"Mr. Radio" in New Orleans - Henry Dupre' - (D)
Henry Dupre, probably the most popular New Orleans radio celebrity ever,
joined WWL in 1933. He became the first of a group of WWL personalities that
almost every one knew by the sound of their voices. Among them were Ed
Hoerner, Bill Brengle, Don Lewis, Fred Hammond, Charlie Lake, who also was
an entertainer in the Roosevelt Hotel Fountain Lounge, and Dick Martin.
The WWL "Dawnbusters" with host Henry Dupre' was probably the most popular
program to air on radio in New Orleans. When WWL-TV signed on the air,
Henry Dupre became a New Orleans favorite with the children of the city as
New Orleans' adult viewers.
WWL New Orleans Favorite - "Dawnbusters"
The "Dawnbusters", en masse, were not just radio station celebrities or
employees...they were a family! Not all of the people shown in the
above picture can be identified at this time. If anyone can spot someone
in the picture that can be identified, please let us know. In the rear, at
the upper left, is internationally famous trumpeter, Al Hirt. The Croatian
Cajun, Pinky Vidacovich is dressed in kilts and Henry Dupre' is the chef
at the end of the second row. In the picture below, Hirt and his trumpet
are on the floor, Henry Dupre' is to the left of the microphone and Pinky
Vidacovich, barefoot and rolled up pants, is to the right of the mike. The
picture was taken in front of the "shell" of the Hawaiian Blue Room of the
Roosevelt Hotel. The hotel was the home of the WWL radio studios.
From the "Illustrated Press" January 21, 1949
Dawnbusters 11th Birthday - Jan. 17, 1949
The two young fellows in the middle of the picture above celebrated their
11th birthday on the same day the "Dawnbusters" celebrated 11 years on the
air. Shown on the left are Margie O'Dair and Irvine "Pinky" Vidacovich. On
the right are Henry Dupre' and Bonnie Bell. The two boys are Raymond Kelly
and Angrlo Geionia...both of New Orleans.
The Croatian Cajun - Irwin "Pinky" Vidacovich - (D)
One of the regulars on the WWL "Dawnbusters", Pinky entertained listners
with his novelty songs and stories. His "Arizay" cajun dialect song was
a hit of the show. Pinky was a song writer of note. At times he collaborated
with Ray McNamara, another "Dawnbusters" regular, and Chris Yacich. Ray was
well known for entertaining lunch-time audiences by playing the big pipe
organ on the mezzanine of the S. H. Kress 5 and 10 cent Store on Canal Street.
One of the many songs Pinky wrote was called "New Orleans L A but his
publisher said: "There are too many songs about New Orleans...pick another
city!" So the tune was renamed "Atlanta G A." Another Vidacovich song, "Red
Silk Stockings and Green Perfume", became a "big band" hit of the 40s. In later
years, Pinky became an ad-man and TV commercial producer associated with
the Swiggart Agency.
They Answered The Call to Colors
Dan Hynes checks the mounting of his name plate on the WWL plaque
honoring the staff members who served in the military during WWII.
Those identified on the plaque are:
Daniel Hynes * * * * * Warren Galjour
A. Louis Read * * * * * John Chilcott
Robert Lawton * * * * * Jack Boettger
Selwyn Warren * * * * Leo Zinser
Fred Newman * * * * * Mrs. Camilla Frank
Henry Dupre' * * * * * Wm. Neuberger
Peter Monaghan * * * * Edward Levy
Edw. O'Dwyer * * * * * Chris Yacich
Two others are listed but their names are hidden by the microphone.
From the Times-Picayune "Pictures From The Past" - Dec. 6, 1992
WWII program features Coast Guard Band
WWL announcer Stanley Reyes - (D), standing on the right side of the microphone,
talks with Chris Yacich - (D), Coast Gaurd public relations director and Freddie
Neumann, Coast Guard Band director. The band, which was affiliated with the
Eighth Naval District performed many live shows on WWL during the war years.
Stanley Reyes was one of the FM pioneers in New Orleans. In later years
he became part owner of WRCM-FM and WJMR AM. The "J" signified the Jung
Hotel (studio and transmitter location), the "M" was for Dr. George
Mayorall, part owner and the "R", of course, meant Reyes.
Chris Yacich was also a song writer. The band sometimes played his novelty
tune "I Like Bananas (Because They Have No Bones)" which was recorded by
the nationally famous Hoosier Hot Shots and by Kay Kyser and his orchestra.
In England, the song was recorded by a group called "The Soft Boys." It was
heard in the Vieux Carre' bistro, The Famous Door, for many years as the
theme song of Dixieland Jazzman Sharkey Bonano and his "bunch."
In later years Chris teamed up with Pinky Vidacovich and Ray McNamara of the
WWL "Dawn Busters" in writing novelty songs. Yacich also wrote the theme song
and several other songs for the Beverly Brown program "Little Red Schoolhouse"
The sheet music on the piano is a song Chris wrote for entertainer
Vaughn Monroe, "A Little Golden Cross."
Article from the Tulane (Hogan) Jazz Archives Publication (Mar. 2003)
Rainbow Record Label
Announcer/Author/Producer/Director Beverly Brown - (D)
Beverly Brown at the WWL studio organ
Beverly Brown was one of the early local radio drama producers. His
immensely popular "Road To Yesterday" series would be a sensational
television series. At this time, no scripts for the "Road" series have
been located. Bev also wrote, produced and directed an early drama series
called "Little Red Schoolhouse" The two pictures below show a promotional
piece for the "Little Red Schoolhouse" and the original music composed by
his good friend and co-worker, Chris Yacich. Later, Bev Brown moved himself
and his "Little Red Schoolhouse" to WNOE's studios in the St. Charles
Hotel. One of his announcing assignments, there was hosting the Paul Jacobs
Singing School program. Paul Jacobs "kids", Miriam, Margie, and Paul, Jr.,
were often featured on the WWL "Dawnbusters" program.
Little Red Schoolhouse
John Kent - (D)
The silver-toned voice of John Kent was a welcomed addition to the WWL
"stable" of announcers. John was the born to high society in new Orleans.
He was raised on the Soniat Plantation...his real name was Leon Soniat. He
chose the radio name "John Kent" for reasons known only to him. The Soniat
Plantation house became the clubhouse of the Colonial Country Club Golf
Course in Jefferson Parish. John later left WWL to pursue an on-camera
career in television at WDSU-TV.
Jill Jackson - New Orleans' Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood activities, actors and actresses, films, weddings, births,
divorces and scandals were her specialty and Jill Jackson told New
Orleans about it all until she moved to the glitz town herself.
Don Lewis and Orval Anderson
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For more New Orleans radio and television memories:
"NEW ORLEANS RADIO AND TV SHRINE"