[November 28, 1928 Lethbridge (Alberta) Herald] Forty Million People Will Hear of Scenic Beauties of Waterton National Park By Radio Hook-up in States Party From Chicago Spending Day at Park Gathering Local Color (From Our Own Correspondent.) CARDSTON, Nov. 29.—With a view to promoting the general development of radio broadcasting in the Northwest by radio hook-up of 39 major stations from coast to coast and from Canada to Mexico, a party of prominent eastern radio magnates, piloted by Harold N. Sims, executive assistant of the Great Northern Railway of St. Paul, reached Cardston last night. Today they are at Waterton National Park acquiring local color and additional data on the scenic wonders of the southern end of the Canadian Rockies. Forty million people, members of the trans-continental radio audience, will benefit by this forward step in the broadcasting world, the visiting executives declare. Prominent Figures That the party is made up of men powerful in the American radio world is indicated in the personnel: John W. Elwood, general manager of programs of the National Broadcasting Corporation of New York; Raymond Knight, production manager of the same company; Edward Hale Bierstadt, continuity director; Niles Trannel, [sic] western manager; Harold N. Sims, executive assistant of the Great Northern, St. Paul, and Joseph H. Finn, first vice-president of the McJunkin Advertising Company of Chicago. Three Weeks Tour The present tour of the party, which will consume three weeks, will include stops at various pivotal points in the Northwest and Pacific coast including Vancouver, B. C. They left Chicago November 25 and St. Paul, November 26. They travelled to Cardston by "Red" bus from Glacier National park spending Tuesday night here, registered at the Cahoon hotel. Today the visitors will revel in the beauties of Waterton and they could not have chosen a finer occasion for the sky is clear and the sun bright to reveal the varied loveliness of this new international playground. Leaving the park this afternoon the party will motor to the Blood Indian reservation where they will be dinner guests of the agent, J. E. Pugh, and from the Blood reserve they will return to Glacier for a big Indian pow-wow planned for Wednesday night. On Thursday the party will leave Many Glaciers for Spokane and the Pacific coast. The visitors pointed out last night that the Canadian Rockies and the Prince of Wales hotel at Waterton, will figure prominently in the programs. They have an abundance of literature but are now searching for "atmosphere" so that radio listeners will recognize the country at once and be able to visualize it vividly, when the programs are heard. [November 30, 1928 Helena (MT) Independent] RADIO MEN BECOME BLACKFOOT CHIEFS Glacier Park, Nov. 30.—(Special)—Four officials of the National Broadcasting company were initiated into the Blackfoot tribe Wednesday night upon their return from a two-day tour of Glacier National park. The ceremonial was conducted in the private car in which the radio officials are touring the northwest for material for a series of broadcasts, planned for next year. The programs will be sponsored by the Great Northern railway. The initiation rites were conducted by Chiefs Two Guns White Calf, Heavy Breast and Eagle Calf, three of the country's most widely known Indian chiefs. John W. Elwood, general manager of programs of the National Broadcasting company, was given the name of Chief Red Top, Blackfoot god of hearing; Raymond Knight, productions manager, Chief Powerful Man; Edward Hale Bierstadt, continuity director, Chief Everybody Hearing, and Miles [sic] Trammel, Chicago manager, Chief Talk In the Air. Louis W. Hill, Jr., already a member of the Blackfeet tribe, was here to greet his new brothers. The party, accompanied by Joseph H. Finn of Chicago, vice president of the McJunkin Advertising company, and Harold M. Sims, executive assistant of the Great Northern railway, visited Waterton Lakes, Canada, and the Blood Indian reservation at Cardston yesterday. Unlike other years, the roads in Glacier park and Waterton parks are still open. [December 4, 1928 Helena (MT) Daily Independent] National Broadcasters' Party to be in Helena December 10 As a result of a contract entered into by the Great Northern railway with the National Broadcasting Corporation of New York City, Helena will have the opportunity to assist in the general development of the state by becoming a party to the program to advertise the city and the northwest generally over a radio hook-up including thirty-nine major broadcasting stations in the largest cities extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico. An audience of 40,000,000 Americans will hear the story of the northwest and its various cities each week, after the representatives of the National Broadcasting company have finished their tour of the country and arranged the series of entertainments for the coming year. Agricultural, recreational and industrial features will be utilized in this widespread plan of broadcast. Distinguished in Profession. The party of executives now touring the country will arrive in Helena Monday, December 10 at 11:20 o'clock in the forenoon, and will be guests at a luncheon to be arranged shortly. They will come from the north en route from the coast and Canada, where they have been establishing contacts, to Butte and other Montana cities, including Helena, Great Falls and Havre. Included in the party are: John W. Elwood, general manager of all National Broadcasting company programs; Raymond Knight, production manager, a man of wide experience in theatrical work, graduate of three universities and author of the best one-act play produced last year; Edward Hale Bierstadt, continuity director, author of a number of books and plays, an overseas veteran during the World war and connected with various magazines and publications and Niles Trammel, western manager of the National Broadcasting company. Purpose of the Tour. The delegation is seeking information and helpful facts to use in preparing the programs which will be presented over the radio. It is probable they will be interested in Helena's early day history, its prominence as the state capital and the scenic attractions including the historic Gate of the Mountains, the camping place of the explorers, Lewis and Clark. The date on which the programs will begin will be determined upon the return of the party to headquarters. The visit of the party is regarded important and the Great Northern program to be carried on during the coming year is expected to be of inestimable value to the territory served by its lines. The expedition is being conducted with the approval of W. P. Kenney, vice-president of the railway company. The Great Northern is the first transcontinental line in the United States to undertake a coast-to-coast radio broadcasting program. [December 11, 1928 Helena (MT) Daily Independent] National Broadcasters Tour State to Arrange Program for Advertising Gathering material from pioneers of Lewis and Clark counties and from the state historical library, two of the four officials of the National Broadcasting company of New York yesterday spent the afternoon at the capitol following an automobile trip to several places of interest, including Broadwater and the Gates of the Mountains before continuing their tour to Butte yesterday afternoon at 5 o'clock. They arrived in Helena from Great Falls at 11:20 over the Great Northern. At noon they were guests of the Helena Commercial club at the Placer. Afterward they called upon Gov. J. E. Erickson. The officials were Raymond Knight, production manager, and Edward Hale Bierstadt, continuity director, accompanied by Howard Sims, assistant to President Charles Budd of the Great Northern. Two other officials of the broadcasting company, John Elwood, general manager of programs, and Miles [sic] Trammel, western manager, stopped off at Kalispell to address a public meeting. The material secured yesterday will be used in preparing a program which will be broadcast at intervals the coming year advertising the Northwest. Agricultural, recreational and industrial features of the Helena community will be utilized. Gigantic Radio Hookup The Great Northern, which was represented at the luncheon by J. F. Pewters, assistant general freight and passenger agent, with headquarters in Helena, has contracted with the National Broadcasting company to present a series of programs, advertising the sections traversed by the line. Mr. Knight told the club that the company he represents has four stations located at New York, Washington, D. C., Chicago and San Francisco. All told there are 39 major broadcasting stations joined in a hookup stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico. How the programs are prepared and how the system of broadcasting is operated were explained fully by Mr. Knight. The programs he said had to be entertaining and the country and resources are advertised in a way that hold the attention of the listener. Mr. Knight is a graduate of several universities and after graduating as a law student and practicing several years he took up theatrical work. He has been stage manager for a number of Broadway productions and is the author of the best one-act play produced in 1927. Had Wide Experience Mr. Bierstadt, who was also a guest at the luncheon, is continuity director of the National Broadcasting company and is also author of a number of books and plays. Among his well-known books are: Aspects of Americanization, Sounding Brass, Lost Trails of the Spanish Main and the Great Betrayal. During the World war he was a member of the expeditionary forces in France. Mr. Sims of the Great Northern said his company was the first of the trans- continental lines to undertake an advertising campaign through the radio. This will supplement the large amount of advertising done in newspapers and magazines in the effort to attract settlers to the Northwest. [December 11, 1928 Havre (MT) Daily Independent - news from the weekly Kiwanis Club luncheon] ... Hear About Radio. George W. Padbury, Jr, chairman of the program committee, introduced Howard Sims, executive to the president of the Great Northern who explained the work the railroad is doing to advertise the northwest through radio programs to be staged by the National Broadcasting company. He said the officials had recently returned from the coast, considerably under the weather, but that two of them were able to make the Helena date. Two had dropped off at Kalispell but would shortly rejoin the party. ... [December 12, 1928 Helena (MT) Daily Independent] RADIO MEN RETURN FROM BUTTE WHERE THEY VISITED MINES Raymond Knight producing manager and Edward Bierstadt continuity director of the National Broadcasting company, who were guests of the Helena Commercial club, Monday, returned from Butte yesterday and went on to Great Falls where they will spend a day before proceeding to Havre and other points in the state. The radio men were accompanied to Butte by J. F. Pewters, assistant general freight and passenger agent and by J. F. Beckett, traveling passenger agent of Great Falls. Yesterday they learned much about Butte and environs, a good deal about Virginia City and Alder gulch, and last evening they were enthusiastic over the stories they had heard and feel they have a wealth of material for the entertainment programs which are to be put on during the coming year, advertising Montana and the northwest. The historical points of interest -- the Custer battlefield, the site of the battle of the Big Hole, the scene of the struggles of the Crows and the Gros Ventres, the trail of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the story of the discovery of Alder gulch -- the history of the state, from the time the first exploring party of the French sighted the "land of the shining mountains" down to the present day, will be sent out each night as part of an appropriate program. Will Create Comment. Next year, the radio executives said Montana will be the most talked about state in the Union. The National Broadcasting corporation has 40 broadcasting stations and a hook-up that will reach a maximum of 60,000,000 people nightly with a minimum of not less than 25,000,000. "Our hook-up," they stated, "will be along the same lines as those used in the presidential campaign but we will reach more people." The purpose of the program is to attract the people of the United States to this state to visit these historic spots. "While stressing the historical," Mr. Bierstadt said, "the industrial and scenic side will not he entirely overlooked. When the people come to Montana, the scenery, the climate and the great undeveloped natural resources are expected to speak for themselves." [December 12, 1928 (Butte) Montana Standard] REPRESENTATIVE BUTTE MEN MEET WITH RADIO AND RAIL LEADERS ON BROADCAST PLAN At the Butte Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Silver Bow club yesterday, given in honor of the Great Northern and National Broadcasting corporation officials, Butte viewed at close range the representatives of the interests that are about to undertake the most ambitious advertising program in the history of the world in behalf of Montana and the great northwest. The guests were Harold M. Sims, executive assistant; J. F. Pewters, assistant general freight and passenger agent, and J. F. Becket, traveling passenger agent of the Great Northern railway, Edward Hale Bierstadt, continuity director and Raymond Knight, production manager of the National Broadcasting corporation, familiarly known as the "NBC". The radio men and the Great Northern officials came to Butte to acquaint the public with the great plan to broadcast the story of Montana to the world during the coming year. During their stay they were guests of the Butte Chamber of Commerce whose members took them on a sightseeing trip about the city and district and through the mines. The visitors left for Helena yesterday afternoon. At the luncheon addresses were delivered on the part of the visitor[s] by Raymond Knight and Harold N. [sic] Sims. Willard Thompson, president of the Chamber of Commerce, acted as chairman of the meeting, and Samuel Parker, secretary and manager of the Y. M. C. A. spoke for Butte. Harold Sims, in a brief speech sketched the reasons back of the proposed radio advertising program which will be sponsored and financed by the Great Northern railway. Raymond Knight explained something of the plan of operation proposed, and their desire to gather information regarding the various communities in the state. ... In the course of his address Mr. Sims said the Great Northern was not actuated by altruistic motives. The railways of the country as a result of motor travel sustain a passenger loss of millions of dollars daily. The losses are in the short hauls. To offset the loss it becomes necessary to promote long distance travel. To this end the Great Northern has decided to promote the development of the northwest. The railroads of the northwest today are the third largest advertising interest in the world and the state of Montana is a beneficiary of this. Idea for Move. The idea of a radio campaign was suggested by the broadcasting carried on during the presidential campaign. In undertaking the new method of advertising the northwest the railroad is becoming a pioneer in this field. Mr. Sims expressed the opinion that community radio advertising will be the next step. Raymond Knight briefly explained the National Broadcasting methods. There are 44 key stations and two networks, the red and blue. There are studios in New York, Washington, Chicago and San Francisco. The networks cover the entire country. The corporation employs about 500 people. The corporation telephone bill is as much as $170,000 a month. He explained some of the difficulties of broadcasting. ... At the conclusion of the meeting the visitors expressed themselves as delighted with their reception in Butte. Following their tour of the state they will return to Minneapolis, Mr. Sims said, to check up on their data and to arrive at a decision regarding the sort of program to be adopted. "We don't know if we will broadcast for half an hour or an hour, daily or weekly," Mr. Sims said. "All these matters remain to be threshed out. It seems definitely settled that the radio program will be a great success. We shall reach as many as 60,000,000 people with our program for the development of Montana and the great northwest." [December 13, 1928 Havre (MT) Daily News] Eastern Visitors Return From Trip to Glacier Park Four officials of the National Broadcasting company of New York stopped in Havre last night on their way home from a trip through the northwest gathering information to be used in broadcasts advertising the northwest. The Great Northern railroad has contracted with the broadcasting company to present a series of programs advertising the sections traversed by the line as part of an effort to attract settlers to the northwest. Agricultural, recreational and industrial opportunities of Montana will be featured in the broadcasts over the NBC chain which includes 39 stations located all over the United States. The officials were Raymond Knight, production manager, Edward Hale Bierstadt, continuity director, John Elwood, general manager of programs, and Miles [sic] Trammel, western manager. The officials on their trip made excursions in Glacier National park, at Butte, Kalispell, Helena, Great Falls, and other points in the state. __________________________________
[January 5, 1929 Christian Science Monitor (CSM)] Great Northern Railroad Drives 8-Mile Bore Through Solid Rock Radio, in Nation-Wide Hookup, to Record to World the Rumble of First Electrically Hauled Train at Opening, Jan. 12 SEATTLE, Wash.--When on Jan. 12 the first train rolls through the new eight- mile elctrified tunnel, bored for the Great Northern Railway, through the Cascade Mountains, 100 miles east of here, the entire United States will be able to follow its progress by radio. To inaugurate the opening of the longest railroad tunnel in America and the fifth longest in the world, which will constitute a most important link in transcontinental transportation, officials of the Great Northern Railway Company have arranged for a nation-wide radiocast of the event through the National Broadcasting Company's network of 37 stations, in which the radiocasting center will be shifted back and forth across the United States between five points all synchronized with the running schedule of the Oriental Limited through the tunnel. Madame Schumann-Heink, George Olsen's orchestra, Ralph Budd, president of the Great Northern, Graham McNamee and prominent persons in Washington, New York and at the tunnel portals will contribute to the program as the microphone control is shifted twice across the continent to different points in the hook- up, while the first train speeds through the long burrow. At its emergence on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains, Mr. McNamee will give his impressions of the trip. ... [January 6, 1929 New York Times (NYT)] RADIO CEREMONY FOR NEW TUNNEL Dedication of Route Through Cascade Mountains to Be Novel Broadcast on Saturday The dedication of the new $14,000,000 tunnel through the Cascade Mountains east of Seattle on Saturday will be broadcast by WEAF's network beginning at 9 P. M. Eastern Standard time. The radio engineers will pay their tribute to master builders by switching a nation-wide radio audience from New York studios to San Francisco and Washington, and to mountain points between -- all synchronized with the running time of the Oriental Limited on its maiden trip through the eight-mile shaft. The voice of Schumann-Heink on the Pacific Coast, George Olsen and his music in New York and world famous figures in politics, engineering and industry at Washington, New York and at the tunnel's mouth in the Cascades will be governed by the second hand of a stop watch. Stop watches, in turn, will be synchronized with electric clocks on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, adjusted to the second with the clocks that govern the operation of the Oriental Limited. By throwing a switch the radio engineers will shift the centre of the network to the eastern portal of the Cascade tunnel just as the train approaches. There it will come to a momentary halt as Graham McNamee, announcer, presents Ralph Budd, president of the Great Northern Railway. Then both will swing aboard the starting train, and as its lights disappear other switches will be thrown and radio listeners will be transferred back to New York and Washington and again to San Francisco before the Oriental Limited emerges from the western end of the tunnel. Another microphone at the western portal will pick up McNamee's description of the first trip through what is said to be the longest tunnel in the Western world. As the train moves out of the broadcast picture and gathers speed on its final dash to the Pacific Coast McNamee will remain behind with Mr. Budd. The latter will again take the microphone to introduce a speaker in Washington, D.C. Thirty-seven stations from coast-to-coast will be associated in the NBC System for broadcasting this program, with WEAF, New York, as the key station. The new tunnel bores eight miles through the granite backbone of the Cascade Range, about 100 miles east of Seattle. Simultaneous with its opening the railway's entire route through the Cascades will be changed from steam to electrical operation. The improved route will cut an hour from the schedule of Great Northern passenger trains between Spokane and cities on the west coast, and will reduce the running time of freight trains by more than three hours. The tunnel, lined with concrete from one portal to the other, thoroughly ventilated and electrically operated, is said to be the most modern achievement of its kind in the world. Stations associated with WEAF for this event are: WEEI, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; WJAR, Providence; WRC, Washington; WGY, Schenectady; WGR, Buffalo; WCAE, Pittsburgh; WTAM, Cleveland; WWJ, Detroit; KSD, St. Louis; WHO, Des Moines; WOW, Omaha; WDAF, Kansas City; KSTP, St. Paul-Minneapolis; WTMJ, Milwaukee; KOA, Denver; WHAS, Louisville; WMC, Memphis; WSB, Atlanta; WBT, Charlotte; KVOO, Tulsa; WFAA, Dallas; KPRC, Houston; WOAI, San Antonio; KSL, Salt Lake City; WEBC, Duluth-Superior; KPO and KGO, San Francisco; KGW, Portland; KFI, Philadelphia; KOMO, Seattle; KHQ, Spokane; KYW, Chicago. [January 13, 1929 The Helena Independent] THE CEREMONY Seattle, Wash., Jan. 12—(AP)— With the ceremony broadcast throughout the nation by a radio hookup the Great Northern railway's new eight mile tunnel through the Cascade mountains was opened to traffic tonight. The bore, the longest in America and the fifth longest in the world, burrowing under the mountain from Scenic, Wash. to Berne, Wash., cuts two hours from east and west railroad schedules. Tonight's ceremony began at 6 o'clock at Berne, the east portal, where special trains bearing delegations from both sides of the state met. There, Ralph Budd, president of the Great Northern, was introduced by Graham McNamee, radio announcer. After a brief program at Berne which included the opening of a gate and addresses, the trains consolidated and passed through the tunnel to Scenic, the west portal. At Scenic the special train crashed through a cloth over the exit to the tunnel marking the official passage of a locomotive through the concrete lined bore. The tunnel, built in the record [time] of three years, cost $14,000,000 and is part of a $25,000,000 development project of the Great Northern railway in the Cascade mountains. [January 13, 1929 The Helena Independent] ADDRESS OF GREAT NORTHERN PRESIDENT AT TUNNEL DEDICATION, HEARD IN MONTANA Thousands of radio fans all over Montana heard President Ralph Budd of the Great Northern make an address at the dedication of the new Cascade tunnel last evening. As it was broadcast from the leading stations of the west and north west practically every set in operation between 7 and 8.30 o'clock last evening heard the railroad executive deliver a short but comprehensive address. Mr. Budd said in part: At the very beginning of this project, a plan of attack complete in all its details, was carefully worked out and this plan has been executed with a courage and enthusiasm that I have never seen equalled. Through nearly eight miles of solid granite men have drilled and blasted and mucked their way in three vears' time. The schedule of progress which was made up called for a speed that never had been approached in the world for so long a tunnel but the men were determined that that schedule should be maintained. Thousands of feet under the mountains, working at times in water knee deep with fresh drenchings at each round of blasting there was no stopping or even slackening of the pace. They changed shifts at the handles of the drills, as the saying goes. A thrilling sight it was, members of one crew splashing in and taking hold of the machines before the others let them go. A constant battering was kept up every minute of every hour of every day and every night for 35 months. Think of it! Drilling, blasting, mucking out the broken rock, then over again, eight feet gained at each round, five rounds in 24 hours, all by machinery, but machinery in the hands of enthusiastic expert workmen. There was no letting up until the last foot of tunnel had been excavated and the entire bore lined with concrete. Another group equally determined was always present at the front. They dodged in when they could to do their work without delaying actual escavation, yet without them there would have been no aim or direction to the drifting [sic] which went on at such feverish pace. They were, of course, the engineers who gave the line and grade. Contending with the many handicaps incident to the job, they nevertheless made their calculations and did their work so accurately that when they had carried the line eight miles over a mountain 3,500 feet high and back from the portals nearly four miles into the blind ends of the tunnel where the last barrier was removed, the two lines were only nine inches apart and the levels only three inches different. The completed tunnel symbolizes the main idea behind the railroad career of James J. Hill, the importance of economy and efficiency in railway operation. From the very beginning his policy was to be sure of the country through which he was to build then to strive for the lowest possible operating costs for the benefit both of the railway and the producers. This idea seems to have been as clearly in his mind in the very first days of his railroad venture as it ever was. Before his rails had reached Montana he was telling Marcus Daly in Butte that he hoped by giving low rates to enable shippers to largely increase their business. He said, "What we want over our low grades is a heavy tonnage and the heavier it is the lower we can make the rates." When he talked of building railways according to his standards, people laughed at him for thinking a transcontinental line could be built without government aid and his proposed line was called Hill's Folly. Today, the folly of any other basis for railway production is so well recognized that we forget it ever was otherwise. Thirty-six years ago Hill's folly reached Puget Sound, the golden spike being driven a short distance west of here on January 7, [sic] 1893. The Great Northern is the only transcontinental railway that has earned and paid dividends every year since that date. In 1914, when Mr. Hill made his last trip over the entire line I was privileged to be on the train and to hear him discuss various future plans. Among them he mentioned a tunnel such as this and said, "Some of you will live to see this mountain line eliminated." It is therefore with the greatest satisfaction that I am now able on behalf of the directors and stockholders of the Great Northern railway to dedicate this tunnel to the illustrious founder, the Empire Builder, James J. Hill. [January 14, 1929 Associated Press article in CSM] Radio Helps Open Bore in Mountain / Listeners-In Hear Train as It Enters and Leaves New Cascade Tunnel SCENIC, Wash. (AP)--While a nation listened to ceremonies radiocast from both the east and the west coasts of the United States, America's longest railroad tunnel was dedicated here Saturday night. The tunnel, bored 7.79 miles through the Cascade Mountains between eastern and western Washington by the Great Northern Railroad, was dedicated to the memory of James J. Hill, "Empire Builder," and founder of the line, by Ralph Budd, president of the road. President-elect Hoover spoke into the microphone from his home in the City of Washington, as did J. W. [sic] Campbell of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Gen. W. W. Atterbury, president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, spoke from New York. A microphone was taken aboard the special train as it hesitated at the east portal of the tunnel at Berne, where Mr. Budd uttered the words which formally dedicated the great bore. [January 14, 1929 Washington Post] The regular Monday night features will be offered in due order from WRC, an exception being the Great Northern program at 10:30 o'clock. ... [January 15, 1929 CSM column The Listener Speaks] ... Following the success of their Cascade Tunnel program on Saturday Night the Great Northern Railroad offered at 10:30 the first of a series of "Empire Builders" programs. An "Old Timer" introduced the story of James Hill, the Ontario boy who through the influence of a kindly English Quaker was inspired with a vision of the future of the Northwest which resulted in his building of this railroad. ... [January 16, 1929 Variety radio column] ... Networking Feat Another of those engineering feats of networking the country and spanning 3,000 miles from coast to coast to pick up an artist came into use as part of the Great Northern Railway's hour in connection with the inaugural festivities attending the opening of the Cascade Tunnel in the state of Washington. President-elect Hoover, General W. W. Atterbury, president of the Pennsylvania R.R., and other notables spoke, George Olsen's music was etherized from New York and Mme. Schumann-Heink was picked up in San Francisco, while Graham McNamee from Scenic, Wash., railroad siding, m. c.'d the entire affair. One was more awed by the technical achievement of the hook-up and the niceties of electrical engineering that thus span the country, than the program matter. After all, a speech is a speech on the radio. That's why, national presidents- elect and railways presidents or not, it was dance band that was the hit of the hour, viewed only from one light, that of audience reaction. Posterity can get the dope on the tunnel out of history books. The Cascade Tunnel hoop-dee-doo ran overtime. This made Rolfe's Lucky Strike hour late, and also the ensuing Ponce Sisters with their pleasing harmonics. The Ponce girls, whose cute personality is plenty in evidence on an M-G-M talking short, should go in more for personal stage appearances. ... __________________________________
__________________________________ [January 21, 1929 The Decatur (IL) Review] ... History in the making during pioneer days of the great northwest will be re-enacted for radio listeners Monday night. In the "Empire Builders" broadcast, over the WEAF network 9:30 feature the dog sled journey of James J. Hill from St. Paul to Winnipeg. Later, in the same program, listeners will hear the arrival of the first locomotive in Winnipeg in 1877. ... __________________________________ [January 28, 1929 episode described in January 23 CSM] ... The third [of a] series of dramatic episodes in the life of James J. Hill, pioneer of the great Northwest, will be heard from coast to coast in "The Empire Builders" sketch over the NBC on Monday evening, Jan. 28, at 10:30, eastern time, or 7:30 Pacific time. The aggressive courage of Mr. Hill is portrayed on this date by a courtroom scene in which the hero personally outlines his progressive policies for developing the Northwest. The scene is laid in a courtroom in St. Paul where railroad litigation is under way and solemn attorneys consider Mr. Hill's interjections distinctly "out of order" in view of the cautious conservatism of most railroad cases. Associated in the NBC System for "The Empire Builders" are WEAF, WEEI, WTIC, WJAR, WTAG, WCSH, WLIT, WRC, WGY, WGR, WCAE, WTAM, WWJ, WGN, KSD, WTMJ, KOA, WHAS, WMC, WSB, WBT, WFAA, KPRC, WOAI, WKY, WEBC, KYW, KPO, KGO, KFI, KGW, KOMO and KHQ. [January 28, 1929 NYT] "James J. Hill" [January 28, 1929 Washington Post] ... History in the making during pioneer days of the great Northwest again will be reenacted for radio listeners to the third broadcast of "The Empire Builders" at 10:30 o'clock tonight. ...
__________________________________ [February 4, 1929 Hartford Courant] ... The discovery of the Columbia River in the Northwest in 1797 will be dramatized by the Empire-Builders over the Travelers station beginning at 10:30 o'clock tonight. The story of the voyage of the schooner "Columbia" from Boston and the success of Captain Gray, American merchantmen, where French and Spanish explorers had failed to discover the mythical river known to Indians as the Oregon will be told at this time. ... [February 5, 1929 CSM column The Listener Speaks] ... The "Empire Builders'" program last Monday took the usual form of a story, interspersed with many good-humored chuckles, by the "old timer," with occasional portions of it in dramatized form. The discovery of the Columbia River by Capt. Robert Gray of Boston in 1792 was the topic chosen. The first dramatized scene disclosed the deck of the little sloop Lady Washington, as it left the New England harbor to the tune of lusty chanties. The next depicted the first shore leave on the Oregon coast after nine months' sailing on the way round the Horn. The leave was short and not very sweet since it ended in hasty retreat before unfriendly Indians to the accompaniment of discharging firearms of various descriptions. The third scene revealed Captain Gray and his men amongst the singing maidens of the Orient whither they had sailed with a cargo of furs on the Columbia which had accompanied them to the west coast under Captain Kendrick. The "old timer" recounted this vessel's circuit of the world, the first under the American flag, and the arrival in Boston in August 1790, after 13 months at sea. He then told of the second voyage begun after only one month at home and continued until the discovery of the Columbia River two years later. The voice of the story teller in this program was most effective but the dramatized episodes were not convincing as portrayals of open-air scenes since the slight reverberation of the studio was very apparent. ... [February 5, 1930 Hartford Courant column Through The Microphone by Julia S. Older] ... the Empire Builders' sketch, which was excellent in itself ... would have profited greatly had those who presented it had another rehearsal; ... __________________________________ [February 11, 1929 Washington Post column headlined: Concert Bill From West Is Featured / Oregon Orchestra Slated to Play Over Coast-to-Coast Hookup Through WRC; "Two Orphans" on WMAL Program.] The Portland Symphony Orchestra, of Portland, Oreg., will be the first organization of its kind to be broadcast in a nation-wide hook-up from the Pacific Coast at 10:30 o'clock tonight. This orchestra is offered during "The Empire Builders" program, which is broadcast through WRC. Willem Van Hoogstraten, well known to the Eastern audience through the stadium concerts broadcast by the National Broadcasting Co. last summer will conduct the orchestra in its first coast-to-coast concert. The Portland orchestra was organized about twenty years ago and is one of the leading symphony units on the Pacific Coast. The program includes Schubert's "Rosamundo Overture," the Strauss composition "Artist's Life, and "March of the Sardar" from the "Caucasian Sketches" of Ippolitoff Ivanov. "The Empire Builders" is a new feature on the air, having been heard only three weeks or so, and is sponsored by the Great Northern Railway with the object of acquainting Southern and Eastern listeners with the Northwest. ... [February 11, 1929 Oakland (CA) Tribune] ... "The Empire Builders" is a weekly transcontinental program usually broadcast from New York through NBS [sic] system stations on Mondays, but will originate in Portland, Ore., tonight. Featured during the half-hour broadcast next [sic] Monday will be the Portland Symphony orchestra under the direction of William Van Hoogtraten. Jennings Pierce, chief announcer and assistant program director of the NBC's San Francisco studios, will be in Portland to announce the program. ... [February 12, 1929 CSM column The Listener Speaks] ... Another program on Monday night to originate in two far distant points was the "Empire Builders" Hour at 10:30 which opened and closed with remarks on the founding and growth of Portland, Ore., by the "Old Timer" in New York and in the middle offered a fine concert by the Portland Symphony Orchestra under Willem Von Hoogstraten in that city. Several numbers were played including the fourth movement from Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, Schubert's "Rosamunde" Overture and the "March of the Sirdar" from Ippolitoff-Ivanov's "Caucasian Sketches." A friendly message from the Mayor of Portland was also read. The occasion was of unusual interest since it marked the first time that a nationally known orchestra had played in a Pacific coast city for the pleasure of listeners from one side of the continent to the other. ... __________________________________ [February 18, 1929 NYT] "Lewis and Clark" [February 18, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Clark and Lewis Become Empire Builders. The expedition of Capt. George Clark and Capt. Merriweather Lewis in the administration of President Jefferson will be recreated for listeners in two broadcasts of the Empire Builders over a coast-to-coast network of the NBC system Feb. 18 and Feb. 25. Weekly programs in the Empire Builders series are on the air each Monday at 9:30 p. m., with WRR transmitting for WFAA. The first program devoted to Clark and Lewis depicts the start of the expedition and its arrival on the west xoast three weeks after their ship had started back after giving them up for lost. The second program, Feb.25, will portray the hazardous journey back from the coast by an overland route. In the opening chapters of the Clark and Lewis saga, listeners may attend the start of the two-year journey and hear them as they plunge into the unknown from the jumping-off place at St. Louis. A feature of the first chapter is the incident at Great Falls, where a cloudburst swelled the river and swept their encampment from the banks like so many flies. [February 19, 1929 CSM column The Listener Speaks] ... The Great Northern Railway's "Empire Builders" series continued this week at 10:30, eastern time, with the first of two programs telling the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition into the West. The most thrilling incident was the cloudburst at Great Falls, in which their encampment was entirely swept away. The "old timer" left them, in his description, comfortably established in the good graces of the Shoshone Indians with whom they will remain until next Monday. They will then travel back by the Overland route. At the conclusion of the story a long telegram from the Governor of Montana in which the progress of that State was clearly set forth was read as an interesting commentary upon the rapid development in the country explored by Lewis and Clark. ... __________________________________ [February 25, 1929 Washington Post] ... The hazardous return journey of Clark and Lewis by the overland route from San Francisco after missing their steamer there, will be depicted in the next chapter of the historic series on "The Empire Builders" to be broadcast from WRC at 10:30 o'clock tonight. ... __________________________________ [March 4, 1929 NYT] "Lewis and Clark" __________________________________ [March 11, 1929 NYT] "The Northwest" [March 11, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders Will Tell California History. Three episodes in the history of California will be the theme of the "Empire Builders'" program to be broadcast over the NBC system Monday from 9:30 to 10 p. m. The events will be dramatized with a background of appropriate music. WRR will transmit for WFAA. The first scene will be laid in San Carlos Mission, Monterey, founded 1770, by Gaspar Portola, of the Franciscan Order. It will portray the life of that time and the work of these Spanish missionaries among the Indians of California. The second scene will bring the Americans on the scene. The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill brought the gold rush of '49, and Americans by thousands were coming to the new "El Dorado." Carefree indolence of the spanish dons gave way to the tempestuous driving force of the Argonauts. Lastly, will be modern California, with its thriving cities, picturesque beaches, forest monarchs and lofty mountains, and with this episode the radio audience will hear a short message from one of the State's leading citizens. The "Old Timers" [sic] will be master of ceremonies of this program sponsored by the Great Northern Railway. __________________________________ [March 18, 1929 NYT] "The Northwest" __________________________________ [March 23, 1929 Havre Daily News Promoter] Great Northern Will Broadcast Program Mon. Special Program on Exploration of Mississippi River Valley by Pierre de la Verendrye Kenneth J. Holmes, local G. N. freight agent, announced this morning that the Great Northern will present an "Empire Builders" radio program Monday, March 25, at 8:30 mountain time. The program reviews the exploration of the Missouri river valley by Pierre de la Verendrye, in 1783, who was searching for the ever receding short route to India. Verendrye was the first white man to tread the soil of the present state of North Dakota and Monday night's program will show how the great agricultural development of the state during the last two centuries had its beginning in diversified crop practice of the Indians. A second feature of the Great Northern's program will be the Indian songs of Juliette Gaultier de la Verendrye, a direct descendant of the French explorer. She has a mezzo-soprano voice, has studied under Vencenzo Lombardi, a teacher of Caruso, and sings to accompaniment of Indian tom toms. The program will be broadcast from the following stations: WSB, Atlanta; WEEI, Boston; WGR, Buffalo; WBT, Charlotte; KYW, Chicago; WTAM, Cleveland; WFAA, Dallas-Fort. Worth; WOC, Davenport; KOA, Denver; WWJ, Detroit; WTIC, Hartford; KPRC, Houston; WDAF, Kansas City; KFI, Los Angeles; WHAS, Louisville; WMC, Memphis; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WEAF, New York; WOW, Omaha; WCSH, Portland; KSD, St. Louis; KSTP, St. Paul; KSL, Salt Lake City; KPO, San Francisco; KOMO, Seattle; KHQ, Spokane, and WRC, Washington. [March 25, 1929 NYT] "The Northwest" [March 25, 1929 Washington Post] ... The exploration of the Missouri River Valley, by Pierre de la Verendrye in 1738, who was searching for the ever receding short route to India, is the theme of the "Empire Builders" tonight. A feature will be Indian songs by Juliette Gaultier de la Verendrye, a direct descendant of the French explorer. ... __________________________________ [April 1, 1929 episode described in March 27 Helena Daily Independent] Author of "Tish" in Glacier Park Broadcasts Monday Eve A dramatized "My Country Tish of Thee" will feature the Empire Builder's program next Monday night at 8:30 o'clock. Mary Roberts Rinehart, the author has given her consent and this humorous story of a middle-aged trio of "old maids" will be presented in the form of a radio drama. The three women, imbued with the "See America First" idea, decide to tour Glacier National park. Letitia Carberry, or Tish for short, is the principal character and as leader of the "M. A. T." (Middle Aged Trio) stages a coup resulting in the capture of a bandit gang which had just made a "stick up." The reason for the apprehension of these villains was Tish's desire to bring to public ridicule a group of movie heroes with a holdup and robbery as the climax. The three women under the direction of Tish surprise the supposed film heroes at night, force them into subjection with the threat of wooden revolvers whittled for the occasion and then lead them in captivity to the Many-Glacier hotel. Find Real Bandits. There they learn that their prisoners are real bandits with a reward on their heads and Tish has to take a cocktail to quiet her nerves. The story is humorous from beginning to end with the author at her best in describing the park tour of the M. A. T. Monday night's program which is sponsored by the Great Northern railway, will be broadcast between 7:30 and 8 o'clock Pacific coast time, 8:30 and 9 Mountain time, from these stations: WSB, Atlanta; WEEI, Boston; WGR, Buffalo; WBT, Charlotte; KYW, Chicago; WTAM, Cleveland; WFAA, Dallas-Ft. Worth; WOC, Davenport; KOA, Denver; WWJ, Detroit; WTIC, Hartford; KPRC, Houston; WDAF, Kansas City; KFI, Los Angeles; WHAS, Louisville; WMC, Memphis; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WEAF, New York; WKY, Oklahoma City; WOW, Omaha; WLIT, Philadelphia; WCAE, Pittsburgh; WCSH, Portland, Me.; KGW, Portland, Ore.; WJAR, Providence; KSD, St. Louis; KSTP, St. Paul; KSL, Salt Lake City; KPO, San Francisco; KGO, San Francisco; WGY, Schenectady; KOMO, Seattle; KHQ, Spokane; WEBC, Superior; WRC, Washington; WTAG, Worcester. [April 1, 1929 episode described in March 27 CSM] "Tish" Dramatized in 'Empire Builders' Program A dramatization of one of the famous "Tish" stories by Mary Roberts Rinehart will be the next chapter of "The Empire Builders" over the NBC coast-to-coast system, Monday evening, April 1, at 10:30, eastern time (which is 7:30 Pacific time). The story tells of the extraordinary adventures of the three sisters in Glacier National Park. Elderly as they were, they learned to ride horseback and to camp out among the mountains. Their adventures with a lovelorn maiden and a party of bandits furnish one of the most amusing episodes in modern fiction. The Empire Builders include WEAF, WEEL, WTAG, WCSH, WJAR, WTIC, WLIT, WRC, WGY, WGR, WCAE, WTAM, WWJ, KYW, KSD, WOC, WOW, KSTP, WDAF, WTMJ, WEBC, WHAS, WSB, WBT, WFAA, KPRC, WOAI, WKY, KSL, KPO, KGO, KOMO, KGW, KHQ, WMC, KFI and KOA. [April 1, 1929 Washington Post] ... A dramatization of one of the "Tish" stories, by Mary Roberts Rinehart, who makes her home in Washington, will be broadcast as the chapter of the Empire Builders at 10:30. ... [April 1, 1929 NYT] "Tish" __________________________________ [April 8, 1929 NYT] "Puget Sound" [April 8, 1929 Washington Post] ... The dramatic history of Seattle, Wash., will be depicted as the next chapter of "The Empire Builders" at 10 o'clock. The city was named for Chief Seattle, a Dwarmish chief, who died in 1866 and who was friendly to the whites. The first permanent settlement was in 1852. ... [April 9, 1929 CSM column The Listener Speaks] There are instances of local conflicts in interest in the course of history which, in the case of nations steeped in the thought of war, have resulted in its outbreak, while in other cases, where the people concerned were altogether friendly, they have merely been the cause of better understanding. One of the latter was presented on the "Empire Builders" program at 10:30, on Monday, in the usual combined narrative and dramatized incident form. While at the time to the individuals concerned it was a matter of the gravest importance, for listeners today its strong flavor of comedy was most notable. Doubtless many of the tense moments in history, viewed from a similarly disinterested standpoint, would prove just as diverting. The scene of this particular story was laid in the San Juan Islands, in Puget Sound, the exact status of which was left undefined by the treaty of 1846, with the result that the Hudson Bay Company and a group of American citizens were both firmly established. The first actual effort at agriculture made by the Americans was a potato patch which was cultivated in 1859 by a certain Mr. Tucker. But unfortunately these new potatoes were an easy prey for a hog which was under the control of a Mr. Griffin on behalf of the Hudson Bay Company, whose importance Griffin rather felt was centered in his person at that particular post. In the midst of a Fourth of July celebration, in which the Americans raised a flag for the first time on the islands -- this flag being made up of portions of various intimate garments carefully cut out and sewed together by hand, came the news that the pig was again devouring the fruit of Mr. Tucker's labors. A controversy ensued in which Griffin implied that the company's pig had a better right to anything on the island than had the potato planter. At this point Tucker's feelings became too much for him and the unfortunate hog was sacrificed on the altar of eventual international understanding. Tucker offered to pay $5 to compensate for the loss, but Griffin was by now thoroughly aroused and quite beyond the reach of a financial sedative. Nothing would do but that he should call for a gunboat from Victoria to protect the rights of the company. Evidently things were slow in a military way in the city and the authorities took the opportunity to send down three ships and 800 men, while from the American side came 60 men and officers empowered to settle the affair in the proper way. This end was easily brought about by the payment of $100 damages and by a definite arrangement for the joint administration of the islands until their status could be finally decided. The affair concluded with the playing by the military bands of the old tune to which is sung both "God Save the King" and "My Country 'Tis of Thee." __________________________________ [April 15, 1929 Washington Post] ... Capt. George Vancouver, the discoverer of Vancouver Island and of the present site of Vancouver, British Columbia, will live again in the broadcast of the Empire Builders at 10:30 o'clock. A biographical sketch of the man for whom the city in the Northwest was named will be the next chapter in the epic series of broadcasts depicting the growth of the Northwest. ... __________________________________ [April 21, 1929 Hartford Courant] Famous Indian Fighter on Air. ... Some unexpected revelations about the Indian wars are promised by General Hugh Scott, former chief of staff, United States Army, and famous Indian fighter, when he personally relates the story of the historic flight and capture of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces in the Empire Builders' broadcast over WTIC Monday night at 10:30. The story of "the most gallant Indian chieftain" will provide the theme of the entire broadcast on this night, with General Scott's personal reminiscences as a highlight. Listeners will hear an authentic tale of Indian-fighting days from the lips of perhaps the only man alive who took part in the particular incidents to be related. ... [April 22, 1929 NYT - title confirmed by Associated Press] "The Most Gallant Indian Chieftain" __________________________________ [April 28, 1929 Washington Post] The Post's second annual voting contest for the most popular radio features is a good cross-section of what is in the listener's mind and should be informative to broadcasters in their efforts to please the listening public. On this subject we will now allow Post listeners to speak for themselves. ... "The Empire Builders should be earlier so that children can hear it, because the stories are constructive for school children," says Myron R. Smith, 2121 P street northwest. "Paul Whiteman hour O. K. if not for that hideous George Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue.' It's terrible. George is all right, but the rhapsody is awful;" Frederick A. Gilmore, 2301 Cathedral avenue northwest. ... __________________________________ [April 29, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders to Relate Astorian Voyage. The settlement and development of Wenatchee Valley in the State of Washington form the theme of the Empire Builders' Nation-wide broadcast over the NBC system Monday night, April 29, at 8:30 p. m., WRR transmitting for WFAA. The Wenatchee Valley has long been famous for its miles of magnificent apple orchards. The program will include a dramatization of the voyage of the Astorians on their way to what became later the Port of Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River. The dramatic episodes will recount the history of these same Astorians pushing inland to settle the Wenatchee Valley, and how, through the instrumentality of James J. Hill, prosperity came to this entire area. [April 30, 1929 Hartford Courant column Through The Microphone by Julia S. Older] ... The Empire Builders program seemed to us somewhat less interesting than it usually is. The sketch was subordinated to descriptive talks, with incidental music, and the sketch is by far the most interesting part of this broadcast. ... [April 30, 1929 CSM column The Listener Speaks] The Empire Builders' program through the WEAF chain at 10:30 p. m. on Monday was not quite so eventful as usual. Its nucleus was a scene in which James J. Hill of the Great Northern Railway consented to come to the rescue of the men who were endeavoring to establish the apple industry in the Wenatchee Valley in Washington and to provide the lands for necessary irrigation and other projects which shortly resulted in complete success. This scene did not possess the dramatic or widespread historical significance which some earlier incidents brought to life in these programs have offered, but it was interesting at this time of year when the apple blossom carnivals in that and other famous valleys devoted to production of the fruit, are to be held shortly. The major part of the program was devoted to a description of the Wenatchee Valley, given partly by the apple blossom queen elected there, and to orchestra music of the type usually associated with spring. In the course of the dramatized incident a hand organ outside bore further musical testimony to the season. ... [April 30, 1929 Hartford Courant column Through The Microphone by Julia S. Older] ... The Empire Builders program seemed to us somewhat less interesting than it usually is. The sketch was subordinated to descriptive talks, with incidental music, and the sketch is by far the most interesting part of this broadcast. ... __________________________________
Part of a May 2, 1929 Great Northern advertisement __________________________________ [May 6, 1929 NYT] "History of Seattle" [May 6, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Another Chapter In Seattle's Story. Dramatic chapters in the history of Seattle, principal city of the State of Washington, will be enacted during the coast-to-coast broadcast of "The Empire Builders" over the N.B.C. System at 8:30 p. m., WFAA transmitting. Besides the high light sketches of the city's history, J. W. Spangler of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, will appear as guest speaker and give a four- minute description of the city as it is today. ... __________________________________ [May 13, 1929 Washington Post] ... The first Fourth of July celebration in the great Northwest, in 1841, when 400 Indians joined the whites in honoring Independence Day, will be depicted in the Empire Builders at 9:30 o'clock tonight. ... [May 14, 1929 CSM column The Listener Speaks] The attention of the "Empire Builders" was centered upon Tacoma in the regular weekly radiocast through the WEAF transcontinental chain at 10:30 p. m. on Monday. There was little narrative for the "Old Timer" to tell. After a few brief remarks from this genial gentleman, the first scene began. It offered a sound picture of the first Fourth of July celebration in the Northwest, which took place on the site of Tacoma in 1841, when 400 Indians joined the white settlers in listening to the speeches, and one of them obligingly stopped the crying of Diana, a missionary's baby, by executing a war dance before her astonished eyes. Three other episodes were presented, each one showing the growing city in the course of holiday festivities. There was the music of Civil War days as it was played in 1868, a pie-eating contest in 1906, and finally the marching songs of the World War as the troops returned in 1919. By the few introductory words before each of these scenes a very good mental picture of the setting of Tacoma at the foot of the mountain bearing its name, was drawn in the thought of listeners. The scenes themselves, however, were only mildly interesting compared to some of the earlier and more dramatic incidents which have been offered in this period. It would seem that further historical material of significance and interest to the general public is perhaps becoming a little difficult to find along the route of the Great Northern Railway and that programs of a more plainly descriptive nature are being introduced. There is plenty of interest in this direction to fill many half hours of radiocasting. ... __________________________________ [May 20, 1929 NYT] "Empire Builders; rescue of Major Martin and return to Bellingham, Wash., after plane crash on around-the-world flight." __________________________________ [May 26, 1929 Washington Post's "second annual voting contest for the most popular radio features" -- "total number of ballots cast was 1,184, of which the winning feature polled a net total of 630 affirmative votes" -- "The Eveready Hour" wins. Coming in at 39 with 299 affirmative votes, 117 negative votes is "Empire Builders."] __________________________________ [May 27, 1929] [May 28, 1929 Hartford Courant column Through The Microphone by Julia S. Older] ... An Empire Builders' sketch based on Mount Ranier, which began at rather a slow tempo but gained in interest and suspense as it proceeded to its climax was one of the highlights of the evening. Some magnificent sound effects were employed in the dramatizing of the Indian flood. ... __________________________________ [May 28, 1929 The Decatur Review - Listening In column item] ... The "Old Pioneer," central figure in the Empire Builders' series, has a voice very like that of Collier's "Uncle Henry." We'd guess the same man plays both roles. ... [May 29, 1929 Hartford Courant column Through The Microphone by Julia S. Older] ... Discovered: the voice of that inimitable radio personality, Harvey Hayes, heard regularly as the Old Pioneer of the Empire Builders Sketch, is Captain Wilson in Harbor Lights. It is a distinctive voice, withal, one which changes with each role, so that Captain Wilson sounded unlike the Pioneer, but his laugh is one that cannot be mistaken! Harbor Lights certainly seems to merit the popularity it has achieved during its short life, and it improves with every broadcast. It is a relief to pick out a program such as this from the welter of jazz which fills the air at that time. ... __________________________________ [June 2, 1929 Washington Post - Station WOL's independent popularity poll of radio features is won by "Amos 'n' Andy" which receives 488 favorable votes out of 557 votes cast. "Empire Builders" gets one vote. "Prophylactic Hour" gets two.] __________________________________ [June 3, 1929 NYT] "The Development and Growth of Alaska" [June 3, 1929 Washington Post] The drama in the development and growth of Alaska will be the story of the Empire Builders. Actual incidents of '98 will be included. The theme story will be that of a middle-aged, sophisticated woman of the Yukon, accused of claim jumping when she asserted her right to a portion of a very rich claim held jointly by two brothers. The program opens in a Yukon dance hall, where the claims are being discussed, and a half-dead Indian enters and says that the two brothers involved are trapped in the snow several miles away. The men are afraid to go to the rescue, but the woman leads the rescue party. ... __________________________________ [June 9, 1929 Washington Post] ... A ceremonial to dedicate the Great Northern Railway's new "Empire Builder" train will be broadcast at 8:30 o'clock from WRC. Features of the program include solos by John Charles Thomas, barytone, and Obed Pickard, who will sing old-time railroad songs. Louis W. Hill, Jr., grandson of James J. Hill, the "Empire Builder," after whom the train was named, will be a speaker, while Secretary of Commerce Lamont is scheduled to be heard for the second time the same day during this program. ... [June 9, 1929 NYT] A ceremonial to dedicate the Great Northern Railway's new Empire Builder train, which leaves Union Station, Chicago, for the first time June 10, will be broadcast over WEAF's coast-to-coast network tomorrow night, beginning at 10:30 o'clock. The dedication of this transcontinental flier will be broadcast to the nation by Graham McNamee, who will occupy a booth in Union Station overlooking the ceremonies. Other features of the program include solos by John Charles Thomas, baritone, and Obed Pickard, who will sing old-time railroad songs. Several talks are scheduled by Louis W. Hill, Jr., C. W. Jenks, T. I. Newman and Secretary of Commerce Robert P. Lamont, who is scheduled to speak from Washington, D.C. ...
[Text of June 10, 1929 advertisement in the Washington Post] Tonight / WRC / 9:30 to 10:30 / Eastern Standard Time / Gala Broadcast Signalizing First Flight / of the Great Northern's new transcon- / tinental flyer -- the / EMPIRE BUILDER / with / GRAHAM McNAMEE / America's Foremost Radio Announcer / COL. ROBERT P. LAMONT / Secretary of Commerce / THE "OLD PIONEER" / Famous Radio Character / REINALD WERRENRATH / Celebrated Baritone / CHIEF TWO GUNS WHITE CALF / Leader of the famous Blackfeet Indians / PICKARD / The Railway Minstrel / The train on its flight will broadcast itself / with unusual radio devices. / Band music of incomparable harmony. / News events attending a great transportation pageant. / Features never before attempted on a / Coast to Coast hook-up of the N.B.C. / [GREAT NORTHERN logo] [June 10, 1929 Washington Post] Robert P. Lamont, Secretary of Commerce, will speak over the radio for the second time during the day when he makes the principal address during the ceremony to dedicate the Great Northern Railway's "Empire Builder" train tonight at 9:30 o'clock from WRC. The train will leave Union Station, Chicago, for its first run during the broadcast. Graham McNamee will occupy a specially constructed booth in Union Station, from which he will describe the ceremonies. Other features of the program include solos by Reinald Werrenrath, American barytone, and Obed Pickard, who will sing old-time railroad songs. Several short talks are scheduled by Louis W. Hill, jr., grandson of James J. Hill, the famous "Empire Builder" after whom the train was named; C. W. Jenks, operating vice president of the Great Northern Railway; T. I. Newman, president of the National Ticket Agents Association, and others. [June 10, 1929 Havre Daily News Promoter] Empire Builder Train Takes To Tracks Tonight New G.N. Limited Will Go Into Service Tonight; Also Will Take to Air Over Radio The Empire Builder, the Great Northern's new fast train to the Pacific Coast, will take the rails and airs simultaneously tonight, when its departure from Chicago will be broadcast over the network of the National Broadcasting company. In rapid succession radio listeners will hear Secretary of Commerce Lamont speak from Washington, D. C., hear him ring the gong in the Chicago union station, hear the train start, get a verbal description of its departure from the observation car of the moving train and a few minutes later listen in with Graham McNamee as the train rushes through Chicago suburbs. The mechanics of broadcasting this program are said to be the most involved ever attempted. The program will come principally from the new union station at Chicago, where Graham McNamee will share officiating honors with the Old Pioneer, central figure in the Great Northern's weekly historical broadcasts. Microphones installed in different parts of the big passenger terminal will pick up the various features of the program that has been arranged to inaugurate the new fast train service. The Empire Builder will clip 5 hours off the running time from Chicago to Seattle and Portland and shorten the eastbound time by nearly 7 hours. The old William Crooks, first locomotive west of the Mississippi River, will compete in a radio audition with the big locomotive that will take the new fast train west. Chief Two-Guns White Calf of the Blackfeet Indians, whose likeness appears on the buffalo nickels, will talk in his native tongue. A military band will furnish music in the station, while Reinald Werrenrath, well known baritone, will be brought into the program from New York. "Dad" Pickard, railway song artist, and the Pullman porters' quartette also are on the program. The Indians will stage their native songs and dances. Short addresses are to be made by T. I. Newman, president of the American Association of Railroad Ticket Agents; Miss Chicago Commerce, representing the Chicago Chamber of Commerce; and C. O. Jenks, Great Northern vice president in charge of operation, who will dedicate the new train to the late James J. Hill, who is known throughout the Northwest as the "Empire Builder." Beginning tonight the Great Northern is putting eight new trains, said to represent the last word in travel luxury, into the transcontinental service. Tonight's program will be broadcast from 6:30 to 7:30 o'clock Pacific Coast Time; 7:30 to 8:30 Mountain Time; 8:30 to 9:30 Central Standard Time, and 9:30 to 10:30 Eastern Standard Time (except in cities having daylight savings time, when the time will be one hour later) over the following stations: WSB, Atlanta; WEEI, Boston; WGR, Buffalo; WBT, Charlotte; KYW Chicago; WTAM, Cleveland; WFAA, Dallas - Fort Worth; WOC, Davenport; KOA, Denver; WWJ, Detroit; WTIC, Hartford; KPRO, Houston; WDAF, Kansas City; KFL. Los Angeles; WHAS, Louisville; WMC, Memphis; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WEAF, New York; WKY, Oklahoma City; WOW, Omaha; WLIT, Philadelphia; WCAE, Pittsburgh; WCSH, Portland, Me.; KGW, Portland, Ore.; WJAR, Providence; KSD, St. Louis; KSTP, St. Paul; KSL, Salt Lake City; WOAI, San Antonio; KPO, San Francisco; KGO, San Francisco; WGY, Schenectady; KOMO, Seattle; KHQ, Spokane; WEBC, Superior; WRC, Washington; WTAG, Worcester. [June 21, 1929 CSM] AMONG THE RAILROADS By FRANKLIN SNOW NO TRAIN ever got away to a more auspicious start than the new Empire Builder, fast Great Northern Railway train from Chicago to Seattle. Its departure from Chicago on its first trip, was heard from coast to coast on a radio hookup, and the train was actually in motion before the microphone was taken off the observation car. The scene shifted to a suburb of Chicago and in a booth beside the track, the "mike" picked up the sound of the approaching train, the air-whistle sending forth its crossing signal of two long and two short blasts so distinctly that it sounded as though the locomotive were within the four walls. The rumble of the train as it passed was clearly audible and the radio audience, as far as sound was concerned, were wholly a part of the inaugural trip of the train. Prior to its departure, Chief Two Guns White Calf of Glacier Park, whose profile graces the reverse side of the coin known as the "buffalo nickel," spoke in his native guttural, the chief being a regular publicity representative of the Great Northern, having participated in its exhibit at the Baltimore & Ohio's Fair of the Iron Horse. The first Great Northern train, drawn by the old General William Crooks locomotive, was also on hand, its shrill whistle being heard from Union Station, Chicago. ... __________________________________ [June 14, 1929 The Helena Daily Independent] Great Northern Official Tells of "Pioneer's" Trip Helena radio fans last evening who tuned in on KOMO, KGW, and KMQ heard C. O. Jenks, vice president in charge of operation, with headquarters in St. Paul, tell of the trip of the Empire Builder, the new crack train from Chicago to the coast, which arrived in Seattle on time as scheduled. The talk was broadcast on a radio hookup from the coast. In part, Mr. Jenks said: "Some one said it was a simple mistake for me to make this initial trip with the "Pioneer" and Miss Chicago on the Empire Builder; that no one would thank us if we got in on time and all the world would know if we did not make the new schedule, but we are here and here on time in spite of our difficulties in pulling away from our almost too ardent friends at Chicago, Twin Cities, Fargo, Minot, Williston, Havre, Whitefish, Spokane and Everett. I am glad to be here in the Northwest again, to get into Spokane or Portland or Tacoma or Seattle always seems to me like getting home. I spent a good many years in these cities. Plays Prominent Part. "Those of you who know the history of the northwest are familiar with the part played by the Great Northern in the development of this territory and particularly of Seattle and we of the Great Northern are fully alive to what the Great Northern owes to the northwest[;] it was in keeping with this feeling of obligation that we decided to give this new faster service to the Northwest, inaugurated successfully with the arrival at Spokane last night and at the coast cities this morning, of the first Empire Builder, I should say the first two Empire Builders, because we had to run the first train in two sections. "I do not believe you realize what has been happening on the Great Northern; it takes a trip like the one we have just made to bring home the marvelous change which has taken place in roadbed and equipment; Do you know that this Empire Builder, making the trip from Chicago, used a route 61 miles shorter than the Oriental Limited used even a year ago? Ordinarily no one pays much attention to the arrival of trains except those directly concerned, the passengers and their waiting friends. But nearly every business man in Seattle keeps a check on the Great Northern. Pleased by Record. "If his eastern mail is on his desk in the morning, 48 hours after it left St. Paul, he knows that our fast mail No. 27 came in on time. We think we have reason to be proud of No. 27. I hope the fleet of Empire Builders will please you and serve many of you. The entire operating department will do its best to have the Empire Builders on time performance equal to that of the fast mail and the Oriental Limited." __________________________________ [June 17, 1929 Washington Post radio column headlined Glacier Park Radio Topic For Tonight / Vachel Lindsay Will Read Poem in Broadcast on Empire Building Over WRC; British Music Scheduled by WMAL.] Vachel Lindsay, ranked among the greatest modern American poets, is scheduled to read one of his own works as part of a special broadcast by the Empire Builders, concerning Glacier National Park, to be heard at 9:30 o'clock through WRC. Coming two days after the official opening of the park for the 1929 season, the program will contain special features sketching the attractions of the Federal preserve, rather than the usual historical drama. The Old Pioneer, heard weekly in Empire Builders broadcasts, will officiate as master of ceremonies in the Chicago studios of the National Broadcasting Co., presenting native Indian songs by Blackfeet Indians from Glacier Park, and an Indian story told by Chief Two Guns White Calf through his interpreter, Chief Heavy Breast. "Dad" Packard, noted mountaineer, will be heard in a selection of typical old-time songs. ... __________________________________ [June 24, 1929 NYT] "Glacier National Park" [June 24, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Indian Legend.--Another Nation-wide broadcast, based on the legends of the Glacier National Park, will be heard in the weekly program by the Empire Builders over the NBC system at 8:30 p. m., WFAA broadcasting. The familiar characters of the Old Pioneer, Jack, Betty and Aunt Ella will act out an old legend of the Sioux Indians, who, with the Blackfeet, were the fiercest warriors known to this country. The story tells of an Indian Princess who had three unusual tests for her suitors and of the miraculous way in which one Indian youth accomplished these tests. The program is also deisgned to stress the superb natural beauty of Glacier National Park, with the "Shining Mountains," so called for the many crystal formations which make them sparkle from a distance of many miles. [June 24, 1929 Hartford Courant column Through The Microphone by Julia S. Older] The inside story of the making of Empire Builders programs, which go off the air shortly for the summer, is an interesting one because it reveals the inspiration behind the human trademark of the program, the inimitable "Old Pioneer." Before the program was inaugurated, Raymond Knight, NBC production manager in charge of these broadcasts, spent a month in an intensive tour of the Northwest. He talked to "old timers," investigated Indian legends, became a member of the Blackfeet tribe, was guest of a half dozen others, and in other ways, thoroughly broke ground for the series. In one of the little towns of the Pacific northwest, Knight met the "Old Pioneer," a man well past 80 who had twinkling blue eyes and a huge white beard. This old man could talk for hours, about "Injuns," prospectors, informal lynchings, and wagon caravans. In Knight's nimble brain, a radio counterpart of the "Old Pioneer" was instantly conceived of. The role was entrusted to that veteran radio actor, Harvey Hayes. And thus it came about that Hayes, who isn't as old as he "sounds," has certainly created one of the most distinctive of air personalities. ... [June 25, 1929 Hartford Courant column Through The Microphone by Julia S. Older] ... Another splendid dramatization of an Indian legend by the Empire Builders ... __________________________________ [July 1, 1929 NYT] "Glacier National Park and the Waterton Lakes" [July 1, 1929 Washington Post] ... The last legend of the current series of the "Empire Builders" will be heard at 9:30 o'clock. Another Indian legend of Glacier National Park and the Waterton Lakes will ring down the curtain for the summer on these weekly dramatizations featuring "The Old Pioneers," [sic] Jack, Betty and Aunt Jane. ... [July 1, 1929 episode described in June 30 Havre Daily News] G. N. Program Monday Last Until September The Empire Builder's radio program for July 1 will be the last until September 30, it was announced today at Great Northern headquarters. The programs devoted to "selling" the northwest have been presented by the Great Northern weekly since the opening of the Cascade tunnel in January. The program for July 1 is dedicated to Glacier National park and features an Indian legend. The Blackfeet Indians whose reservation is adjacent to the park are rich in their lore built around the mountains, lakes and glaciers of the Rocky mountains. The July 1 program will consist of one of these legends which will be told by the "Old Pioneer." The programs will be discontinued after the July 1 program and will be resumed again September 30, it was announced. The program will be broadcast on the "Empire Builder" program for Monday night, July 1, 7:30 to 8:00 Mountain Time. [July 1, 1929 Syracuse (NY) Herald] The last of the series of nationwide broadcasts in the "Empire Builders" series will be heard over a coast-to-coast NBC System, tonight, at 9:30 o'clock. Another Indian legend of Glacier National Park and the Watertown Lakes will be featured. Harvey Hayes, veteran stage and studio character actor, has been playing the colorful part of "The Old Pioneer." The dramas were produced under the direction of Raymond Knight. The scripts were written by Edward Hale Bierstadt. [July 1, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--The last of the series of nationwide broadcasts in the "Empire Builders" series will be heard over a coast-to-coast NBC System, tonight, at 8:30 p. m., WFAA transmitting. Another Indian legend of Glacier National Park and the Watertown Lakes will ring down the curtain for the summer on these weekly dramatizations featuring the Old Pioneer, Jack, Betty and Aunt Jane. Harvey Hayes, veteran stage and studio character actor, has been playing the colorful part of the Old Pioneer, it is now revealed. The weekly dramas were produced under the direction of Raymond Knight, a prominent member of NBC's production staff. The scripts were written by Edward Hale Bierstadt. Another series of elaborate broadcasts next fall, under the same sponsorship, will be announced at a later date. __________________________________ [July 11, 1929 Washington Post] ... Famous trials of history, whose outcome swayed the destiny of nations, will be reenacted for radio listeners in a series of broadcasts, "Historic Trials," over WRC at 8:30 o'clock. The series opens with the trial of Socrates, father of western thought and teacher of Plato, who was condemned to drink the fatal cup of hemlock for his blasphemy in daring to challenge the existence of the pagan gods. The new series is the work of Edward Hale Bierstadt, author and editor of "Curious Trials and Criminal Cases." He is already known to radio listeners as the author of dramatic episodes in the radio series, "The Empire Builders." ... __________________________________ __________________________________
["Empire Builders" ends its run on WEAF-NBC and moves to WJZ-NBC when it returns in September.] __________________________________ __________________________________ [September 25, 1929 Billings (MT) Gazette] G. N. OFFERS AIR FEATURE Coast-to-Coast Radio Program Planned Next Monday. The northwest is again to be represented on the coast-to-coast radio programs. J. F. Kelly, the Great Northern's general agent here announced today that a series of programs designed to carry the story of the up-and-coming northwest, will he broadcast weekly by the Great Northern over the network of the National Broadcasting company. A new type of program has been evolved for the coming series. Modern romances with their locales mainly in the northwest are to be featured in especially arranged musical settings. Several well-known western writers have contributed stories for the new series while George Redman, continuity editor of the Chicago studios of the National Broadcasting company, spent several weeks the last summer in the west gathering local color and background. Edward Hale Bierstadt, author, who wrote the historical series for the Great Northern last year, has made several contributions to the new series and has been retained as general continuity editor. Raymond Knight, Broadway theatrical director, who is recognized as one of the foremost radio drama producers and who produced the Empire Builder programs last year, will stage the new series. The new type of program, with modern fiction stories, is said to afford many opportunities to picture the northwest, as it is today, its climatic advantages, scenery, out-of-door life, sports, natural resources and business opportunities. "Supplementing the newspaper and magazine advertising which the northwest cities have been carrying in eastern publications, the Great Northern is hopeful that the new Empire Builder programs will contribute materially toward making the east 'Northwest-conscious'," said Mr. Kelly. "Population is what the northwest needs, and population must come hand in hand with new industries, new pay rolls, and land settlement. This is what the Great Northern hopes to promote with its new programs, while at the same time affording radio listeners a half hour of entertainment that is distinctly different from the general run of radio programs." The Great Northern was the first railway to use national chain broadcasts and apparently will continue to be the only railway represented on the national chains. Despite the rather exclusive position the Great Northern enjoys on the air, the railway has found it advantageous to increase its newspaper advertising during the last year, Mr. Kelly said. The new series of Empire Builder programs will begin Monday evening September 30, and will occupy the half hour between 8:30 to 9 o'clock Billings time. The following coast-to-coast stations will broadcast the northwest programs: WJZ, New York; WBZA, Boston; WBZ, Springfield; WHAM, Rochester; KDKA, Pittsburgh; WJR, Detroit; WLW, Cincinnati; KYW, Chicago; KWK, St. Louis: WREN, Kansas City; KSTP, St. Paul-Minneapolis; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WEBC, Duluth- Superior; KVOO, Tulsa; WKY, Oklahoma City; WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth; KPRC, Houston; WOAI, San Antonio; KOA Denver; KSL, Salt Lake City; KGO San Francisco; KPO, San Francisco; KPI, Los Angeles; KGW, Portland, Ore.; KOMO, Seattle, and KHQ, Spokane. __________________________________ [September 29, 1929 Oakland Tribune] Empire Builders' Program Dated The Empire Builders who dramatized the discovery, settlement and early history of the West in a series of radio programs last year will return to the air in a new series dramatizing the modern development of the country west of the Mississippi when their first fall broadcast is heard through the N. B. C. coast-to-coast network tomorrow night at 7:30 o'clock over KGO and KPO. Harvey Hays, who was heard as the "Old Pioneer" last year, will play a leading part in the modern drama programs which center around American business men whose enterprises are building cities, railroads and factories where the Indian and buffalo once roamed at will. The series represent an innovation in the writing of continuities for radio dramas in that the scripts are the original work of writers who have been sent to the West and Northwest to familiarize themselves with the locale of the stories and gather background and local color. Several well known writers of Western stories have also contributed specially written playlets. The first dramalogue tells the story of a young Easterner whose faith in the West determined the location of a branch factory of a large, Eastern company. A beautiful girl of the Pacific Coast helps change the course of the West's development and brings added complications and interest to the playlet. Musical selections harmonizing with the scenes will be played. [September 30, 1929 Washington Post] ... The Empire Builders, heard here from WRC last year, will return to the air in a new series of presentations over WJZ and the blue network at 9:30 o'clock tonight. [September 30, 1929 Dallas Morning News] ... The first presentation tells the story of a young owner of an Eastern industry in love with a girl from the West. To be near her he induces the board of directors to erect their new branch factory on the West coast. __________________________________ [October 7, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--Glamorous Spanish California in the days when Russia was grasping for control of the West coast of North America, is recalled in a historical romance to be broadcast at 9:30 p. m. Monday over the National Broadcasting Company network, as the second of the Empire Builders' series being presented by Great Northern Railway Company. WBAP will transmit. The dramatization, historically authentic, is the Old Pioneer's story of the romance of Count Rezanof and Concepcion Arguella. It is located in San Francisco when the Russian nobleman came on the joint mission of securing food for his starving countrymen in Alaska and determining the feasibility of the Russians losing the feeble grip of Spain on the balmy territory of Alta California. Count Rezanof's courtship of the fair daughter of the commandante of the Presido of San Francisco and its culmination is one of the most beautiful romances of history. [October 8, 1929 The Helena Daily Independent] Radio Program Tells of Early Romance in Spanish California Glamorous Spanish California in the days when Russia was grasping for control of the west coast of North America, was recalled in a historical romance broadcast last night over the National Broadcasting company network, as the second of the Empire Builder's series being presented by Great Northern railway. The dramatization, historically authentic, was the old pioneer's story of the romance of Count Rezanof and Concepcion Arguella. It was located in San Francisco when the Russian nobleman came on the joint mission of securing food for his starving countrymen in Alaska and determining the feasability of the Russians losing the feeble grip of Spain on the balmy territory of Alta California. __________________________________ [October 13, 1929 Decatur (IL) Herald] DUMONT VERSATILE Paul Dumont of the NBC production department is acknowledged to be versatile. He happens to be the man who played an entire minstrel show by himself at one time -- just to show that he could. But he outdid himself in a recent Empire Builders Sketch. He played the part of a chairman of a board of directors and then the neigh of a donkey. __________________________________ [October 14, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--Two testy old men, one a "wheat farmer" and the other a "diversified farmer," form the background for a modern romance to be broadcast at 9:30 p. m. Monday as one of the Great Northern Empire Builders' series over the National Broadcasting Company's network, WBAP transmitting. Jimmy Swanson and Helga Williamson had fallen in love while students at the North Dakota Agricultural College. Graduation was over and they wanted to get married, but how could they when Al Williamson and Nels Swanson hadn't spoken since they cracked each other with pitchfork handles a dozen years before and hadn't spoken since. [sic] But loves find a way, as usual, and that's what makes the story. __________________________________ [October 21, 1929 Washington Post] ... Old Montana and modern Montana merge in a cow-puncher romance to be broadcast by the Empire Builders from 10:30 to 11 o'clock from WJZ and WLW. This is the fourth of the drama series being put on the air over the National Broadcasting Co. chain this fall by the Great Northern Railway. The cast includes a bunch of steer-roping cowmen, a two-gun Western sheriff, a great herd of stampeded cattle and a girl. __________________________________ [October 26, 1929 The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune article about an NBC series called "The Westinghouse Salute" mentions that:] ... The entire continuity, including the dramatic episodes, will be written by Edward Hale Bierstadt, whose Empire Builder sketches have won him recognition throughout the broadcasting world. ... __________________________________ [October 28, 1929 Washington Post] The program by the Empire Builders, to be heard at 10:30 o'clock from WJZ, WBAL and other stations of the blue network of the National Broadcasting Co., is dedicated to National Apple Week. The setting is Wenatchee, Wash., where trainloads of apples are being shipped daily to meet the requirements of this week. Andy Sanella and his recording orchestra supply the incidental music for this story. [October 28, 1929 The Kokomo Tribune] The famous apple country of the Wenatchee Valley, in Washington, is the scene of a love story in which a playwright first capitulates to the delicious apple desserts of a beautiful young Washingtonian and then to the girl herself in a dramalogue which can be heard when the Empire Builders' program is broadcast at 9:30 o'clock. [October 28, 1929 The Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle] An English writer, tired of the hubbub of New York City, is inspired to visit the land of sunshine which produced the rosy apple he bought at a fruit stand, and the decision is the beginning of a romance which forms the basis of the Empire Builders' program from WHAM and other stations of the NBC system at 10:30 o'clock tonight. Andy Sanella and his recording orchestra supply the incidental music for this story. __________________________________ [November 4, 1929 NYT & others] "San Gabriel Mission" [November 4, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--An old Spanish legend concerning the bells of San Gabriel Mission in Southern California, with the love story of an early pioneer, will be dramatized in the Empire Builders program which will be broadcast through the NBC coast-to-coast system Monday at 9:30 p. m. WBAP will transmit. Priests sent from the City of Mexico founded the mission in 1771. They were accompanied by an armed guard led by a young man who had left his sweetheart behind. In a fight with Indians the commander was injured and rescued by a young Indian girl. She took him into the forest and nursed him back to health. When the soldier's sweetheart learned of his disappearance she mourned him as dead. In his memory she cast her jewels into the molten metal from which the bells of the mission were being made. To further show her love for him she accompanied the bells to their dedication at the mission. There she found the young commander, who had returned. [November 5, 1929 (November 4?) Havre Daily News Promoter (Havre, Montana)] Great Northern Radio Programs On Air Weekly Great Northern radio programs are now on the air regularly each week. Tonight the play, "Mission Bells" will be given over a large number of stations, setting forth a tale of the early missionary period in California. A musical setting has been arranged by Andy Sanella, who appears with his orchestra. Bob MacGimsey, whistler extraordinary, [sic] makes a re-appearance in this story. The story is based upon the erection of the Mission at San Gabriel, near Los Angeles, and tells a story of love. It will be on the air from 8:30 to 9 p.m. Mountain time, Nov. 4. The National Safety Council has started its second universal series, to extend over a period of thirteen weeks. The third program is to be given Tuesday night, Nov. 5, at 5:15 p. m. mountain time. Both programs can be heard over KOA and KSL in addition to a large number of others. [November 5, 1929 (November 4?) Washington Post] ... "Mission Bells," a Spanish romance with the early missionary period of California for its background, is the story which Empire Builders will tell tonight. A musical setting has been arranged by Andy Sanella. This program may be heard from WJZ and WLW at 10:30 o'clock tonight. __________________________________ [November 9, 1929 The Helena Daily Independent] HELENA RADIO FANS MARVEL AT WHISTLE OF BOB M'GIMSEY Those who have turned the dials of their radios the past week and picked up the Empire Builder programs sent over the National Broadcasting company hookup have marveled at one man putting on a whistling solo, which includes three parts. It sounds as if three persons were whistling at one at the same time. McGimsey is being featured as an exclusive Great Northern artist. Despite the fact that MacGimsey is being lionized wherever he goes, he takes the musical gift as a matter of course and still seems more happy that he was admitted to the bar in 1923 with first honors than that his "harmony whistling" both mystifies and thrills scientists and musicians alike. He might still be known only as a brilliant young lawyer of Lake Providence, La., if he had not stopped at a friends' home one day when Gene Austin, tenor, was there. Austin brought MacGimsey north to add his unusual three-part whistling to the Blue Heaven record. Since then the versatile young man has steadily attracted more attention, until recently he was booked by the National Broadcasting company as a novelty number for an Empire Builders' program. He was in New York at the time making a series of solo records for Victor, as well as the obligato to Gene Austin and Nat Shilkret records. In addition to his unusual whistling, MacGimsey plays virtually every known kind of instrument by ear and specializes in pipe organ, piano and saxophone - - which he can also play by ear. He is in his twenties and has an attractive personality. __________________________________ [November 11, 1929 (printed, perhaps mistakenly, November 4, 1929 in The Helena Daily Independent)] WARTIME RAILWAY YARN WILL BE BROADCAST IN THE PROGRAM TONIGHT An ammunition train which developes asthma, neuralgia and paralysis just as it gets within range of the enemy's guns is the beginning of considerable excitement on a certain French railway around which Empire Builders' Armistice night story is woven. As might be expected, the Old Timer, although somewhat over age, just naturally talked his way into the service and, of course, bobs up right in the middle of things. In Monday nights' story Andy Sanella and his orchestra are all "over there" entertaining doughboys between fighting, as is also Bob MacGimsey, the three- part harmony whistler. It's a wartime railway story, dedicated by the Great Northern, to the railway outfits which manned French lines during the war. ... [November 11, 1929 The Kokomo Tribune] The quick-witted action of a girl telegraph operator and the heroism of the guards on the Great Northern fast mail result in the capture of a gang of desperate bank bandits in the dramatization which the Empire Builders will broadcast at 9:30 o'clock. The drama recalls an actual incident which took place in a small Western village some years ago. When the telegraph station operator became ill, his daughter took his place before the keys. She was at work speeding the messages which clicked over the wires when she saw a gang of bandits holding up the local bank. The fast mail train, Great Northern was due to pass by in a few minutes. She flagged the train, told the guards of the hold up and aided the men in the capture of the bandits. [November 11, 1929 Hartford (CN) Courant] ... Bennett Kilpack, director of the Brooklyn Institute Players at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, and for the past eight summers Director of the Little Theater at Ogonquit, Maine ... is a well known radio thespian, appearing regularly in such well known NBC productions as Radio Guild, Heroes of the World, Biblical Drama, and Empire Builders. In the Radio Guild's adaptation of "Cyrano de Bergerac" he played Christian; in the first Empire Builders sketches, he was James Hill. ... __________________________________ [November 13, 1929 The Times Recorder (Zanesville, OH)] George Redman, continuity editor for the NBC Chicago studios, caused a ripple of consternation in the program-building department recently when he appeared at work with an arm load of mechanical toys, children's whistles and similar accoutrements. Doubts to his sanity were cleared up, however, when he explained that he was experimenting with sound effects for the Great Northern Railroad's Empire Builders program which often require the noise of a locomotive, the whistle of a ship, the sound of falling water, or other noises hard to produce within the narrow confines of a radio studio. Since the beginning of the series it has been discovered that some times some simple device such as the mechanical toys mentioned, when amplified by the studio loudspeaker, gives exactly the effect desired. __________________________________ [November 14, 1929 syndicated NEA article as published in the Newark Advocate and American Tribune] RADIO DRAMA GIVEN DOUBLE TIME BY NBC Ten Hours Weekly Devoted to Studio Plays by Radio. ENTERTAINMENT LIKED Letters from Listeners Indicate Dramatic Presentations Are Popular. New York, Nov. 14.--(NEA)--Time devoted to broadcast drama by the National Broadcasting company has been doubled since last January, according to a recent survey, and there will be a steady increase in the hours of dramatic entertainment during the coming season, say NBC program executives. Last January the NBC presented periods of dramatic entertainment totaling less than five hours a week. In July of this year time devoted to this type of broadcast had increased to six hours and now the average is more than 10 hours a week. The reason for this increased interest in radio drama is found in letters received from listeners during the past six months. Radio plays are believed to be more popular than ever before in the history of broadcasting and as the technique of presenting a dramatic production with only dialogue and sound effects is developed, a corresponding increase in interest is expected. At present the NBC broadcasts 18 regular periods of drama each week through its several networks. Besides these regular radio plays or sketches, short dramatic sketches occasionally are introduced in the big radio revues. The 30-minute period is by far the most popular time for a dramatic presentation, according to the survey. There are 16 radio drama periods of a half hour each, one that runs an hour and one 15-minute playlet. The hour period, however, is a notable departure in broadcast procedure. It is taken up by the Radio Guild, a stock company of well-known Broadway players who are presenting a series of the world's best known plays. The guild is directed by Vernon Radcliffe, a veteran of the theater, who has had long experience in radio production. The radio stage turns its spotlight on many phases of life. Biblical dramas, one of the most popular dramatic presentations ever to go on the air according to NBC executives, portray scenes and episodes of the Bible. Historic trials, a new series written by Edward Hale Bierstadt, presents a dramatic courtroom scene each week. "The Little Drama Movement" is a burlesque on amateur theatrical groups and "Hello, Mars," Raymond Knight's new production, burlesques phases of modern life. "Whispering Tables" has an underworld atmosphere and is full of Bowery dialect, while the "Two Troupers," Maceila Shields and Helene Handin, take listeners back stage in a comedy sketch. "Rapid Transit" is based on episodes in metropolitan life and "The Cub Reporter" tells of the adventures of a youthful news-gatherer in New York. "Forty Fathom Trawlers" describes the adventures of deep-sea fishermen and "Harbor Lights," another radio drama with a salty atmosphere, introduces more thrilling tales of the sea. "Soconyland Sketches," another series of radio dramas with a long-run record, is continuing with its humorous and historical sketches of New England life. European and Asiatic legends are dramatized by the ABA [American Bankers Association] Voyagers and "The Eternal Question" is a sentimental piece with love interest in abundance. "Schradertown Band," "The Gossipers" and "At the Country Club" are comedy presentations. Presentation of radio dramatic sketches has shown a tremendous improvement in the last year, according to the program makers. The writers of the radio shows have become more proficient in painting scenery and costuming players with mere words and the actors themselves have become familiar with the microphone and its tricky ways. More and more material written especially for the air is available and the cream of the Broadway actors are entering radio play casts. __________________________________ [November 18, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--A melodrama of the logging town of Longview, Wash., in which a brave young Easterner rescues his sweetheart from certain death beneath the branches of a falling sequoia, will be portrayed in the sketch which the Empire Builders will present through the NBC coast-to-coast system Monday at 9:30 p. m., WBAP transmitting. The scene of the sketch is one of the towns of the Northwest planned by experts on a large scale. A picture of the building of a modern town with the big lumber mills and the forest as a background is interwoven with romance. Novel sound effects reproducing logging operations will feature the broadcast. __________________________________ [November 25, 1929 Washington Post] ... An Indian legend telling of the return of the buffalo after a long year of famine is dramatized in the program Empire Builders which will broadcast through a coast-to-coast WJZ network at 10:30 o'clock. ... [November 25, 1929 The Capital Times (Madison, WI)] EMPIRE BUILDERS An Indian legend telling of the return of the buffalo after a long year of famine is dramatized in the program which the Empire Builders will broadcast tonight at 9:30 from WJZ, WTMJ, WLW, KSTP, WJR, and KDKA. Through the aid of a magic stone, a woman of the Blackfeet tribe brings the buffalo to the plain below the mountains of Glacier National park. Unable to kill them in any other way, the Indians stampede the animals over a steep cliff and thereby provide meat for their starving tribesmen. Harvey Hays, as the Old Pioneer, and "Bob" McGimsey, noted whistler, are the featured players in this presentation. __________________________________ [December 2, 1929 The Helena Daily Independent] "Hawaiian Legend" [December 2, 1929 Washington Post] ... Mauno Loa, the highest volcanic peak in the world, plays a sinister role in the Hawaiian legend which will be dramatized during the broadcast of the Empire Builders' program at 10:30 o'clock. Harvey Hays, as the Old pioneer, and Bob MacGinsey, noted whistler, are featured performers. WJZ, KDKA and WLW are the nearest stations in the network broadcasting this feature. ... [December 2, 1929 The (Madison, WI) Capital Times] EMPIRE BUILDERS Mauno Loa, the highest volcanic peak in the world, plays a sinister role in the Hawaiian legend which will be dramatized during the broadcast of the Empire Builders program tonight at 9:30. Harvey Hays, as the old Pioneer, and Bob MacGimsey, noted whistler, are featured performers. The dramatization, written by Edward Hale Bierstadt, is directed by Raymond Knight. Stations carrying the program include WJZ, WJR, KDKA, KYW and WTMJ. __________________________________ [December 4, 1929 The Helena Daily Independent] G.N. RADIO DIRECTOR PLANS NEW PROGRAMS Enroute to his headquarters at St. Paul from a visit over Thanksgiving with his family in Portland, Howard [sic] Sims, executive assistant to President Charles Budd of the Great Northern, was in Helena yesterday for a few hours. While here he visited Leon C. Hurtt, supervisor of the Helena national forest with whom he was acquainted some years ago at Grankeville, Idaho, before Hurtt became a supervisor and Sims, working as a newspaper reporter at the Oregonian at Portland. Mr. Sims later was publicity man for the Great Northern and now has charge of the Empire Builder programs sent over the radio by the National Broadcasting company. He stopped in Butte to arrange for a program to be broadcasted the evening of January 20 from the New York studio in which Butte and its mining industry will be the subject of dramatization. The miles of underground working will be described and there will be, in addition, Andy Sanella and his orchestra and Bob McGinsey, the three-part harmony whistler. More than 92,000,000 listeners take advantage of the nation-wide hookup. Helena and vicinity were made the subject of a Great Northern radio program earlier in the season. __________________________________ [December 9, 1929 NYT] "The Fast Mail" [December 9, 1929 Washington Post] ... The roar of the fastest locomotives in America, speeding overland mail from St. Paul to the West Coast, will echo in loud speakers throughout the Nation as background for a swift drama of "The Fast Mail" in the Empire Builders' program from WJZ at 10:30 o'clock. ... [December 9, 1929 Los Angeles Times (LAT)] ... At 7:30 p.m. the "Empire Builders," through KFI, will present a story of how a special delivery letter reunites two lovers who live in Seattle and New York, respectively. A feature of the program will be the adaptation of mail- train noises to radio broadcasting. ... [December 9, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--The roar of the fastest locomotives in America, speeding overland mail from St. Paul to the West Coast, will echo in loud-speakers throughout the Nation Monday night, Dec. 9 as background for a swift drama of "The Fast Mail" in the Empire Builders' broadcast over the NBC coast-to-coast system at 9:30 p. m. Through the canyons and mountain passes which once concealed the robber band of Jesse James, flashes the train of unlighted mail coaches bound for Seattle and the coast to pick up the Oriental mail and rush it back east. For purposes of radio drama, one tear-stained letter in the westbound mail bags contains a desperate appeal to a former lover for immediate rescue from an imminent "marriage of convenience." Radio listeners may ride the fast mail --in imagination only, for no passengers are carried--in its dramatic flight through the gorges and tunnels to the eager lover who, of course, gets back "just in the nick of time." __________________________________ [December 16, 1929 LAT] ... The Empire Builders' program from KFI will present the coming of the white man as the theme of a fantasy which forms a portion of a modern western romance with Portland, Or., as its locale. Heading the cast will be Harvey Hays, as the old pioneer, and Virginia Gardner [sic]. __________________________________ [December 23, 1929 LAT] A tense drama brought to a climax on Christmas Eve in the observation car of the Empire Builders' program will be broadcast from KFI between 7:30 and 8 pm. As the train speeds on its way through a frosted fairyland of Christmas trees a voice speaking over the radio in the observation car brings to a conclusion the events upon which the plot of the program is built. [December 23, 1929 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--A voice on the air which reaches through a frosty Christmas Eve into the cozy observation car of the Empire Builder brings a startling turn in the events around which the plot for Empire Builder's [sic] Monday program is built. WBAP will transmit at 9:30 p. m. Gliding swiftly through a sparkling fairyland of Christmas trees, all bespangled by Jack Frost's artistic fingers in honor of the Yuletide, the Empire Builder itself affords the locale for a tense drama which is happily conclude[d] as a voice speaks over the radio. The Old-Timer and Bob MacGimsey, phenomenal harmony whistler, are on the train and contribute to the efforts of the train crew to make it an enjoyable Christmas Eve for the passengers. A jovial porter plays Santa Claus and a Pullman quartet is organized for some real harmony singing. __________________________________ [December 27, 1929 CSM column AMONG THE RAILROADS] ... The fact that rail traffic to Glacier Park increased nearly 8 per cent [from 13,700 railroad arrivals in 1928 to 14,750 in 1929] ... is interesting to note but not difficult to analyze. The Great Northern Railway, serving Glacier Park, has been the most consistent rail advertiser among western lines in eastern newspapers during the last year, and the result was an increase in travel. ... Radio Advertising In addition to its newspaper copy, or rather as a supplement to it, Great Northern has carried out an extensive radio program during the last year on a coast-to-coast network. The "Empire Builders" program, constantly improving in character, is broader than a mere bid for travel, however, for its purpose is that of educating the East to the magnitude of the Pacific Northwest, its resources, its opportunities for homemaking and its abundant store of good things. With this as a background, the radio programs have been in drama form, depicting the rich historical scenes attendant on the upbuilding of the North Pacific Coast and the inland empire. ... __________________________________ [December 30, 1929 NYT] "Seattle, the City of Seven Hills" [December 30, 1929 The Kokomo Tribune] How Seattle, the City of Seven Hills, reclaimed land beneath Puget Sound to provide greater waterfront sites, will be told when the Empire builders' program is broadcast at 9:30 o'clock. The dramalouge centers around an old hermit who resisted to the last the march of modern mechanical program. [sic] Barricaded in his shack on one of Seattle's many hills, he remained, while steam shovels, rock drills and giant scoops leveled the ground about him. Harvey Hays as the Old Pioneer Virginia Gardiner, actress, and Bob McGimsey, whistler, are featured in this coast-to-coast presentation written by Edward H. Bierstadt. (WLW) [December 31, 1929 CSM column The Listener Speaks] After various excursions into other types of presentations, the Empire Builders' radiocast through the WJZ chain on Monday at 10:30 was devoted to a dramatization of a comparatively recent incident in the history of Seattle. It was this kind of entertainment which made the first series of these programs so deservedly popular and it is evident that the sponsors are attempting to continue this interest. There is always more glamour attached to incidents in the dimmer distance -- especially in the days of explorers and venturesome settlers -- but this story of a hermit on one of the hills of Seattle whose little fortress was being menaced by advancing steam shovels was romantic and interesting enough. His devotion to a mining partner whose memory had been temporarily obscured lent a touch of genuine character to the tale. ... __________________________________ [January 6, 1930 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--The story of the exploits of Joseph Chapman, the first Yankee pioneer to settle in California in 1818 ... Chapman ingratiated himself with the natives and the hostile Spanish settlers when he successfully constructed a grist mill and ship. Romance as well as adventure come to this roving spirit when he wooed and wed a Spanish senorita named Guadaloupe. __________________________________ [January 11, 1930 The (Butte) Montana Standard] STORY OF BUTTE TO BE BROADCAST Great Northern Publicity Director Announces Program for Feb. 10. A tense melodrama with the action revolving around the mines of Butte, with the popular character of the "Old-Timer" taking a prominent part in the program, will be given national prominence over the National Broadcasting company's network on the evening of February 10, W. O. Cooper, publicity director for the Great Northern, announced at the New Hotel Finlen last night. The program, which will be one of the series of the Empire Builders' programs, which have been presented on each Monday evening during the winter, Mr. Cooper said he will truly represent Butte, its people and its major industry. Mr. Cooper will remain in Butte for several days gathering material for the story and will, during his stay, make a personal trip through some of Butte's mines to secure local color for his preparation of the drama on his return to St. Paul. __________________________________ [January 13, 1930 Washington Post] ... The dedication ceremonies of the $14,000,000 Cascade Tunnel, east of Seattle, which were broadcast as the first program by the Empire Builders, will be recalled in their first anniversary program, to be heard at 10:30 o'clock tonight from WJZ, WLW, and associated stations. ... [January 14, 1930 CSM column The Listener Speaks] The "Empire Builders" radiocast through the WJZ chain at 10:30 on Monday was worked out in a novel way. Harking back 12 months to the time of the first program, which celebrated the opening of the Cascade Tunnel by the Great Northern Railway, it presented a picture of these actual ceremonies -- even describing Graham McNamee's activities before the various microphones on and off the first passenger train to pass through the tunnel. The plan worked out quite well. According to custom there was a romantic little story upon which to hang the descriptive matter. In this case it dealt with a playwright who had been working as an engineer in order to get local color. He had fallen in love with the secretary of one of the leaders of the work. The high point of the affair was the discomfiture of a New York actress who longed for the "big men of the open spaces," but who did not desire to welcome them in return in her own city. Not realizing the young engineer's identity she informed him that she was to play the lead in his next play and was then to become his wife. As usual, this sketch was presented as a "play within a play." First of all the Old Pioneer, whose pleasant tones are always an attractive feature of these radiocasts, was conversing with some amusing English tourists as the train approached the tunnel. Waxing reminiscent, he told them of the opening ceremonies and offered to recount one of the many romances connected with its construction. Incidentally, he gave a very complete summary of its interesting features -- from the method employed in building it to the type of electric engines now used. A little music was introduced to separate the different elements of the program and "Bob" McGinsey did some more of his two-part warbling, which is pretty and birdlike enough but has been heard rather frequently of late. Its connection with the largest tunnel in North America is a little obscure. While the arrangers of these radiocasts are in [a] reminiscent mood it is to be hoped that they will recall some of the really excellent historical programs which they offered so successfully a year ago and perhaps provide some more of the same type again. __________________________________ [January 17, 1930 The Helena Daily Independent] G.N. TO BROADCAST FISHING STORIES IN DEAD OF WINTER A fishing story broadcast in winter will seem a little out of season east of the Rockies, but it happens that the gamey steelhead is at his best during January and February in the mild streams of the Pacific coast. So Empire Builder next Monday night will present a romance that is intermingled with the whirl of the reel and line, the ripple of the streams, and the lashing of the steelhead at the end of the line. The story was written especially for Empire Builders by Ben Hur Lampman of Portland, poet and nature writer whose works appeared in numerous magazines of national circulation. The cast includes Harvey Hays as the lovable Old Timer, and Miss Virginia Gardiner, whose role affords her an opportunity to sing as well as act. Incidental music is by Andy Sanella and his recording orchestra, and Bob McGimsey, harmony whistler. Many Stations in Hookup. The program will be broadcast from 7:30 to 8 o'clock, Pacific coast time; 9:30 to 10 o'clock, central standard time, and 10:30 to 11 o'clock, eastern standard time, over the following stations: WBZA, Boston, KYW, Chicago; WLW, Cincinnati; WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth; KOA, Denver; WJR, Detroit; WEBC, Duluth- Superior; KPRC, Houston; WREN, Kansas City (Lawrence); KFI, Los Angeles; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WJZ, New York; WKY, Oklahoma City; KDKA, Pittsburgh; KGW, Portland, Ore.; WHAM, Rochester; KWK, St. Louis; KSL, Salt Lake City; KSTP, St. Paul- Minneapolis; WOAI, San Antonio; KGO, San Francisco (Oakland); KOMO, Seattle; WBZ, Springfield; KVOO, Tulsa. __________________________________ [January 19, 1930 San Antonio Express - a version of this article appeared in The Great Northern Goat] Meet the Broadcasters Empire Builders Perform Amid Confusion It's rehearsal time for the Empire Builders. Musicians, actors, directors and a few privileged spectators cluster around the door of studio H on the thirteenth floor of the National Broadcasting Company building. A program in the studio ends and the big room is emptied and refilled in 60 seconds. There is much noise, much laughter and chatter and much confusion. Then Raymond Knight arrives. Knight is the production man — a title embracing the duties of director, stage manager and general supervisor of the whole show. Dapper Andy Sannella is already, there as is Virginia Gardiner, the sex appeal of the opus in a crimson evening gown, Bob MacGimsey who whistles in a manner most extraordinary, and Harvey Hays, the old pioneer. Mysterious Machines The studio is cluttered up with many mysterious looking machines. Harry Edison, once a trap drummer but now a very scientific percussionist, invented them and they are responsible for the sound effects. Here is a tall carboy of compressed air, a tiny truck with eight wheels that run on a circular track, a large affair that resembles the framework of a merry-go-round, a huge locomotive bell and an assortment of whistles. John Young, the announcer, interrupts the rehearsal by pointing at the cock. In 30 seconds the program will be on the air. There is silence. The opening announcement is read. Then one learns what the mysterious machines are for. One man lets jets of compressed air out of the carboy. Another revolves the little truck on its circular track. Edison himself gently beats on the surface of a drum with what appear to be wire brushes. Another musician toots a whistle and pulls on the locomotive bell cord. The combination of sounds apparently is meaningless. But slip into the control room where the program is heard through a radio speaker as it will sound in thousands of homes throughout the nation. Listen! A locomotive is starting. You can hear the rush of steam, the pound of piston rods and the groans of the mighty engine. The tempo increases and music is added to the other sounds until the imaginary train is flying along the rails and then it fades away in the distance. Raise That Curtain Before the last sound of the departing locomotive has died away the curtain goes up on the first scene. Knight nods to his actors and they step up to the microphone, scripts in hand. Miss Gardiner, however, might be in front of a huge audience for she neglects none of the shrugs or other gestures that seem to go with the lines she is saying. Hays, too, a man with many years theatrical experience, behind him, cannot forget the tradition of the theater he has now deserted. In the role of the old pioneer, he slouches about the studios. Even when not before the microphone he seems to be in character. Paul Dumont, who is quite mild mannered, is the villain in the piece. Dumont, who a minute before was telling someone a funny story in a corner away from the microphone, glances at his script and sees his lines nearing. [The story gradually builds up to its climax. From time to time Harry Edison works his queer instruments—the pounding hooves of a herd of wild horses, the roar of a forest fire, the swish of wind swept seas or whatever the script calls for is reproduced with amazing exactitude.] More lines. The villain is chastened. The hero has his problems solved and the curtain goes down. Edison and his assistants jump to their places at the queer mechanical apparatus. Then with the shoosh-shoosh-shoosh the Empire Builders go off the air, the last sounds the far away clang of the locomotive bell and the long wail of a whistle. [Photo caption:] Harvey Hays, above, the actor who has the part of "The Old Pioneer" in the Empire Builders, is shown in one of his few "polite" pictures. Usually he has been taken in the costume of his microphone character. The Empire Builders (NBC) are heard every Monday night at 9:30 o'clock over WOAI. __________________________________ [January 20, 1930 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--The romance of copper [?] around the ore fields of Butte, Mont. ... [January 20, 1930 NYT] ... Speaking of unusual talents, the NBC star whistler is one in a million. He whistles two and three-part harmony "without mechanical aid." When he warms up, he sounds like a flute ensemble. In the Concert Bureau program Sunday afternoon he whistled "Gypsy Sweetheart", "A Little Kiss Each Morning" and "Song of India". Have a listen. He is featured regularly in the presentation of Empire Builders. ... __________________________________ [January 27, 1930 Hartford Courant column Through The Microphone by Julia S. Older] Because of a change in plans for the Arctic Air Patrol's mid-winter maneuvers, a dramatization of that event originally scheduled for tonight's Empire Builders program has been postponed one week. A story of Hugh Monroe, young employee of the Hudson Bay Company and a Blackfoot Indian princess will be presented tonight (WBZ and WJZ at 10:30.) [January 27, 1930 NYT] "A Blackfoot Romance" [January 27, 1930 various] "Arctic Patrol" [January 27, 1930 Washington Post] 10:30 p. m. --(WJZ, WBAL) Empire Builders to Report Aircraft Maneuvers. [January 27, 1930 Decatur Daily Review] ... Aircraft maneuvers of the Arctic Patrol of the Army Air corp between Selfridge Field, Mich., and Spokane Wash., will be dramatized in the Empire Builders program at 9:30 through the Blue network. [January 27, 1930 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.-- The aircraft maneuvers of the Arctic patrol of the First Pursuit Group of the Army Air corp which takes place over a 1,750-mile "battle front" reaching from Selfridge Field, Mount Clemons, Mich., to Spokane Wash., will be dramatized when the Empire Builders' program is broadcast through the NBC system Monday at 9:30 p. m., WBAP transmitting. Major Ralph Royce, commanding the flight, and Sergeant Kenneth Wilson, air corps signal expert, will tell the radio audience of the hazards, incidents and purpose of the Arctic patrol. Unusual sound effects will be heard, including the taking off and landing of planes fitted with skiis instead of wheels, and short-wave radio signals used during the maneuvers. __________________________________ [February 3, 1930 The Helena Daily Independent] EMPIRE BUILDERS PUT ON "SNOWBIRD" DRAMA Of special interest to radio fans of Helena will be the program to be broadcast tonight by the Empire Builders, in which will be dramatized a news event almost before the newspaper ink has dried. The gruelling midwinter test flight of the army squadron of 22 planes over the Northwest affords basis for this fictional story, which begins in the city news room of a Montana paper. Flight Commander Major Royce and Sergeant Kenard D. Wilson play their roles in person, while Miss Virginia Gardiner, versatile leading lady of the Empire Builders' company takes the role of the girl reporter, the heroine of the story. And, as usual the Old Timer, played by Harvey Hays, is among those present. Bob McGimsey, harmony whistler, and Andy Sanella's orchestra furnish the incidental music. The program will be broadcast over a string of stations from 8:30 to 9 o'clock, mountain standard time. __________________________________ [February 9, 1930 Oakland Tribune] Radio Drama On Air Monday What is believed to be the most difficult bit of radio melodrama thus far attempted will be heard during the Empire Builders presentation over the NBC coast-to-coast system tomorrow, between 7:30 and 8 p. m. on KGO. The dramatic climax of the play, which revolves about a copper mine a half- mile underground at Butte, Montana, comes when a half-mad employee attempts to drive an elevator over the top of its frame on the trip up from the depths of the mine at a mile-a-minute pace. Virginia Gardiner plays the role of the heroine whose quick wit saves the situation. Musical effects will be provided by Andy Sannella and his orchestra, while sound effects will be contributed by Harry Edison, sound effect technician. Harvey Hays will narrate the story. W. O. Cooper, a Chicago writer, made a special trip to the Butte mines to secure material for this drama. With whistling solos by Bob MacGimsey to complete the program, the broadcast will be heard through NBC system stations: KGO, Oakland; KHQ, Spokane; KOMO, Seattle; KGW, Portland, and KFI, Los Angeles on the Pacific coast. [February 10, 1930 (printed, perhaps mistakenly, in January 20 NYT)] "Copper" [February 10, 1930 Decatur Evening Herald] ... A half mile below the surface of the earth in the vast honeycombed recesses of the Copper mines which underlie the city of Butte, Mont., lies the scene of the drama which the Empire Builders, featuring Harvey Hays and Virginia Gardiner, will broadcast through the NBC system at 9:30 o'clock tonight. [February 10, 1930 The Helena Daily Independent] RADIO PLAY ON BUTTE TO BE ON AIR TONIGHT The city under the richest hill on earth is the locale of a melodrama which Empire Builders will broadcast tonight. The Old Timer, played by Harvey Hays, takes the listeners a half-mile underground with him, into the copper mines underlying Butte. The rescue that is effected when a crazed employe seizes control of the hoisting apparatus on the surface and attempts to run the elevator cage at its mile-a-minute pace up over the hundred foot frame at the top of the shaft, is said to be the most difficult bit of radio melodrama ever attempted. The heroine whose quick wit saves the situation is played by Miss Virginia Gardiner. Musical effects are by Andy Sanella and his orchestra. Bob McGimsey, the three-part harmony whistler, also will be heard on the same program. ... __________________________________ [February 16, 1930 Hartford Courant column Through The Microphone by Julia S. Older] Made Radio Debut. William M. Griffith, comedian who has played in several New York musical comedies during recent seasons, made his radio debut recently. He played a "covered wagon" character part in an Empire Builders' presentation. __________________________________ [February 17, 1930 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--The capture of a gang of railroad and bank bandits in a small Montana town will be dramatized on the Empire Builders' program to be broadcast over an NBC network Monday at 9:30 p. m. One scene takes place in the cab of a locomotive against a backdrop of realistic sound effects. [February 17, 1930 Hartford Courant column Through The Microphone by Julia S. Older] A profusion of railroad and bank bandits are scheduled to participate in tonight's Empire Builders sketch (WBZ and WJZ at 10:30.) The general locale is a small Montana town, but one scene takes place in a locomotive cab by virtue of realistic sound effects. [February 17, 1930 Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI)] ... A railway melodrama, with the fast mail roaring into the action just in time to frustrate a payroll robbery, will give Empire Builders an opportunity to broadcast plenty of thrills at 9:30 p.m. over N.B.C stations. ... [February 17, 1930 LAT] ... At 7:30 tonight the Empire Builders will feature the "Old Pioneer," telling about bank and railroad bandits in the Old West. ... [February 17, 1930 The Helena Daily Independent] Science Probes Harmony Whistling [photo of seated Bob MacGimsey surrounded by investigators, caption:] "Harmony Whistlers" [sic] Taking Text [sic] Before Board Bob MacGimsey, the unique "harmony whistler" being featured on the Monday night Empire Builders programs over the National Broadcasting company's network, holds the record of having mystified the entire clinic of New York university. The examination was held prior to MacGimsey's being signed by the Great Northern railway for exclusive appearances on its radio programs. The doctor who searched MacGimsey's throat for a concealed canary, the psychologist and psychoanalyst who worked on the theory that the cheerful whistles might be mentally abnormal -- all of them finally decided that Bob's whistling apparatus is simply a freak of nature. The puzzling part of MacGimsey's performance is that he whistles in harmony, striking two and three notes at a time. Dr. Leo M. Hurd, professor of laryngology at the university stated that MacGimsey has no abnormalities in his nose or throat. He said: "I find that he makes his extranotes [sic] in whistling in his larynx by moving his vocal cords. It is a very interesting case and I have never seen one like it before." Bob explains that he hears the harmony ahead of time but that the control then becomes automatic when he is really whistling -- although he can consciously make a discord if he does it deliberately. Mac himself says that he has thought a lot about how this two and three-part whistling "works" and he hoped that the scientific analysis would give him a clue to the truth. He is afraid to experiment too much with the mechanical operation which causes the two and three tones to go in opposite direction at the same time because it might result in "spoiling the gift." __________________________________
[February 23, 1930 The Helena Daily Independent photo caption] HARVEY HAYS AND VIRGINIA GARDINER Helena radio fans who have been intrigued by the voice of "Old Timer" as he drawls out the romances of the northwest, like other millions of persons who hear the stories, have envisioned him as a loveable old veteran of the plains, with grizzled beard, slouch hat and flowing hair. As a matter of fact, Harvey Hays has none of these except the whiskers in his voice, and they, of course don't show in the photograph. The young lady to whom the "Old Timer" each week relates more romance about the country between the Missouri valley and the Pacific Northwest than most historians know, is Miss Virginia Gardiner, who rose to radio stardom quickly by her work in the Empire Builders sketches. Miss Gardiner sings as well as acts. __________________________________ [February 24, 1930 Appleton (WI) Post-Crescent] "Thriller Films, Inc." a comedy drama written especially for Empire Builders will be presented over WTMJ and the NBC system at 9:30 o'clock. With Glacier National Park as the "location" or [of?] a melodrama of [the] Swiss Alps, a breath-taking adventure is planned to thrill the movie fans of the air. ... [February 24, 1930 LAT & others] ... At 7:30 p.m. the Empire Builders will use Glacier National Park for a melodrama of the Alps, telling of the adventures of a tenth-rate screen producer attempting to stage a drama in the wide-open spaces. ... __________________________________
[March 1, 1930 Poughkeepsie (NY) Eagle-News] Singer Holds Radio Monopoly By ALMA SIOUX SCARBERRY Central Press Staff Writer New York, Feb. 28.—We are very safe in telling you that you are now being presented to the young lady who has the greatest number of dramatic roles on the air today. Figures prove the statement. Want to bet? With the Empire Builders Monday night, Westinghouse Salute, Tuesday night, KUKU Hour, Wednesday, Mystery House, Friday—and plenty of others. It was fortunate that we caught Virginia Gardiner at rehearsal. She was accompanied by a small, gray-garbed gentleman by the name of Porges. He had restless eyes, a snippy nose and an insatiable curiosity for poking around in corners and making himself a nuisance. But, Virginia's mamma had painters at the apartment and Porges couldn't be left running around loose. If he had, he would have been poking his nobby little nose in the paint can and if anything happened to that darn dog the dramatics would not all be on the air. Virginia adores her Porges. He is, perhaps, we should reveal, before going farther, a genuine canine Cairn terrier. That rehearsal was a revelation. For the tall, gracious, dramatic and queenly looking Miss Gardiner played nine roles. Like putting a new record on the phonograph every other second. She was, in turn, a little child, a dramatic actress by the name of Estelle Carrymore, Countess Claire De Vere, a newsboy, a tough girl, a reader of radio notes in a mincing, affected voice, and two customers sitting at a soda counter in a drug store. Virginia had a "perfectly ghastly time" trying to make up her mind what to do. She paints, dances, emotes, writes poetry, short stories, essays, and radio sketches. She was on the concert stage when she deserted for the air. Since then she has been acting altogether, but just now is about to go on a program proving her musical ability. Born in Philadelphia. Her parents moved to Toledo, O., when she was a small child. In a little pink dress with a huge bow perked on her brown hair she made her first public stage appearance. Wins Scholarship After studying later for two years at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Madame Sembrich of the Metropolitan gave her a two-year scholarship and she studied under her supervision. This led to the concert career. Virginia is a type you should not miss, it is too bad you can't see her when she goes dramatic before the "mike." She is nearly five feet seven; a large, stunning, show girl type, conscious of her dramatic ability every minute, and as emotional in her regular conversation as she is while acting. Her hands move constantly—flying about through the air and over her face—and she wrinkles her nose amusingly and shows a dozen strong, perfect teeth when she laughs. Not married. Lives with mamma, papa, brother and Porges. __________________________________ [March 3, 1930 Marion (OH) Star] IMPORTANT EVENT PICTURED William Crooks, the first steam engine seen in St. Paul, which arrived on a barge towed by a Mississippi steam boat and made its first run from St. Paul to St. Anthony, a distance of about 10 miles, will be dramatized when the Empire Builders' program is heard over the WJZ network at 10:30 o'clock Sunday night. ... [March 3, 1930 LAT] ... At 7:30 p.m. the first steam engine, "William Crooks," to be seen in St. Paul, which made its first run from St. Paul to St. Anthony, will be dramatized when the Empire Builders program goes on the air over NBC. ... [March 3, 1930 The Helena Daily Independent] EMPIRE BUILDERS WILL RECALL STEAMBOAT DAYS ON TONIGHT'S PROGRAM Steamboat days on the Mississippi will be recalled by the Empire Builders' program tonight, broadcast over the coast-to-coast network of the National Broadcasting company. The story is written around Third street in St. Paul and unfolds the romantic history of this riverfront thoroughfare from which the ox carts departed for the Red River valley, Canada, and Hudson's Bay, and from which the first steam train west of the Mississippi made its initial 11-mile trip to St. Anthony, now Minneapolis. The cast includes Harvey Hays as the old timer, and Virginia Gardiner. The musical features include Andy Sanella's orchestra, Bob MacGimsey, harmony whistler, negro ensembles, and incidental music typical of the period. ... __________________________________ [March 8, 1930 The Helena Daily Independent] PITTSBURGHERS LIKE EMPIRE RADIO ACTS Pittsburgh radio fans have voted the weekly Empire Builders' programs, with their dramatic western stories among the dozen most popular features on the radio networks, the Helena office of the Great Northern is advised. In a popularity poll of network programs and artists conducted by the Pittsburgh, Pa., Sun-Telegraph, Empire Builders, which is sponsored by the Great Northern railway, had 60 per cent as many votes as Amos and Andy, which headed the list. Aside from such individual stars as Amos and Andy, Jessica Dragonette, and Rudy Vallee, there were only seven programs receiving more votes than Empire Builders. The poll revealed a widespread interest in the so-called dialogue programs, several of which received more votes than the best known musical programs. __________________________________ [March 9, 1930 Hartford Courant photo]
__________________________________ [March 10, 1930 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--A millionaire's yacht lost in a storm at sea, with his son washed overboard, is the situation of the Empire Builders' sketch to be heard over a National Broadcasting network Monday at 9:30 p. m. The child is rescued by a Japanese freighter and reared in the Orient while his parents believe him lost. When they find him again after twenty years, he is in love with a Japanese girl. __________________________________ [March 17, 1930] __________________________________ [March 24, 1930 Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle] Empire Builders present a romance of married life in the dramatisation of "The Doctor's Verdict," in their broadcast over WHAM and other NBC stations at 10:30 o'clock tonight. The cast included Harvey Hays as the Old Timer, and Virginia Gardiner. The musical featuree include Andy Sannella's orchestra, and Bob McGimsey, harmony whistler. [March 24, 1930 NYT] "America's National Parks" [March 25, 1930 CSM column The Listener Speaks] With spring officially arrived and summer plans beginning to occupy thought, the Empire Builders' program at 10:30 on Monday through the WJZ chain should have stimulated many pleasant anticipations for most listeners. Devoted to advertising Glacier National Park as a holiday resort, the radiocast was full of clever little touches which conjured up pictures of all the delights of lakes, forests, mountains, and the stars. A rather clever little story was used to hang these pieces of description upon. An eastern businessman desired to refresh his wife with an outdoor vacation, but was unable to interest her in the subject. He then intimated that he himself would be much benefited by just such a holiday, with the result that she was immediately eager to make the trip on his account. This being a Great Northern Railway program they naturally chose Glacier National Park as their objective. As the regular whistler of these programs concluded Rudolf Friml's "Rackety Coo" the scene changed to the luxurious "Empire Builder" train on which the couple made the acquaintance of the "Old Timer" who is the central figure of all the Empire Builder presentations. In the course of their conversation all the special features of the train as well as of the passing scenery, were casually but effectively mentioned. Then, after a little string music, listeners were transported to the grounds of a park hotel from within which the cheerful sounds of a dance proceeded, while outside guests strolled past remarking upon the cool beauty of the night. Moving inside the hostelry they next heard a short talk by Horace M. Albright, director of the National Parks Service. Mr. Albright began by enlarging upon the well-known slogan "See America First" and proceeded with the recommendation that the first part of America which should be seen by lovers of mountain scenery is the one in which he was speaking. Elaborating upon his theme, he then enumerated sufficient attractive features of the park, from fish to motor roads, to make anyone long to pack at once and set out for Chicago to catch the Empire Builder for the Northwest. At the end of his talk the husband and wife who had been the first characters in the sketch spoke enthusiastically of the vacation they had enjoyed. Then in conclusion John S. Young, the announcer, did a little direct advertising of the train which had already been so well described. Incidentally he added that this express, which reduced the running time to the Pacific Northwest by five hours when the eight-mile tunnel opened last year, is about to cut another 75 minutes from its schedule, and will leave an hour and a quarter later than it has done hitherto. This kind of program is filled with obvious advertising throughout, but the subject of the publicity is sufficiently interesting to most people to make it well worth hearing in any case. __________________________________ [March 31 episode in the March 29, 1930 Winnipeg Free Press] A modern romance of the west will be broadcast by the Empire Builders Monday night, over the network of the National Broadcasting company at 9.30 to 10. The locale is Spokane and the cast includes Harvey Hays, as the oldtimer, and Virginia Gardiner. The programme will be broadcast through WLW, Cincinnati; WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth; KOA, Denver; WJR, Detroit; WEBC, Duluth-Superior; KFI, Los Angeles; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WJZ, New York; KDKA, Pittsburghh; WHAM, Rochester; KWK, St. Louis; KSTP, St. Paul - Minneapolis; KHQ, Spokane; KVOO, Tulsa. __________________________________ [circa April 1930 The Great Northern Goat] The Story Behind Empire Builders IT is Thursday afternoon and in Studio "H" a group of actors are busily interpreting their lines--the voice of the Old Pioneer sounds throughout the room, Virginia Gardiner gestures before the "mike" and Harry Edison hops nimbly from one queer instrument to another. To many this is the beginning of an Empire Builder program but in reality many days of hard work have been necessary to bring the program to the rehearsal stage. Long before the first program appeared on the air the general theme and ideals of the series as a whole were decided upon. Then came the problem of selecting the various locales for the individual programs, and as the Empire Builder series is intended primarily to place before world the attractions and advantages of the Northwest, considerable care had to be exercised in choosing these locales. Each program had to portray some one of the Northwest's outstanding scenic attractions or industrial activities and at the same time it had to be of such nature that an interesting radio program could be written around it. Examples of this were the selection of the razing of Denny Hill for the Seattle program and an apple story for Wenatchee. But let us take an individual program and follow it through its many phases. When St. Paul was chosen as the locale for the program of March 3rd, the many phases of its industrial activities, its scenic setting and its interesting history were checked over before the new Kellogg Peace Mall was finally selected as the immediate locale of the program. This street, being at the same time the oldest and youngest thoroughfare in the Northwest, gave an opportunity to bring out both the modern developments and the early history of this city. Then the scenario, or continuity as it is called in radio parlance, was roughed out. Here, into the modern and historical details of the Kellogg Mall a modern plot was woven and a principal part allotted to the Old Pioneer. In this particular program the plot was built around the competition for an appropriate design or plan for the new mall and the Old Pioneer proved of invaluable assistance to the the young architecht who was the hero of the program. Upon completion of the rough draft it was sent to Mr. Bierstadt who wrote the continuity. It was then returned to St. Paul to be whipped into final form. In the New York studios the music and sound effects, by which the changes of scene are made apparent to the listener, were developed and the musical background for the whole program was outlined. There, too, the time necessary to produce the program was carefully checked, for on the air the thirty-minute period is inexorable, no program can run under or over the time allotted to it. With these changes and additions the program was again thoroughly checked over for accuracy in detail both in its modern and historical phases even to the music and sound effects that mark the transition from one scene to another. With the final OK the program was ready for casting and rehearsal. The wide variety, both in locale and style of play, and the demand for authenticity in every detail in the Empire Builder programs has made it impossible for one person to prepare all of the continuities, in fact, no one program has been the work of a single writer. Some of the writers outside of the Great Northern organization, who have prepared continuities for Empire Builders programs, are introduced on these pages. Most of these have spent many years in the territories which were the locales of the programs they wrote, while the others made special trips into the Northwest to acquire the necessary local atmosphere. Ben Hur Lampman, a recognized nature story author and editorial writer for the Portland Oregonian, was the author of the "Coming of the White Man," a tale of Portland [December 16, 1929] and "Steelhead Fishing," an Oregon nature story. W. O. Cooper, a member of the staff of the McJunkin Advertising Company, who handle the Great Northern's national advertising, prepared Thriller Films Glacier Park story [February 24, 1930], the Armistice Day story [November 11, 1929] and the St. Patrick's Day program [presumably March 17, 1930]. Ruby Bailey Harlowe, a nationally known author of Seattle, Washington, wrote the program that marked the first anniversary of the Cascade Tunnel. [January 13, 1930] Walter Dickson, a fiction writer and author of numerous sketches for KOMO in Seattle, compiled the Denny Hill program and the Oriental romance which was broadcast March 10. George Redmond, continuity editor of the Chicago studios of NBC, is the author of several of the programs, among them being "Rising Wolf," a story of Glacier Park and the Wenatchee apple program. HS Bokhof, a member of the McJunkin staff, is the author of a musical comedy—burlesque—historical program, featuring the first run of the Wm Crooks [March 3, 1930] and Minnesota's lakes, which will be broadcast May 5. Alice Elinor, on the staff of the Hearst papers on the Pacific Coast, wrote the Empire Builder travel story which will be broadcast April 25. __________________________________ [April 7, 1930] __________________________________ [April 8, 1930 NYT] Edward W. Morgan, Actor, Dies. Edward W. Morgan, actor and radio entertainer, who was known as Ted W. Gibson, died on Saturday at his home, 2,016 Mansfield Place, Brooklyn. Funeral services will be held at 8 o'clock tonight in the funeral parlors at 187 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn. He was born in Brooklyn forty-two years ago and had appeared in "Turn to the Right" and in a second company of "Abie's Irish Rose." He also appeared in several light opera performances over the radio and took part in the Empire Builders program. He was a member of the Lambs, the Actors' Equity Association and Syracuse Lodge of Elks. He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Mary H. Morgan, and a sister, Miss Kate Morgan. __________________________________ [April 14, 1930 NYT] Sketch; Speaker, G. Y. Stuart, Head of U.S. Forest Service. [April 14, 1930 Hartford Courant column Through The Microphone by Julia S. Older] C. Y. Stuart, head of the United States Forestry Service, will speak during the Empire Builders program over WBZ and WJZ tonight at 10:30. [April 14, 1930 Binghamton (NY) Press] EVEN THE RADIO broadcasting studio is not immune from train wrecks. Here's the latest from the NBC studios in New York, and the joke is on Floyd Gibbons, radio reporter, and war correspondent. It seems there was a tremendous clatter when the prohibition poller and headline hunter bumped into a train as he entered his office adjoining one of the studios recently. The train consisted of a huge set of kettle and snare drums and a tank of compressed air, and had been placed in the office prior to its use in a broadcast of Empire Builders. Said Gibbons to those who rushed to investigate after the smoke had cleared away: "This is the first time I ever knew of a newspaper office being used as a train shed." __________________________________ [April 21, 1930] __________________________________ [April 28, 1930 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders.--This network feature, on WFAA at 8:30 p. m., will offer Harvey Hays and Virginia Gardiner in a sketch concerned with an unexpected fortune coming to a girl impoverished by her father's death. __________________________________ [May 5, 1930 LAT] ... At 6:30 tonight The Empire Builders bring to listeners the full color of the historical pageant staged at Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota. The pageant will be the high spot of a drama to be presented. ... [May 5, 1930 San Antonio Express] Empire Builders Present Historical Pageant A historical pageant, staged by the summer visitors at Lake Winnetonka, Minnesota, forms the background of the Empire Builders sketch to be broadcast over WOAI Monday at 8:30 p. m. The "Old Pioneer" gets all tangled up in the activities, but his dexterity in extricating himself from embarrassing situations will provide the humor of the broadcast. Harvey Hays and Virginia Gardener have the leading roles in the presentation. [May 5, 1930 The Decatur Review - Listening In column excerpt] ... One of NBC's sound doctors, Clem Walter, is the great grandson of the founder of the London Times, Henry Stowe. Incidentally, a great many of radio's "prop" noises are discovered by accident. Last week, a carpenter was called in, saw and all, to play the part of a sawmill in the Empire Builders program. One of the chain's noise experts was toying with a pocket comb the other day. Running his fingers along the teeth, he produced a sound not unlike that of the tree-toad. Immediately, the comb was placed in the property room, and a new card for the file was typed out, "Useful for rural effects." __________________________________ [May 8, 1930 Washington Post "Dial Flashes" column by Robert D. Heinl] Estimates as to what radio entertainment costs to stage have been frequently guessed at, but here, we believe, are the first definite figures: The twelve most expensive programs on the air, according to the National Broadcasting Co., that is to say the average weekly expenditure for talent, exclusive of station and wire charges, are the following: *American Home Banquet and Puccini Opera Programs ... $9,050 Will Rogers and orchestra ... 6,000 Coca Cola program ... 4,000 Sunshine (Rudy Vallee) Hour ... 4,000 True Story Hour ... 3,300 General Electric Hour (Damrosch) ... 2,800 Sieberling Singers ... 2,700 Chase and Sanborn ... 2,500 Eveready Hour ... 2,500 Majestic Hour ... 2,500 Empire Builders ... 2,000 Armour program ... 1,320 *Recently discontinued It will be noted that "Amos 'n' Andy," generally credited with receiving $100,000 a year and being the highest paid radio stars, are not included in the above group. ... __________________________________ [May 12, 1930] __________________________________ [May 19, 1930] __________________________________ [May 25, 1930 San Antonio Light - The Loudspeaker column by Louis Reid] Harvey Hays, the Old Pioneer of the Empire Builders, though born in Indiana, was educated in the English settlement of Musoorie in Northern Indiana, [sic] where he was taken as a child by his sister, the wife of a missionary. On the air he gives the impression of a philosophical lumberjack brought out of the Northwest especially for radio. As a matter of fact, he once played Shakespeare with James K. Hackett. __________________________________ [May 26, 1930] __________________________________ [May 26, 1930 Washington Post] ... They say Bob MacGimsey, whose whistling is a feature on radio programs, had to stand on the corner in New York in the rain for ten minutes because he couldn't make a tax[i] driver hear his whistle. ... __________________________________
[May 30, 1930 CSM] Whistling, 2-3-4 Part? Yessir? PLENTY of people whistle. Few -- even among professionals -- whistle on key. It is a rare "bird" indeed who can whistle in two parts. Robert MacGimsey whistles in two parts, frequently in three, and once in a while in four. The Great Northern program listners have written to him, "We don't believe it. Can't be done. More than one man is whistling. Or else you do it with 'mirrors.'" But "Bob Mack" -- a better nickname would be "Bob White" -- whistles in one, two, three or four parts all by himself. ... ... [MacGimsey] made a series of outstanding records -- first with [tenor Gene] Austin and then as solos with orchestra, the latter including "La Paloma" and "O Sole Mio," particularly popular in other countries. In 1929 the whistler made 10 standard number records for Victor. In a recording room, Billy Jones and Ernie Hare, formerly the Happiness Boys and now the Interwoven Pair, were much impressed with "Bob White's" whistling. Jones told the National Broadcasting Company about it and the whistler was given an audition. There he met Raymond Knight, concocter of the Cuckoo Hour, and in 1929 Knight arranged for him to whistle for Edward Hale Bierstadt, continuity author for the Great Northern program. When "Bob White" had finished his whistling for the Great Northern's first rehearsal, he left the studio, but was caught by Knight at the elevator, "Come on back. Some Great Northern officials in the control room heard you and they want to sign you up exclusively for their hour." Future Plans. And that's how the harmony whistler got into radio. He's in to stay, for a while at least. ... Next fall he will bring the microphone a program of his own, commercially sponsored ... __________________________________ [June 2, 1930] __________________________________ [June 3, 1930 Reno (NV) Evening Gazette] TRAGEDY HALTS REUNION PLANS INDIANAPOLIS, June 3 --(AP)-- A traction crossing tragedy near here yesterday in which two men were killed frustrated plans for a reunion of two brothers who had not seen each other for thirty years. J. H. Hayes of Brownsville, Tex. was leaving a tourist camp in company with Charles Kunch, also of Brownsville, when their automobile was struck by an interurban car. Both were killed. Hayes was en route to New York to see his brother, Harvey Hayes, who is widely known on radio programs as Uncle Henry and the Old Pioneer. The brothers last saw each other when Harvey returned from Australia three decades ago. __________________________________ [June 9, 1930] __________________________________ [June 11, 1930 Variety] Pete Dixon Doubles In Ether Pete Dixon of the NBC publicity staff has turned ether-actor, besides author, in addition to his exploitation job. Dixon is the new villain in the "Empire Builders" program. __________________________________ [June 16, 1930] __________________________________
[June 19, 1930 Helena (MT) Independent] HEARING IS BELIEVING, IF YOU CAN'T SEE IT [photo caption:] Picture shows Harry Edison (no relation of Tom) staging imitation windstorms and train wrecks. To the long list of new professions brought into being by this complex modern life you now may add the one which carries the noisy title of "Sound Effects Engineer." To become a member of this fraternity you must be able to reproduce to the satisfaction of that tempermental little instrument known as the "mike," the sound of trains, eggs frying, waterfalls, windstorms, stampedes and down the line, ad infinitum. Perhaps no program on the air gives one of these engineers so much to think about as the Empire Builder scripts give Harry Edison who is charged with the responsibility of producing realistic effects for these programs. In the scene above, with the aid of a drum and an ingenious arrangement of straps attached to an electric fan, Mr. Edison is bringing an airplane from the distance to the landing field. __________________________________ [June 23, 1930 Decatur (IL) Daily Review] ... Monday night's Empire Builders' broadcast will be the last of the series. ... __________________________________ [August 8, 1930 The Decatur Review - Listening In column excerpt] Radio sketches which ring true to their native settings are the ones which are winning and holding the radio audience of today. Aside from pure story interest in plot and situation, listeners are flocking to certain radio dialogue features because they have authentic local color. People have enough curiosity about them to want to know how different characters react naturally in their own locality. This has been realized by those behind the scenes and authors and continuity writers who give their subjects a definite background are becoming increasingly popular. Scripts are consequently beginning to show intimate familiarity with their setting as to dialect, and racial and local characteristics. Among radio stars with whom local color has played a part in their success are Amos 'n' Andy, for the two comedians certainly know their characters and dialect. All Harlem agrees on that point -- that they have almost perfectly reproduced their manner and speech. The popular "down east" serials, "Sunday at Seth Parker's" and "Uncle Abe and David" are written by Phillips H. Lord, a native of Maine. Mrs. Gertrude Berg, author of "The Rise of the Goldbergs," gets her material from long observation of the "clock and suit" folks of Manhattan, and she knows the speech, habits, traditions, sorrows and joys of the New York Jew. "Harbor Lights" sketches are written from material gathered by Burr Cook from long chats with residents of an old sailor's home. East of Cairo, the serial melodrama of the far east, is produced by Raymond Scudder from memories of his own adventures in the orient. Authors who write the winter series of Empire Builders sketches spend the summer months collecting material and atmosphere from the history of the great northwest. Then radio's latest regional story is that of "Moonshine and Honeysuckle" written by Lulu Vollmer a native of the North Carolina mountains which has the hill country for its setting. ... __________________________________ __________________________________ [September 16, 1930 Billings (MT) Gazette] NEW G. N. RADIO SERIES TO START Starting Monday night, September 29, a new Empire Builders' series of western romances, historical sketches, and railway stories will be again on the air, according to information received by D. C. Bates, general agent of the Great Northern railway, which sponsors the half hour radio dramas. The radio sketches will again be centered about the "Old Timer," whose name is Harvey Hays, and who has been featured in the Empire Builders program from the first. The transfer of the Empire Builders productions from New York to Chicago will result in the loss of Miss Virginia Gardiner from the productions. Additions to the cast include Miss Bernadine Flynn, who has had important parts in such Broadway successes as "Joseph" and "Strictly Dishonorable" and Don Ameche, who played with Fiske O'Hara in "Jerry for Short" and with Texas Guinan in vaudeville in New York. Ameche will play the juvenile lead as the he-man hero of the wide open spaces while Miss Flynn will play the role of the ingenue. __________________________________
[September 23, 1930 The Helena Daily Independent] Harvey Hays, known to radio listeners as the "Old Timer" of Empire Builders, can take his own medicine and like it. Reared on Broadway, Mr. Hays in the role of the "Old Timer" has been called upon to expound the doctrine to which Horace Greeley first gave voice in his famous words, "Go west, young man, go west!" The facts are that the "Old Timer" in real life is a comparatively young man, and thus, qualifies under Mr. Greeley's prescription. Mr. Hays is known in theatrical circles as "the young man with whiskers in his voice." Takes Own Advice For a year or more now Mr. Hays has been restless under the urge inspired by his own counsel, so when it was decided to move the new series of Empire Builders programs from New York to Chicago, or, as it were, "out where the west begins", Mr. Hays was approached on the proposition of moving to Chicago. "Well, scatter my chipmonks", he ejaculated, "when do we start?" So the "Old Timer" is now in Chicago rehearsing the first of the new series of Empire Builders playlets which return to the National Broadcasting company's coast-to-coast network Monday night, September 29. The new series of programs will come to radio listeners from the largest and most modern broadcasting studios in the world, on the top floor of the largest building in the world, the new Merchandise Mart of Marshall Field and company. __________________________________
[September 28, 1930 The Lincoln Star photo caption] Virginia Gardiner, who plays leading roles in a number of NBC radio dramas, was made an Indian princess on her recent visit to Glacier national park where she spent a three weeks' vacation. Miss Gardiner was dubbed Princess Great Star woman by Chief Short Man Blackfeet with whom she is shown above. The chief presented her with a real Sioux scalp as part of the ceremony. Much of the material which Miss Gardiner gathered on her trip will be used in several of the new "Empire Builders" series which she will write. This popular radio feature will return to the air on WJZ's network Monday night. __________________________________ [September 29, 1930 The Helena Daily Independent] G.N. OFFERS PRIZE IN RADIO STORY CONTEST How through sound alone, a radio listener can be made to picture in his mind a terrific storm, an onrushing train, a leering villain, a forest or river scene, are suggested in a pamphlet which has been issued for contestants in the KSTP-Empire Builders radio story contest. This contest, a bulletin to the Helena office says, is for the purpose of securing stories of the northwest to be broadcast by Empire Builders over the coast-to-coast network this winter. Three prizes aggregating $500 have been offered for stories. Writing for radio is a new art and writers of long experience are said to have little advantage over amateurs. The contest closes Nov. 1. [September 28, 1930 San Antonio Express] Dramatic Story Of Hill Railroad Builder, on Air The thrilling story of how James J. Hill, famous pioneer developer of the Pacific Northwest, was mistaken for the chief of a band of cattle rustlers, will furnish the drama for the first of the new 1930-31 series of Empire Builders programs, sponsored, by the Great Northern Railway, when they make their debut from the new Chicago studios of the National Broadcasting Company Monday, Sept. 29. 9:30 to 10 p. m. Presented by a cast of veteran actors, including Harvey Hays in his famous radio role of the beloved "Old Pioneer," the swift moving drama will take a page from the history of the West and the development of the new branch of the Great Northern from Klamath Falls, Ore., south into California. In addition to Harvey Hays, who has become so well-known as "The Old Pioneer" that his real name is usually forgotten, "Empire Builders" welcomes a new galaxy of stars to its ranks for the coming series. Chief among these will be Miss Bernardine Flynn and Don Ameche, two youthful performers of wide radio and stage experience, who will carry the feminine and, masculine leads respectively. Miss Flynn will be remembered for her stage successes in "The Swan," as Fernalde in "Seven Year Love," with George Jessel in "Joseph" and in "Strictly Dishonorable." Mr. Ameche played with Fiske O'Hara in "Jerry for Short" and in a number of leading stock companies of New York and Chicago. Miss Flynn and Mr. Ameche have played together before, for they both got their start in dramatics at the University of Wisconsin, of which both are alumni and often played together there during their student days before separating to follow their respective careers on the professional stage. [September 29, 1930 LAT] ... KECA -- The Empire Builders are back -- an NBC at 7:30 -- first class. ... [September 29, 1930 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders returns to the coast-to-coast network of the National Broadcasting Company Monday with a playlet, "The Phantom Trail," a romance of the old West, in which cattle rustlers, courageous homesteaders, James J. Hill and the coming of the railway all play a part. The locale of the story is central Oregon. Harvey Hays will again be heard as the Old-Timer, while other featured members of the cast will be Bernadine Flynn and Don Ameche, who come from the stage to Empire BUilders. Empire Builders will be on the air with a radio playlet every Monday at 9:30 p. m., WBAP transmitting. [September 29, 1930 The Decatur Review] The Empire Builders returned to the air Monday night, through KYW at 9:30. This time the series of history dramas will be broadcast from the Chicago NBC studios. Harvey Hays, the "Old Timer" is the only member of the old cast to be heard this year.
[Excerpts from May 1972 interview with actor Don Ameche] ... A sustaining program was the first coast-to-coast show that I ever had. That was in, I would guess, August of 1930. And then I started coast-to-coast on a program called "Empire Builders" for Great Northern Railroad and I did that for a year ... that started in September of 1930. ... They were bringing "Empire Builders" from New York to Chicago because Great Northern's main offices were in St. Paul and they thought New York was too far away so they switched the origination to Chicago. And they had auditions -- oh, I don't know how many people they auditioned - and I won the audition and went on it. ... All the sound effects were manual and you had to have a man with an imagination that would be able to create these things. And they did them with every strange kind of device that you could think of. "Empire Builders" were a stickler for the sound of the train so they went to this extent: they had a track built, a circular track that I would guess would have been about five feet in diameter, and the cracks in the rails were exactly as they were on the regular [large-scale] tracks that [full-sized] trains ran on. And then they had little weighted cars that they would put on these things that were controlled electrically to go at the [proper] speed so that the clicks would [sound] exactly the same as they were for a passenger train and exactly the same as they were for a freight train. And on the roof outside where they had a microphone that they could open up, they had all the whistles. They had the "ding-dongs" of the crossings that you'd go through. They would fade it in and fade it out as [the train] would go. The whistle would do the same thing. They had a microphone way at the top of a funnel-shaped affair for these clicks with the microphone facing down to pick these up. ... __________________________________ [October 6, 1930 The Helena Daily Independent] EMPIRE BUILDERS OFFER NEW STAR IN AIR PROGRAMS When the Empire Builders of the Great Northern Railway company returned to the air September 23, listeners who have followed this program for the past two seasons were given the opportunity to hear a new star, Miss Bernadine Flynn. Miss Flynn made her debut on the National Broadcasting company network as leading lady in the Empire Builders playlets, that have become so popular with air audiences. The prospect of television caused Miss Flynn to desert a promising stage career for radio. Television, which radio people believe is just around the corner, will open a field of even greater possibilities in the drama than the stage or screen, Miss Flynn believes, and she proposes to be ready for it. While attending the University of Wisconsin. Miss Flynn for four years attracted widespread attention in leading roles with the Wisconsin Players, one of the country's outstanding "little theaters." Offer Spanish Play "Carmelita," an original story by Elsie Baxter, will be presented by Empire Builders tonight over the coast-to-coast chain of the National Broadcasting company. The heroine is a young lady of Spanish-Indian descent, and while living in a modern age, Carmelita in fancy at least lives in the colorful and romantic days of her ancestors -- just as "Nero," a wild horse of Arabian descent, continues even in these modern times to lead his loyal band of outlaw horses over the plains of central Oregon. Throughout the story there is a delightful contrast of the old and the new. The story is resplendent in sheer beauty, and is full of action and suspense. Empire Builders will be on the air with a playlet every Monday evening. __________________________________ [October 13, 1930 advertisement in The Helena Daily Independent] ... The Old Timer prides himself on keeping abreast of the times, but a cow hand who plays the saxophone is too much. "Fire him," advises the Old Timer. Instead, Doris marries him... and with the Old Timer as the best man. In the meantime a lot happens to make "Cavalier Purple" an exceptional radio play. ... [October 13, 1930 LAT] ... A hero? Cowboy who plays a saxophone, Empire Builders with the "Old Timer," KECA at 7:30 p.m. Heroine marries cowboy with saxophone. ... __________________________________ [October 20, 1930 Binghamton (NY) Press] How a scrub quarterback saves the day for dear old Minnesota and wins "the only girl" will be dramatized during the Empire Builders' broadcast from the NBC Chicago studios at 10:30 o'clock tonight. The moral to fathers, whose sons appear undecided about their life-work, will be pointed out as this story is heard over the following NBC network: WJZ, New York; WBZ, Springfield; WBZA, Boston; WHAM. Rochester; KDKA, Pittsburgh; WJR, Detroit; WLW. Cincinnati; KYW, Chicago. __________________________________ [October-December 1930 The (Fort Covington, NY) Sun] Cake of Ice Adds Realism To what end will the radio world go to secure realism in its production? A miniature glacier, in the form of a 50-pound cake of ice, was used in an "Empire Builder" program over an NBC network recently to give the effect of climbing one of these icy mountains. But a 50-pound block of ice was used in each of the rehearsals, making in all 250 pounds of ice used to give a touch of realism to a scene requiring less than two minutes before the microphone. __________________________________
[October 26, 1930 Syracuse Herald] Radio Studios Hide Tragic Stories of Once Great Stage Stars Who Perform Nightly for Unseen Audience ... Then there is Harvey Hays. Broadway has scores of his kind. A fine actor who never could get the right show. Hays had a veritable genius for picking the wrong show. If he were to have reached in a haystack made of successful manuscripts, he would, by some evil intuition, manage to pick the wrong one. Unless you know your Broadway this may sound slightly incomprehensible. Yet some of the best stars in the bright light belt have all but expired from a series of bad plays. Some strange jinx seems to hang over them. ... So it was with Hays. He just had the hard luck to be cast in plays that wound up in Cain's warehouse. And this shadow trailed him season after season. And while it's all very well to be a good actor, it's also essential to have a play that pays salaries at the end of the week. That's one reason you'll find him acting radio parts today. He's possessor of one of the finest speaking voices to be heard on the air. You may remember him from "The Bells," or any one of a dozen other radio presentations -- that of the "old pioneer" in the western dramas put on by the Empire Builders, for instance. ...
__________________________________ [October 26, 1930 Decatur Review]
One of the busiest entertainers on the air is Andy Sannella, shown above, who can handle almost any musical apparatus ever invented. He is featured in many NBC programs, the newest being his weekly Sunday night broadcast at 9:15 from WLW, KDKA and WIBO. __________________________________ [October 27, 1930 Decatur Evening Herald] The Wenatchee apple country is the locale of the Empire Builders' dramatization over WJR, WLW, KYW and KWK. __________________________________ [November 3, 1930 The Daily Gleaner (Kingston)] A western cowboy who is not quite all he seems, and an enterprising mystery man from Chicago, will hold the spotlight in a romantic comedy of Glacier National Park to be presented in the Empire Builders broadcast to-night at 10:30. WLW and W3XAL are included in the network. __________________________________ [November 5, 1930 Variety - Excerpt of article about NBC's struggle to transfer sustaining and commercial programs from its overcrowded New York City studios to Chicago's newly built Merchandise Mart.] ... of the two commercials transferred from New York to Chicago, Empire Builders and Pure Oil, only one ether artist has been sent to Chicago with them. He is Harvey Hays, associated for quite some time with the Empire Builders. NBC controls no stations in Chicago, but is affiliated with six that use its programs. They are WIBO, WGN, KYW, WEFL, WENR and KFKX, all independently operated. ... __________________________________ [November 8, 1930 Lincoln Star] Empire Builders; "The First Armistice Day" ... [November 10, 1930 Edwardsville (IL) Intelligencer] ... A story of the first Armistice Day in France by one who was there when it happened will be dramatized in the Empire Builders episode at 9:30 P. M. over KWK. ... [November 10, 1930 episode listed in November 8 CSM] ... What happened in France the day the Armistice was signed. ... [November 10, 1930 The Capital Times (Madison, WI)] EMPIRE BUILDERS A story of the first Armistice Day in France, by one who was there when it happened, will be dramatized in the Empire Builders episode to be heard from the NBC Chicago Studios tonight at 9:30. The author, W. O. Cooper, was with the A. E. F. and F. G. Ibbett, sound technician in charge of producing the wartime noises, was with the British Air forces on the Western Front at the close of the war. Many complications follow when the Old Timer, played by Harvey Hays, is mistaken for a German spy, and the end of the drama is packed with surprises and thrills. [November 23, 1930 San Antonio Express] BATTLE EFFECTS IN THIS BROADCAST Probably the most complete sound effects equipment ever used in broadcasting, including battle effects in which two machine guns, a score of rifles, and several other actual instruments of warfare were used, were heard in the Armistice eve program of the Great Northern Railway's "Empire Builders" series, presented from the Chicago Studios of the NBC. Special equipment for the sound effects of this production alone cost almost a thousand dollars. In order to set the proper battle effects for the war-time story to be dramatized, two machine guns were mounted on the roof of the building outside the NBC studios, and fired volley upon volley of blank cartridges in order to feed the actual noise of the firing into the microphones. A squad of rifle and pistol men were present and rockets and flares of the type used during the war were discharged at intervals from the flat top of the Merchandise Mart. An all-male cast of 53 actors took part in the production, in addition to Josef Koestner's orchestra of 14 pieces. Other special equipment installed at great expense for this and other Empire Builders broadcasts, include two gigantic engine bells of the type actually in use on the Great Northern railway engines, a specially constructed apparatus 15 feet in height for the production of the noises of explosions and other loud noises, a regulation engine whistle, and many other innovations in the production of sound effects for radio broadcasting. The story, which was written by a member of an A. E. F. combat organization stationed on the Western Front at the conclusion of the war, had for its climax the first Armistice Day in France. Harvey Hays, as "The Old Timer," and Don Ameche, youthful juvenile lead, shared dramatic honors in the production. [A copy of this episode exists, one of the earliest surviving recordings of a network drama program. The episode may have aired on December 1, 1930.] __________________________________ [November 9, 1930 Hartford Courant] Radio Skit Writers Have Difficult Task Announcer Asserts ... Station KSTP, St. Paul in conjunction with the Great Northern railway has been conducting a contest, just [ended?], for scripts suitable for the Empire Builders series, offering to buy usable non-prize scripts ... [T]he Great Northern announces its readiness to consider scripts directly. The price named for those embodying good entertainment and requiring little revisions runs up to $250. ... __________________________________ [November 17, 1930] [November 18, 1930 The Decatur Review - Listening In column item] ... Say what you will of the dramas of the Empire Builders, you'll have to admit that this program has the best imitation of a train heard on the air and that's something. ... __________________________________ [November 24, 1930 LAT] ... Sally, an orphan, and Alex, a ventriloquist's dummy -- Thanksgiving story -- Empire Builders -- a chain -- KECA, 7:30 tonight -- a playlet. ... [November 24, 1930 San Antonio Express] EMPIRE BUILDERS. A modern Thanksgiving Day drama, filled with mystery and thrills, will be presented by the Empire Builders during their broadcast from WOAI tonight at 9:30 o'clock. The story tells of exciting events on the Empire Builder Express, centering around a precious jewel in the possession of one of the passengers. __________________________________ [November 30, 1930 San Antonio Express] EMPIRE BUILDERS WILL TELL STORY OF ROMANTIC WEST Delving into the romantic story of California's past, a tale of adventure and exploration full of action, romance and breathless suspense will be told in the "Empire Builders" radio drama for Monday evening, Dec. 1, when the program goes on the air from the Chicago studios of the National Broadcasting Company between the hours of 9:30 and 10 o'clock Central Standard Time, and broadcast locally by WOAI. The drama will tell of the surveying and laying out of the route followed today by the California extension of the Great Northern Railway. The love story of a beautiful Spanish senorita and a Westerner provides the main theme of the story, the dramatic interest of which is heightened by a succession of obstacles overcome only by hard fighting and heroic action. The Empire Builders triumvirate of Harvey Hays as the "Old Timer," Bernardine Flynn as the Spanish senorita, and Don Ameche as the dashing young hero, will be featured again in the leading roles, supported by a large cast of actors. Elaborate sound effects have been planned to give the radio presentation an atmosphere of unusual realism. [December 1, 1930 LAT] ... The love story of a beautiful Spanish senorita (every senorita was beautiful in those days) -- and a westerner -- dramatic interest -- heroic action -- empire builders. KECA -- 7:30 tonight -- drenched in Latin fire. ... __________________________________ [December 8, 1930 The News-Palladium] THRILLING LOVE STORY TO BE TOLD "The Marriage Tree," the first prize story in the contest conducted by the Great Northern railway from station KGW, Portland, Ore., will be presented as one of the feature broadcasts of the year in the Empire Builders series of radio dramas this evening, when the presentation is broadcast from the Chicago studios of the NBC over KYW between the hours of 9:30 and 10 o'clock. The story is a romance of the Hudson Bay company, and includes as characters many figures of historical significance in the opening up and development of the Pacific northwest. The scene is laid at Fort Vancouver, Washington, which at the time of the story was one of the foremost outposts of civilization, and now is a barracks for a detachment of the United States Army. A thrilling love story, in which Harvey Hays as "The Old Timer," Bernadine Flynn, and Don Ameche take leading parts, will be unfolded during the broadcast. A large cast of veteran actors, unusual sound effects, and the music of Josef Koestner's orchestra will be additional features of the presentation. __________________________________ [December 15, 1930 The Daily (Oshkosh, WI) Northwestern] ... "A Montana Christmas," a radio play written by Virginia Gardiner, radio actress, at 10:30 on WJZ and hookup. ... [December 15, 1930 LAT] ... KECA at 7:30 p.m. Empire Builders with the old-timer. "A Montana Christmas," how a colorful western character gave his life to bring Christmas cheer to children in a remote Montana schoolhouse. Veteran actors. Koestner's orchestra. ... [December 15, 1930 Dallas Morning News] "A Montana Christmas," written by Virginia Gardiner, radio's stellar actress, will be presented ... Miss Gardiner will enact a leading role. ... [December 15, 1930 episode listed in December 13 CSM] ... Story written by Virginia Gardiner who played leads in the "Empire Builders" series last year. ... __________________________________ [December 16, 1930 Syracuse Herald] Broadcasting Proper Sound Effects Demands Ingenuity Getting "Atmosphere" Task of Studio Property Men During Program CHICAGO, Feb. 14.--The science of radio has brought with it a new science in the art of broadcasting--the science of sound effects. It is the art of producing sounds in the studio in such a way that they will appear real when heard through the radio receiver. An example of the complexity and difficulty of this science is the sound effects job connected with the "Empire Builders" program, which goes on the air each Monday night from the NBC Chicago studios. This program depends for "atmosphere" upon the continual rumbling of a railroad train over its tracks, the clanging of a locomotive bell, the occasional crossing whistle and other sounds that accompany the movement of a train. The task has become a tremendous and complicated undertaking, for in addition to these sound effects, many more have to be added during the half hour program for sounds needed on special occasions. It has been the job of F. G. Ibbett, [a] Londoner, and formerly of the British Broadcasting Company, to create these effects, and he's still experimenting with all sorts of contraptions to perfect them. How he has tackled the job so far is a diverting study of sound mechanics as applied to the requirements and limitations of broadcasting. "Our hardest task," says Ibbett, "has been that of reproducing a train in the studio. At first we considered making records of the sounds made by a train in the depot and outside, but records are not tolerated in NBC productions. "Next we considered having a train on the tracks below this building and getting its sounds through a microphone nearby. But the cost of this stunt would he too high, and various operations would be hard to control. "We had to fall back on substitutes, mechanical reproductions of the real thing. First came the engine puff. We tried it with a drum and a wire brush. But the drum was too drummy. So we took the skin off a drum and stretched it over the broad end of a funnel-shaped galvanized iron soundbox. "In order that this wouldn't sound too tinny, we put a 'dead' funnel, made of an acoustic deadening material like papier-mache, on the end and there we had the engine puff. We had to experiment with all sorts of brushes with which to operate this puff until we have finally gotten the wires of a proper weight and thickness. "Next was the problem of escaping steam. The ideal way would be to use a two- cylinder compressed air motor, similar almost to the steam cylinders on a locomotive. But that, too, would be costly and troublesome to operate. So we have instead a tank of compressed air, which one of my men operates as the need arises. This is used also for air brakes. "The matter of track noises was another problem. At first we tried a pair of roller skates on a drum to imitate the rail clicks as a train moves along. But this was crude and unsatisfactory. "We finally had to make an actual track and railroad coach in miniature. The track is made of solid steel rails and was built to scale. "The car that runs on this track, to imitate the train, is really a weight on springs, with an additional lead weight that can be detached when an inside effect is desired, that is an effect of listening to the train's movement from the inside of a car. "For the bell and whistle, we got the real bell and whistle from a locomotive and put them on the roof outside the studio. The whistle is operated by compressed air furnished through a pipe from the building. "A separate microphone is placed just inside the building at a window which has been opened about an inch. This microphone has a shutter on it and is set inside, a sound-proof box. When we want to fade out the bell and whistle we close the shutter on the mike. "Since one-half of the sound effects apparatus is outside the studio, the only way we can keep track of the complete sound effects of the program is by means of headphones connecting both outside and inside effects. "For other sound effects, like the clinking of chinaware in the diner, we have had to come as close to the real thing as possible. In the case of chinaware, for instance, ordinary cheap dishes wouldn't do. We've had to get good china to get the proper sound. "Operation of these effects, making them sound like a train in the station, or receding in the distance, like two trains passing each other, or like one being heard only as a coach door is opened and then closed, has also been worked out scientifically. Every step, even the puffing, has been, timed with the rest of the program. "When the man at the bell says 'All Aboard'," explains Ibbett, "he rings the bell, there are two sharp toots on the whistle, the bell goes on ringing, the puffing begins in the studio, and another operator starts the track machine going. "All these sounds have to be coordinated in one, two, three, four order, with the accent on the first of each four counts, in order to make it all realistic. As the puffs are speeded up, the bell and whistle are faded out gradually by closing the shutter on the microphone outside. Then the puffs begin to fade out to represent a train leaving and losing itself in the distance. "Occasionally the effect of a coach door being opened is shown by a louder clicking of the rails, when the shutter between the track machine and its microphone is opened. Or when two trains pass, a pair of skates is drawn over a drum near the microphone outside. "The highway crossing warning is also heard at intervals when the script calls for it, through the half opened shutter of the outside microphone. And so is the crossing bell, an actual crossing bell that is drawn past the microphone to sound just as it would be heard as one passed it on a train." Besides these railway effects, Ibbett has to produce all sorts of sounds that are required for any particular program--such as those of horses' hoofs on hard pavement and on soft ground, of grating ice as climbers go up a glacier, and so on.
__________________________________ [December 22, 1930 Binghamton (NY) Press] "Attar of Roses," the second prize story in the Great Northern Railway contest, will be dramatized as the Empire Builders' sketch to be broadcast from the NBC Chicago studios at 10:30 o'clock tonight. The story concerns a crippled child who wins the affection of a crusty old bachelor in an emotional climax. This Empire Builders' sketch will be heard over an NBC-WJZ network. [December 22, 1930 Dallas Morning News] Empire Builders. "Attar of Roses," the second prize story in the Great Northern Railway contest recently conducted from Station KGW, Portland, will be dramatized for the Empire Builders ...
[photo headline and caption] Toy Car Is Radio's Crack Train W. O. Cooper of the National Broadcasting Company is pointing to the toy electric train which reproduces the sounds of a crack limited in the popular NBC program known as Empire Builders, heard on Monday nights (see broadcasts of the day). The noise of moving car over the tiny rails is amplified in a megaphone and roars through the loud-speakers after it is treated to the magic of electrical and ethereal transmission. Mr. Cooper is demonstrating the device to Betty Reynolds who plays child parts in the dramatic sequences on these programs. [December 22, 1930 episode listed in December 20 CSM] ... The Empire Builders' second prize winning holiday story on the Scrooge theme. ... [Some papers list this episode, probably inaccurately, as "Altar of Roses" or "The Altar of Roses." A recording exists of this episode which concerns a hospitalized businessman befriending an orphaned girl.] __________________________________ [December 29, 1930] __________________________________ __________________________________ [January-March 1931 The (Fort Covington, NY) Sun] Realism in Radio Drama Radio is beginning to rival the movies in the expense to which it will go to provide realism in drama. In one of the recent presentations of the "Empire Builders" series heard every Monday evening from the Chicago NBC studios at 9:30 central standard time, a complete automobile was demolished in order to provide a realistic accident. The automobile was on the roof of the Merchandise Hart outside the studios, where a special microphone was installed to pick up the sound of the accident. [January-March 1931 The (Fort Covington, NY) Sun] Pearson Good Producer Ted Pearson, star announcer of the Chicago NBC studios, whose voice is heard during the Maytag orchestra, "Empire Builders," Armour hour, and many other exceptional NBC broadcasts, is known only as a very gifted and pleasant-voiced announcer to his host of radio admirers. But in professional radio circles Ted is just as highly esteemed as one of the smartest production men in the business, as well as one of the best announcers. Ted produces, among others, Studebaker Champions. [January-March 1931 The (Fort Covington, NY) Sun] Sound of Two Trains at Once One of the most difficult sound effects known to radio, that of producing the sound of two trains at once, was successfully achieved recently in the Great Northern Railway "Empire Builders" drama. The script was written with the scene on the "Empire Builder," and as a touch of realism, the sound effects produced the impression of two trains passing each other. The effect was successfully produced by the Chicago NBC sound effects crew, under direction of the chief sound technician, F. G. Ibbett. [January-March 1931 The (Fort Covington, NY) Sun] Marlin Hurt in New Role Marlin Hurt, popularly known as "Dick" of the male trio of "Tom, Dick and Harry, heard in many of the most outstanding broadcasts from the Chicago studios, blossomed out in a new role in a recent broadcast of the Great Northern Railway's series of radio dramas, known as "Empire Builders." In one of the recent plays in the series, Hurt took a heavy character part as a colored porter on the train, in addition to his work with one of radio's most popular male trios. [January-March 1931 The (Fort Covington, NY) Sun] Telegraph Messages by Radio A radio program within a radio program, only part of which was understood by the listening public, was broadcast from the Chicago NBC studios in a recent episode of the Great Northern railroad's "Empire Builders" series of radio dramas. The "inside program," whose existence few listeners suspected, came as a result of the situation of the story, which told of the experiences of a young railroad telegrapher. During many of the scenes the clicking of the telegraph keys was plainly beard. __________________________________ __________________________________ [January 5, 1931 The Star (Marion, OH) photo caption] MARTHA DELAPLAINE Out of the background of her college days at the University of Arizona, Miss Delaplaine fashioned a story which won second prize in a radio story contest sponsored by the Empire Builders, an NBC feature, heard every Monday at 10:30 p. m. [January 5, 1931 Gettysburg Times (Gettysburg, PA)] Girl Wins Prize In Radio Contest Chicago (AP).--Out of the background of her college days at the University of Arizona, Martha Delaplaine, young advertising writer of Oak Park, Chicago suburb, fashioned a story to win second prize in a radio story contest, sponsored by the Empire Builders, a weekly WJZ feature. First prize went to a man. Miss Delaplaine called it "The Romance of Old Fort Union," giving it the locale of early fur trading days along the Missouri river. [January 5, 1931 Benton Harbor (MI) News-Palladium] THRILLING PLAY ON RADIO TONIGHT A romantic story of old California will be dramatized over KYW tonight. "La Mariposa," is the title of the Empire Builders' play at 9:30. It depicts the escapades of a romantic Mexican bandit whose life formed a picturesque chapter of early California history. Leading parts in the drama will be enacted by Don Amache, [sic] Bernadine Flynn and Lucille Husting. __________________________________ [January 12, 1931 episode listed in January 10 CSM] ... Second anniversary of opening of Cascade Tunnel through the backbone of the continent. ... [January 12, 1931 Dallas Morning News] A dramatic production celebrating the second anniversary of the opening of the Cascade Tunnel through eight miles of solid rock in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. ... [A recording exists of this episode. The scheduled anniversary program, however, is pre-empted by a melodrama about a railroad telegrapher who falls into a coma.] __________________________________ [January 19, 1931 Decatur Herald] Thrills and surprises encountered by a movie company on "location" will be depicted in the Empire Builders' program at 9:30. [January 19, 1931 episode listed in January 17 CSM] ... On location with a movie company. ... [January 20, 1931 Decatur Review] ... The story used in the Empire Builders' program [last night] was a trifle less interesting than some of the previous ones but packed a wallop of western action. . . __________________________________ [January 26, 1931 episode listed in January 24 CSM] ... Montana story. ... [January 26, 1931 LAT] ... Empire Builders will present the prize-winning story of Emilia Clapham of Berkeley -- KECA at 7:30 tonight -- "La Mariposa" -- an incident in the life of Joaquin Murrieta, notorious early day California bandit. ... __________________________________ [February 2, 1931] [February 2, 1931 Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune] A dramatic sketch will be presented at 9:30 o'clock over WTMJ and NBC stations. About twenty hours of rehearsing are required for each of these playlets presented Monday nights. ... __________________________________ [February 9, 1931 CSM] "Black Hawk" [February 9, 1931 LAT] ... An Indian classic replete with suspense, drama and surprise -- that's the way NBC's Empire Builders are billed tonight. KECA at 7:30. Woven about the famous Chieftain Black Hawk and Abraham Lincoln the youth. ... [February 9, 1931 Binghamton (NY) Press] The story of Black Hawk, famous leader of the Sacs and Foxes in the last great Indian wars of the Mississippi Valley, will be presented during the Empire Builders drama, to be broadcAst from the NBC Chicago Studios, at 10:30 o'clock tonight. The radio drama is adapted from a play by Edward Stadt, head of the drama department of the University of Minnesota. Harvey Hays, as the "Old Timer," will lead the cast in the Empire Builders drama, to be heard over an NBC-WJZ network. [February 9, 1931 Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune] ... The story of Black hawk, famous leader of the Sacs and Foxes in the last great Indian wars of the Mississippi valley, will be presented over WTMJ and NBC stations at 9:30 p. m. Edward Stadt, head of the drama department at the University of Minnesota, is the author of the play from which the radio drama is adapted. ... __________________________________ [February 14, 1931 CSM - Speaking From New York radio column] [In Chicago, the columnist visited] the largest studio of the NBC lot in the Merchandise Mart. In one corner was a mechanical contraption that seemed to have stepped directly out of the laboratory of Professor Butts of the Collier's Hour. On cumbersome legs stood what appeared to be the gigantic tub of an electric clothes-washing machine, from whose top triangular and ell- shaped boxes projected upward several feet more. The whole complicated mess was painted a flamboyant green, and from its side projected what looked like a volume control knob. It was. For inside the tubby [section?] of this strange apparition, we were told, was a fair-sized electric train, whose noisy circling of the tub inwards could be played down, and up, and all around this broad land during the Great Northern program. The simulation of an engine and train running full speed is a remarkably lifelike feature of that program. But think of the tons of materials and the hours of designing necessary to compose that contraption! ... __________________________________ [February 16, 1931 (printed, perhaps mistakenly, in the January 26 Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune)] A dramatic story built around the legends of one of the "Ghost Towns" of Montana will be heard over WTMJ and the NBC network at 9:30 o'clock. Incidental music will be provided by Joseph Koestner and his orchestra. [February 16, 1931 Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune] ... At 9:30 o'clock the old timer will recall all the tragic romance of a dance hall girl and an outlaw when he tells the story of one of Montana's famous "Ghost Towns." ... [February 16, 1931 LAT] ... Another dance-hall girl -- a dramatization of a tragic romance -- in one of Montana's famous "ghost" towns. N.B.C.'s Empire Builders -- KECA at 7:30 tonight. One of the West's wildest outlaws, too. ... [February 16, 1931 episode listed in February 14 CSM] ... Glacier Park story. ... __________________________________ [February 23, 1931 Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune] ... Three colorful incidents in the life of James J. Hill, pioneer American railroad magnate, will be revealed at 9:30 o'clock over WTMJ and NBC stations. This playlet is the first of a new series of stories of Jim Hill, the original "Empire Builder," portraying angles of his character that are not commonly known. ... __________________________________ [March 2, 1931 LAT] ... "A peanut telegraph line" -- "a pay roll robbery" -- "Bohemian Girl" opera company -- "Nine Spot" is the title -- Empire Builders' N.B.C. dramatization -- KECA at 7:30 p.m. ... [March 2, 1931 The Helena Daily Independent] EMPIRE BUILDERS TO PRESENT A NORTHERN IDAHO PLAY TONIGHT A "peanut" telegraph line, a payroll robbery and a "Bohemian Girl" opera company are all involved in a thrilling story of northern Idaho which the Old Timer relates to the cowboy guides at Glacier park, on the Empire Builders radio program this evening starting at 8:30, mountain standard time. The title role, "Nine Spot," singing lumber-jack, is taken by Don Ameche, popular juvenile lead of Empire Builders. The star of the "Bohemian Girl" company is played by Lucille Husting. The Old Timer, who tells the story, also has an active part in the drama. Incidental music was arranged by Josef Koestner, conductor of the Great Northern orchestra. The story was the prize-winning manuscript in a radio story contest conducted for Great Northern railway employees last summer. It was written by Mark Haywood of St. Paul. __________________________________ [March 9, 1931 LAT] ... the National Broadcasting Company (KECA at 7:30) carries you back into the olden days of the Northwest -- their Empire Builders fashioning Indian wars, old-fashioned romances and the deeds of byegone days in "Indian Names." The locale is Hangman's Creek, near Spokane, Wash. The romance of an Indian maiden and a white guide. ... [March 9, 1931 The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, WI)] How Hangman's Creek, Wash., got its name will be told in a stirring drama of the early west to be presented over WTMJ and the NBC stations tonight at 9:30 o'clock. The story revolves around the romance of an Indian maiden and a white guide, and has a historical background in the defeat of Colonel Steptoe's regiment by the Indians at Steptoe Butte. ... [March 9, 1931 Binghamton (NY) Press] "Indian Names," a symposium of tales responsible for the naming of several important western cities, will be the Empire Builders radio drama presentation during the broadcast from NBC's Chicago studios, at 10:30 o'clock tonight. Stories of Indian wars, old-fashioned romances and heroic deeds of bygone days are included. Empire Builders will be broadcast over an NBC-WJZ network. __________________________________ [March 16, 1931 The Helena Daily Independent] GREAT NORTHERN STAGES RAILWAY DRAMA TONIGHT A railroad melodrama appropriate to St. Patrick's day will be put on the air by Empire Builders tonight. With some of the scenes laid in the railroad yards, the sound effects crew will have a busy night of it. Incidentally, all of the trains and many of the other sounds heard on Empire Builders are produced by ingenious mechanical devices designed by the Great Northern railway's representative in charge of these programs. Monday evening's half hour will be packed with thrills, action, suspense and last, but not least, the fighting spirit of the Irish. Harvey Hays as the "Old Timer," Bernadine Flynn (both Irish themselves), Lucille Husting and Don Ameche will be featured in a strong cast of veteran actors. The musical setting was written by Joseph Koestner, conductor of the Great Northern orchestra. The story was written by W. O. Cooper. Empire Builders is broadcast every Monday evening at 10:30 o'clock (E.S.T.); 9:30 (C.S.T.); 8:30 (mountain time); and 7:30 (P.T.), over many stations. [March 16, 1931 LAT] ... A railroad melodrama appropriate to St. Patrick's Day -- The Empire Builders -- (KECA at 7:30) -- some of the scenes laid in railroad yards -- sound effects, too. Thrills, action, suspense and last, but not least, the fighting spirit of the Irish -- "On again, off again," Finnegan -- may be the theme. ... [March 16, 1931 Binghamton (NY) Press] A tense drama of railroad thrills and action, featuring an Irishman who distinguished himself as the hero of a crisis, will be broadcast by the Empire Builders from the NBC Chicago Studios at 10:30 o'clock tonight. Josef Koestner and his orchestra will provide background and interlade music for the play, which will "be given by a veteran cast of actors. The Empire Builders will broadcast orer an NBC-WJZ network. [March 16, 1931 episode listed in March 14 CSM] ... Irish story. ... __________________________________ [March 23, 1931 The Helena Daily Independent] TO BROADCAST STORY OF CHARLIE RUSSELL Montana's famous cowboy artist, Charles M. Russell is the principal character in the story which the Old Timer relates on Empire Builders tonight. Through Russell's paintings the life of the old West will live forever, but it is the old, lovable Charlie himself, close friend of Will Rogers, that the Old Timer tells about. Probably three-fourths of the homes in the United States today have one or more reproductions of Charlie Russell's Western pictures, and those who admire him only as a painter will love him as a man when they "listen in" on the confab between him and the Old Timer, a few years back, out in Mr. Russell's studio cabin, at Lake McDonald, in Glacier National Park. A musical background has been arranged by Josef Koestner, director of the Great Northern orchestra, featuring Mark Williams, singing cowboy, who will be introduced to the national networks for the first time on the Great Northern program. The story is by Edward Hale Bierstadt. [March 23, 1931 CSM] "A Cowboy Story"; Mark Williams, singing cowboy [March 23, 1931 episode listed in March 21 CSM] ... Meeting of "Old Timer" and Charles M. Russell, well-known cowboy artist at Glacier Park. Mark Williams, singing cowboy, heard for first time. ... __________________________________ [March 28, 1931 Decatur Daily Review] Five fly swatters mounted on the end of long sticks and rotated by an electric motor make a very satisfactory wind for a radio broadcast. Wintry blasts for the Empire Builders program are produced in this manner. __________________________________ [March 30, 1931 CSM] "Life of James J. Hill" [March 30, 1931 LAT] ... KECA at 7:30, the second of a new series about James J. Hill, the Empire Builder of the Northwest ... [March 30, 1931 Binghamton (NY) Press] The life of James J. Hill, railroad magnate, will be dramatized in the Empire Builders program, broadcast from the Chicago NBC studios over an NBC-WJZ network at 10:30 o'clock tonight. Don Ameche takes the part of Hill as a youth and William Rath takes his part in later life. Harvey Hays, as "The Old Timer," describes the background and Josef Koestner directs the incidental music. __________________________________ [April 6, 1931 The Helena Daily Independent] EMPIRE BUILDERS PRESENT CHINESE PROGRAM TONIGHT "Shoes of Eloquence," replete with the atmosphere of San Francisco's Chinatown, is the story which the Old Timer tells on the Empire Builders' dramatic half-hour tonight. Incidentally, the Old Timer's tale help[s] Ann Temple, an Eastern society girl with seafaring ancestors, to decide between Henry Van Dyke, wealthy aristocrat, and Joe Cortez, a poor but go-getting native son of California. The cast, besides Harvey Hays as the Old Timer, will include Miss Lucille Husting as Ann Temple and Don Ameche as Joe Cortez. The musical setting which will include a Chinese orchestra was arranged by Josef Koestner, musical director of the Empire Builders' productions. Joseph Bethen of San Francisco is the author. Empire Builders is broadcast every Monday evening at 10:30 o'clock (E.S.T.), 9:30 (C.S.T.), 8:30 (M.T.), and 7:30 (P.T.) [April 6, 1931 LAT] ... "Shoes of Eloquence," a drama replete with the atmosphere of San Francisco's Chinatown, Empire Builders, KECA at 7:30. The Old-Timer tells the tale. ... __________________________________ [April 8, 1931 Decatur Herald - STATIC column item] ... John Kuhn, Sioux Indian chief, who plays tuba with Harry Kogen's orchestra, has found a dramatic role which he fits perfectly. Kuhn, who was born on an Indian reservation and lived many years in the West, leads the band of Indians heard frequently on the Empire Builders program of the old days of the West. ... __________________________________ [April 10, 1931 Decatur Herald] ... Given the choice in a recent program Don Ameche, leading man in the Empire Builders dramas, took the villain's role rather than the hero's. Don finds it far more interesting to speak the broken Spanish or Italian than the romantic speeches of the lover. ... [April-June 1931 The (Fort Covington, NY) Sun] Sound Effects Arouse Firemen Firemen at a firehouse adjacent to the Merchandise Mart atop which the NBC Chicago studios are located, were given cause for a great deal of excitement when they heard whistles, bells and sirens sounding as though other companies were going to a fire, but could discern no signs of a fire on their ticker. The men later learned they had heard the sound effects used during the Empire Builder program being operated on the roof of the studios of the National Broadcasting company. __________________________________ [April 13, 1931 Decatur Herald] Reproducing the shrill screech of a locomotive whistle of 1840, recently presented something of a problem to the crew handling the sound effects for the Empire Builders program from the Chicago NBC studios until it was discovered that plugging four of the five slits in the head of the whistle regularly used in the broadcasts, produced the desired tone. It was discovered also that the peculiar ring of a locomotive bell of the same era could be reproduced by hitting a standard Empire Builder bell with a hammer instead of the clapper. __________________________________ [April 13, 1931 CSM] "Mushy of Hell's Gate Mine" [April 13, 1931 episode listed in April 11 CSM] ... California mining camp story in Empire Builder period. ... [April 13, 1931 Dallas Morning News] ... "Muchy of Hell's Gate Mine," a melodrama with its locale in a California mining camp ... [April 13, 1931 Binghamton (NY) Press] "Mushy of Hell's Gate Mine," a drama with its locale in a California mining camp, will be presented by the Empire Builders from the Chicago NBC studio over a WJZ network tonight at 10:30 o'clock. The hero of the story, played by youthful Donald McLean, is a motherless boy who clears his father's name and has his longing for a mother finally fulfilled. __________________________________ [April 15, 1931 Decatur Review - Listening In column item] ... Bernadine Flynn, personable star of Empire Builders popularity, has transferred her charm and talents to the Rin-Tin-Tin thriller "drammers" heard each Thursday night at 7:15 o'clock from WLW and KYW. ... __________________________________ [April 20, 1931 CSM] "Scenes of Montana Campfires" [April 20, 1931 episode listed in April 18 CSM] ... Montana roundup story. ... [April 20, 1931 LAT] ... For plays -- why not a cowboy-comedy-drama -- concerning the soft side of the happy-go-lucky riders of the plains in the early days of Montana -- The Empire Builders -- KECA at 7:30 p.m. An all-star cast headed by Harvey Hays, the Old Timer -- ... [April 20, 1931 The Helena Daily Independent] EMPIRE BUILDERS PRESENT COWBOY PLAYLET TONIGHT A cowboy comedy-drama will be presented by Empire Builders on its NBC period Monday night. Although the story concerns Jack Brown, who was a stagedriver in the Montana's early days often "shot it out" with bandits, the playlet concerns itself principally with the "soft" side of the happy-go-lucky riders of the range. What a trio of range riders started to do to a homesteader who had settled down at their watering place, and what they did, were quite different things. The story was written by Virginia Gardiner, who obtained the facts from Jack Brown himself, now a veteran guide at Glacier national park. An all-star cast headed by Harvey Hays as the "Old Timer" includes Lucille Husting, Don Ameche and Mark Williams, the singing cowboy. Incidental music was arranged by Josef Koestner, conductor of the Great Northern orchestra. Empire Builders is broadcast every Monday evening at 10:30 o'clock (E.S.T.), 9:30 (C.S.T.), 8:30 (M.T.), and 7:30 (P.T.). __________________________________ [April 27, 1931 CSM] "Canadian Rebellion" [April 27, 1931 Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune] Louis Reil's rebellion against the Canadian government and the part played in it by James J. Hill at the behest of his Canadian friends, is the basis of the drama to be presented tonight at 8:30 o'clock over WTMJ and NBC stations. It is a chapter of stirring adventure rather than of finance and railroad construction -- a mid-winter trek from St. Paul to Winnipeg with a treacherous Indian guide, commissioned by the half-breed revolutionists to see that Hill should perish. __________________________________ [May 4, 1931 CSM] "Legend of the Wild Rose" [May 4, 1931 Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune] ... An original poetry drama, entitled "Legend of the Wild Rose," and built around a story which explains, according to the Indians of the Northwest, how roses came by their thorns, has been written by George Redman, head of the continuity department of the NBC Chicago studios for radio presentation at 8:30 p. m. over WTMJ and NBC stations. ... __________________________________ [May 10, 1931 The Decatur Daily Review] Chief Fisher Tours The NBC Headquarters In Chicago Meets "Empire Builders" Cast and Announcers -- Dazzled by Elaborate Show. By CHIEF FISHER. Probably the most outstanding thing about the National Broadcasting company, Chicago, one which rises even above the luxurious furnishings and decorative effects and the perfect precision of operation, is the spirit of goodwill and welcome tendered visitors. The Review's Chief Fisher took a flying trip through NBC last Monday and came away with a decidedly good taste of friendliness, beauty and no little bit of impression. After being announced to Jim Cook, assistant director of the National Broadcasting company, the Chief had a royal welcome which included a lot of nice bouquets for Decatur. In fact we caught man reading a copy of The Review in one of the offices. MEETS STARS. Al Williamson, press relations director, buzzed into the office for a little talk with us on news release and program service. Then we were off on our tour. The first view was studio "D" which was abuzz with rehearsal of this week's Empire Builders program. In single file, the stars appeared on the horizon and shook our hand. First came Harvey Hays, famous "Old Timer" of the Empire Builders sketches, whose age doesn't merit his radio name. Then came Lucille Husting, Bernadine Flynn, Betty White and Don Ameche of the Empire Builders cast. (And, girls, Don Ameche is a perfect type for his hero parts, handsome, suave, polite, polished and really Spanish). In studio "B" Harry Kogen's orchestra was broadcasting the Chicago Serenade program. Musicians wore neat grey smocks trimmed in green, harmonizing with the silver and green of the elaborate studio decorations. 20,000 LETTERS. On down the corridor to studio "A", NBC's main studio, and here heard something which has never been printed before. Our tour conductor, Jim Cook, pointed to the hand-done decorative border around the studio walls. He explained that the design, originated by the famous artist, Chatfield, had been applied to the walls upside down! It had been intended to appear as a valance but was reversed by mistake. In the audience mail department, we met a singular personable young woman, Dot O'Brien, who was bubbling over with enthusiasm and sparkle. She explained that nearly 20,000 letters had been received from listeners in the last week. AUDITION MANAGER. In one office we found Wallace Butterworth, announcer; Fred Ibbett and Bruce Kammen, production men, and Elena Demarco, audition manager and a charming person. She wanted to give the Chief an audition and when we explained that it was impossible because of a tight time schedule, she promised to hear our voice during our next visit to the studios. File after file of heavily loaded steel cabinets house thousands of copies of music in the music library. Everything from the most common song to the finest operatic arrangements are carefully catalogued and kept on hand for a moment's notice. TOM CORWINE. In retracing steps back toward studio "D" where the Empire Builders cast was still busy, we bumped into Tom Corwine, sound effects man who is a whole menagerie of sounds rolled into one. Besides being a clever imitator, Tom Corwine is a fine fellow. He opened his bag of tricks and imitated the sound of water gurgling from a jug, a train whistle, cackling hen, etc. From a studio came a call "Let's have the snake, Tom," so Tom proceeded to rattle and hiss while his assistant blew into a carnival whistle. Back in Jim Cook's office, after hurried glimpses into the many offices and departments of NBC, we had a telephone interview with Edward East of East and Dumke, "Sisters of the Skillet." His rollicking laugh and clever voice came over the wire in a cherry [sic] way. "Have you and your 'Sister' been able to get back to your normal weight since your New York trip?" we asked. "Ha ha," he gurgled. "Yep, we're back in shape. You see we put on so much weight that we had to do a lot of rolling around in the gym to get back to our quarter-ton that we're so proud of." DECATUR HOME TOWN. "How do you like working on a commercial program?" (from us) "We like it fine," said East, "but are disappointed that we are on only two days a week. We prefer daily broadcasts for they keep us going, on our toes, you know. However we think the time will be expanded by next week so the broadcast will be on nearly a daily basis. In June we are starting a nightly program and are looking forward to it with interest." "Decatur is a good old town," he continued. "We have played there. In fact, it's my old home town!" "Really?" we almost shouted in his ear. "Aw, now," was the comeback, "I was only kidding. Don't take me seriously." And that is just the way he, with his partner, Ralph East, meet the public via radio. They hate being taken seriously! __________________________________ [May 11, 1931 CSM] "Missing" [May 11, 1931 LAT] ... For plays? KECA's Empire Builders with a mystery play--"Missing"-- ... __________________________________ [May 17, 1931 The Lincoln Star] NOVEL SOUND-EFFECT. Sound effects engineers for the "Empire Builder" program recently solved the problem of bringing the sound of fire engines dashing to an alarm to the radio audience by enlisting the services of a Lincoln park [Chicago] policeman who rode his automobile around the roof of the Merchandise Mart where the Chicago NBC studios are located. Microphones picked up the sounds of the roaring cutout, siren and bells. __________________________________ [May 18, 1931 CSM] "On Time Hank" [May 18, 1931 episode listed in May 16 CSM] ... A ride in the cab of a locomotive in the "Empire Builders" period. ... [May 18, 1931 Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune] "On Time Hank," a railway melodrama and one of the most successful radio presentations of last season, will be presented at 8:30 o'clock over WTMJ and NBC stations. __________________________________ [May 25, 1931 CSM] "The Billion Dollar Baby" __________________________________
[On the afternoon of May 27, 1931, five miles south of Fargo, North Dakota, the real-life, twelve-car Empire Builder train, while heading to Chicago, was hit by a tornado, instantly blown off the tracks and wrecked. Only four more episodes of the series would air.] __________________________________ [May 28, 1931 Washington Post] ... During a recent broadcast of the Empire Builders program from the NBC studios in Chicago, part of the presentation required thunder for a background. The production men on the roof were vigorously shaking a great sheet of tin, to get the desired effect, when nature lent a helping hand. A terrific thunder shower had appeared from nowhere, laughing at man's efforts. ... __________________________________ [June 1, 1931 CSM] "The Belled Bridge" [title confirmed by other papers] [June 1, 1931 episode listed in May 29 CSM] "La Rosa del Oro" __________________________________ [June 7, 1931 The Charleston Daily Mail] NOVEL EFFECTS IN SOUND AN ADVANCE Engineer Depicts Three Scenes at Once; Thrilling Play Result CHICAGO, June 6.--Many and unusual have been the sound effects that broadcasters have devised to convey to listeners realistic backgrounds for their programs. Their success, in the last year or so, has been marked, but still they wrack their brains and tax the ingenuity of the sound effects engineers for even more realistic and convincing results. Foremost in this effort to approach reality as closely as possible, and a pioneer in the art, is gray-haired, bespectacled Harold M. Sims, who sits in the sound-proof control booth and, with script in hand and stopwatch before him, guides every movement and action in the Empire Builders program that goes over the air each Monday night from the NBC studios in Chicago. Sims has been playing with sound effects for his dramatic sketches of earlier days so long that he has exhausted all simple means of producing them, and has begun digging up quite unusual stunts to the amazement of other broadcasters, the amusement of his fan listeners and his own satisfaction. One idea of his was so unusual that other program directors and engineers believed it could not be done. But he did it and he has established it as another important advancement in the art and technique of dramatic broadcasting. This idea was broadcasting of two or three scenes at the same time as is done by means of the flash-back in the movies. In one of the Empire Builders plays, there was such concurrent action in a telegraph station, a locomotive cab and a bank, and all three scenes went over so well that Sims received a large number of complimentary letters from fans. The telegraph station could be definitely recognized by the click of telegraph instruments. The locomotive had its own distinctive sound effects. And at the same time the dialogue in the bank, which was being held up, clearly differentiated this scene from the others. At another time, Sims discovered that a "show" he had planned would run six minutes over the allotted hour. The only scenes he could sacrifice were those laid in a railway depot, full of action, suspense and melodrama. He didn't want to lose this effect. So he had Harvey Hays, the "Old Timer," relate the action, thus boiling down the time to within the required limit, but he retained the sound effects as a background for the Old Timer's narration. He even used voices, a girl's sobbing and other similar sounds in the background. One of Sims' cleverest performances occurred recently when he decided to let his listeners in on a small part of his rehearsal of sound effects, which occurs just before the actual program goes on the air. He was prompted to do this by the many letters he got asking him how the various effects heard in the program were put on the air. The result was so realistic that even the staff engineers and control men, who listened in on the programs and were not informed of the stunt, were fooled. __________________________________ [June 7, 1931 The Decatur Daily Review (Decatur, IL)] Vallee Wins Review Poll Tibbett Selected As Best Singer. By MAXINE SMITH. With nearly 100 votes cast in The Review poll for radio favorites of people of Decatur and surrounding territory, the outstanding fact brought out by the vote is that the line drawn between the most popular radio programs is very thin. ... ... True Story Hour was chosen by the majority of voters as the outstanding drama presentation of radio. Moonshine and Honeysuckle came second with Empire Builders and Arabesque tied for third place. ... __________________________________ [June 8, 1931 Dallas Morning News] At 8:30 p. m.--"Room 20," a mystery comedy-drama with its locale in Helena, Mont., the Monte Carlo of the gold rush days, will be presented during the half-hour broadcast from the NBC Chicago studios. (WFAA) [June 8, 1931 episode listed in June 7 Oakland Tribune] Mystery Story to Be Old Timer's Tale "Room 29," [sic] a mystery comedy-drama with a famous old hotel near Helena as its locale, will be enacted during the half-hour broadcast from the NBC Chicago studios tomorrow night beginning at 6:30. The play will be heard on KGO. At Helena, the Monte Carlo of the gold rush days, Benny Plot, an amateur detective, and his bride Margie clear the name of an uncle who was involved in a tragedy in "Room 20" in the 'nineties. They succeed only after a harrowing experience. Principal roles will be played by Harvey Hays, the Old Timer, Don Ameche as Benny Plot and Lucille Husting as Margie. Stations releasing this dramatic presentation include KGO. [June 8, 1931 CSM] "The Broadwater Hotel" [June 8, 1931 episode listed in June 6 CSM] ... Montana story in "Empire Builder" period. ... __________________________________ [June 14, 1931 Dallas Morning News] Harvey Hays, Old-Timer of Empire Builders' fame and director of The Play's the Thing" heard each week from the NBC Chicago studios, is spending a week in New York. Mr. Hays is in the Eastern metropolis to look over plays suitable for presentation on his Saturday afternoon program. __________________________________ [June 15, 1931 CSM] "The Silk Special" [June 15, 1931 episode listed in June 13 CSM] ... How a transcontinental railroad handles valuable shipments of raw silk from the Orient. ... [June 15, 1931 Dallas Morning News] A story of the rails, "The Silk Special," will be related by the Old-Timer for the Empire Builders' dramatization from the NBC Chicago studios. Packed with action, thrills, roaring trains and romance, the melodrama will reach a breath-taking climax when gangsters attempt to hold up a train believed to be carrying a secret gold shipment, by stalling their automobile on the track. (WFAA, WOAI, WKY, KOA, KPRC.) __________________________________ [June 22, 1931 CSM] "Seal of the Great Spirit" [June 22, 1931 The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, NE)] 8:30--Empire Builders; "Seal of the Great Spirit," dramatic sketch with Harvey Hays, Lucille Husting, Don Ameche, John Daly and William Rath; Josef Koestner, director (NBC-WJZ) -- WFAA, KOA, KYW. ... [June 22, 1931 LAT TODAY'S RADIO HIGH LIGHTS] ... "The Old Timer" tells his last radio story tonight. Bids final adieu to radioland. "The Seal of the Great Spirit" is the title. ... [June 22, 1931 LAT radio column item -- it's the sixth paragraph even though the column is headlined: RADIO FAVORITE IN ADIEU TODAY / "Old-Timer" Will Make Last Appearance Tonight] ... N.B.C.'s Empire Builders -- KECA at 6:30 p.m., presents for the last time a character beloved by many radio fans, the Old-Timer, who will make his last appearance with his stirring tales of the Great Northwest. ... __________________________________ [June 28, 1931 The Helena Daily Independent] HARVEY HAYES PREPARES FOR DUTIES IN GLACIER Glacier Park, June 27.--(AP)--The old timer is getting ready to enact his part. Harvey Hayes, of the Deep Voice, who characterizes the "old timer" in the Great Northern's weekly broadcasts, is getting his "citified" muscles in shape for a strenuous campaign of horseback riding. The 40 persons who will start with him on July 1 for a tour of the park by saddleback, launch and trail have been chosen for their hardihood and Hayes, on his arrival, headed for the 20,000 acre Bar-X ranch of the Park Saddle Horse company, in Swiftcurrent valley, where George Noffsinger, president, showed him where the 800 park horses are wintered. For several days he will ride in the vicinity of Many Glacier hotel. __________________________________ [December 8, 1946 excerpt from advertisement of Wheeler and Healy advertising agency in Washington Post] ... W. O. ("Army Hour") COOPER / Here is another definitely "top flight" member of the personnel of WHEELER & HEALY. His national reputation as an advertising agency copywriter; radio script writer and producer; motion picture script writer and editor and familiarity with television is acknowledged. Mr. Cooper originated the famous Great Northern Railroad program, featuring "The Old Timer;" "Lights Out," and the "Army Hour;" writing, directing and participating in all of them at different times. Mr. Cooper is now available to the clients of WHEELER & HEALY as a regular staff member in the capacity of Director of Radio, Motion Picture and Television. ... __________________________________ [November 13, 1949 Chicago Tribune] MUSEUM GIVEN RAIL BELL, RELIC OF EARLY RADIO A 300 pound bronze locomotive bell, relic of the neanderthal era of radio sound effects, was presented to the Science museum by NBC recently. The bell, rescued from the network's dead storage room here, was used to produce authentic sound effects on a railroad program in 1929-31. The bell was presented to Maj. Lenox Lohr, museum director, by I. E. Showerman, NBC vice president in charge of the central division, and officials of the Great Northern railroad at a special ceremony at the Railroad fair. __________________________________ __________________________________
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