Society & Culture:History
Grady Cole and the Johnson Family Singers - April 23, 1951
Following up on our previous post, here's a complete network broadcast of "Grady Cole and the Johnson Family Singers" heard April 23, 1951.
The first song on the show is “Give the World a Song”. The program is sponsored by Quaker Corn Meal and Quaker Grits. The CBS network “pip” is heard at the beginning and a CBS ID from a network announcer at the end.
Grady Cole was a legend in North Carolina broadcasting. As a young newspaper reporter, he started doing a program on WBT in Charlotte in 1930. The following year, he accepted a job at the station and was on the air for 30 years, retiring in 1961. Cole was on the air in the mornings for a couple of hours for WBT, and did the farm report and other programming throughout the day. In the 1980s, a popular public venue was named after him.
By the way, you can hear Grady Cole's hilarious 1950s "manure spreader" blooper at the BT Memories site.
The Johnson Family Singers were a popular and gospel singing group from Randolph County, North Carolina. (The Southern Folklife Center at UNC has several of their recordings, scripts, and other materials.). They were on WBT with regular shows starting in the early 1940s. This program was broadcast just a few months before their contract with Quaker Oats ended, along with their regular series on WBT. You can read a tribute to Grady Cole by one of the Johnson Family Singers in a book about the group.
Our program was transferred direct to digital from an original line check 16” lacquer from WDNC in Durham, NC.
It's too bad more of these don't survive - they're fascinating examples of local and regional Southern radio during the classic Old Time Radio era.
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