Readers recall radio's golden days
The Old Timers; the Texas Ranger; that fine high school sextet from Hawley; and oh yeah, that young, talented but unknown singer from Jamestown. They are just some of the folks who came to mind for people when they read a recent Neighbors column ...
The Old Timers; the Texas Ranger; that fine high school sextet from Hawley; and oh yeah, that young, talented but unknown singer from Jamestown.
They are just some of the folks who came to mind for people when they read a recent Neighbors column about the radio programs on WDAY in the '40s- and '50s.
Current WDAY production director Steve Tschida had sent over a tape of clips from those shows which he'd dug out of the station's archives. It hit home with several people, including these who wrote in:
Harold Olson, Fargo - "In the 1930s, our family always gathered around the radio to listen to the Fairmont Creamery Old Timers play. They all had their own title, such as 'Charley the Can Washer.'
"In the 1940s another little band that turned out some music was the Co-op Shoppers; good toe-tapping tunes just like the Fairmont Old Timers.
"Do you know if any of these fine old folks are still living?"
No, Neighbors doesn't, Harold. But maybe somebody out there does.
Hazel Harvego, Detroit Lakes, Minn., referring to the Tello Test time program on which emcee Ken Kennedy called folks in the area, asked a question and awarded a prize to those who had the right answer: "I always listened to it and was surprised that morning when Ken Kennedy called me.
"I knew the answer and still have the 10 silver dollars that were sent to me.
"That was over 60 years ago and I don't remember what the question was, but I had always been interested in quiz shows. As a former rural school teacher, learning was important to me.
"Thanks for refreshing our memories."
The column also mentioned the Texas Ranger, who sang on WDAY. That brought this e-mail:
"My name is Dave Birklid and my father was the Texas Ranger.
"It was fun to read about Ken Kennedy, the Talent Parade, the Hayloft Jamboree. It brought back a lot of memories of when I was young and used to go with dad on some of his personal appearances with the entire WDAY crew.
"I also used to go up to the sixth floor of the Black Building (in Fargo) where their studio was. I can remember a live audience being present as there were usually a dozen or so folding chairs there for that purpose.
"Every time I hear the Garrison Keillor show it reminds me of the real thing that I experienced back in the good old radio days.
"I remember when dad came home after being in Jamestown and he told mom about a great female singer who had been on the talent show. It turned out to be the famous Peggy Lee.
"Thanks again for taking me back to the good old days."
The Talent Parade referred to above was the local talent contest WDAY held in area communities. Now, meet one of the winners.
Gail (Olson) Zimmerman, Moorhead, was a member of the Hawley Gals Sextette which tied for first place in a 1953 contest in Lake Park, Minn.
Gail says there was no cash award, "but we got to sing on the Tello Test show every morning for a week; that was our prize.
"The program was at 8 a.m., so we had to get up early to be there."
Others in the sextette were Ardell Bjorndahl, Marilyn Johnson, Pearl Krogh, Joanne Johnson and Donna Burnside.
Gail (now married to Marv Zimmerman) is still in demand as a singer for various local events. She also does a mean yodel.
Carol Bradley Bursack, Fargo, who writes the popular Forum column on caring for the elderly - "I loved the WDAY column. I remember all of that.
"We always had the radio on at noon - WDAY, of course - but it was also our nightly entertainment. Mom would have it on other times of the day, too.
"We had the huge old kind of radio."
Faye Jones, Loveland, Colo., who was Faye Oster when she lived in Fargo; her first husband died: "I enjoyed the column ... memories!
"Ken Kennedy, Pat Kelly (a WDAY pianist), wonderful!"
Indeed, wonderful memories of a bygone era.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, N.D. 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail email@example.com