Not So Famous Products
Were Radio Sponsors
"Stoy is 100% soy….. it's not
---Announcer SWEET RIVER
Lincoln, Me. (DG)—
Whether a product was nationally
known or known only in a small area, they shared an equal and common ground
as sponsors of radio programs during the golden age. In Part I of this series,
products like Cal-Aspirin, Rio Grande Cracked Gasoline, and
others were in the spotlight . In Part II, we will take another look at those
unsung products that shared the airwaves with the nationally known brands
during the golden age.
Our first unsung product was made and distributed by (believe it or not)
Procter & Gamble. American Family Soap and
American Family Flakes were soap products that were made and sold
for the people in the Midwest. In its heyday, it was billed as the "The
most popular soap in Chicago." The reason why it was so popular was because
its soap content worked well with the hard water in the Midwest. Fluffy white
suds were ready to take on any laundry chore. Using American Family
also proved beneficial to all its users who took advantage of the coupons
on each American Family wrapper and box. These coupons could
be redeemed at any American Family outlet store for useful household
On the radio, American Family had one of the most fitting commercial
phrases for the time it was heard. In 1934, American Family
was the sponsor of THE SONG OF THE CITY, a Chicago-based serial
program that aired over the stations of NBC's Red Network. During
the commercial, announcer George Watson said, "It's cheaper….. far
cheaper to buy a new soap than to buy new clothes."
Of course, Watson's statement would prove true at any
time, but since he said it in 1934, it had a greater meaning with the United
States trying to recover from The Great Depression of that time.
With the recent TV commercials for Listerine Antiseptic, we
have become familiar with "Gingivitis"--- the infamous inflammation
in the human mouth that left untreated could eventually lead to the wearing
of false teeth. During radio's golden age, the listeners heard of a product
that was specially made to take on and overcome Gingivitis.
Forhan's Tooth Paste
was unique from the other brands, because it was specially made for both massaging
gums and cleaning the teeth to their own natural sparkling beauty. With a
twice daily brushing, Forhan's reduced the threat of Gingivitis
for 95% of its users in 30 days. The human yap felt refreshed and invigorated,
and the smile was attractive to look at. On a Mutual newscast with
Frank Singiser, announcer Marshall Dane informed the listeners to start using
Forhan's without delay. Even if the listeners still had some
of another brand of toothpaste, Dane asked them to go to their favorite drug,
department, and 10¢ store and buy a tube of "Famous Forhan's Tooth Paste"
A.S.A.P.! His advice meant the listeners could have a natural,
healthy smile for a lifetime!
World War II provided a true test for the housewives of "The Home
Front." With food rationing in effect, it was a challenge to provide a
meal that the family will love, yet stay within the confines of rationing. Fortunately, there were unrationed products that helped out. One such product
was the sponsor on the Blue Network serial SWEET RIVER.
The product in question was Stoy Soy Flour,
a product made by A.E. Staley Mfg. Co.
The contents inside a typical Stoy box consisted of 100% soy
flour---- it was not a mix. It was used like regular flour in baking and cooking. There was a distinct advantage in using Stoy over regular
flour—an advantage that was vital for the people of the home front. Foods
baked or cooked with Stoy had extra protein, which in turn provided
every man, woman, and child who ate these foods with body building food substance
vital to health, strength, and vigor. Stoy was the best of all
worlds for the housewives. It did so much to provide good food and good health
for only 15¢.
In another article, I stated it was a tremendous challenge for the housewives
of the home front to maintain good health for their families with food rationing
in effect. Luckily, a solution to this potential problem could be found by
tuning in to the serial programs sponsored by American
Home Products (the Anacin people) during the war
years. From The Anacin Company division of
American Home Products comes Benefax Multi Vitamins.
This was a product where every member of the family can take part in preserving
their own good health. Just 1 Benefax Multi Vitamin every day
supplements war-rationed diets completely. Unlike other brands, Benefax
was prescription-type vitamins, the kind doctors recommended to their
patients. It was actually good health for less than 3¢ a day.
There were 3 types of Benefax Vitamins to choose from.
Benefax Multi Vitamins in the orange box; Benefax B-Complex
Vitamins in the orange box; and Benefax A & D Vitamins
in the yellow box. With good health essential during the war years, it was
more important than ever for the people to ask their druggist for Benefax.
We conclude this article with a regional product from my neck of the woods.
This product was a part of life in the New England states for many years. Just like some products were closely associated with the programs they sponsored,
there was also the close association between the sponsor and the radio coverage
of regional baseball games. The listeners of the Boston Red Sox baseball games
on radio remembered the sponsors, the Atlantic Refining Company,
and the product featured here, Narragansett Lager Beer.
its heyday, Narragansett was New England's beer. It achieved
more popularity in the 6-state region than the national brands. When the Red
Sox broadcast began, the announcer greeted the listeners with a cheery
"Hi, neighbor"--- which was part of the famous "Hi, neighbor,
have a 'Gansett!" phrase the beer was famous for in its advertising. Between innings of a Red Sox game, the announcer encouraged the adult
listeners to enjoy the game with a glass of Narragansett.
Narragansett's close association with the Red Sox broadcasts
lasted for over 2 decades. When the beer's sponsorship ended, other regional
and national products sponsored the baseball games. Unfortunately, there
isn't that close relationship of sponsor and broadcast like there was in the
As for Narragansett Lager Beer, it continued to be made
and sold in New England, but "New England's Beer" was taken
over by a national brewing company (Falstaff Brewing Company). Unfortunately, the national beer brands were beginning to assert themselves
for the beer drinkers in the New England area. This popularity took
its toll on Narragansett. Before anyone knew it, Narragansett
was completely gone from the shelves in grocery stores and markets
in the New England states.
Radio's golden age had a lot of radio sponsors during its time. Although some
sponsors weren't as well known as others, they did share an equal ground---
they played a part in bringing the radio programs into the homes of the listeners