Nostalgic programs would be great for Strand

Published 5:12 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bub, Nancy and all the fine folks involved in resurrecting noir and nostalgic movies at the Strand Theatre may want to consider “Hot Seat” Saturday night, like it occurred back in the late 1940s.

The theatre was packed with patrons hoping to be selected in the “Hot Seat.” And, the prizes were many. Some night’s winners would receive free meals from local restaurants, bags of groceries, free dry cleaning, free milk shakes and fountain soda drinks from local drug stores and even clothing from local dry good merchants. The Economy Shop awarded free shoes on one occasion and The Strand would offer free movies for two for a month.

Another theme that would prove nostalgically beneficial for us older crowd is “Golden Days Of Radio.”

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The Strand’s ushering back this era of entertainment would be an excellent depiction of entertainment enjoyed by parents and grandparents of today’s younger folks. Many of these old programs can be found on the Internet. You could feature popular commercials of that era, like Dinah Shore singing “See The USA In Your Chevrolet” and Bob Hope’s announcer offering “Pepsodent Toothpaste — It Cleans Your Breath While It Cleans Your Teeth.”

Other popular commercials were “Brylcream — A Little Dab Will Do You” and “Martha White All-Purpose Flour, Always Comes up Light.” How could you forget Gene Autry’s “Melody Ranch Show,” sponsored by Doublemint chewing gum, and his famous theme song “Back In The Saddle Again.”
Race forward a few years and offer “Bear” Bryant’s TV commercial for Coca-Cola and Golden Flake potato chips — “Great Pair says the ‘Bear.’” It would be nice if you could find a few clips of those two great play-by-play men Maury Ferrell and John Forney.

Returning to the 1940s, our memories would be rattled with Perry Como’s “Chesterfield Supper Club” and Eddie Arnold’s “Cattle Call,” sponsored by Purina. And, what about those catch “Speedy” Alka-Seltzer and Jolly “HO HO HO” Green Giant commercials?

Dottie West’s catchy “I’d Like To Buy The World a Coke” and “Please Don’t Squeeze The Charmin” with Mr. Whipple would also be right at home.
Music lovers would enjoy those Golden Radio theme songs.

They’d love tunes like “Holiday For Strings,” ushered by the David Rose Orchestra on The Red Skelton Show and John Scott Trotter’s “When The Gold Of The Day Meets The Blue Of the Night” on the Bing Crosby Show. Grand Ole Opry fans would enjoy Roy Acuff’s Prince Albert theme song and Lester Flatt’s “How Many Biscuits Did You Eat This Morning”

The full orchestra fans would appreciate theme music from two wonderful old time radio shows, “Manhattan Merry Go Round” and “The Longines Synphonette.” Marching band enthusiasts would appreciate “The Band of America” conducted by Paul Lavelle and sponsored by Cities Service gasoline products.

Popular and hit tunes of that time period were featured on the radio show “Your Hit Parade.” Snooky Lansen, Giselle McKenzie, Russell Arms, Eileen Wilson, Johnny Desmond and Dorothy Collins were the featured vocalists on that weekly program, which was sponsored by Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Other great hit songs of that era could also be featured. I am sure you remember The Andrews Sisters and their “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” Jo Stafford and “Shrimp Boat’s A Coming,” The McGuire Sisters and “Sincerely,” Teresa Brewer and “Music, Music, Music,” Patty Page’s “Allegheny Moon,” J P Morgan’s “That’s All I Want from You,” Hank Snow’s “I’ve Been Everywhere,” Al Dexter’s “Pistol Packing Mama” and Bing Crosby’s “Harbor Lights.”

Those avid radio soap opera fans would enjoy “Ma Perkins” and her family problems sponsored by Ivory Soap — “99… 44/100 percent — IT FLOATS!,” and “The Guiding Light,” sponsored by Procter and Gamble.
Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand” garnered countless listeners and even today many can still identify with the format on this popular show.

We will continue to report on the progress of the Strand’s revival. The folks in charge of this venture invite your input and ideas. Get in touch with Bub at the Atmore Advance if you would like to contribute. He will refer you to others who are involved in this restoration process.

Speaking of nostalgia, we were saddened to learn last week of the death of Russell Johnson — “The Professor” on the “Gilligan’s Island” TV show. According to a family spokesman, he died at the age of 89 following a lengthy illness. Popular country-Western crossover singer Ray Price, actor Peter O’Toole, actress Joan Fontaine, former Speaker of the House Tom Foley, and Eydie Gormé, a popular dancer and vocalist of the 1950s and 1960s, died in 2013.

Next week, I will have more news from days gone by.

You can email Lowell McGill at