The Don Macneil Breakfast Club - December 8, 1941 - Rare Recording


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The Breakfast Club helped to establish the morning show as a radio desirable. Until the popularity of The Breakfast Club, morning spots were ill-filled and not very profitable. Hosted by Don McNeill, the Breakfast Club was plugged as "a get-together time for all of us who smile before breakfast and then can't break the habit all day long – a place to come to when a feller needs a friend." The show began with corny jokes, no sponsor, and a host with a dream.

Breakfast ClubMcNeill soon dropped the script and began doing the show by the seat of his pants, interviewing audience members and earned the The Breakfast Club its reputation as "radio's most unrehearsed show." Listeners started tuning in, Cream of Wheat put up a sponsorship, and guests got better. Among the Breakfast Club regulars Jim and Marion Jordan (just before their fame as Fibber McGee and Molly), Marion Mann, Patsy Lee, Johnny Desmond, Alice Lon (famed later as the "Champagne Lady on Lawrence Welk) and Homer and Jethro.

The first tune on this show is "I Got Swing For Sale" (a great rhythm number by The Vagabonds).

Bulletin at 9:11: the Chinese government has declared war against the Axis, other war news.

At 9:15, John MacVane reports from London. Britain has declared war on Japan, a summary of Churchill's statement. Charles Collingwood comments on the British statements. The Netherlands has declared war against Japan. Exciting listening as Collingwood and MacVane swap alternating bulletins. Late news from New York. (16 minutes).

Switch to London at 9:38 with more news and summaries of Churchill's speech by John MacVane and Charles Collingwood. "This was not a good example of Churchill's oratory" (5 minutes). Back to the Breakfast Club at 9:45.

As you can see this episode was originally broadcast on the morning of Monday the 8th of December 1941, which was of course, the day after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. After about 11 minutes the show is interrupted with a special news bulletin announcing that England has declared war on Japan. From a historical point of view this is a very interesting episode of The Breakfast Club. Don McNeill still manages to introduce some guests and there is plenty of music but not surprisingly News Bulletins are quite frequent.

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