Tag Archives: Hooperatings

30 December: The rivals and their “comebacks”

Benny and Allen enjoy a splendid mutual comeback beginning in 1945. (Photo: NBC.)

Friendly rivals Benny and Allen enjoy a splendid mutual comeback beginning in 1945. (Photo: NBC.)

It might be difficult for a 21st Century fan to believe, if clinging strictly to the general image of the man, but Jack Benny thinks he’s in radio trouble by the 1945-46 season: his Hooper rating has dipped a cumulative 35 percent since 1941, culminating in a tenth-place finish for 1944-45, his lowest rating in a decade.

The good news is that, for all that steady slippage, Benny still has never finished a season shy of a 20 rating. Regardless, the comedian entered the season bent on keeping that bottom line at minimum and getting back near the top of the beanhill at maximum.

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10 December: A bump for Fred Allen

Texaco not only moves Allen to a better timeslot around or after Pearl Harbour, but the oil giant will get mileage aplenty featuring him in wartime print advertising. (Photo: Texas Oil Company.)

Texaco not only moves Allen to a better timeslot around or after Pearl Harbour, but the oil giant will get mileage aplenty featuring him in wartime print advertising. (Photo: Texas Oil Company.)

Pearl Harbour will affect Fred Allen as it will all radio entertainers, but in Allen’s case it will provide an inadvertent ratings bump.

The satirist and his Texaco Star Theater hour have struggled against NBC’s Eddie Cantor and Mr. District Attorney on Wednesday nights. But then the Ford Motor Company drops the curtain permanently on its Sunday night CBS mainstay, The Sunday Evening Hour, which featured performances by the Detroit Symphony. “It was wartime,” Jim Harburg would review, in his splendid volume compiling the history of network radio ratings, “and the car maker had nothing to sell.”

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Allen’s quarterback sneak: Old-time radio listening, 11 October

The Fred Allen Show (Hour of Smiles): Satire on Surveys and Polls (NBC, 1939) 

Fred Allen probably found entanglement in microphones child’s play compared to tangling with myopic advertising agencies . . . (Photo: NBC)

Fred Allen wasn’t necessarily thrilled when a change in the advertising agency handling his sponsor’s account compelled a title and slight format adjustment away from his groundbreaking Town Hall Tonight.

The new agency was governed, Allen would write (in Treadmill to Oblivion) by a former college football quarterback who “could never recognise one of [his former teammates] until he had asked him to bend over.”

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