell products on the air while hoping for that big break--- and getting it.  Some of the names mentioned here may surprise you, but this article is about some famous people in other lines of work in broadcasting who were announcers. 

Before he created and hosted TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES for Procter & Gamble products (Ivory Soap and later Duz), Ralph Edwards was selling Procter & Gamble products on the radio as an announcer.  He was heard during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s as the announcer of daytime serials sponsored by Ivory Soap, Ivory Flakes, and Crisco--- Procter & Gamble’s most popular products.   

During the late 1930’s Edwards was selling Crisco on VIC & SADE, daytime radio’s most unique serial program.  Instead of melodrama radio soaps were famous for, VIC & SADE provided humor that gave the listeners something to smile about when each episode was done.   

VIC & SADE was known as a funny program, but Edwards, the man who made hot seats, cream pies, and seltzer water famous, was serious when he presented the Crisco commercials .  He informed the listeners if they wanted lighter cakes that melted in the mouths of everyone who ate it, they should use the New Gyro Churned Crisco in their cake recipe.  According to Edwards, using Crisco instead of another shortening or cooking fat made the difference in how the cakes turned out after baking. 

Ivory Flakes & Ivory SoapAGAINST THE STORM was another serial Edwards appeared as an announcer.  It was heard over the stations of NBC’s Red Network during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.  This program was the most unique, controversial, but popular daytime serial of the time it was on the air.   

Whether the subject matter was babies telling their mothers what to use for dishwashing or young ladies getting longer wear with their stockings, Edwards presented the commercials for AGAINST THE STORM’s sponsors, Ivory Soap and Ivory Flakes .      

Edwards’ announcing duties didn’t stop with the daytime soaps.  During the evening hours every Thursday, he also served as the announcer for the cars and trucks from Chrysler Corporation on Columbia’s MAJOR BOWES ORIGINAL AMATEUR HOUR.  As far as I know, he didn’t get gonged for his commercial narration.   

On the Wednesday, June 7, 1944 broadcast of NBC’s FRONT PAGE FARRELL, the announcer presented the enclosed commercial for Freezone Corn Remover.  After listening to the commercial, does the voice sound familiar to you?  It may not, because the announcer was best known behind the scenes for his more famous program creations on radio and TV.  And now, who was that Freezone radio commercial salesman?  He was a freelance announcer named Mark Goodson.  If you know that name, you automatically know Goodson and his partner Bill Todman were the masterminds of classic game shows like WHAT’S MY LINE?, I’VE GOT A SECRET, TO TELL THE TRUTH, BEAT THE CLOCK, THE PRICE IS RIGHT, and many other game shows that spanned decades over radio and TV. 

Although he already established himself as “The Bad Boy Of Radio,” Henry Morgan also served as a radio announcer.  This thought must have struck terror into the hearts of the people in charge of the sponsor, but he was (believe it or not) a serious radio announcer from time to time. 

Morgan sold Dreft on the daytime serial LONE JOURNEY over the stations of NBC’s Red Network.  He was completely serious and on the level in his commercial presentation for Dreft.  After presenting his funny ad-lib commercials for products like Adler Elevator Shoes, Eno Effervescent Salt, and Berkeley Razor Blades, it must have difficult for radio’s bad boy to restrain his sharp wit and keen sense of humor when he presented a serious commercial for Dreft--- or any product for that matter.  I wonder if the listeners who heard Morgan’s Dreft commercials could believe he was the same Henry Morgan who made “Old Man Adler” famous on his HERE’S MORGAN program.    

Lucky Strike 1930'sFrank Singiser was best known as a popular and very busy newscaster for the Mutual Network.  Before he reported the latest news, Singiser appeared on different programs in different roles during the 1930’s--- including our subject in this article.   

In 1935, Singiser was the announcer and M.C. of THE HIT PARADE (a.k.a. YOUR HIT PARADE) on NBC’s Red Network.   

When it was time for the commercial for Lucky Strike Cigarettes, Singiser talked about The American Tobacco Company using only the finest tobaccos for Lucky Strike.  Finer tobacco meant a milder and pleasant smoke. 

Singiser said that Lucky Strike had the most flavor of all the cigarette brands on the market, yet it was also gentle to the throat.  For Lucky Strike smokers, taste and mildness was the best of all worlds.

Peter Pan Peanut ButterWe conclude with another famous name in journalism.  You all know Mike Wallace for his hard-hitting stories and interviews on CBS-TV’s 60 MINUTES.  He has been with CBS News (both radio and TV) for a long time, but like everyone else mentioned in this article, Wallace was a radio announcer--- although he identified himself as “Myron Wallace.” 

Among other programs, Wallace sold Chipso on ROAD OF LIFE; Coca Cola on SPOTLIGHT REVUE with Spike Jones and the City Slickers, and the subject here--- Peter Pan Peanut Butter on SKY KING over the stations of the Mutual Network .   

In describing Peter Pan in this series of commercials, Wallace focused on the small fry radio listeners.  In an effective form of salesmanship, Wallace made the peanut-y taste of Peter Pan irresistible.  He suggested to the young listeners that a sandwich with a lot of Peter Pan spread on the bread would taste great at that very moment.  It also helped if mom was there to make the sandwich for her offspring.  While Peter Pan had the taste of fresh roasted peanuts, Wallace also pointed out it didn’t stick to the roof of the typical human mouth as other brands of peanut butter did. 

As I said at the beginning of this article, you never know who was doing the hard sell on the radio.  The 5 men mentioned here could have been top-notch announcers if they decided to stay in that line of work.  As fate would have it, seltzer bottles and cream pies were waiting for Ralph Edwards; game shows were waiting for Mark Goodson to create them; comedy and hosting his own radio program were in the cards for Henry Morgan; and journalism was in the horizon for both Frank Singiser and Mike Wallace.  They may be unlikely announcers now that we know the line of work that made these 5 men famous, but they could sell the product with the best of them.