Friday, October 9, 2015


Rudy Vallee may have left us almost 30 years ago, but he certainly left behind a legacy that exists through recorded sound. Valle himself paid for radio transcriptions of his Sunday evening broadcasts, and his hour-long variety program was not just among the top-rated programs on NBC, but on a whole, one of the highest-rated programs of the 1930s. During his prime, The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour, The Sunshine Hour and The Royal Gelatin Hour (so aptly named after the sponsor's product and mislabeled as The Rudy Vallee Show in numerous reference guides), stars of both stage and screen appeared on the program. Comedians performing at nightclubs found themselves with weekly radio contracts soon after their radio debut; Vallee and his producers often providing the spotlight for up-and-coming talent such as Edgar Bergen, Milton Berle and Bob Hope.

Sad statistic: Only about half of his radio broadcasts exist in recorded form. The program may not be as popular today such as The Shadow, The Mysterious Traveler and The Lone Ranger, where the scarcity of an un-circulated transcription disc means astronomical prices, but Rudy Vallee's programs are still in demand and sought after by collectors. Among the lost radio broadcasts is the evening of October 12, 1933, when Bela Lugosi, having established a reputation for his portrayal of Dracula on both stage and screen, made a guest appearance on The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour. A recording may not exist but the script does. Reprinted below are the very page featuring Bela Lugosi's dramatic appearance before the radio microphone. 

By the way, it appears the "lost" show may have been found recently. I made arrangements for it to arrive by mail on CD but until I listen to it to verify, it is safe to say the recording is still "lost." (Cross your fingers.) I rarely read or post comments under my blog posts but if the recording does exist, I will add a comment notifying everyone of the news.