Dan Seymour (announcer)

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Dan Seymour
Robert Taylor Dan Seymour We the People 1950.JPG
Robert Taylor and Dan Seymour work on the television and radio program We, the People, 1950
Born(1914-06-28)June 28, 1914
New York City, New York, USA
DiedJuly 27, 1982(1982-07-27) (aged 68)
New York City, New York, USA
NationalityAmerican
OccupationAnnouncer, master of ceremonies, producer, advertising executive
Spouse(s)Louise Scharff (? - 1982, his death)
Children3 daughters, 1 son

Dan Seymour (June 28, 1914 - July 27, 1982)[1] was an announcer in the era of old-time radio and in the early years of television[2] and later became an advertising executive.[1]

Early years[edit]

Seymour was born in Manhattan. He attended schools in Paterson, New Jersey, and graduated from Montclair Academy.[3] When he was 18, he traveled to study and teach stage techniques as a guest of the Austrian Ministry of Education.[4] He was a dramatics major at Amherst College.[5]

Radio[edit]

Seymour was once recognized as "Radio's best announcer."[4] An obituary noted, "Seymour was best known as the deep-voiced announcer who startled Americans with a convincing but fictional account of Martians landing on Earth in the War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938."[6]

His first job in radio—announcing came in 1935 at WNAC in Boston, Massachusetts, after his college graduation.[3] While at the station, he was also an announcer for the Yankee Network. In 1936, he resigned and joined CBS in New York City.[7] His first major assignment there was announcing for Major Bowes Amateur Hour.[8]

A significant assignment early in his career was becoming the announcer on We the People, a job that led to a position with the program's advertising agency, Young and Rubicam.[4]

Other programs on which Seymour worked as announcer were The Henry Morgan Show,[9]:304 The Aldrich Family,[9] Songs by Jack Smith,[10] Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories,[11] Sing It Again,[12] Bobby Benson,[13] and Original Gillette Community Sing.[13]:45

Seymour was one of the producers of You and the News.[14]

Television[edit]

Seymour was master of ceremonies on Where Was I?[15] and Sing It Again.[16]:972 He was the announcer for Tex and Jinx,[16]:1063 Dunninger and Winchell, (also known as The Bigelow Show for part of its run),[16] and The Swift Home Service Club.[16]:1045

Production[edit]

In 1945, Seymour, director Tony Leader, and writer Judson Phillips combined efforts to create P.L.S. Productions, a radio producing team, with offices in New York City. The team's first program was You Make the News, which began November 15, 1945, on the Mutual Broadcasting System.[17]

Three months after Seymour became producer of We the People in February 1950, the program's television Nielsen rating had almost doubled.[18]

Advertising[edit]

In 1950, Seymour left the on-air side of broadcasting to work in programming. He explained his transition by saying: "I never really enjoyed being a performer. The process of simply reading lines became a bore. I became fascinated with the whole business of mass communications and mass persuasion. This was where the challenge lay."[3]

He first was employed by the Young & Rubicam advertising agency.[19] An invitation to "administer a lift to the General Electric program" for Y & R led to "a permanent role with the agency as a television and radio executive."[4] In 1953, he was appointed a vice president in charge of programming in the agency's radio-television department.[20] He resigned from Y & R October 1, 1955, to become a vice president of the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency.[21] Later, he became president and chief executive officer at the Thompson agency.[22]

Recording[edit]

In 1946, Seymour and Kathryn Murray shared narration on an eight-sided album, Arthur Murray Teaches the Fox Trot. The instructional recordings were issued in conjunction with Arthur Murray's dance studios.[23]

Union activities[edit]

Seymour was elected to one-year terms on the board of the New York City local of the American Federation of Radio Artists for 1948[24] and 1949.[25]

Public service[edit]

Seymour served on two ad hoc committees appointed by two United States presidents. Under Lyndon Johnson, he was on a committee "to make recommendations for improvements in United States foreign trade." Under Richard Nixon, he was on a committee "to find ways to increase public awareness on personal health."[3]

Personal life[edit]

Seymour was married to the former Louise Scharff. They had four children.[4]

Death[edit]

Seymour died of a heart attack July 27, 1982, at his apartment in New York City. He was 68.[6] He was survived by his wife, a son, three daughters and 10 grandchildren.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Castronova, Frank V., ed. (1998). Almanac of Famous People. Detroit: Gale. p. 1525. ISBN 0-7876-0045-8.
  2. ^ Cox, Jim (2007). Radio Speakers: Narrators, News Junkies, Sports Jockeys, Tattletales, Tipsters, Toastmasters and Coffee Klatch Couples Who Verbalized the Jargon of the Aural Ether from the 1920s to the 1980s--A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6086-1. Pp. 262-263.
  3. ^ a b c d e Treaster, Joseph B. (July 29, 1982). "Dan Seymour, Ex-Announcer and Advertising Leader, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e "on all accounts" (PDF). Broadcasting. Broadcasting. July 13, 1953. p. 28. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Dan Semour Has Story All His Own". The Deseret News. August 26, 1950. p. 6F. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Dan Seymour dies at 68". Reading Eagle. United Press International. July 29, 1982. p. 27. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  7. ^ "(untitled brief)" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 1, 1936. p. 40. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  8. ^ "All Kinds Of People Introduced By Emcee Seymour On NBC". Kingsport Times-News. Tennessee, Kingsport. November 27, 1949. p. 20. Retrieved May 24, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  9. ^ a b Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. P. 17.
  10. ^ "On The Air With WHMA". The Anniston Star. Alabama, Anniston. May 21, 1945. p. 2. Retrieved May 24, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  11. ^ ""Aunt Jenny" In 14th Year" (PDF). Radio Daily. January 7, 1950. p. 2. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  12. ^ "Birthday For "Sing"" (PDF). Radio Daily. May 25, 1949. p. 4. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  13. ^ a b Grunwald, Edgar A., ed. (1937). Radio Directory 1937-1938. Variety Inc. p. 36.
  14. ^ "Main Street" (PDF). Radio Daily. November 7, 1945. p. 4.
  15. ^ "In Review..." (PDF). Broadcasting. September 8, 1952. p. 83.
  16. ^ a b c d Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 292.
  17. ^ "Production Team" (PDF). Broadcasting. November 26, 1945. p. 86. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  18. ^ White, Sid (May 16, 1950). "Main Street" (PDF). Radio Daily. p. 4.
  19. ^ "beat" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 7, 1950. p. 11. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  20. ^ "People: Agencies" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 13, 1953. p. 89. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Seymour Joins Thompson" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 29, 1955. p. 41. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  22. ^ Taishoff, Sol (1974). Broadcasting Yearbook 1974 (PDF). Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications Inc. p. E-48. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  23. ^ Wilk, Ralph (September 18, 1946). "Los Angeles" (PDF). Radio Daily. p. 4. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Results of N.Y. AFRA Elections Announced" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 1, 1947. p. 83. Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  25. ^ "AFRA Vote: N.Y. Local Elects" (PDF). Broadcasting. December 29, 1948. p. 69. Retrieved 26 May 2016.