By Susan Ware
The most loved radio express hosts of the Forties and Nineteen Fifties, Mary Margaret McBride (1899—1976) on a regular basis attracted among six and 8 million listeners to her day-by-day one o'clock broadcast. in the course of her 20 years at the air she interviewed tens of millions of individuals, from President Harry Truman and Frank Lloyd Wright to Rachel Carson and Zora Neale Hurston. this is often her story.Five a long time after their broadcast, her exhibits stay remarkably clean and fascinating. And but McBride—the Oprah Winfrey of her day—has been essentially forgotten, either in radio historical past and within the heritage of twentieth-century pop culture, essentially simply because she used to be a girl and since she used to be on sunlight hours radio.Susan Ware explains how Mary Margaret McBride used to be one of many first to take advantage of the cultural and political significance of speak radio, pioneering the magazine-style structure that many speak exhibits nonetheless use. This radio biography recreates the area of sunlight hours radio from the Nineteen Thirties in the course of the Fifties, confirming the big value of radio to way of life, in particular for women.In the 1st in-depth therapy of McBride, Ware starts off with an outline of the way commonly McBride was once respected within the mid-1940s—the 15th anniversary occasion for her exhibit in 1949 crammed Yankee Stadium. as soon as the readers have got to understand Mary Margaret (as every body referred to as her), Ware backtracks to inform the tale of McBride’s upbringing, her early profession, and the way she acquired her begin in radio. The latter a part of the booklet selections up McBride's tale after international warfare II and during her dying in 1976. An epilogue discusses the modern speak express phenomenon with a glance again to Mary Margaret McBride’s early impact at the structure.
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Extra resources for It's One O'Clock and Here Is Mary Margaret McBride: A Radio Biography
After he recounted his Horatio Alger success story, Mary Margaret asked him whether losing his leg as a child had something to do with his drive. He admitted that he was very self-conscious about it, a fairly personal and intimate detail. 34 Mary Margaret obviously won Al Capp’s trust, but even her skills could not guarantee results all the time. Over the years the radio host came up against her share of guests who had been glib and eloquent in the preparatory interview but then clammed up on the air.
I listen to you, but heaven knows why, the way you go on. It isn’t your voice—and it certainly isn’t what you say. ” Mary Margaret could accept such statements only with exasperation: “Right—it isn’t my voice! ’ But it isn’t anything mysterious either. ”13 McBride was used to comments about her weight and appearance, but nothing infuriated her more than suggestions that her carefully researched and prepared radio program was nothing more than random thoughts pouring out in an Ozark twang. She knew better, and so did Stella Karn, but it was hard to make the press take her seriously.
In the very next sentence the magazine called her a “brilliant interviewer” but then undercut that statement by describing the brilliance in a demeaning fashion: “With a well-controlled gush she can ‘soften up’ almost anyone to just the sticky consistency her listeners love. ”16 Far too often the temptation to dismiss her because she was a woman who talked to a primarily female daytime audience won out over a more balanced and objective view. Mary Margaret was an odd combination of being very shy but also enjoying, indeed craving, the limelight.