THE HISTORY OF "THE BREAKFAST SERIAL"
AS WE APPROACHED THE 40th Anniversary of "The Breakfast Serial", I thought it was important to, once and for all, set-down the complete history of the show.
Many of you who come to this Site are old friends who listened to the show in your hometown when the it was syndicated. Some heard it right here in St. Louis when it was aired, first on KSLQ-FM, and in later years in another long-run when it was featured on WRTH-AM.
And, some of you visiting here right now never had the opportunity to hear the show originally in your town, state, or, country-of-origin...and are experiencing it for the first time on our Website.
So, what follows, is the personal story of my love for the "Golden Age of Radio", the "Great Radio Heroes", and that time-period which was one of the most important eras in our American history. It's a love that still exists in my heart to this very day.
Follow along and you will not only learn the history of "The Breakfast Serial", but the importance that radio still has in your life, no matter what your age...everytime you turn it on !
Jonnie King (October, 2013)
I GREW UP AT THE TAIL-END OF Radio's "Golden Age", and living in St. Louis afforded me the privilege of having a multitued of radio station's and network's from which to choose whenever I wanted to listen. NBC, CBS, MUTUAL, ABC...they were all there, and they came in loud and clear.
AS WITH MOST KIDS of my age at that time, after I got home from school every afternoon, I loved listening to the exploits and adventures of the Great Radio Heroes...especially Captain Midnight, and, Tom Mix, they were my ultimate favorites. Then came Sky King, Straight Arrow, the Lone Ranger, Sgt. Preston, the Green Hornet...and, of course, the Shadow.
After all, you had to listen to these heroes of yours...they were keeping the World safe from bad guys, villians of every sort, and you didn't want to miss any exciting Episode that they were a part of !
FITTINGLY, I had many - if not all - of the special "Premiums" these shows offered !
For, usually, just a dime and a box top from the sponsor's product (or, an inner seal from a jar of Ovaltine), you got some really neat things - just like your heroes used on their shows every day - that sometimes helped them in seemingly life-threating situations when they were confronted by those afore-mentioned "bad guys" !
The offers included: Captain Midnight manuals, decoders, and, shake-up mugs; Tom Mix secret manuals, rings, and a glow-in-the-dark compass; a Terry & the Pirates gold ore detector ring; Sky King teleblinker ring; Sgt. Preston Mounted Police whistle, Straight Arrow mystic wrist kit...well, you get the picture, so if I had a dime and a box top (or inner seal from a jar of Ovaltine), I sent away for it...whatever it was.
As I got older, things changed. I changed. I became an adult. WOW ! Did that have an impact on me !! I started working, found out that not everything could be had by simply "sending in a dime and a box top" (or an inner seal from a jar of Ovaltine). You had to earn more than that to pay your bills, put gas in your car, and, have some money leftover for food, clothes, and later, your girlfriends ! So, I put my heroes to rest...at least temporarily.
NOTE: Shown above, from my large Personal Collection of Golden Age Radio Premiums, is the beautiful, full-color, very first "Captain Midnight Secret Squadron Manual" issued by the sponsor, Ovaltine, in 1941. _________________________________________________________________________________
THE GREAT RADIO HEROES...THOSE THRILLING DAYS OF YESTERYEAR !
THEN, IN EARLY 1968 I WAS WORKING AT MY FIRST radio station, KLID in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and one day while going through a large, locally-owned drugstore in the city's shopping center, I spied a book on one of their "spinning rack" displays.
The book's cover, and its title "The Great Radio Heroes" jumped right out at me, caught my attention, zoomed my memories back to my early days of Golden Age Radio listening, and early love of those heroes. Needless to say, that seventy-five cent paperback book, written by Jim Harmon, was mine before I left the store !
Harmon had done his homework. Like me he'd been a G.A.R. junkie...and radio, and its varied heroes, had impacted his life as much as it had mine. And, the reading of that book, chapter-by-chapter, rekindled all of those childhood and young adult memories I had...radio as it used to be: the real "Theatre of the Mind".
I wanted to hear those shows all-over again, but how could I do that ? Where were they ? I'd soon find out !
THE KAAY- LITTLE ROCK CONNECTION...
FAST-FORWARD TO THE FALL OF 1969. I had moved to 50,000 Watt, KAAY Radio in Little Rock, Arkansas, in April of that year, was working the 7-Midnight shift, and the All-Night show that followed mine was "Beaker Street" helmed by my friend Clyde Clifford.
"Beaker Street" was an underground, album-oriented show (the first of its kind on A.M. Radio) that had a large cult following, and could experiment with almost anything and not get hurt. So, the management & program director (Pat Walsh & Barry Wood), along with Clyde Clifford, and longtime Big K Newsman/Golden Age Radio Show Collector, George Jennings, combined to put together an hour long feature, running Golden Age Radio Shows that would air from 1am to 2am, entitled "Beaker Theatre".
Well, with my schedule, I'd usually got home about 12:30am and hit the sheets shortly after that...sometimes reading, sometimes tuning-in to see what Clyde was playing. One fateful night, as I turned on my radio, there was Beaker Theatre and the show that night was called "The Shadow People" from the "Hall Of Fantasy" Series.
Lying there in the dark, listening to one of the scariest shows that I had never heard before, literally gave me goosebumps ! I hung on every word, every sound effect, every music "stab" that signaled danger or peril ! And the ending was a real shocker to say the least !
THIS WAS RADIO AS I FIRST KNEW IT...THIS WAS TRULY "THE THEATRE OF THE MIND" !_________________________________________________________________________________
"THE BREAKFAST SERIAL": THE EARLY DAYS...
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY, George Jennings, who was the Newsman on the Morning Show, created the concept of pairing with the Morning Man, Sonny Martin, and using a feature he called "The Breakfast Serial"...running portions of a G.A.R. show at a certain time every morning (Mon.-Fri.), Episode-by-Episode, until the entire show was finished.
George didn't edit the shows, or, write a script for any of the shows he used, he just put them on a reel-to-reel recorder in his Newsroom, gave an Introduction or Synopsis, turned the machine on, then stopped it at a climactic point he had chosen after about 4 or 5 minutes, and told the audience to be sure to come back tomorrow morning to see what would happen in the next Episode.
Depending on the length of a particular program, one complete airing of a story on "The Breakfast Serial" might take 7 or 8 days. Then a new feature would begin...sometimes in mid-week.
With my late-night hours, I didn't always hear "The Breakfast Serial", but the show was a success and helped the Morning Show ratings...which is one reason it was created. And, when I listened to the "Serial", or, "Beaker Theatre", I was finally able to listen to some of those beloved shows that I had missed so much through the years.
AN IDEA THAT BEGAN IN DETROIT...
IN SEPTEMBER OF 1972 I WAS HIRED to work for Bartell Broadcasting at their, then-new, station in Detroit: WDRQ-FM. While I was there, I noticed that even though WXYZ Radio in the 1930's had spawned The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet, and, Sgt. Preston (The Challenge Of The Yukon) during that "Golden Age"...the market was devoid of anything like that in 1972.
It was then, with my longtime love of those great Golden Age Shows, and my Great Radio Heroes, that I wanted them to be heard by an audience that may have forgotten them - and those that had never heard and them at all - that I came up with my concept for "The Breakfast Serial".
IN MY REVISED VERSION OF THE SHOW, a complete program would run Episode-by-Episode from Monday thru Friday, and the show would have custom-made promos for it which would run on the Weekend preceeding that show...just as Network TV Programs have done for decades.
Plus, there would be Special Promos that the station using "The Breakfast Serial" would air during the week...saying "...be sure to be here for tomorrow mornings exciting Episode". In other words, with my version of "The Breakfast Serial", we would lock-in the audience coverage completely by re-enforcing & recycling the image of the show SEVEN DAYS A WEEK !
What all of the above would entail, was a complete make-over of the show... with every program taken into a Production Room and each Episode edited precisely to fit into about a 4 min. to 5 min. time-frame, with my scripting, producing, and, voicing an Intro and a Close for every Episode that was used, included in that time limit.
AS I WOULD LATER LEARN, putting just one show of "The Breakfast Serial" together with that process would eventually entail a full-time 40 hour week for me to accomplish ! (No wonder George did it in a simpler way, and let it run just as it was...no matter how long it took for a story to end !)
MEANWHILE, BACK IN ST. LOUIS...
BY AUGUST OF 1973 I moved back to St. Louis to work at the Bartell's sister-station to WDRQ...KSLQ-FM. Al Casey, the PD at KSLQ, and I, had known each other from when I was working in Little Rock and he was in Memphis, and he hired me as soon as I got back.
It was exciting to be back in my hometown, and "The Great Radio Wars" of the 1970's were fully underway in this market with the long-running KXOK-AM, KADI-FM, and, KSHE-FM, all trying to get their share of the ratings...and, KSLQ-FM was the newest player in the game, adding more fuel to the fire !
WITH THE FALL RATING PERIOD looming ahead, the "Q" was looking for something to help boost our listenership during the Morning Drive period. It was then that I had a meeting with Al Casey and, since the "Nostalgia Boom" was taking the entire country by storm at that time, I proposed the idea of using "The Breakfast Serial" as a sure-fire way to help build our listener base...the same way it had done at KAAY.
Only, this time, it would be using my revised concept of the Format...with one complete show a week serialized, having one Episode a day Monday thru Friday...and corresponding Promos to recycle the listeners during the week and on the weekends.
Well, I got a few test tapes from George Jennings at KAAY in Little Rock, and played some excerpts for Al and the then-Morning Drive personality, Jay Stone. They loved it ! Thought the idea couldn't miss ! Then we brought the GM, Joe Kelly, into the Production Studio to hear it...and Joe loved it too, thought it was just great, and wanted to know how soon I could get it on-the-air !
When the news spread around the station that this new, specialized, perfect retro-fit, Golden Age Radio feature was coming, it was truly a win-win situation with everyone on board with the idea and the concept ! Now the sales department had the long-awaited Morning Feature that they'd been looking for to take to their clients !
"TIME NOW FOR 'THE BREAKFAST SERIAL'...ON KSLQ !"
RIGHT AFTER I GOT THE GO-AHEAD from Al Casey and Joe Kelly to get "The Breakfast Serial" on-the-air by October, 1973, in time for our Fall Rating Period, I called KAAY and talked to my old friend George Jennings again about the project. I told him the changes I would make in bringing the show to a Major Market (St. Louis was the 10th Largest Market in 1973), and asked for his help in getting some of the shows he had on tape to use as I started-up the Series.
George was as excited as I was ! He gave me his blessing, and told me he'd give me any help I'd need, and he started by asking another old friend, KAAY Engineer David Montgomery, to dub some of the tapes on reel-to-reel and send them to me.
Shortly after that, the first batch of shows arrived...and "The Breakfast Serial" was on-the-air at KSLQ !
(George had a collection of over 10,000 Golden Age Radio Shows, and in 1974 he branched out, acquired a partner, and had began producing & selling 8-Track Tapes of Golden Age Radio Shows from his vast collection to various retail clients. NOT "The Breakfast Serial" programs, but full-length, regular-run shows such as "Sky King", "Captain Midnight", "Fibber McGee & Molly", and many others. One of his major clients was the Stuckey chain of restaurants which were always located near Interstate Entrances/Exits.)
A LEGEND IS BORN...
WHEN "THE BREAKFAST SERIAL" HIT THE AIRWAVES in October of 1973 it became an instant hit ! I had figured correctly: there was nothing like it, not a thing like it, on any radio station in town...and the word-of-mouth excitement that spread from listener-to-listener, and even our competitors, was FANTASTIC ! Plus, the Sales Department had their cash registers ringing loud and clear.
What happened after that was utterly remarkable: Within less than a year's time, the 7:30am to 8:00am day-part of KSLQ's Morning Show, which featured "The Breakfast Serial", became the HIGHEST RATED DAY-PART of the entire station !
Accordingly, the PD, the GM, the Sales Manager, and, the entire Staff, who had all been behind me 100% from the start...knew these newest ratings further cemented the deal.
II WAS THE RIGHT IDEA, at the right time, at the right place. "The Breakfast Serial" was on KSLQ to stay !
FOR JUST TWENTY-FIVE CENTS & A BOX TOP FROM YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL !
I RAN "THE BREAKFAST SERIAL" SEASON exactly like the shows from Golden Age Radio - and, Golden Age Television - had done: 39 Weeks of new shows in-a-row, and a 13 Week hiatus. For "The Breakfast Serial" that meant I started a new Season the Monday after Labor Day in September, and went straight-through, roughly, to the first week of June.
During the off-months, I knew it was important to keep the show reinforced in the mind of our audience, so we ran Special Promos for the show, reminding the listeners that even though we were on our "Summer Vacation" we'd be back with more exciting Episodes for the Fall Season.
Though the show was not on-the-air for those few weeks, that's when I did the work getting ready for the new Season: lining up shows, doing research, preparing scripts, going over plot lines, show placement, talking to other G.A.R. Collectors, and doing everything I possibly could to make the next Season even better than the last.
It was a committment I didn't take lightly...it was my show, and if my name was attached to it, it had to be the best quality it could possibly be so I could give the audience one of the greatest listening experiences they could imagine in the new shows I was preparing.
SO, IT WAS DURING JULY OF 1977, as I was getting some of the new shows ready for the Fall Season, that I came up with this idea:
IT WAS THE Fourth Anniversary of "The Breakfast Serial" on KSLQ, and I thought, what better way to celebrate it on-the-air than to have our own Radio Premium give-away !
There would be a Special "Fourth Anniversary Booklet", along with a letter from Bill Bailey, the then-current Program Director & Morning Man, and, myself...and a specially-minted medal, a reproduction of the 1940 "Captain Midnight Medal of Membership" with our station call-letters embossed in it ! All as a Special Package...a new Radio Premium to offer to our listeners, just like the ones offered during Radio's Golden Age ! (That's it pictured here.)
I had a meeting with Bill, told him my idea, and, he almost fell off his chair ! He said: "Wow ! That's a fantastic idea...and it will further cement our listeners to the Morning Show ! Let's talk to Ted (the G.M.) and see if we can't get this worked out as soon as possible !"
We got together with Ted, he gave us the green-light to proceed, I contacted an artist in our building who could bring the art work, concept, photos, etc., together for the Anniversary Booklet, and we were on our way.
As far as the specially-minted medal, my friend, the late-Fred Precht, was a pro at working with pewter molds. I gave him my original 1940 "Captain Midnight Medal of Membership", he struck a mold from that and etched-in our KSLQ call letters perfectly so that it was personalized.
I WORKED WITH JACK, the artist, on a day-by-day basis to make sure the visuals & art on the project were perfect. I also supplied the photos we used, and, wrote the copy for each section of the booklet, and, set-up the format for every page. Once the artwork was set and ready to go, I then took it all to the company that would do the actual printing and collating of the booklet and the letter, and oversaw that process to its completion also.
It was a labor of love, and since it was my project to begin with, and it represented my show and our radio station, I wanted it to be something we could all be proud of.
NOW HERE'S HOW THE PROMOTION WORKED...I handled it just like the Premiums offered by the sponsors of Great Radio Heroes shows:
THE ANNOUNCMENT SAID: "To get your own personal copy of our Special Collectors Edition 'KSLQ Fourth Anniversary Booklet', your authentic replica of the 1940 "Captain Midnight Medal of Membership", and a letter of authenticity signed by Bill Bailey, and, myself, simply send in a box top from your favorite Breakfast Cereal, and twenty-five cents to cover the cost of handling & mailing, to KSLQ Radio, 111 So. Bemiston Ave., St. Louis, Missouri 63105 ! But, hurry, do it today as our supplies are limited !"
HOW WELL DID THIS retro-cool promotion work ? Well, we had and initial run of 500 booklets, letters, and, medals that were produced. They ran out after the first week of the offer, and we had to have an additional 1000 produced to meet the demand ! In fact, the volume of mail got so heavy, and so over-worked the staff handling the mailing, that I pitched-in on finishing up the sorting & mailing myself !!
It was a "promotion to remember" for all involved, and, all these years later, I hear from former listeners who still have their booklets & medals, and want to let me know how much they enjoyed "The Breakfast Serial" !
Once again it proves that "the power of radio", and its impact on those who listen, can truly create life-long memories that live in our minds and hearts.
KSLQ-FM PRODUCTION STUDIO #2...WHERE IT ALL CAME TOGETHER:
IN THE PHOTO SHOWN HERE, you see KSLQ Production Studio #2 in which I worked daily to produce "The Breakfast Serial".
Sitting on top of the console, you'll see 4 Record/Playback Cart Machines. To the right in the picture, partially hidden, are 2 Reel-To-Reel, professional tape recorders. Again, as you look at the picture, remember it's "1973"...not today !
In today's technology, everything is digital...in 1973 we used actual reel-to-reel tapes, tape cartridges, cassette tapes...and, in later years, D.A.T tape technology.
But, in my producing of "The Breakfast Serial" with the technology available at that time, as intricate as it was blending my voice tracks, the stories from the tapes themselves, and, sometimes even needing to use that turn table you see in the picture, to place each Episode & Promo on a separate Cartridge that was then sent to the Control Room for the Morning Man...I sometimes had to use BOTH Reel-To-Reel units, 3 of the 4 Cart Machines, and, one of the Turn Tables, to get the job done !
LIKE I SAID: Each complete program of "The Breakfast Serial" took about FORTY HOURS of work to produce...but, I loved every minute of it, as it was my creation that I was giving life to in honor of a time-period that I didn't want to be forgotten for its importance in the History of Radio...and the Art of Broadcasting itself.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE...WITH A SHOW THAT REMEMBERS THE PAST:
FROM THE TIME THAT I began production of the show, my senses had honed-in on a much bigger scale, accordingly I built the scripting and the information that I used for each show, as well as my voice tracks, so that the shows were generic enough that they never sounded "dated". The reason: I knew the show was strong enough, and, good enough, that it could, and should, be placed into syndication. That is also why every show in "The Breakfast Serial" Catalog, sounds just as current today as it did when it was first-aired.
Therefore, at a special meeting in August of 1976, the then-Program Director, Chuck Roberts, and, the General Manager, Ted Smith, gave me their approval to produce the show for syndication nationally from our KSLQ Studios as they knew that the quality of "The Breakfast Serial" was perfect, and that it could easily fit into a vast array of markets around the country.
Further more, in helping me with this goal they knew I wanted to achieve, they were "giving back" to me for all of the hard work I had done on the show through the years, and the listener loyalty, ratings, and, cashflow, it had created for the station.
They were kind enough to give me every bit of support and help that I would need to launch the project...and by the time the word spread throughout the Industry, FOUR stations had been signed for the Fall Season of 1976: KCMO/Kansas City, Missouri; WDGY/Minneapolis, Minnesota; WKIQ-FM/ Bowling Green, Ohio...and, of course, our home-base: KSLQ, St. Louis.
AFTER THAT AMAZINGLY STRONG start-up, the Station List for the Series continued to grow through the years: Detroit, Indianapolis, Connecticut, Washington, Ohio, to name a few.
Years earlier, I had formed my own production company, King-James Productions, Ltd., and all of the shows & syndication were handled through its auspices. It was a fantastic experience for all concerned, and "The Breakfast Serial" was a Top Rated Feature in every market it entered, and, in the process became a "Cult Classic" still remembered and talked about wherever it was heard, today.
ONCE MORE I REMIND YOU that as the Series progressed, I continued to learn more and more about the actors, writers, sound effects wizards, musicians, producers, directors, and everything else that could contribute to my "salute" to this wonderful Golden Age Of Radio that I, to this day, revere and thank for its dynamic place in the History of Broadcasting.
SPECIAL NOTE: I will be eternally grateful to the remarkable G.E.F. Without her help, support, caring, kindness, guidance, dedication, determination, wonderful sense of humour, total commitment, and, constant presence at a time when I truly needed it, I could have never made the initial transition-phase into syndication as smoothly as I did. She was then, is now, and always will be, an integral part of my life. JK
"THE BREAKFAST SERIAL" AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB!
MANY TIMES THROUGH THE YEARS, I've had requests from listeners for copies of the shows heard on "The Breakfast Serial". Most fans of the show have their favorite programs that they remember, and would like to hear again...but they weren't available for sale.
Maybe it's "Terror By Night" with Agnes Moorehead, "Death For Sale" featuring Boris Karloff, "In The Year 2462", a sci-fi classic with Lawson Zerbe. Or, it could be one of our Hollday Classics: the hilarious "Halloween, 1948" from the "Ozzie & Harriet" Show and/or "The Yuletide Miracle" our touching, beautiful Christmas Presentation starring radio veterans Larry Haines & Santos Ortega...everyone has their favorites.
WITH THAT THOUGHT IN MIND, at the turn of the New Millenium I began what was to be a year-long project: to digitally re-master every show in "The Breakfast Serial" Archives from the original reel-to-reel masters so they could be used as CD's, or, converted into MP3's and used in any device compatible with that format. I personally did the re-mastering, as I had done with the mastering of the originals, so that I could control the quality of each show and end up with a result I'd be proud of...and would last for decades to come.
But there was still no outlet for the shows to reach the public, or, to let fans of the show know that they could now purchase and enjoy them for their own private use.
WELL, AS MY OWN 40th Anniversary in Broadcasting loomed ahead of me in 2007, I decided it was time to not only make the ENTIRE CATALOG of shows available for sale...but, to put together a Website to honor both my 40th Anniversary , AND, "The Breakfast Serial's" 35th Anniversary !
So during the Summer of 2007, I laid the groundwork for the Website, put the Catalog of all the shows together, added the Series Lists, worked on adding various shows to the Site so they could be heard, placed our Exclusive Demo into the mix, added a Special "Time Machine" Feature...and, did everything else I possibly could to make the experience of coming to "The Breakfast Serial" Website fun, informative, and, hoped all coming to the Site could also learn some history about the shows...and the Golden Age Of Radio itself.
ACCORDINGLY, the Site was Officially launched on my 40th Anniversary in Broadcasting: September 10th, 2007...and, thanks to each & everyone of you taking the time to read this, the response to the Site, it's content, and, the samples of available shows that you can listen to, including our Exclusive Demo, has just been overwhelming...and I sincerely thank you !
ONCE UPON A TIME...THERE WAS NO INTERNET !
IN CASE YOU DIDN'T THINK ABOUT THIS, there was no "Internet" in 1973, or any of the years that I produced "The Breakfast Serial" !
My information came from books, magazines, newspaper articles, trips to the library, fellow G.A.R. Collectors...gleaning information & knowledge in every way that I could. That's when my Personal Library began to mushroom into the ultra-large group of books & magazines that are still with me and used for research & reference today...and, I've even installed a Special Library Page here on the Website so that I can share some of my favorites with you. Be sure make a visit to that Special Section while you're here.
EVEN NOW, that collection of valuable reading material continues to grow with anything I find related to G.A.R. and feel I need to add to the Library...in fact, as I write this today, I have just received the Revised Edition of Jim Harmon's "The Great Radio Heroes" book that you see pictured here...the one that started me on this quest in 1968 !
(Sadly, Jim Harmon passed away on February 16, 2006, at the age of 76, in Burbank, California. I never met Jim, but corresponded with him briefly in the late-70's, and thanked him at that time for rekindling that spark within me to go back to my roots...the love of Golden Age Radio and those who created those wonderful shows that still bring me pleasure to this day.)
SOME PERSONAL THOUGHTS ON THE 40th ANNIVERSARY OF "THE BREAKFAST SERIAL"...
YOU'VE NO DOUBT HEARD the expressions "Dream Big", "Live Your Dream", "Make Your Dream Come True"...and all the others similar to that. Well, I didn't really follow an "expression" of any sort in my concept of "The Breakfast Serial" when it was begun in 1973.
I followed my heart, my love of Golden Age Radio, my need to share the true "Art of Communication" in my chosen profession of Broadcasting, and used, to the best of my ablity, the talents I was given...which I honed & polished through the years. I set out to prove that radio is one of the most powerful "one-on-one" forms of communication that there is between your voice and the listeners ear. Truly radio is, and always has been, "The Theatre of the Mind".
In that Theatre of the Mind you can create comedy, tragedy, drama, love, kindness, chaos, or, whatever you want, and you picture the actors in your mind as you listen. The villians in a radio mystery are unseen, BUT, you visualize them in your own way...and they can look more grotesque, more horrible, in your imagination than any Hollywood Special Effects, or, Make-Up Man could ever create.
I've alway worked hard at what I do, and, thankfully, my career has been successful in many ways. I've tried to become multi-dimensional in using my God-given talents...always trying to "set the bar", rather than to "raise the bar". Always trying to take things to "the next level", and enter areas that others maybe never thought about, or, had a love for. In short, I've always tried to be ahead of who's ever in second place.
More importantly, I have tried to "give back" to my listeners, my mentors, and, those that have helped me all along the way, for I've always realized that "you never do this alone". If it wasn't for the help, kindness, love, and support, of all those I've just mentioned, and those of you who've taken the time to visit this Website, I might not be writing these words here today. I've always said: "If it wasn't for you, there would be no need for me."
IN CLOSING, for their help with "THE BREAKFAST SERIAL" I'd like to give thanks in this public forum to those who, forty years ago, believed it could be done, helped me from the start, but sadly, have passed away in the intevening years: George Jennings; Pat Walsh; Al Casey; Joe Kelly; Ted Smith; Bill Bailey; Bill Hennessey; Don Pietromonaco. I am forever in their debt.
Jonnie King (October, 2013)
THROUGH THE YEARS, I have been asked this question many times: "What was the first show you did on "The Breakfast Serial" ? And, what was the last one?" To put that question to rest, and if the question ever comes up in a Trivia Contest, here's the answer:
THE FIRST PROGRAM EVER AIRED on "The Breakfast Serial" in October, 1973, was an "Inner Sanctum" Mystery: "The Dead Walk At Night", starring Donald Buka & Leon Janney. (Special: You can hear an Episode of this first show by simply Clicking-On-Right-Here !)
THE LAST SHOW PRODUCED WAS, again, from the long-running "Inner Sanctum" Series: "The Judas Clock". It featured Berry Kroeger & Jackson Beck, was one of the most-suspenseful, well-plotted, shows ever written, and was done in July, 1980. This show remains as one of my personal all-time favorites !
NATIONAL SYNDICATION OF "The Breakfast Serial" was begun in September of 1976. The original four stations the show was syndicated to at that time were: KSLQ-FM/St. Louis; KCMO/Kansas City, Missouri; WDGY/Minneapolis, Minnesota; WKIQ-FM/Bowling Green, Ohio.
"THE BREAKFAST SERIAL" was heard on KAAY/Little Rock from the Fall of 1969 to the Spring of 1975.
AS I STATED EARLIER, the original creator of the show, George Jennings, had started his own company selling 8-Tracks of Golden Age Radio Shows from his vast collection on a retail level...but not "The Breakfast Serial" as he had never recorded & produced those shows in a format such as the one I created.
George's company was started in 1974 and called Electric Memory, Inc. He had great displays that were set-up for retail point-of-purchase sales of 8-Track Golden Age Shows like: "Sam Spade", "Fibber McGee & Molly", "Hop Harrigan", "Henry Aldrich", and many, many more. All were beautifully packaged. George was a good friend who died way too soon: March 15, 2007.
THE CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER received much national attention when it was first aired. Its producer was Himan Brown, who had helmed the "Inner Sanctum" Mysteries Series, and its narrator was the veteran actor E.G. Marshall. It was a very good show with a great cast list, and I too listened to it whenever I could.
HOWEVER, when the CBS Radio Mystery Theater debuted in January of 1974, "The Breakfast Serial" had already been on-the-air for FOUR MONTHS !
So, even though the CRMT got all of the hoopla the Press could give it for attempting to bring back G.A.R. with new stories & scripts, "The Breakfast Serial" had already been on-the-air since the Fall of 1973 with the original Golden Age Radio stars & stories ! Score one for us !
NOTE: There's also a Special Page on "The Breakfast Serial" Site with a list of all the Stations that used the show after it was placed into syndication. What's even more interesting is that in some cities when one station stopped using the show, another would pick it up...which again, shows how well it worked wherever it was heard.
ALL OF THE SHOWS mentioned on this Special Page: "Captain Midnight", "Tom Mix", "Sky King", "The Shadow", "The Dead Walk At Night", "Terror By Night", "Death For Sale", "The Shadow People", "Halloween, 1948", "The Yuletide Miracle", "The Judas Clock"...are in our large Catalog and available for sale at "The Breakfast Serial" Website. www.serial.thewwbc.net
You can access the Catalog Section of "The Breakfast Serial" Site by Clicking-On-This-Link . Your purchase helps to keep the Site on-line, the love of Golden Age Radio alive, and, the spirit of "The Breakfast Serial" in the minds & hearts of all who remember it. Many thanks !
[ NOTE: All images/photos on this page are from my personal collection. ]