Moon River (radio program)

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Moon River
Running time 15–30 minutes
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Home station WLW, Cincinnati, Ohio
Created by Ed Byron
Recording studio Cincinnati
Original release 1930 – 1972
Audio format Mono
Opening theme "Caprice Viennois" by Fritz Kreisler

Moon River was a long-running late-night American radio program which originated from WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio. A combination of soft, "dreamy" music and romantic poetry set to organ accompaniment, the program aired from 1930 to 1972.

History[edit]

Described as "one of the few programs designed to put people to sleep" by onetime announcer Bill Myers,[1] Moon River was created by writer Ed Byron at the behest of WLW station owner Powel Crosley, Jr., who ordered the writer to come up with a poetry show which could accommodate the station's new organ. Retreating to a speakeasy with violinist Virginio Marucci, Byron sketched out some notes, including his original poem that opened the show. At one point, Marucci began playing Fritz Kreisler's "Caprice Viennois," a piece which Byron's poem brought to mind. Both the poem and the musical piece would open the program for its entire forty-two-year history.[1][2]

A show with a loyal following over the years, Moon River was canceled by WLW in 1953 in an effort to modernize the schedule, but revived the next summer due to continued listener outcry.[3] In the decade after the program's final broadcast in 1972, a series of Moon River concerts were held in Cincinnati which recreated the program in front of a live audience.[1]

In 1995, WMKV revived it, with Myers as narrator, for a four-year run.

Personnel[edit]

Many performers passed through Moon River over the years. The following is only a partial list.

Announcers[edit]

  • Bob Brown (the first narrator, c. 1930)
  • Don Dowd
  • Cecil Hale
  • Harry Holcomb
  • Jay Jostyn
  • Jimmy Leonard
  • Ken Linn
  • Bill Myers
  • Peter Grant
  • Palmer Ward
  • Charles Woods
  • Steve Ziegler

Vocalists[edit]

Organists[edit]

  • Charles M. "Pat" Gillick (the first organist, c. 1930)[1]
  • Lee Erwin (1933–1944)
  • Fats Waller (c. 1932–1934)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d McCarty, Mary (April 1985), "The Dreamy Sounds of Moon River", Cincinnati Magazine, 18 (7): 13–14  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "magazine" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  2. ^ Dunning, John (1998), On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 467–468, ISBN 0-19-507678-8 
  3. ^ "Radio: The Busy Air, Jun. 21, 1954", Time Magazine, 21 June 1954 

External links[edit]