Monday, August 11, 2014


Plain Dealer Columnists Oscar and Rita Bergman announce the premiere of Lights Camera Questions Sunday November 16, 1952 on WXEL-9 at 1PM with Bill Gordon as Emcee.

Ad in a "Hipp" Theater promo December 24, 1955
     Today we'll look at another local Game show that had a long run on Cleveland TV, "Lights, Camera, Questions!" The show was sponsored by a consortium of Cleveland Movie Theater Owners who saw TV as a way to get people back in theaters... The show ran on and off for 9 years, until 1961. The show very popular among the movie going crowd and especially in the early years, drew Movie star guests, including Louise Baker, Betty Garrett, Larry Parks, Rock Hudson, Debbie Reynolds, Nina Foch, Melvyn Douglas, Jacques Bergerac, Joan and Jean Corbett, Marilyn Maxwell and Disney Art Director Roy Williams..

Like several local shows of this era, LCQ! changed stations every couple years..Including:

1952-53 WXEL Bill Gordon, John Fitzgerald

1953-54 WNBK Johnny Andrews

1954-55 WXEL Tom McCormack

1955-56 WEWS Phil McLean

1956-57 WEWS Phil McLean

1957-58 KYW-TV

1958-59 WJW-TV

1959 WEWS Alan Douglas

1960 WJW-TV Ed Fisher

1960-61 WJW-TV

Host Johnny Andrews and Gloria Gale promote the 1953-54 season of Lights, Camera Questions on WNBK-4 Thursday Nights at 7PM..
As we said, the show lasted until 1961..There was a brief clip of it on the WJKW-TV 8 30th Anniversary show..

Here is the 1958 panel for the show..It never changed in the 9 years the show was on..At one point, this show was the second longest running local TV show in Cleveland, except for The Gene Carroll Show..

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Early years of WCRF-FM..

To tell the story of the early years of Moody Radio outlet WCRF, it is necessary to go back to the 20's when radio was just getting established.

In 1925, an emergency program by two Moody Bible Institute cornet players led to the Institute establishing WMBI-AM in 1926.

Through the 1930's and 40's WMBI became a leader in Christian radio through doing everything as professionally as possible and developing many programs for eventual syndication to other areas, including Drama, Music, and teaching programs..
Advertisement from 1950-The 24th anniversary of WMBI..

Record of Musical Groups at WMBI..Probably including names such as the Melody Four Quartet, Sixteen Singing Men, Bill Pearce, Helen Barth..All had long careers in Moody Radio..

Recording from Miss Helen Barth

Record from Sixteen Singing Men..

Fast forward to the 1950's. FM 103.3 had been used from approximately 1949-1951 for WCUO-FM in Cleveland operated by Labor Unions, who also operated WDET Detroit..WCUO closed down 1n 1951 and the license turned back into the FCC.

In 1958, A Group of Christian Businessmen in the the Cleveland area wanted to establish a Christian Radio Station and turned to the Moody Bible Institute for help and guidance. MBI agreed to help fund and staff the new station, provided the Cleveland area eventually support the station financially on its own.
Cleveland Plain Dealer Story of the opening of WCRF-November 23, 1958.

The hours of the station were limited to 1-9PM Monday-Saturday and 9AM-9PM Sunday. John Rader was the first station manager.

 Programming at first was just about all from Chicago, using programs and titles well known to WMBI listeners and nationally syndicated Christian programming..

Possibly the first WCRF paid ad in The Plain Dealer December 6, 1958.

The Following is a real rarity. The very first WCRF Schedule, copied on Notepad from the weekly Orrville, Ohio Courier-Crescent Wednesday, November 26, 1958..

WCRF-FM 103.3 Cleveland-First Program Schedule November 23-29, 1958..

1PM Keep Praising
1:15 Open Bible
1:30 Songs Of Zion
1:45 Radio Prayer Circle
2PM News
2:05 Feature Page
2:15 Something to Sing About
2:30 Continued Story Reading
3PM News
3:05 Back To The Bible
3:30 Story
3:45 Listening Post
4PM Headlines
4:02 Bandstand
4:15 Missionary Time
4:30 My Song
4:45 Patterns Of Melody
5PM News
5:05 At Your Service
5:15 Candlelight and Silver
6PM News Digest
6:15 Question Box
6:30 Bit Of Heaven
6:45 Stories Of Great Christians
7PM Headlines
7:02 Bread Of Life
7:30 Sunset Ranch
7:45 Verse By Verse
8PM Headlines
8:02 Music Room
8:45 Decision Time
9PM Sign-Off


1PM (WMBI) Male Quartet
1:15 Sailor Sam
1:30 Ranger Bill
2PM News
2:05 Science In The News
2:15 Miracles and Melodies
2:30 Off The Record
3PM News
3:05 Back To The Bible
3:30 Meet The Students
4PM Headlines
4:02 Saturday Musicale
5PM News
5:05 Church Activities
5:15 Candlelight and Silver
6PM News Digest
6:15 Youth For Christ
6:30 American Crusade
7PM Headlines
7:02 Haven Of Rest
7:30 Testimony Time
7:45 Hymns You Love
8PM Headlines
8:02 Music Room
8:30 Chorus Time
8:45 Decision Time
9PM Sign-Off


9AM Songsters
9:30 Radio Bible Class
10AM News
10:05 Chapel Hour
10:30 Worship
11AM Local Church Service
12:15 WMBI Male Quartet
12:30 News
12:35 Music Hall
1PM Old Fashioned Revival Hour
1:30 Baptist Hour
2PM Temple Time
2:30 Unshackled
3PM KYB Club
3:30 Hour Of Decision
4PM Headlines
4:02 Male Chorus
4:15 Lorin Whitney (organist)
4:45 Helen Barth (soloist)
5PM Dr. Walter L. Wilson
5:30 Al Hirsch
5:45 B. M. Nottage
6PM Moody Presents
6:30 Candlelight and Silver
7PM Quiet Hour
7:30 Organ Vespers
8PM Open Bible
8:15 Dr. (William) Culbertson
8:45 Familiar Hymns
9PM Sign-Off
Another group was the Melody Four Quartet..The same four men sang together for over 50 years..Glenn Jorian, Clair Hess, Bill Pearce and Ray Felten. For many years a part of WCRF programming, Individual members also had programs on Moody Radio at one time or another..

Things started slowly for WCRF, as FM was still just getting established.  I heard a story that WCRF sold FM radios at cost just to get people to listen at first..As the station grew, people trusted the message of the Gospel being brought forth via radio..

Part of getting out the message about WCRF included "Radio Rallies" in which staff from Chicago would come to area churches and introduce Moody Radio in person. Below are ads/articles for a couple of such rallies..

Mansfield, Ohio May 14, 1959:
Elyria, Ohio May 9, 1959:
In 1960 New York State native Bob Devine arrived at WCRF as a producer and engineer..Eventually becoming host of the Clockwatcher morning program from about 1965 till his retirement in 2000..He was a fine gentleman and broadcaster, by far and away the most recognized voice on WCRF, also doing Storybook Room for the Network..

Bob Devine Tribute

On  January 1, 1964, WCRF extended it's hours from 7AM-11PM at night..

1961 Advertisement for WCRF

From The Orrville Paper, November 1966-Eighth Anniversary article
1968-Tenth Anniversary Conference..By this time WCRF was well established in Northeast Ohio
Many memorable folks have worked at, or are currently at WCRF, including Alice Andrews, Paul Carter, Mark Zimmerman, Ron Bartlebaugh, Sylvia Docking, Dick Lee, Brandt Gustafson and a host of others..WCRF went 24 hours January 1, 1980 and began, with Moody Broadcasting Network Satellite delivery of  programming in 1982.  WCRF also has repeater stations all over Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania..

Melody Four Quartet-Heaven Came Down

Sample "Ranger Bill" episode from 1954..Aired on Saturdays for many years..

I have many fond memories of listening to WCRF in the 1970's through the 1980's.Amazingly some of the same programs aired during the first week schedule continued well into the 1990's and beyond..WCRF has left a legacy of quality Christian Radio in Northeast Ohio and I am grateful for that..

Thursday, May 1, 2014

WEWS-TV 5.."On Stage"

Undated photo of Alan Douglas, Producer of the "On Stage" program aired Tuesday Nights for 10 weeks in 1956..He later would be known as a radio and TV talk show host with "The Alan Douglas Show" on WEWS and later WKBF-61, and being the first host of the Morning Exchange in the first few months of 1972.
Courtesy Northeast Ohio TV Memories and The John Carroll University Archive..

     When WEWS-TV 5 became an ABC affiliate March 2, 1955, it left hours of programming to fill, especially in the daytime. ABC was definitely a 3rd place network in the 1950's, and it wasn't that unheard of to routinely pre-empt network programs for syndicated or local offerings..Local news was also not as important as it would become later on..

With this in mind, Alan Douglas got the idea of a locally produced live "Play of the Week" WEWS agreed to open the Tuesday 11-12 Midnight time slot for Douglas. The show was called "On Stage" and it was sponsored, at least initially by Stern Brothers Plumbing Company..
     Introductory article by The Plain Dealer's Tom O' Connell, dated Saturday, February 4, 1956..

     The idea was to make each play a completely local production, from writers to technical support to acting..Actors were drawn from The Cleveland and Lakewood Playhouse, as well as local print and broadcast media.  A particularly ambitious effort, considering that  the budget you could do on a local level was a mere percentage of what could be done on a network level by shows like Playhouse 90 and Studio One.
April 12, 1956:Epilogue of the total "On Stage" effort following the airing of the last live broadcast April 10 by Cleveland Plain Dealer TV/Radio editor George Condon..

It was suggested by Condon that quality might be better if they just did one play a month rather than trying to do one a week, though On Stage never returned after it's 10-week run ended April 10, 1956.

Alan Douglas would be involved with another live TV effort on Channel 5 in Summer 1957..Johnny
McQueen, which lasted 9 weeks..

Here is an attempt at a episode guide finding out as much as possible about each production..Title, writers and actors. I used the Plain Dealer Archive and the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram through TV writer Dorothy Funk to get some info on 9 of the 10 episodes. Could not find anything on the April 3, 1956 program..

On Stage
Tuesdays 11PM
WEWS February 7-April 10, 1956 (10 weeks)
Producer Alan Douglas
Feb. 7 Incident at "33"
Writer Roger Albright
Ralph Beattie, Larry Kuhl, Keith Mackey Ruth Weiss Dolly Wheaton Bill Barrett

Feb. 14 "Lion's Share"
Writer Eleanor Bayer
Bill Prentice Cole Klein

Feb. 21 "The Interurban Voyage of Alfred Hoskins"
Writer Junius Eddy
Austin Beech, Dorothy Sands, Braemer Carlson, Bunny Bronstein and Michael Sandrey

Feb.28 "Nobody Misses Ringo"
Writer Alan Douglas
Bob McKnight (ClevelandPress)

March 6 "The Two-Bed-Room"
Barbara Lee, Dolly Wheaton, Alverda Sohlens and Nick Peters

March 13 " Elisha and the Long Knives"
Linn Sheldon, Bill Barrett

March 20 "Thirty, Honey, Thirty"
Al Henderson, Patti Rowe March

27 "A Hat For Winter"
Writer Mel Goldberg
Peggy Simmons, John Rose

April 3-No Title

April 10 "This Way To Victory"
Writer Henry Alexander
Karl Mackey, Wayne Jordan

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring 2014 Update-Facebook Page

First Fred Reinert regular TV drawing November 28, 1953

Tonight I want to, for those who aren't regular readers of the C-C-M Facebook Page, update some things that have been added  to that page since it started in January 2010.  Several regular features are now part of the page, some daily, some weekly..

FRED REINERT CLASSIC SATURDAY-Since late 2012, we have been featuring drawings of iconic Plain Dealer artist Fred Reinert, who drew local and national tv related drawings as part of The Saturday Weekly TV section from late 1953 into 1956.  Posting once each Saturday Morning.  We are now into Spring 1955.

CLASSIC TV/RADIO DAILY-Picking out a random month/year corresponding to today's date-Posting schedules and program highlights for that day..

THROWBACK THURSDAY (TBT)-Taking a page from the Facebook tradition of posting "throwback" pictures of the past, This feature takes a rare local or national broadcast from anywhere from 30-50 years ago and posts the video-Usually prefer half hour complete shows, but a lot of good things we've shown that are of shorter length..

SUNDAY SPECIAL-Ads, photos or short articles concentrating on Sunday programming, which seemed especially early in TV history networks and local stations spent more money on ads for Sunday than on any other day of the week..

Of course, we still post other things randomly on Facebook as we find them..
Parma Place-1966 with Ernie Anderson and Chuck Schodowski

Monday, April 14, 2014

Fun With Charades (1952-59)

February 11, 1954:IGA advertisement in the Plain Dealer featuring their sponsorship of "Fun With Charades" on WEWS-TV 5 Sundays at 4:30 PM.

     Hello folks: For our first post in a very long time we will look at a Local Game Show, FUN WITH CHARADES, that had a healthy 7 year run on Cleveland TV..

     First mention of the show in the Plain Dealer, which we could assume is it's premiere date, was Sunday November 9, 1952 on WEWS Channel 5 at 2:30 PM. The show aired mostly on Sundays throughout its run. First host mentioned, on the December 28, 1952 telecast was Linn Sheldon who basically hosted  the 1952-53 season.

Cleveland TV Veteran Joe Berg, known as "Mr. Lollipop" on Channel 5, hosted the June 14, 1953 telecast. Fun with Charades pitted 2 community groups or high school teams against each other in a game of Charades, similar to the popular national show Pantomime Quiz. During the Channel 5 run , there were occasional multi-week tournaments..

Fun with Charades had moved to 4;30 Sundays by October 11, 1953..By December 4. 1953 Bob Dale takes over as Emcee

Note on the November 14, 1954 broadcast

Bob Dale would continue as host through March 11, 1956 show, which was the final show on channel 5.  The show would have a couple other time changes before it's WEWS cancellation.

Note on the move to channel 8 and auditioning for an emcee.

March 18, 1956 would see a new season and a new station and time for "Charades" WXEL (soon to be WJW-TV 8) tapped Jim Doney as host. with the show airing Sunday at Noon.  By January 6, 1957 the show aired at 2:30 once again, with another time change January 12, 1958 at 2PM, and Doney still hosting..The show ended it's WJW-TV run April 6, 1958. 

Notice of Fun with Charades return to TV on KYW-TV 3 October 12, 1958.  Along with other TV/radio items of interest.

Fun with Charades made a last run, now on KYW-TV 3 with host "Big" Wilson until the apparent final show of the series February 22, 1959.  Surprising that no one else has tried to revive the concept locally since then.  The National "Pantomime Quiz/Stump The Stars" ran as late the 1970's and NBC aired Win Lose or Draw for a few years as a "Pantomime" type show..

Following is a partial Episode Guide for Fun With Charades.  I exhausted all the Plain Dealer and TV Guide listings I could find.  Interesting to see the wide range of groups involved with this program. Fun With Charades-WEWS 2:30 Sundays (host) )Debut November 9, 1952

12-21-1952 First Presbyterian Church Mansfield Boys/Girls

12-28-52 Cleveland Heights Theatrical Group (Linn Sheldon)

1-11-53 Roosevelt School PTA Euclid/B'nai B'Brith Chapter 362 (Linn Sheldon)

1-18-53 Skyscraper Club of Cleveland (group for tall people) (Linn Sheldon)

1-25-53 Two Cleveland Married Couples/Four North Canton High School Girls (Linn Sheldon)

2-1-53 Cleveland YMCA Boys/YWCA Girls (Linn Sheldon)

3-8-53 Cleveland (Heights) Theatrical Group/Lakewood Little Theater (Tournament-Linn Sheldon)

3-15-53 WHKK Akron staff members/Two Parma Married Couples (Tournament-Linn Sheldon)

3-29-53 WHKK Akron/ Civic Theater Group Cleveland -Semifinals (Linn Sheldon)

4-12-53 WHKK Akron/Four Girls from Reliance Electric of Euclid-Championship-(Linn Sheldon)

4-26-53 North Olmsted High School/Cleveland High School Students (Linn Sheldon)

5-3-53 Lakewood Light Opera Guild/ '359ers Glenville Chapter Order of Eastern Star (Linn Sheldon)

6/14/53 Akron Players/Shaker Players(Joe Berg)

WEWS Sundays 4:30

10/11/53 Youngstown Players/Team from Akron

12/4/53 Bob Dale takes over as emcee

1/10/1954 Akron Roadway Express/Ladies Oriental Shrine-North America-TV Guide

2/13/54 Jewish Schools PTA/Travel Club of Cleveland

3/28/1954 Kent Junior Chamber/ Boy Scout Troop 88 Parents

4/4/54 Kent Jaycees/UJRS PTA (Jewish Schools PTA above?) Semifinals

4/11/54 Maple Heights High/Lakewood High

4/18/54 West Geauga School/Our Lady Of The Angels Church

4/25/54 Brecksville Little Theater/Wickliffe Welcome Wagon

5/9/54 Lakewood High Barnstormers/Wickliffe Welcome Wagon

5/16/54 Paduan Youth Group ofOur Lady Of the Angels/Gruber's Waiters (TV Guide)

7/25/54 Kinsman Group/Lorain Community Players (TV Guide)

8/22/54 Seven Aces Club/Madison Leaders Club-Semifinals (TV Guide)

8/29/54 Chi Rio Our Lady of Good Counsel/Madison Leaders Club-Season Final (TV Guide)

9/12/54 Cleveland Light Opera Guild/Temple On The Heights Young People's Congregation

11/14/54 Young Republicans Cleveland/Akron (Bob Dale Continues as host)

12/5/1954 Young Republicans-Akron/Cleveland Heights Jr. Chamber of Commerce

1/23/1955 TransCanada Airlines/Warrenville Players (TV Guide)

5/22/55 Cleveland Music Theater Group

5/29/55 Cleveland Music Theater/John Carroll Little Theater

9/11/55 Trans Canada Airlines/Cleveland Heights Community Theater (Bob Dale)

Showtime moves to 5:30 PM 10/9/55

10/9/55 TransCanada Airlines/Bay Village Players

10/16/55 Freedom Chapter B'nai/B'rith/Shaker Heights Players

10/23/55 Freedom Chapter B'nai B'rith/TransCanada Airlines

11/27/55 Maple Heights Methodist/Simon Perkins Jr. High (Akron) (Now at 4:30 again)

12/4/55 Maple Heights Co-Op Nursery School/Cathedral Square Players

1/1/56 Akron United World Federalists/St. Aloysius Ares Club

1/15/1956 Graphic Arts Field/Jewish Big Brothers

2/12/56 Jewish Community Center/Triangle Guild Players (Finals)

2/19/56 Sugardale Provision/Cleveland Shaw High School

3/11/56 Final Show on WEWS

3/18/56 First Show on WXEL-Jim Doney Emcee-12 Noon

1/6/57 Moved to 2:30 PM

2/3/57 Simon Perkins Jr. High (Akron)/Boy Scouts Explorer Post No. 190 (TV Guide)

1-12-58 Moves to 2PM-Jim Doney Hosting

4/6/1958 Last show on WJW-TV

10-12-58 Moves to KYW-TV 3-Big Wilson hosting 4:30 PM Shaker Heights B'nai B'rith/Euclid Little Theater

11/9/58 Euclid Little Theater/Shaker Players Women's Committee

2/22/59 Series ends..  

On a personal note:I've decided to be more active in posting here once again.  It still won't be as much as I did when I first started the blog.  I hope to find more new subjects, and other angles on subjects we've posted before..