Wednesday, December 17, 2008

El on the radio

It must be assumed that as with any Hollywood performer during the 30’s & 40’s, El Brendel must have appeared on many radio shows during that period, but as of right now, I have evidence of just a few appearances.

The earliest show El appeared on that I have documentation for is the first episode of Hollywood Hotel. It aired on CBS and featured an "Imitation of Life" preview w/ Claudette Colbert and Warren William performing a section of the upcoming film. Dick Powell, Rowene Williams, William O’Neal, with Ted Fiorito’s Orchestra were also featured. The air date was October 4, 1934.

We actually have a recording of the next documented show I know about. El and his wife, Flo Bert, appeared on the George Jessel show, “30 Minutes In Hollywood”. The recording came from a 16” transcription disc, so be aware that the sound quality is not the best in the world. It was broadcast on February 20th, 1938 and the show also featured the great silent movie star Norma Talmadge (Jessel’s wife at the time), Amy Arnell, Ralph DeAngelus, Tommy Tucker and His Orchestra, Josephine Starr, with guest Sigmund Romberg. The Brendel’s sound in fine form but it seems to me that the material doesn’t suit them very well and Jessel just doesn’t seem to “get them”. Judge for yourself and dig the shows sponsor:

It was also reported in the July 7th, 1941 L.A. Times that El would appear on an unnamed KFWB Sunday program where he would give his own special Swedish rendition of “The Hut Hut Song”. I could find no other information if this ever took place.

I also have a flyer in my collection that was mailed out by WABC in New York that features many radio comedians of the day telling their favorite jokes. El appears alongside Burns & Allen, Stoopnagle & Budd, George Givot, Easy Aces, and Will Rogers (which probably dates this around 1935). I assume from his inclusion, that he MUST have appeared on some show, but there's just no information. Here’s El’s yoke:

If anyone has any more information of any other El radio appearances, please let me know so I can add them to the list.


Stacia said...

Glad that you've got power again! And I am still kicking myself for losing that URL to the person selling radio shows, because they had one with El Brendel at a movie premier and I eventually wanted to get it. *grr*

Is he usually in accent on radio interviews?

Louie said...

The Jessel one is the only one I have ever heard but am always on the lookout for more.

I would have LOVED to hear that movie premier recording!

Andrew Leal said...

Impressive finds! I'd stumbled upon references to the Elster's radio work in J. David Goldin's listings, but nice to have so much detail and sound.

I've sometimes wondered if he didn't work more in the medium either because of studio committments, his work didn't translate, or perhaps most likely of all, by the time El would have been in the best position for a full-time gig or even recurring guest spots, Harry "Yogi Yorgeson" Stewart had the funny Swedish dialect market cornered on the airwaves.