The Hour of Charm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Hour of Charm
Country of originUnited States
Hosted byRosalind Green
Arlene Francis
StarringPhil Spitalny
Evelyn Kaye
AnnouncerKen Roberts
Ron Rawson
Richard Stark
Directed byJoseph Ripley
Original releaseMay 18, 1934 (1934-05-18) – May 2, 1948 (1948-05-02)
Opening themeThe American Hymn of Liberty
Ending themeWe Must Be Vigilant
Sponsored byCheramy
Linit Bath Oil
Zotos Machineless Permanent Wave<General Electric
Combined electric cooperatives

The Hour of Charm is an American old-time radio music program. It debuted on CBS on May 18, 1934, and had its final broadcast on CBS on May 2, 1948.[1] The program also was broadcast on Armed Forces Radio,[2] and after its network broadcasts ended, a new version was syndicated via transcriptions.


The table below shows the program's varied schedules and sponsors during its time on network radio.

Beginning Date Ending Date Network Day Time (Eastern) Sponsor
May 18, 1934 June 1, 1934 CBS Friday 10:30-10:45 Cheramy
June 6, 1934 September 26, 1934 CBS Wednesday 8 - 8:15 Cheramy
January 3, 1935 June 25, 1935 CBS Thursday 8 - 8:30
(later 9:30-10)
Linit Bath Oil
February 23, 1936 June 21, 1936 CBS Sunday 6:30 - 7 Zotos Machineless Permanent Wave
November 2, 1936 September 1, 1946 NBC various various General Electric
September 29, 1946 May 2, 1948 CBS Sunday afternoon Combined electric cooperatives

Source: On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio[1]


Evelyn Kaye plays with the Hour of Charm Orchestra in this screen capture from Army-Navy Screen Magazine Number 22.

The musical group featured in the program was originally called Phil Spitalny's All-Girl Orchestra.[3] Spitalny directed the group that, as the name implies, was composed only of females. In time, however, the group became so associated with the program that it became known as the Hour of Charm Orchestra.

Violinist Evelyn Kaye was the concertmistress and featured player. On the air, she was identified only by her first name —as was Spitalny's policy with all of his musicians[4] — billed as "Evelyn and Her Magic Violin". She was with the group from its inception until its disbanding, and she married Spitalny in 1946.[5]

Rosalind Green was the initial on-air hostess, a role that Arlene Francis filled later. Announcers were Ken Roberts, Ron Rawson, and Richard Stark. The director was Joseph Ripley.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The trade publication Billboard published two reviews of The Hour of Charm. The March 7, 1936, review called the program "a tuneful affair, revealing several excellent arrangements, the better ones being of the South American tang ..."[6]

A brief review in the December 31, 1938, issue pointed out several shortcomings of a remote broadcast from the Hotel Biltmore in New York. Daniel Richman described the broadcast as "so laden with arrangements, production trappings, descriptions of the girls' clothes and talents, and so much general excess baggage that it sounded more like the Ford Sunday Evening Symphony than a dance remote."[7]

The August 1, 1942, issue of Billboard reported that Arturo Toscanini considered The Hour of Charm to be his favorite radio program.[8]

Transcribed broadcasts[edit]

In 1951, the RCA Thesaurus electrical transcription service launched a new Hour of Charm radio series.[9] Stations that broadcast the program included WFLA AM and FM in Tampa, Florida.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 331–332. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.
  2. ^ Tucker, Sherrie (2001). Swing Shift: “All-Girl” Bands of the 1940s. Duke University Press. ISBN 0822328178. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Evelyn Klein Spitalny, Violinist, Is Dead at 79". The New York Times. New York, New York City. 1990. Archived from the original on 2 May 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Queens of Harmony (1937)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2 May 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Phil Spitalny Marries Evelyn Kaye, Soloist". The Times. California, San Mateo. United Press. June 19, 1946. p. 2. Retrieved May 3, 2018 – via open access
  6. ^ "'Hour of Charm'" (PDF). Billboard. March 7, 1936. p. 9. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  7. ^ Richman, Daniel (December 31, 1938). "Music in the Air" (PDF). Billboard. p. 67. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Phil Spitalny" (PDF). Billboard. August 1, 1942. p. 4. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  9. ^ "'Light' Exhibitors" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 23, 1951. p. 23.
  10. ^ "Hour of Charm Features All-Girl Orchestra". The Tampa Tribune. Florida, Tampa. June 24, 1951. p. 9 - C. Retrieved May 3, 2018 – via open access

External links[edit]