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Broadway to Main StreetHow Show Tunes Enchanted America$
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Laurence Maslon

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199832538

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199832538.001.0001

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The Majestic Theater of the Air

The Majestic Theater of the Air

Radio and the Personality of Broadway

(p.39) Chapter 4 The Majestic Theater of the Air
Broadway to Main Street

Laurence Maslon

Oxford University Press

The advent of radio in the early 1920s allowed for the music of Broadway to penetrate even more households with dance bands, variety shows, and interview programs that exploited the rarified atmosphere of Broadway. In the 1920s, personalities such as Eddie Cantor and Rudy Vallee hawked not only the sponsors’ products, but the latest hit songs of Broadway. Songwriters, such as George Gershwin, as well as Rodgers and Hart, wrote original material for radio and appearing on the air as acclaimed celebrities. The Hit Parade program also codified the hit-making potential of Broadway songs. By the 1940s, Frank Sinatra brought the music of Broadway to avid listeners and used the “bully pulpit” of several popular radio series to disseminate the content and context of Broadway.

Keywords:   Radio, CBS, NBC, Rudy Vallee, George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Eddie Cantor, Your Hit Parade, Frank Sinatra

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