Flashback : Dallas

A Miscellany: History, Ads, Pop Culture

Category: WFAA

WFAA Radio’s “Altitudinous Antenna System”

wfaa_towers_1920s_belo-coll_degolyerSeems … “busy” … (click for larger image) Belo Collection, SMU

by Paula Bosse

Broadcast radio was very, very, very new when WFAA radio went on the air in June, 1922; it was Dallas’ second radio station, but it was the city’s first commercial station, and its debut was a BIG deal. (WRR had preceded WFAA, but it was mainly used for city business.) Figuring out where to place towers and aerials and antennae (which may all be the same thing, for all I know) was a major problem, with not a lot of precedents. So why not just do what they did in the photo above?

WFAA began broadcasting at 12:30 p.m. on June 26, 1922, and the day before that, a giddy and surprisingly technical article appeared in The Dallas Morning News (which owned WFAA). The full article is linked below, but this is the specific passage devoted to those towers/aerials/antennae:

wfaa-towers_dmn_062522DMN, June 25, 1922

I’m not sure if the photo at the top was from these first days (it appeared, undated, in the DMN in 1927), but here is a photo that accompanied the above article from 1922:

wfaa_tower_dmn_062522

Is that a little building? Why, yes it is.

WFAA. It began as a 50-watt station. Its studios occupied all of a 9×9-foot shack on top of the old Dallas Morning News Building. Its antennae were strung from a water tank on the The New building to a 20-foot mast on top of the Texas Bank Building. (DMN, May 21, 1950)

When WFAA began, it broadcast from inside of and on top of the old Dallas Morning News building, which was located at Commerce and Lamar. By 1927, it had moved its studios to swankier digs in the Baker Hotel. Below, another description of how the rooftop aerial situation — the “altitudinous antenna system” seen at the photo at the top of this post — functioned at this time.

One of the big towers is on top of the lofty Dallas Mercantile Bank Building, while the other is atop the high Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railway Building. The wires are connected with the WFAA operating room on the roof of the Dallas Morning News Building between the two other structures. (DMN, Feb. 20, 1927)

But back to that little shack. Let’s see it a bit closer. Here’s the exterior.

wfaa_rooftop-broadcasting-room_belo-degolyerBelo Collection, SMU

And here’s the interior.

wfaa-studio_ca1922_belo-degolyerBelo Collection, SMU

The generator and battery room.

wfaa_generator-battery_dmn_062522DMN, June 25, 1922

And the supervisor’s office.

wfaa_supervisors-office_dmn_062522DMN, June 25, 1922

And Dallas broadcasting never looked back from its humble beginnings.

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ad-white-electric-co-detail_dmn_062522Advertising detail, June 25, 1922

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wfaa-logo_dmn_062522

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Sources & Notes

Photographs from the Belo Records Collection, DeGolyer Library, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University. Top photo can be accessed here; rooftop “broadcasting room” (exterior) is here; “broadcasting room” (interior) is here. More photos here. (The interior and exterior shots of the studio seem to be from 1922. The announcer is reading from the DMN’s sister publication, The Dallas Journal, which contains an article about a subject hot in the news in July, 1922 — a strike by Kentucky coal miners.)

A Belo photo identified as showing the room containing the “Transmitter on top of The Dallas Morning News building, 1924” is here.

To read the article describing how WFAA (which, by the way, at some point stood for “Working For All Alike”) was put together — how it was literally put together — see the Dallas Morning News article “Most Complete Radio Station in the Southwest to Begin Broadcasting” (June 25, 1922), written by R. M. Lane, here, and the accompanying photos here.

See the companion Flashback Dallas post, “Radio Broadcasting, 1922-Style,” here.

Other Flashback Dallas posts on WFAA radio can be found here.

Other Flashback Dallas posts on Dallas Radio & TV can be found here.

Photos and many of the images are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2015 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Getting Married on the Radio — 1922

radio-wedding_corbis_062922Inez & John, exchanging vows on Dallas radio, 1922 (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

An early radio stunt happened in Dallas on the night of June 29, 1922 when a couple exchanged wedding vows over the air, with the bride, the groom, and the minister each broadcasting from the studios of different Dallas radio stations: WDAO, WRR, and WFAA. These were the very early days of radio, and when the wedding was broadcast, WDAO had been on the air for a little over a month, and WFAA for less than a week! (WRR, Dallas’ first radio station had been on the air for about a year, but most of that time it had been operating as a one-way radio dispatcher for the city’s fire and police departments). In June of 1922, these were the only three Dallas-based radio stations, and they all worked together in this “historic” broadcast. (This early media stunt was a full 47 years before Tiny Tim and Miss Vicki got hitched on the Tonight Show.)

DALLAS COUPLE TO WED BY RADIO THURSDAY NIGHT

DALLAS — The first wireless marriage ceremony ever performed in which neither the bride, the groom, nor the officiating minister will be at the same place is to be solemnized here Thursday night when Miss Inez Mabel Brady, Dallas society girl, becomes the bride of John H. Stone, operator at WRR, the municipal broadcasting station.

It is estimated that more than 25,000 radio fans will “witness” the tying of the radio nuptial knot.

Three Dallas broadcasting stations will be used in the ceremony. Rev. Thomas Harper, pastor of the Central Congregational Church, who has been asked to officiate, will repeat the marriage ritual into the transmitter of [WFAA,] the broadcasting station on the roof of [the Dallas Morning News] building. The bride and her attendants will be at the Automotive Electric Company’s radio station [WDAO, on South Ervay], while the groom will make his responses from WRR, the station of which he is in charge.

Operating staffs of the three stations are working out the details of the ceremony, which will include a broadcasted wedding march.

(– Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 28, 1922)

Obviously new to the hustle of radio promotion, The Dallas Morning News (owner of WFAA) mentioned the event only a couple of times — fleetingly. They did note that “This probably will be audible to one of the largest audiences ever ‘hearing’ a wedding ceremony” (DMN, June 28, 1922). It’s not known just how many people tuned in to listen to the ceremony (probably a considerable number), but the story made news around the country, as can be seen in this article from The Durham Morning Herald in Durham, North Carolina:

radio-wedding_durham_071322a

radio-wedding_durham_071322-bDurham (NC) Morning Herald, July 13, 1922 (click for larger image)

The broadcast had only a tiny hiccup:

radio-wedding_winfield-daily-press_kansas_063022Winfield (Kansas) Daily Press, June 30, 1922

As successful as the radio wedding was, the marriage between Inez Brady and John H. Stone does not appear to have lasted very long. At the time of the wedding, Inez was just out of school and was only 16 or 17 years old (the descriptions of her as a “society girl” and “debutante” were, I think, a bit of an exaggeration). According to the news stories surrounding the wedding, she “fell in love” with Mr. Stone’s voice on the radio. None of that bodes well for a lasting marriage. The 1923 city directory had the newlyweds renting rooms on McMillan, off Lower Greenville, but the 1924 directory had John in Oak Cliff and Inez in Old East Dallas. She re-married in 1928 at the creaky old age of 22, and he seems to have left WRR to work in some capacity for RCA. The marriage might not have lasted, but they both had a “brush-with-celebrity” story to tell (and re-tell) for the rest of their lives.

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Top photo from CorbisImages, ©Bettmann/CORBIS.

I’m not sure which ended first — Mr. and Mrs. Stone’s wedded bliss or the radio station WDAO, which ceased operation sometime in 1923. A good look at the history of early local radio can be found at DFW Radio Archives, here. (WRR and WFAA continue to march forward, just a few years shy of their 100th anniversaries!)

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Simulcasting the World Series In Dallas In the Days Before Radio, Via Telegraph

world-series_dmn_100422-smThe later version, for radio listeners, 1922… (click for larger image)

by Paula Bosse

It’s 1912. You’re a huge baseball fan, and the World Series is about to begin — New York vs. Boston! But you live in Dallas, a million miles away from the action. You can’t wait for the results in the paper the next day because you’re an impatient S.O.B., and radio won’t be introduced for another ten years. Do you panic? No! Because you live in a big city with a taste for new technology, and the Dallas Opera House is going to present a sort of early simulcast of the games on a “mammoth automatic score board.” Your sports prayers have been answered!

1912_world-series_dmn_100612DMN, Oct. 6, 1912

You lean back in your comfy theater seat and smoke your smokes in plush and civilized surroundings as each play is sent by telegraph to Dallas from the ballpark back East where the game is being played RIGHT NOW, hundreds of miles away. The telegraph operator in Dallas will relay the play-by-play information to personnel in the theater who will somehow do something to some sort of “automatic electric board.” And, according to promoters of these “reproductions” of baseball games, you’ll feel like you’re right there in the thick of the action. You’ll “see” the game played before your eyes!

I’ve read several articles about these boards and these reproductions, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how it worked. I assume there was a large traditional scoreboard on stage that lit up, keeping track of the score, runs, outs, etc. But apparently there’s more, and I just can’t picture it. Here’s a somewhat confusing description of what happened during these productions:

WORLD SERIES WILL BE SHOWN AT THE OLD MILL

Manager Buddy Stewart of the Old Mill Theater announced that he secured the New Wonder Marvel Baseball Player Board to reproduce the World Series baseball games. This board is declared the greatest board ever invented for reproducing baseball games. It is not a mechanical board and no mechanical devices are used, and very little electrical appliances are necessary. The games are reproduced by a crew of six experienced baseball players who are carefully rehearsed and each has a part or position to play. No other board is so complete as this. The board does not require sign cards to denote players as in other boards. You see the ball going and do not have to look in any other direction to see what it means.

Spectators will see each play reproduced in less than two minutes after it is made on the playing fields of the World Series as the board is connected with a direct wire to the baseball field, and as fast as the telegraph operator receives the play it is reproduced with as much realism as on the field. The players are seen to run bases, the ball is seen bouncing or soaring to the infield or outfield, and anyone who is familiar with baseball will know just exactly what is happening on the field by the plays made on the board with very little left for imagination.

Every hit, run, error, strike or ball, the number of strikeouts, or balls made by pitchers, or the number of hits, runs or errors made by the players is always prominently shown on the board which makes it [un]necessary for individual scoring during the progress of the game. (DMN, Oct. 3, 1920)

Doesn’t really help much. It sounds as if people are on the stage acting out each play. That would be weird. These “reproductions” of World Series games were quite popular in Texas (and probably elsewhere) for at least 15 years. If anyone reading this has a photo or diagram of one of these vaunted Marvel scoreboards, I’d love to see it!

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An earlier description of the 1912 Opera House reproduction sounds more like an audience watching a baseball game on a giant Lite-Brite “score board.”

1912_world-series_dmn_100812DMN, Oct. 8, 1912

The trick to keeping the telegraph operators calm and on-their-toes during a lengthy baseball game? Make sure they have no interest in the game.

1915_world-series_FWST_101415Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Oct. 14, 1915

Fort Worth was also getting in on the action. And they had celebrities — people like Clarence (Big Boy) Kraft and Ziggy Sears (who I’m going to assume have something to do with baseball). I’m not sure what these celebrities were doing exactly, but whatever it was, they were there doing it.

1921_marvel-score-board_FWST_100221FWST, Oct. 2, 1921

These theater programs weren’t for everyone, though. If you couldn’t take the time out of a busy work day to swan over to a theater to leisurely witness one of the early “reproductions” (or if the admission price was too steep for your budget), you could always ring up the operator to have her tell you the current score:

automatic_dmn_101112-world-series
DMN, Oct. 11, 1912

These things seemed to be a popular annual event, but in 1922, something more technologically advanced than the Marvel board appeared on the scene: radio! WFAA and WBAP began broadcasting in 1922, and, suddenly, following sports became a whole lot easier. In something of a transitional technology, there was the outdoor board as described below. The games were not only broadcast live on WFAA, but The Dallas Morning News (WFAA’s parent company) also erected one of those old-fangled “electric boards” out on the street so that passersby could keep up with the scores. (Portable transistor radios were decades and decades away.)

1923_world-series_dmn_101023DMN, Oct. 10, 1923

It was surprising to see that the “Marvel score boards” were still being used as late as 1926 (Yankees vs. Cardinals, at the Capitol Theater). Every baseball fan worth his salt should have had his own radio by then so he could listen to the World Series in the comfort of his own home and curse and cheer as loudly as the vicissitudes of the game demanded. Eat my dust, Marvel board! Radio changed everything, and radio was here to stay.

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UPDATE: Thanks to Kevin’s link in the comments below, I can share this GREAT article from Uni-Watch.com about another of these boards called the Play-o-Graph: “Photography of Playography by Paul Lukas — it answers all my questions, and it even has photos (and links to photos) of crowds watching the boards. He also links to a 1912 article, “The Automatic Baseball Playograph”  by J. Hunt, in the Yale Scientific Monthly which describes how the board works and has this photo:

play-o-graph_yale-scientific-monthly_1912The “Play-o-Graph,” 1912 (click for larger image)

Makes a bit more sense now! Thanks, Kevin!

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Sources & Notes

The top image is the “G.E. Radio Baseball Player Board” — a sort of home version of the big scoreboards used in theaters, printed for WFAA listeners in The Dallas Morning News on Oct. 4, 1922. The instructions are in a PDF, here. And feel free to print one out and use it while you watch the Series this year. Still works in the 21st century!

For an article on listener response to the successful first broadcast of the World Series by WFAA radio (listeners picked up the signal in England!), see the DMN article from Oct. 6, 1922 in a PDF, here.

And because they have such great names, you might want to know who Clarence “Big Boy” Kraft and Ziggy Sears were. If you’ve read this far, you owe it to yourself. “Big Boy,” here; Ziggy, here.

Most pictures and clippings are larger when clicked.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Pink Panther-Mr. Peppermint Connection

mr-peppermint_dmn_1961Mr. P. — 1961

by Paula Bosse

I had no idea that the “Mr. Peppermint” theme was by Henry Mancini! It’s from a 1960 movie called “High Time,” which, I have to say, I’ve never heard of. It starred Bing Crosby, Fabian, and Tuesday Weld (I kind of think Bing may have been in it solely for the paycheck). Check out the movie’s main theme music. Sound familiar?

Hearing this brings back a flood of happy memories — an aural version of Proust’s madeleines.

In a recent Los Angeles Times interview, Paul Reubens (aka Pee-wee Herman) had this to say:

“I never met Captain Kangaroo; I probably would have completely freaked out if I met Captain Kangaroo. In fact, when I meet people who are just beside themselves to meet me, I always think they’re reacting like I would react if I met Captain Kangaroo, I was so crazy about that television show as a child.” (LA Times, Oct. 21, 2014)

I ran into Jerry Haynes (aka Mr. Peppermint) several times around town over the years. The first time I saw him, I was in my 20s, and he was doing some sort of promotion (in character) at a store in, I think, Northpark. I was unaware that he would be there, but when I saw him at the top of the escalator, I was shocked. My childhood TV pal right in front of me! It’s a bit of a blur, but I think I giddily foisted myself on him and told him all the things other Dallas kids raised on his show probably told him. I might even have gushed an involuntary “I love you, Mr. Peppermint!” Yikes. I bet he got that ALL THE TIME. He was very sweet and didn’t treat me like a crazy person.

The last time I saw him, he was just Jerry Haynes, shopping for cheese at the Tom Thumb on Mockingbird and Abrams. I didn’t bother him, but I still got a little happy jolt of recognition when I saw him.

And now I find out that the composer who wrote so much of my favorite movie music wrote the music so tied to my childhood. Thanks, Mr. Mancini! Thanks, Mr. Peppermint! Thanks, Mr. Wiggly Worm!

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Sources & Notes

Quote from Paul Reubens’ Los Angeles Times interview, here.

Wikipedia roundup: madeleines, here; “High Time” movie, here; Henry Mancini, here.

(Thank you, Steve S., for bringing this to my attention!)

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“Gumdrops Love Mr. Peppermint” — 1968

mr-peppermint_1968

by Paula Bosse

When the news is unsettling, remember your “happy place.”

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1968 TV Guide ad, from eBay.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

“Go Away! Can’t You See I’m Listening to WFAA?” — 1947

wfaa-ad_dmn_090147

by Paula Bosse

Priorities.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved

Give a 15-Year-Old 8,400 Pounds of Soap and He’ll Carve You a Radio Transmitter — 1930

owen-michael_soap_1930a
Michael Owen, Jr., boy soap-carver 1930

by Paula Bosse

In 1930, 15-year-old sculptor Michael G. Owen, Jr. carved a replica of the WFAA transmitter building out of 8,400 pounds of Ivory soap. And why not? It was a big draw at that year’s State Fair of Texas.

Mike Owen, a student at well-to-do Highland Park High School (although Dallas artist Olin Travis, who had him as a pupil at about this time, described him as being “very poor”), had been sculpting all sorts of things, from the age of 3. He had begun winning awards when he was 13 or 14, one in an earlier “soap modeling” contest sponsored by Procter & Gamble. Not only did that soap-carving award result in young Mr. Owen being commissioned by Sanger Bros. to carve a model of the downtown skyline (I’m not sure this commission was ever actually completed), he was also asked to create an attraction for the State Fair: a replica-in-soap of the WFAA transmitter plant located on Northwest Highway near Grapevine (see a photo of the transmitter building and tower here). Owen worked from blueprints of the building and a bronze model supplied by the Belo Corporation (owner of WFAA), and Proctor & Gamble supplied the huge bars of Ivory soap (12 bars, each weighing 700 pounds). The finished piece was an “exact replica” of the 50,000-watt transmitter plant and was touted by Procter & Gamble as being the largest soap sculpture ever executed. It was a big hit at the 1930 State Fair of Texas.

Michael Owen went on to become a professional artist, with early enthusiastic support from Jerry Bywaters. He was associated with the Dallas Nine (and was, by far, the youngest member affiliated with that somewhat amorphous group), and I will address his more serious non-soap forays into the art world in a later post. But, first, back to soap!

The photo below shows Mike Owen’s finished product, which took him 12 days to complete.

owen_wfaa-soap_degolyerBelo Collection, DeGolyer Library, SMU

It’s difficult to tell what the size of the finished work was from this photo, but it was described as being five feet high and seven feet wide. So… big. When it was displayed at the fair it was, for some reason, bathed in blue light. After the 12 days it took Owen to complete this sculpture, I bet that kid was squeaky-clean and positively reeked of Ivory soap.

owen-michael_soap_1930b

owen-michael_soap_1930

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Sources & Notes

Photo of Owen’s soap carving of the WFAA transmitter plant is from the Belo Records collection, DeGolyer Library. Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University; more information on this photo can be found on the SMU website here.

Other Flashback Dallas posts on artist and sculptor Michael G. Owen, Jr.:

  • For a look at Owen’s professional career as a sculptor, see my post “Michael G. Owen, Jr., Dallas Sculptor of Lead Belly” here.
  • To read about the Peruna monument SMU commissioned him to produce in 1937 (when he had just turned 22), see my post here.

UPDATE: Read about a recently discovered large painting by Owen up for auction in Dallas in 2019 here.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

 

WFAA & WBAP’s Unusual Broadcasting Alliance

wfaa_wbap_transmitter_1941-sm

by Paula Bosse

wfaa-wbap_transmitter_1941

I looked at this photograph and thought, “That’s odd. Two competing radio stations from two competing newspapers from two competing cities used the same radio transmitter. How did that happen?” And then I read about the extremely unusual time-sharing arrangement that WFAA (which was owned by The Dallas Morning News) and WBAP (which was owned by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram) maintained for 41 years.

I’ll link to a story that fully explains this extraordinary arrangement, but, briefly, WFAA and WBAP both broadcast on two frequencies, trading off throughout the day. A typical schedule looked like this:

wfaa-wbap_schedule

The two frequencies were 570 and 800 (later 820) kilohertz on the AM band. When WFAA was broadcasting on 570, WBAP was broadcasting on 820. On the agreed-upon time, the stations would switch over to the other frequency. Back and forth. Over and over and over. All day long. They were independent stations with independent programming, network affiliations, on-air talent, and advertising departments. And this went on for FORTY-ONE YEARS! Until 1970! How had I never heard of this?

Apparently it wasn’t all that big a deal to the stations or the listeners. Things were getting a little strained by 1969, though, when WBAP went whole-hog into playing country music (and eventually became one of the most successful country stations in the United States). It was time to go their own ways. The split was amicable, and both stations felt that the unusual partnership had worked well for all concerned.

So why did this happen in the first place? Because of the 820 frequency. 820 was a clear channel frequency, which meant that the station that owned it could broadcast at an incredible 50,000 watts — enough to be heard all over the Western hemisphere; 570 boasted a measly 5,000 watts, and, as someone said, “people might hear you in Sherman … but maybe not.” Neither WFAA or WBAP wanted to give up the clear channel powerhouse, which is why their piggy-backing partnership lasted as long as it did. But, ultimately, WBAP got 820 and was a major broadcasting force to be reckoned with. WFAA radio got the short end of the stick and sputtered along at 570 on the AM dial for a few lackluster years but never recovered from losing its half-share of 820 AM. In the WFAA-WBAP showdown: Fort Worth 1, Dallas 0.

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Sources & Notes

Photo of the transmitter building from WFAA, WBAP, KGKO Combined Family Album (Dallas-Fort Worth, 1941). Yes, there was actually a THIRD station involved in all of this for a while — KGKO out of Wichita Falls! Here’s an ad from the 1941-42 Texas Almanac, via the Portal to Texas History (click to see a larger image):

wfaa_kgko_tx-almanac_1941-42_portal

Sample schedule is from the definitive article on this bizarre broadcasting alliance: “You Have Half a Station, We Have Half a Station” — How WFAA in Dallas and WBAP in Fort Worth Shared Radio Frequencies for Four Decades by John Mark Dempsey, from the Spring, 1999 issue of Legacies magazine, which can and SHOULD be read, here.

For another photo of this transmitter building, see a previous post here.

Click photo for larger image.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Early Dallas Radio & “Verified Reception Stamps”

ekko_wrr

by Paula Bosse

Chances are you’ve never heard of “Verified Reception Stamps” which were issued in the 1920s by a company in Chicago called EKKO. I certainly hadn’t. The stamps (referred to by collectors as “Cinderellas”) were enthusiastically and obsessively collected in the mid-’20s — people were really into it. Basically, it seems to have been a clever form of advertising which banked on both the public’s fascination with early radio and the then-very popular hobby of stamp collecting.

How did it work? Briefly (see below for links to much more involved articles about this), the EKKO company printed these stamps for subscriber radio stations around the country (and later for stations in Canada, Mexico, and Cuba). Once the radio stations received them, they issued them to listeners who wrote in to affirm that they had, in fact, picked up their station on the wireless. The listener had to prove it by stating the time he or she had tuned in and then give a short synopsis of the program they had heard. Oh, and they had to enclose a dime. (The dime was probably the most important part of this whole fad — at least for the broadcasters.) In return, the station would check their logs and “verify” that the dime-sender probably DID hear the station, and one of these little stamps would be sent out post haste. The EKKO company also conveniently printed up albums for collectors to paste the stamps into. I’m not sure how one was expected to fill up the book (with pages devoted to each state), since there’s no way you’d be able to pick up the signals of all those stations, but I guess that’s what gets collectors’ blood racing. It’s the thrill of the chase. The verified reception stamp-collecting fad died out as the Depression set in, and it became hard to justify spending one’s precious hard-earned dimes on a frivolous hobby.

Verified reception stamps were issued by the five main stations in the Dallas area in the 1920s. WRR, at the top, was the first radio station in Dallas and one of the earliest stations in the country. It began broadcasting as a sort of early police radio in 1920 and received its official broadcasting license in 1922. It remains an oddity in the radio world as it is a commercial radio station that is owned and operated by the City of Dallas.

ekko_wfaa

WFAA signed on in 1922 and was part of the nascent Dallas Morning News media empire.

ekko_wbap

WBAP, a Fort Worth station, also signed on in 1922. Someone thought it might be cute if “WBAP” stood for “We’ll Be At the Party.” More serious-minded station people went with “We Bring a Program” which, really, isn’t much better.

ekko-kfjz

KFJZ (another Fort Worth station) came along in 1923. Its founder sold the station five years later for a good chunk of change and then went to work for WBAP.

ekko-krld

KRLD began broadcasting in 1926 and was acquired by The Dallas Times Herald a year later.

ekko-texas-stations

A sample page the “Texas” portion of the official EKKO stamp album.

ekko_wrr-globe

The EKKO company had some competition in the PM Bryant Co. Bryant stamps required no “verification” — you just sent them your dime and got a stamp. Their stamps had no eagle, but they DID have transmitter towers and the essential lightning bolts.

And now you know!

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All of the above stamps come from a bewilderingly jam-packed page of thousands of these stamps. It’s pretty cool, but the page takes FOREVER to load. Find it here. (There is a page with with links only — no pictures. It loads a lot faster. Find it here.)

There are several articles about EKKO stamps out there — check out one here, and one here. One on Bryant stamps is here.

An incredibly comprehensive history of Dallas radio is the DFW Radio Archives site — its main page is here. The pages dealing with the stations broadcasting in DFW in the 1920s are here and here. I highly recommend reading the very interesting account about how WRR evolved from an experimental police communication transmission tool to a full-fledged entertainment station.

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

Mr. Peppermint!

by Paula Bosse

I have no idea where I came across this photo a couple of years ago, but it is without question my favorite photograph of my childhood pal and idol, Mr. Peppermint!

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Copyright © 2014 Paula Bosse. All Rights Reserved.

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