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May 16, 2017

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Great bio on Stars. Thanks

What happened to the Portland Radio Guide?

In a March 1, 2010 comment at http://www.stumptownblogger.com/2010/03/uncle-bob-on-kex.html I commented about the Armour Star talent show on Saturday morning at the Hollywood Theater.

The show was taped and played on the radio later in the week. I always thought it was funny when the talent was tap dancing. On the radio all you could hear was the click/clack from the shoes. Didn't make for great radio.

Mr. Stump:

I believe The Journal Juniors Radio Talent show for kids predated Stars. And I'm pretty sure the sponsor of the show was Meir & Frank because my father was part of the house band that backed the talent contestants. Born in 1918 we have a photo of Dad at about age 10 in his tuxedo and the 1928 Deagan Marimba gifted to him by sponsor Aaron Frank for the radio show back when M & F had a music department. Dad spoke of Meeting Mel Blanc which MIGHT have been on KFEC. We no longer have Dad but we still have that Marimba and a lot of stories of The Journal Juniors...WAY before Ted Mack or The Voice.

John H, at least they weren't dancing soft shoe.

Dave, your great post motivated me to follow up with more radio history from Craig Adams centering on Bob Amsberry, Johnny Ray, Ginny Tyler, etc

the main article is pretty long, but being a Franklin grad and my family and the Amsberrys were neighbors, I have always revered Bobs memory who was treated very meanly by Disney.

here's an excerpt:

"Sometimes an idea for a radio history changes, once research has been done. Long forgotten, the fact Ginny Tyler, voice actress & Mouseketeer had worked in Portland radio early in her career, using her real name, Merrie Virginia. The idea was to cover Uncle Bob Amsberry's Portland radio history, also in the Mickey Mouse Club cast later. Turns out Ginny Tyler played an integral role with Amsberry in Portland radio. This story made more sense with both of these talented performers. Ginny came to Portland in July 1950 so she is not mentioned until then.

17 year old Robert Wayne "Bob" Amsberry's first radio performance was on KGW's "Stars of Tomorrow" talent show in 1945 as a singer. On January 13, 1946 Bob was part of Franklin High School's a cappella choir, performing at the George A. White Servicemen's Center. On March 10, 1946 it was noted that Bob played the scarecrow in Franklin High School's presentation of "The Wizard of Oz" on the auditorium stage. At this time Bob was also Franklin student body president. Side note: Later national singing sensation, Johnnie Ray was good friends with Bob at Franklin where they attended 3 1/2 years and performed together on Uncle Nate's "Stars of Tomorrow." Bob Amsberry then attended the University of Oregon.

By February 1947 Amsberry was heard regularly on KWJJ's "Sammy Taylor, The Record Man" show, doing funny voices. On October 27, 1947 Bob began his own "High School Parade" disc jockey show at 3:30pm on KPDQ. Bob also reported on high school news. By March 1948 Bob was reported doing sound effects on KALE's "Take The Air" talent show. He was described as being a combination of Mel Blanc and Mickey Rooney. By May 1948 Amsberry was working at KGW.

Then on November 29, 1948 Bob became host of his own children's show he created, called "The Squirrel Cage" on KEX weekdays at 4:15pm. Joining "Uncle Bob" on the show were his friends "Gus" the goose, "Gabby" the squirrel & "Busby" the bee. Bob did all the character voices and also played children's records during the show. The Squirrel Cage theme song was "Big Rock Candy Mountain." The half hour program would catapult Amsberry to Portland radio stardom. KEX was located at "Radio Center" 1230 S.W. Main St. On December 27, 1948 Bob was given a full hour after "The Cinnamon Bear" & "Santa Claus" programs ended. His program reverted back to a half hour format on January 4, 1949 at 4:30pm."

Craig_Adams
http://archive.pdxradio.com/2009-14/


Bob came to visit to say goodby to us on two occasions, when he joined the Marines and when he left for California. After his Disney connection came to an end, he came by to tell my Mom about his California adventures the results he accepted with no regrets or animosity. Bob was as laid back as all of his many characters, he just wanted to have fun.

Thanks for the motivation, Dave

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