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May 19, 2005

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Jim Hawthorne

THANX!!!! jh

Wendy Wham

BIG grin!

I had the pleasure and honor of working with Jim Hawthorne as his engineer at KOA, Denver in the (Aack) 1980's (where did the time go?).

He is not only an amazing human being, but is also the most creative person with whom I have ever worked-- the consummate broadcast professional. Listen to his shows. It is the kind of programming for which radio was born!

Don Mueller

I first heard Jim in the mid-70s, when he did a zany all night weekend show on KOA radio. (and I have hours and hours of airchecks from that) I got to know him personally in recent years from some Denver broadcast clubs. Last year Channel Nine News in Denver did a nice four minute biography of Jim, including clips from some three stooges style of movies that he did with Joe Besser in the 50s! Natch, I have all of that in my archives. And 4 years ago, the Broadcast Pioneers of Colorado installed Jim into the Broadcaster's "Hall of Fame". Jim's acceptance speech was only as a Hogan-twanger would do it...

Andrea Walsh

Jim Hawthorne is indeed a radio legend, and I am a huge fan of his, having created a webpage devoted entirely to his life and career. However I must correct a couple of errors in the article listed above. Jim did NOT work with Ernie Kovacs nor did he work with the three stooges' Curly Joe DeRita. He DID star in a few Columbia shorts with Joe Besser right before Columbia stopped making shorts in the early fifties. He also informally worked with Stan Freberg early in both their careers and a transcription survives of Jim interviewing Stan on KNX radio in the 50's.
I am glad Jim's work continues to find new fans, as it's funnier and more subversive than anything on current commercial radio, in my opinion. To find out more info on Hawthorne, please check out my website at www.jimhawthorne.com

Mel Baldwin

In brief, when Steve Allen left KNX at the end of 1951, they held auditions for his replacement, different one each night for a week, Winner, Bob Hopkins..lasted month or so, and folded..I had auditioned fron Tillamook Oregon (station Mgr), 'cause I met Steve and then wife Dorothy on vacation in 1950 in LA. Used to send him jokes, etc..became his "Tillamook Reporter". I wrote Steve, told him or gantg would miss him..wished I was there to audition too,
Steve called, caid if I was serious he'd put in a good word for me. I called Geo Allen, (P.D)..ended up getting hired as staff anouncer, started Feb 4/51. When Hopkins folded the old Allen spot becamne the"Mel Baldwin Show". All set to go back to the big studio after a month or so..then NY called and asked who was in the olf Allen spot? Learned later, a secretary told NY, "Mel Baldwin, he's a DJ from Oregon". NY decided they need at "Name" and bought Hawth's contract from KNBC as I recall. I became the "Hawthorne Show" Director, until he left KNX..Did some skits with Hawth and Bill Norman and Don Messick in a bit acalled the "Columbia Square Table" which we originated as a take off of the old Peter Potter "Juke Box Jury", or whatever it was called. A FUN tenure for all of us. I went on to host the American airlines- KNK all night "Music 'Til Dawn" for 13 years, then the same show at WBBM in Chicago 'til it went off the air, then switched to an allnight news anchor (worst gig in the biz). Ended up with an 11 year final KNX gig as co host of the KNX Food News, retiring in 1991. Outside of that nothing much happened.
Miss Hawth, but we email back and forth now,,wonderful, talented man.

Mel Baldwin

Mel Baldwin

Anybody want to hear about Hawthorne's syndicated"Funnyworld"five minute feature which a buddy and I wrote for Jim? How it was put together?
Second worst job!
Mel Baldwin

Mel Baldwin

In my July 5th posting I mentioned Hawth's "Funny World" TV series, asking if anyone wanted the background to let me know. Andrea Walsh replied (she also has a Hawth site at: www.jimhawthorne.com) so here's that story:
Sherm Grinsberg had the world's largest collection of old, old film clips on "stuff"..chimps having a party/riding bikes/planes crashing thru barns/idiot flying machines/head-on train crashes.. etc.This was back in the early 50's, about. I was then directing the KNX "Hawthorne Show" and staff announcing at KNX, (prior to my 13 year stint hosting the all nite American Airlines "Music 'Til Dawn" which started on KNX in '53.) My writing partner, the late Ken Finley was then Operations Director for ABC TV at the Prospect/Talmidge studios. (We had co-written "stuff" at KEX Portland before the move to Hllyd) and also later wrote Hawthorne's daily five minute Weather shot on KNBC-TV. We were tasked to write "Hawthorne's Funny World". Somebody else cut out clips and ran them together BEFORE Ken and I had seen them! We had to write Hawth's script, giving it some kind of continuity with clips running from five seconds to eight or ten! I think we did about 130 or 156 of the damn things, which Hawth managed to pull off okay. Years ago I saw them on re-runs, still! So here's another bit about Hawthorne's interesting past.
Mel Baldwin 7/18/05

Mike Altman

Mel Baldwin is "My Hero"! I used to listen to MTD when I was a broadcasting student at WSU. His wonderful easy announcing style greatly influenced my own announcing style.

We met for the first when I was attending Radio Operational Engineering School in Burbank in the late 50's. It was such a pleasure to meet him in person.

Sam Schatz, who worked at KNX at the time enabled my college buddy, Allan McMillan, and I to meet Mel and Hal Owen, his engineer.

Later, when I was working at KTNT-TV in Seattle-Tacoma, when vacationing in Los Angeles, I wrote to Mel and met him once again at Maples Restaurant across the street from KNX. It was wonderful!

My college roommate, Dale Wile, and his fiance' used to court to the sounds of Acquaviva and then Cy Mann as they played the theme of MTD, "That's All."

I would very much like to hear from Mel Baldwin if that is possible. I don't want anything from him nor am I selling anything. I want to thank him in person and tell him that perhaps unbeknownst to him, he had a positive influence on my broadcasting career.

Mike Altman
Spokane, WA
[email protected]

Ron Angle

In another time, and sometimes it seems in another world, there was RADIO. It was as much a part of our lives as television was thirty years ago and the Internet is today.

Born in 1942, I literally grew up in front of big and boxy radio receivers. The radio was the second most important piece of furniture in the living room; a couch was necessary for the adults to sit upon while listening to the radio. Children were relegated to the carpet, which actually provided better access to the speakers.

Like most things that you are exposed to at an early age, one does not easily forget the magic of radio. As I morphed into adolescence, I still had a radio at my bedside. Late at night, there was a whole world of voices fading in and out on AM radio. From my home in Southern California, I could pick up stations all the way back to the Midwest, providing a cornucopia of content and local minutiae.

And when it was time to wrap it all up, I always drifted back to the staple of my late night life: Mel Baldwin and Music ‘til Dawn. I listened to MTD from KNX, and later fought static and fadeouts, to follow his programming from Chicago.

Tonight, while attempting to track some career details on another radio icon, Wolfman Jack, I stumbled upon a series of links that brought me to this site. And to a reunion of sorts with one of my personal radio idols, Mel Baldwin.

Listening to Music ‘til Dawn was like having a very personal conversation with Mr. Baldwin, except that thousands of other listeners were somehow eavesdropping along the way.

One of my earlier links this evening was that of the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Mel Baldwin would certainly be my nominee.

Jim Hawthorne

Without ANY doubt, Mel Baldwin is not only a fine radio voice, but he, personally, is a highly creative person, plus a very good friend! Much of the success of my radio/TV/film endeavors were a result of Mel's and Ken Finley's writing. AND, I owe so very much gratitude to Andrea Walsh who came out of nowhere and created one of the BEST websites on the I-net. To know her is to love her---> (ask her husband).
As for WFMU--> THANX again for "discovering" me, again ----> 8-)

JimH

Jeff Guenther

I'll never forget going down to the old KLAC studio in Hollywood to watch Jim Hawthorne's evening show. The studio was in a quaint, old rambling Spanish stucco complex. My sister and I were hard-core Hawthorne fans. That was over 50 years ago, and I'm still a fan.

I remember Daws Butler ("South Pasadena" and "Juan Too") appearing on the show from time to time. It was great.

Mel Hall

When I was in my middle teens I used to
listen to Hawthorne on KWKW, Pasadena.
A small station located on The Hastings
Ranch at the North end of Rosemead Blvd.
If my memory serves me right, Hawthorne
nominated himself for President during,
(I think) the 1948 Presidential Campaign.
His platform was that he'd paint the White
House green. He even had a campaign song.
I remember part of it.

Vote the Hawthorne ticket,
we know you'll pick it,
and back it with all you've got.
Hawthorne in The White House
will be peachy keen,
and after a while,
he'll paint the White House green.

In the early '70s, it was my pleasure to
produce an animated TV commercial for the
San Diego Zoo with Hawthorne's son, Dar.
Good stuff. Dar, a fine, creative production guy.
Indeed, Hawthorne influenced my ideas
and conceptual approach to programming
radio stations in the early and middle '60s. KDEO, S.D., WJJD, Chicago, KQV, Pittsburgh and KRLA, L.A.
Thank you Jim. You were magnificent.

Karl Chester

I seem to recall yet another voice hosting Music 'Til Dawn out of Chicago (I think, although it might have been NYC), which was a favorite of mine as a college student in the mid-to-late '50s. A wonderful voice it was. I also have a notion that he (as host of MTD) may have been the subject of an article in Time magazine. Anyone able jog my memory?

Fabris G.Luca

Dear Sirs,

My name is Fabris G.Luca,40 years old,Italy.I'm an Elvis Presley researcher expecially on the early days.
At the mo all my researches are in relation to a book/CD project for the Elvis fan club network. It's a 3/4 CD 200 pages book about Elvis stay at SUN records done by Ernst Jorgensen(BMG chief on Elvis music catalogue) which
I'm now helping detailing the period from July of 1954 through the end of 1955.
The book will consist of more than 400 early photos - half of them previously unpublished. It's not an attempt of once again write the story of
Elvis Presley, but more a collection of information, photos, memorabilia and stories shared by fans who where there at the time. The book will not deal in gossip or other unpleasant material,it's all about the innocence of the time and the impact
of Elvis' music.We are trying to document every single show Elvis did, and we have come fairly close.
So I'm looking for photos,recordings from Louisiana Hayride (KWKH program
transmitted also by KTHS) or Opry,or any live radio gigor interview ....Big D Jamboree....
ANYTHING IS WELCOME FROM THE 50s!!

I'm trying to locate Mr Red Smith Dj then working in 1955 for WBOK radio in New Orleans who helped Elvis a lot back then (he also organized his gig in PortChartrain by the way).Could you help?
And also Lynn McDowell working WBIP Booneville Ms in 1955.

Do you have friends owning photos or recordings?
Your help,anyone's help is welcome!

Write soon

I hope this is not too much of an intrusion.

Sincerely yours
Fabris G.Luca
Elvis Researcher

Dale Robison

When I was in High School at Long Beach Jordan in the 1950s, listening to Hawthorne was a nightly ritual. I was so taken with his offbeat program, I arranged to have him invited to an all-school assembly. He was wildly different-- a radio shock jock 50 years aggo. Hawthorne brought along chimpanzee which promptly defecated on the floor of our new gymn. Rev. Dale Robison, Las Crucee, NM

Gene Poon

Mel Hall asked if Music Til Dawn on WBBM Chicago had another host besides Mel Baldwin. Prior to Mel's hosting the show, Jay Andres had that role.

In the 1960s, I heard Music Til Dawn on many of its national outlets, from San Francisco. I was an avid AM DXer (one who listens to distant AM radio stations as a hobby, for those who don't know). Long distance AM reception works only at night due to atmospheric conditions, and many of my early "catches" were Music Til Dawn programs. I'd tune the AM band after midnight and stop whenever I heard classical music! On a lowly Emerson clock radio in San Francisco I was able to log Music Til Dawn from stations in New Orleans (host Bill Cherry), Los Angeles (host Mel Baldwin), Chicago (host Jay Andres), Cincinnati, Dallas (host Hugh Lampman) and New York City (host Bob Hall). Somewhere I still have the QSL confirmation cards that the stations mailed back in response to my requests, which included sufficient programming details to verify reception. I got KCBS in San Francisco (host Ken Ackerman) the hard way: during a trip to Chicago, on which I flew American Airlines (who else?).

Later on I got some much more sophisticated radio equipment and snared a lot of distant broadcasts from around the USA and foreign lands, but the early efforts are fondest in my memory.

Sadly, with broadcasting having changed so much over the decades, it's hardly possible to do much AM DXing any more, as in today's cluttered airwaves, many of the "clear channels" in the AM band are no longer clear. Interference abounds! Distant AM listening has joined Music Til Dawn in the annals of history.

Tom Mares

I met Jim Hawthorne in 1976 when I was hired at KOA-TV, AM & FM.
He was a great friend until his death. He was an amazing talent, he had so much drive, he never stopped working and writing.
I have some great memories with Jim, great stories he's told me and my stories about times with Jim.
Rest in Peace my friend.

Here's an article after Jim passed away. It was my tribute to him in our station newsletter.
See page 14

http://www.millenddrapery.com/jessesarles/stationbreakwinter2008.pdf

Denise Perrin

Facebook page dedicated to Mel Baldwin https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mel-Baldwin/174712085956411?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Mel-Baldwin/174712085956411

Harry

While it's too bad America's first ever radio DJ and comic actor Jim Hawthorne passed away in 2007 kind of a shame, if he where alive I just wish would've interviewed him to talk about his life and career as been one of the firsts in both radio and TV and of course he made several shorts with future fifth Stooge Joe Besser for Stooge fans out there what they could've developed into a good comedy team in the first place.

christine davis

My mother worked for Mr. Hawthorne way back when. She used to tell stories of working with a particular monkey among other fun highlights. Her name was Dorothy Robbins at that time. Sadly she passed away in 1993.

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