Frank Gallop in Radio Central at Monitor, 1957.
|Birth name||Frank Gallop|
June 20, 1900|
|Died||May 5, 1988
New York City
|Show||Amanda of Honeymoon Hill
When a Girl Marries
The Milton Berle Show
Texaco Star Theater (radio)
Lights Out (television)
The Colgate Comedy Hour
The Perry Como Show (television)
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall
Kraft Mystery Theatre
The Dean Martin Summer Show
Frank Gallop went into broadcasting by chance. Born and raised in Boston's Back Bay and a graduate of Dorchester High School, he was working for an investment firm in 1934 when a client convinced him to become the replacement for his current announcer. Gallop's new-found job lasted only a short time, as the client decided to re-hire the announcer he had grown tired of. Gallop then made a decision to quit the investment banking business based on the economic conditions of the time; there appeared to be more investment consultants than clients in need of their services. His brief previous announcing experience was enough to earn him a spot at WEEI. Gallop worked for the station for ten months before moving to New York with his friend Ed Herlihy to do network announcing.
Having failed the NBC network announcer audition on his first try, Gallop was extremely eager to be hired by the other major network at the time, CBS, as he did not want to return to Boston. When he got the job, Gallop was told his starting salary would be $45 per week. He then expressed concern that it wasn't a "round" figure. When asked to explain, Gallop swallowed hard and said he believed $50 was a "round" sum, getting his first raise before actually starting with the network.
Gallop soon established a career as a radio announcer on CBS and later with NBC; he was described as "the only announcer who sounds like he's wearing spats." He was heard on soap operas such as Amanda of Honeymoon Hill, Hilltop House, When a Girl Marries and Stella Dallas, as well as the Columbia Workshop and New York Philharmonic broadcasts. The soap operas Gallop served as the announcer for were all part of the vast radio realm of Frank and Anne Hummert, who were responsible for writing and producing at least 125 radio shows. Gallop also did some announcing for the radio show Gangbusters, was the announcer for Orson Welles's The Mercury Theatre on the Air, as well as The Prudential Family Hour. In addition to being the announcer for the radio show, The Doctor Fights, Gallop also had a dramatic role for the program's first year in 1944.
In 1945, Gallop received an unexpected call from a radio listener of Stella Dallas. The caller indicated he or she was a regular listener of the program with a question which had often come to mind: "I listen to Stella Dallas every day, purely for sport's sake, of course, and there's one thing I'd like to know. (Caller then paused) How the heck do you stand it?" Unfortunately, there is no record of Gallop's response to his caller.
As the announcer on radio's The Milton Berle Show, he was a comic foil for Berle. Addressing the star of the show as "Berle", Gallop, who was known on the show as "Mr. Gallop, sir", would deliver a series of pointed one-liners. The "voice from the clouds" concept originated with writer Goodman Ace on the Berle radio show, but was never fully developed until Gallop became Perry Como's television announcer and Ace began writing for Como. Despite a friendship between Gallop and Berle, the working conditions on the radio show were such that Gallop quit after every broadcast. Gallop was also a "Communicator" for the NBC Radio show Monitor on Sunday afternoons from 1955 – 1960.
Gallop was the announcer for Perry Como's 1950s – 1960s television shows. At The Perry Como Show's premiere on September 17, 1955, the first voice heard was that of Gallop, saying, "We assume everyone can read, so we will not shout at you." While serving as the announcer for Milton Berle's radio show, Gallop had been the one delivering the comedy lines; on the Perry Como Show, it was just the opposite, with Como getting the "last word" on Gallop. At the start of the Perry Como Show, there literally was not enough room for Gallop to appear onstage, so viewers heard only his voice, coming from "somewhere".
The "mystery man" proved intriguing, as the show received many cards and letters asking about Gallop. When he did begin his onscreen appearances in the 1958 – 1959 season, how he would appear was often a surprise for everyone, Como included. Gallop might be wearing an outrageous costume or even a Beatle wig, showing up at the right time wearing the gear. He was an active participant in the show's comedy sketches. Gallop was also the announcer for the 1958 – 1959 Emmy Awards, where his "boss" (Como) received an Emmy for Best Performance by an actor in a musical or variety series. Gallop displayed his vocal abilities on the Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall broadcast of December 27, 1961, singing Jimmy Dean's "Big Bad John", backed by The Ray Charles Singers.
Before the Como show, he was the narrator of Lights Out from 1950 – 1952; the horror fantasy TV series was based on the radio show of the same name. Gallop's camera appearances for the show were as a head without a body with a lit candle. As his candle became smaller from week to week, Gallop's pleas to the prop department for a replacement fell on deaf ears. Apparently sensing his dilemma, a viewer sent Gallop an entire box of candles.
He was also the host of Kraft Mystery Theatre, a 1961 – 1963 summer replacement show for Como's program. Gallop did some announcing for The Colgate Comedy Hour, working with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis on the show in the early 1950s; he became the voice of the Dean Martin Summer Show, in the mid-1960s, this time working with Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, who went on to host their own show, Laugh In.
In 1957, Gallop was asked about the difference in switching from radio to television announcing. He said that while the salaries in television announcing were even more lucrative than in radio, the amount of time and work involved for television shows was much greater than for radio ones. Gallop stressed that veteran radio announcers were still actively employed because of their announcing experience and that a handsome face on the television screen needed to have that experience coupled with it.
Remaining active in announcing into the 1970s, Gallop divided his time between homes in New York and Palm Beach, Florida. Despite being a former investment consultant, Gallop said in a 1958 interview that he had "never made a nickel in the market in my life."
Although Gallop is believed to have died in May 1988, his passing went unremarked in major media outlets and sources disagree on the exact date of his death.
As a young man, Gallop took voice lessons. While he was part of a group of singers, all was well, but when it came to solos, Gallop related, "That ended my singing career." He had a popular record in 1958, called "Got A Match", but it was eight years before he made another record. He went back to the recording studio in 1966, when he released a single on Kapp Records, "The Ballad of Irving", a parody of Lorne Greene's song "Ringo". The tune hit #2 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart and #34 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was also distributed in the UK by Decca Records. It was a popular song on the Dr. Demento radio show, and has been included in at least one compilation album from the Demento show. "Irving" became part of an album, Would You Believe Frank Gallop Sings?. This was followed by "The Son of Irving" in 1966. Gallop's hit Kapp album was called, When You're in Love the Whole World is Jewish; he toured several US cities as the result of his music's popularity.
Gallop narrated the first Casper the Friendly Ghost cartoon in 1945. He also narrated two later "Casper" cartoons, There's Good Boos Tonight in 1948, and A-Haunting We Will Go in 1949. Gallop was also the narrator for a 1961 documentary, The Legend of Rudolph Valentino and a 1962 Buster Keaton documentary, The Great Chase.
- Ansbro, George. I Have a Lady in the Balcony: Memoirs of a Broadcaster in Radio and Television. McFarland, 2000. ISBN 0-7864-0425-6, ISBN 978-0-7864-0425-4
"SH BANG" Narrator on Young People's Records.
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