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Original Victory Parade header art

The Victory Parade Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Victory Parade
The United States Office of War Information (OWI) sponsored and provided the concept for Victory Parade.
The United States Office of War Information (OWI) sponsored and provided the concept for Victory Parade.


Spot ad announcing the June 7 1942 premiere of the Office of Facts and Figures Victory Parade over NBC
Spot ad announcing the June 7 1942 premiere of the Office of Facts and Figures Victory Parade over NBC

Background

With America's entry into World War II, hoarders, war profiteers, and black marketers soon became a regrettable, yet prevalent fact of life throughout America. Some of it was right out in the open; most of it transpired via backroom deals, neighborhood-level black markets, and good ole American free-enterprise capitalism. The common aim of all these unpatriotic practices was--throughout time immemorial--to benefit the few at the expense of the many; yet another time honored American tradition finding fashion again in the 21st Century.

The rightness or wrongness of these practices has always been hotly debated--and continues to be so to this day. Thankfully, for the vast majority of Americans, the concept of free-enterprise has always been understood to have an underlying--and absolutely essential--moral component. On the opposing side, natural human greed has always been the bane of any society and only becomes even more pronounced in times of great economic distress. America during the post-Depression era still had a strong moral component. Even more importantly, Radio, the most important communication medium yet to emerge, was still controlled by literally thousands of family owned, 'mom and pop' Radio stations across the nation.

Those thousands of independent 'voices' were still virtually impossible to silence. Thus, revisionists, profiteers, fact-spinners, and truth-benders might well succeed in a few small geographic pockets across the America, but the overwhelming number of Radio stations across the country simply told--and disseminated--the truth as they were told it, by whichever news bureaus to which they subscribed. Those stations affiliated with the three major networks of the 1940s and the seven to eleven other smaller rergional networks of the era were naturally obliged to air their respective networks' points of view--or find another network with which to associate themselves. The other thousands of as yet unaffiliated stations and groups of stations were free to adopt their own standards, viewpoints and practices within their respective communities or broadcast range.

When it became obvious to the Government during World War II that hoarding, gouging, profiteering and black-marketeering were significantly affecting the War effort, it fell upon the Office of War Information's Office of Fact and Figures to undertake a national campaign to discourage such economically dangerous and unpatriotic practices. Newspaper, print media and poster campaigns were proving effective, but it was obvious that Radio could most effectively reach the widest audience with the most timely messages.

The messages were simple: hoarding, profiteering, black-marketeering and price-gouging were unpatriotic, un-American and illegal. While the O.W.I. understood that such messages would be lost on the violators themselves, the impetus of the messages was to curtail the demand-side of the practices. If enough people were reminded that these illegal practices were not only unpatriotic, but were seriously constraining the War effort, demand for such illegal practices and supplies mmight be curtailed.

The Office of War Information's Office of Facts and Figures was responsible for approaching the broadcast networks with the idea of obtaining commitments of blocks of prime airtime to get out their various War messages. The first of the O.W.I. programs to take to the air was Victory Parade and Victory Volunteers over NBC. Beginning at 6 p.m Sunday night, the 7th of June, 1942 and running through August 23, 1942, NBC mounted a 12-week series of Victory Parade renditions of some of their most popular prime time Radio features, such as Baby Snooks, The Red Skelton Show, and The Jack Benny Program.

CBS' imposed contributions to the War effort were Victory Theater and Victory Front, produced in cooperation with and under the auspices of the Office of War Information. NBC's Victory Parade O.W.I. War messages were delivered in place of commercial announcements as a vehicle for disseminating messages of national importance to the wider public.

NBC and the Office of Facts & Figures premiere Victory Parade

Deliberately similar in concept to Victory Theater, Victory Front, and Victory Volunteers, Victory Parade drew from NBC's nightly prime time lineup of weekly programs:

  • Baby Snooks
  • The Red Skelton Show
  • The Rudy Vallee Program
  • Well I Swan with Burns and Allen
  • The Chase and Sanborn Program with Bergen and McCarthy
  • Fibber McGee and Molly
  • Mr District Attorney: "The Case of the Whispered Word"
  • The Great Gildersleeve
  • The Bob Hope Show
  • Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge
  • Truth or Consequences
  • The Jack Benny Program

Each presentation featured it's respective casts from the regular seasons. The casts were called back from their respective Summer vacations to mount each production's respective feature--twelve in all.

Series Derivatives:

Baby Snooks; The Jack Benny Program; The Bob Hope Show; The Great Gildersleeve; Mr. District Attorney; The Aldrich Family; Fibber McGee and Molly; The Red Skelton Show; Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy; The Kay Kyser Show; Truth or Consequences
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Patriotic Variety
Network(s): NBC
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 42-06-07 01 Baby Snooks
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 42-06-07 to 42-08-23; NBC; Twelve 30-minute programs; Sunday nights at 6 p.m., then 5:30 p.m.
Syndication: The O.W.I. and NBC
Sponsors: The Office of Facts and Figures
Director(s): Dick Mack, Don Quinn,
Principal Performers: Lionel Barrymore, Fannie Brice, Frank Morgan, John Conte, and Meridith Wlllson, Jack Benny, Fibber McGee and Molly, Bob Hope, Burns and Allen, Red Skelton, Harriet Hilllard, Ozzie Nelson, Wonderful Smith, Charles Laughton, Groucho Marx, Gloria Warren, Rudy Vallee, Joan Davis, Bill Goodwin, Jimmy Cash, Paul Whiteman, Senor Lee, Clarence ('Herman the Duck') Nash, the Swantette Singers, Edgar Bergen, Ray Noble, Don Ameche, Janet Blair, Gale Gordon, Bill Thompson, Isabel Randolph, the King's Men, Harlow Wilcox,Billy Mills, Jay Jostyn, Kay Kyser, Harry Babbitt, Sully Mason, Merwyn Bogue, Trudy Erwin, Dorothy Dunn,Julie Conway,
Recurring Character(s): The Voice of Government [Lionel Barrymore]
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): None
Writer(s) Dick Mack, Don Quinn,
Music Direction: Meredith Willson and Orchestra; Ozzie Nelson and his orchestra; Ray Noble and orchestra; Billy Mills; John Scott Trotter orchestra;
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Harlow Wilcox,
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
12
Episodes in Circulation: 0
Total Episodes in Collection: 0
Provenances:

.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.

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[Date, title, and episode column annotations in
red refer to either details we have yet to fully provenance or other unverifiable information as of this writing. Red highlights in the text of the 'Notes' columns refer to information upon which we relied in citing dates, date or time changes, or titles.]







The Victory Parade Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
42-06-07
1
Baby Snooks
N
42-06-07 Wisconsin State Journal
Top Radio Stars Volunteer
To Help War Messages
In Broadcast Series on WIBA
Radio's top-ranking stars will be presented In Victory Parade, a series of Sunday broadcasts which will begin at 6 tonight over WIBA.
The program will be produced in cooperation with tho Office of Facts and Figures, with stars, writers, directors, advertisers, and agencies volunteering their service to provide a medium for carrying government messages vital to the war effort.
Tonight's stars will include Fannie "Baby Snooks" Brice, Frank Morgan, John Conte, and Meridith Wlllson's orchestra. On succeeding Sundays, the talent will include the cast of Mr. District Attorney, Jack Benny, Fibber McGee and Molly, Bob Hope, Burns and Allen, and the Aldrich Family.

42-06-07 Wisconsin State Journal
Top Radio Stars Volunteer To Help War Messages In Broadcast Series on WIBA
Radio's top-ranking stars will be presented in Victory Parade, a series of Sunday broadcasts which will begin at 6 tonight over WIBA. The program will be produced in cooperation with the Office of Facts and Figures, with stars, writers, directors, advertisers, and agencies volunteering their services to provide a medium for carrying government messages vital to the war effort. Tonight's stars will include
Fannie "Baby Snooks" Brice, Frank Morgan, John Conte, and Meredith Willson's orchestra. On succeeding Sundays, the talent will include the cast of Mr. District Attorney, Jack Benny, Fibber McGee and Molly, Bob Hope, BUrns and Allen, and the Aldrich Family.
42-06-14
2
The Red Skelton Show
N
42-06-14 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Victory Parade (WIBA):
Lionel Barrymore, Red Skelton, Harriet Hilliard, Ozzie Nelson's orchestra, Wonderful Smith.

42-06-14 Capital Times
THE VICTORY PARADE
Red Skelton and Company-Harriet Hilllard, Ozzie Nelson and his orchestra, and Wonderful Smith—will postpone their summer vacation by one broadcast in order to rally 'round the microphone tonight to give the nation the second in the new "Victory Parade" series in behalf of the Office of Facts and Figures. The broadcast will be heard over Station WIBA at 6 p. m.
Lionel Barrymore, who has donated his time and talent to the series, again will serve as "The Voice of the Government." Barrymore will be a weekly feature.
42-06-21
3
The Rudy Vallee Program
N
42-06-21 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Victory Parade (WIBA):
Charles Laughton, Groucho Marx, Gloria Warren, Rudy Vallee, Lionel Barrymore, Joan Davis.

42-06-21 Capital Times
Vallee Cast With Charles Laughton
Present Victory Parade Over WIBA

WITH Charles Laughton, Groucho Marx and Gloria Warren in support,
the Rudy Vallee program will roll up its sleeves and pitch in tonight to provide the third "Victory Parade" at 6 over Station WIBA. The series is presented in behalf of the. Office of Facts and Figures.
Lionel Barrymore, beloved character actor, again will serve as "The Voice of the Government," and Dick Mack, writer-director of the regular Thursday laffcasts, will whip the half-hour of top-flight entertainment and entertainers into peak form.
Rudy will give the R. A. F. song, "We're Taking Off," its American premiere. Joan Davis, whose comedy highspots the Vallee program, will essay her "mock opera" routine.
42-06-28
4
Well I Swan - Burns and Allen
N
42-06-28 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Victory Parade (WIBA):
Burns and Allen, Lionel Barrymore, Jimmy Cash, Paul Whiteman's orchestra.

42-06-28 Capital Times
VICTORY PARADE
George Burns and Gracie Allen will join the "Victory Parade" marchers tonight at 6 over Station WIBA.
"Falling in" with George and Gracie in behalf of the Office of Facts and Figures—NBC inspired war effort broadcast—will be their regular cast members, Bill Goodwin, Jimmy Cash, Paul Whiteman, Senor Lee, Clarence (Herman the Duck) Nash and the Swantette Singers.
Lionel Barrymore, grand old man of the Screen, will continue to be heard on the weekly series at "The Voice of the Government."
42-07-05
5
The Chase and Sanborn Program - Bergen and McCarthy
N
[Moves to 5:30 p.m.]

42-07-05 Wisconsin State Journal
McCarthy vs. Ameche Today in Victory Parade at New Hour
Charlie McCarthy postponed his summer vacation for one week to appear on the Victory Parade over WIBA today at 5:30 p.m., the new time set for the program. He appears opposite his old sparring partner Don Ameche, but will probably come out second-best in any mental fisticuffs, that is, if he pays too much attention to comely Janet Blair.

42-07-05 Capital Times
VICTORY PARADE
The cast of the vacationing Chase and Sanborn program, including Edgar Bergen, his wooden alter ego, Charlie McCarthy, and Orchestra Conductor Ray Noble, with the added assistance of Guest Stars Don Ameche and Janet Blair will make an appearance on "Victory Parade" today at 5:30 via Station WIBA. Please note the change in time for these broadcasts. The program was formerly beard at 6 p. m.
42-07-12
6
Fibber McGee and Molly
N
42-07-12 Wisconsin State Journal
5:30 p.m.--Victory Parade (WIBA):
Fibber McGee and Molly, Mayor LaTrivia, Wimple, the Old Timer, others.

42-07-12 Lima News
"Victory Parade" To Have
McGee And Molly As Guests
Wistful Vista Cronies Will Join Comedy Team For
Broadcast At 6:30 P. M. Sunday Via
WEAF For Uncle Sam
Fibber McGee and Molly and their writer, Don Quinn, will interrupt their well-earned vacation Sunday to contribute their war-effort share to "Victory Parade," the NBC-OFF program at 6:30 p.m. over WEAF.
Joining FIbber and Molly in the patriotic program will be all their Wistful Vista cronies--Mayor La Trivia (Gale Gordon); Wallace Wimple and the Old Timer (Bill Thompson); Mrs. Uppington (Isabel Randolph); the King's Men; Announcer Harlow Wilcox, and Billy Mills, musical director.
Lionel Barrymore continues in his assignment as "the Voice of the Government." It is Barrymore who voices the war-effort messages.
42-07-19
7
Mr District Attorney - The Case of the Whispered Word
N
42-07-19 Wisconsin State Journal
5:30 p.m.--Victory Parade (WIBA): …
Mr. District Attorney--deals with enemy underground movement.

42-07-19 Capital Times
VICTORY PARADE
"The Case of the Whispered Word," considered one of radio's most powerful contributions to the war on the enemy underground movement in
America, will be broadcast on the "Victory Parade" over Station WIBA at 5:30 today.
In the script the cast of
"Mr. District Attorney" will show how one little word spoken in a public place can lead to death and disaster.
42-07-26
8
The Great Gildersleeve
N
[ From Hollywood]

42-07-26 Wisconsin State Journal
5:30 p.m.--Victory Parade (WIBA):
features the Great Gildersleeve.

42-07-26 Capital Times
VICTORY PARADE
The Great Gildersleeve—none other than the fabulous Throckmorton P., of Summerfield, who is vacationing from NBC at the moment—will report to Hollywood Radio City today, to contribute his share to the star-studded war-effort series, "Victory Parade." at 5:30 over Station WIBA.
42-08-02
9
The Bob Hope Show
N
42-08-02 Wisconsin State Journal
5:30 p.m.--Victory Parade (WIBA):
Bob Hope, Lionel Barrymore, John Scott Trotter orchestra, others.
42-08-09
10
Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge
N
42-08-09 Wisconsin State Journal
5:30 p.m.--Victory Parade (WIBA):
Kay Kyser, Harry Babbitt, Sully Mason, Ish Kabibble, Trudy Erwin, Dorothy Dunn, and Julie Conway.
42-09-16
11
Truth or Consequences
N
42-08-16 Wisconsin State Journal - 5:30 p.m.--Victory Parade (WIBA): presents "Truth or Consequences" from Mitchel Field, L.I.
42-08-23
12
Jack Benny
N
42-08-23 Wisconsin State Journal
5:30 p.m.--Victory Parade (WIBA):
Jack Benny and his gang.
42-08-30
--
--
42-08-30 Wisconsin State Journal
5:30 pm.--The Great Gildersleeve (WIBA): returns to the air.






The Victory Parade Radio Program Biographies




United States Office of War Information
(Sponsor)

Government War Information agency
(1942-1947)

Founded: Washington, D.C., U.S.A., Under Executive Order 9182 of June 13, 1942.

Radiography:

1942 Victory Theater
1942 Victory Parade
1942 Victory Theatre
1942 Victory Volunteers
1942 An American In England
1943 An American in Russia
1942 You Can't Do Business With Hitler
1943 A Passport for Adams
1943 Words At War
1945 Alice In America
1945 America Views the News
1945 Meet The Army
1947 One World Flight


The United States Office of War Information (OWI) sponsored and provided the concept for Victory Theater

William B. Lewis circa 1942
William B. Lewis circa 1942

Former CBS News Director Elmer Davis sits at his typewriter as Director of the Office of War Information circa 1942
Former CBS News Director Elmer Davis sits at his typewriter as Director of the Office of War Information circa 1942

Elmer Davis before all major network mikes in his role as Director of the OWI
Elmer Davis before all major network mikes in his role as Director of the OWI

The OWI's Comprehensive Homemaker's War Guide from 1942 (OWI Poster No. 20)
The OWI's Comprehensive Homemaker's War Guide from 1942 (OWI Poster No. 20)

The OWI's famous It's A Woman's War Too! poster
The OWI's famous It's A Woman's War Too! poster

The OWI's famous Four Freedoms Poster by Norman Rockwell (OWI Poster No. 47)
(OWI Poster No. 47) This is what was at stake once we entered the War. The OWI's famous Four Freedoms Poster by Norman Rockwell.
This is the poster and the idea that every right-wing organization or party in America has denounced as a legacy of The FDR Years. The irony is that it wasn't FDR's brainchild. It was the OWI's--a 'homeland security' organization.
The implementing charter for the Office of War Information was established with FDR's Executive Order 9182 of Jun 13, 1942. Insofar as Radio is concerned, it's first precept best informs its eventual influence over Radio between 1942 and 1947:

"a. Formulate and carry out, through the use of press, radio, motion picture, and other facilities, information programs designed to facilitate the development of an informed and intelligent understanding, at home and abroad, of the status end progress of the war effort and of the war policies, activities, and aims of the Government."

It was William B. Lewis and the radio group he'd assembled within the government to air the joint, four-network broadcast of the This Is War programs who caught the attention of the Office of War Information. After the success of the This Is War broadcasts, the OWI established a Radio Bureau in July 1942, and appointed Lewis as its first director. The OWI Radio Bureau became the OWI's domestic branch and main government organ at home.

As head of the Domestic Radio Bureau of the Office of Facts and Figures (OFF), then later as head of the Radio Bureau of the Office of War Information, Lewis became the point man to reassure an anxious radio industry that the commercial structure of American radio would ''remain unchanged.'' William Lewis argued that ''radio was valuable only because of the enormous audiences it created."

It was Lewis' prinicipal aim to make use of radio's popularity without unduly disrupting its structure and schedule. Lewis was instrumental in populating the Radio Bureau with men and women from radio stations, the networks, and advertising agencies alike. In Jan 1943 he was promoted to Assistant Director of the OWI's Domestic Branch, further extending his influence to other media such as ''motion pictures, graphics and magazines.''

In the case of commercial radio, Lewis' office developed a simple, but initially effective plan for radio's participation in the war. He helped develop the Network Allocation Plan (NAP), by which radio programming would integrate war messages on a ''rotating schedule''--twice a month for weekly programming and once a week for daily programming. Lewis' overarching dictum was that "Radio propaganda must be painless."

Lewis' OWI Radio Bureau suggested and set in motion a CBS drama project to be produced by Edward R. Murrow and written and directed by Norman Corwin. It was initially produced in England in cooperation with the BBC and titled An American In England. It may come as no surprise that both William B. Lewis and Elmer C. Davis, the Director of the O.W.I., had prominent positions with CBS before and after World War II.

The OWI itself was becoming entangled in a deepening morass of problems with both the Networks and their commercial sponsors. The understandable demands for more and more of these patriotic propaganda programs, while clearly raising public interest in the War effort, its progress, and the extraordinary demands it was making on the American economy, were placing commercial Radio programming at a distinct disadvantage.

Commercial Radio had been a seemingly limitless cash cow for sponsors and the networks alike--prior to America's official entry in The War. While America's performers were unstinting in their willingness to volunteer for all manner of patriotic anthologies of one sort or another, America's commercial sponsors weren't quite as philanthropic or altruistic as a group--to put it mildly.

While it was certainly true that for some industries, the War was clearly a boon, many other industries were suddenly experiencing shortages of what had once been a free-flowing logistics and raw materials supply. The dramatic rationing that was at first suggested for these industries, then imposed upon them--since very few of them actually complied with suggested guidelines--caused as many industries to founder as to thrive.

Those industries that were foundering began demanding all manner of price supports, tax incentives and offsets, union-organizing sanctions, and government subsidies. Kinda rings a familiar bell, doesn't it? Network Radio, as an industry, was no exception. In the final analysis, despite the endless stream of patriotic anecdotes regarding Network Radio's contributions to The War Effort, the ugly reality was quite a different story. The pressures being exerted on the networks from government agencies such as the Office of War Information's Radio Bureau, the Office of Price Administration and the War Department were playing the devil with both their commercial sponsors and the 'business' of Network Radio. These were undercurrents that Network Radio--and Television--wouldn't soon forget.




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