Contents


Collection Summary

Agency Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Organization of the Amateur Hour Collection

Selected Search Terms

Container List

Contestants

Photographs

Correspondence

Advertising/Sponsor Materials

Promotional Materials

Production Materials

Financial Papers

Legal Papers

Printed Programs of Performances, 1934-1954, undated

Clippings, 1935-1957

Awards

Miscellaneous

Amateur Hour Collection

Processed by the Music Division of the Library of Congress

2005

Collection Summary

Creator Bowes, Edward, Major, 1874-1946
Title Amateur Hour Collection
Span Dates 1934-1948
Abstract: Primarily over 7000 applications from contestants who appeared on the Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour radio program between 1934 and 1948. A small percentage of the administrative papers dating from the late 1940s and 1950s, as well as materials relating to the Mexican version of the program, La hora internacional del aficionado, are also included. Filed with the contestant applications are letters of introduction, reference letters, and other documents sent by prospective contestants. Applications from conventional performers such as musicians, dancers, singers, and impersonators are the most numerous, but also included are applications from novelty acts such as a human piccolo, a group of hand-standing singers, and a group who played harmonicas with fire extinguishers. Of particular interest are applications from various performers, now well-known, including Teresa Brewer, Stubby Kaye, Robert Merrill, Beverly Sills, and Frank Sinatra. Photographs from the 1940s and 1950s provide a visual record of the show, while correspondence to and from program staff members recount some of the program's business transactions. Scripts, promotional material, and advertising and sponsor documents also are part of the collection.
Extent: circa 8500 items20 boxes9 linear feet
Language: Collection material in English
Identification: ML31.A4

Agency Sketch

Date Event
April 1934 First radio broadcast of Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour on WHN, New York
1935 William Edward Maguiness (stage name Ted Mack) joins Bowes as emcee and talent scout
March 24, 1935 Coast to coast broadcast on NBC radio with Chase & Sanborn as sponsor
June 1935 Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour is named the most listened to radio program in the United States
Sept. 8, 1935 The Hoboken Four, featuring Frank Sinatra, performs on the Original Amateur Hour program
Sept. 17, 1936 Original Amateur Hour moves to CBS radio, with Chrysler Corporation as sponsor
1944 Major Bowes retires for health reasons
1945 Radio broadcast of Original Amateur Hour is suspended
June 13, 1946 Major Bowes dies
Jan. 14, 1948 Original Amateur Hour is revived on television by Dumont Studios, with Ted Mack as emcee
Oct. 29, 1948 P. Lorillard Company becomes a sponsor
Oct. 4, 1949 First national television broadcast of Original Amateur Hour, on NBC
1952 Final radio broadcast
April 25, 1953 Pet Milk becomes a sponsor
Oct. 30, 1955 Television program broadcasts on ABC
Jan. 19, 1957 La Hora Internacional del Aficionado, Mexican version of program, broadcasts
July 1, 1957 Program returns to NBC television
May 1, 1959 Program broadcasts on CBS
March 7, 1960 Program returns to ABC
Oct. 2, 1960 Programs returns to CBS
Sept. 20, 1970 Final broadcast

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Scope and Content Note

The records of the Amateur Hour Collection consist primarily of over 7,000 applications from contestants who appeared on the Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour radio program between 1934 and 1948. The remainder of the materials in the collection are administrative papers dating from the late 1940s and 1950s. Although these materials are only a small percentage of the admistrative papers of the organization, they are worthy of note in that they provide some insight into the way in which the Original Amateur Hour program was run. Materials relating to the Mexican version of the program, La Hora Internacional del Aficionado, are also included.

The Amateur Hour collection is represented by twelve series. The first series is CONTESTANTS consists primarily of over 7,000 applications from contestants who appeared on the Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour radio program between 1934 and 1948. This series is divided into three subseries: Contestant applications; Contestant biographical sketches; Lists of performers.

Filed with the contestant applications are letters of introduction, reference letters, and other documents sent by prospective contestants. Both the "type of entertainment" and "details of interest" responses on the applications provide an overview of the broad range of amateur performance genres of the period. Applications from conventional performers such as musicians, dancers, singers, and impersonators are the most numerous, but also included are applications from novelty acts such as a human piccolo, a group of hand-standing singers, and a group who played harmonicas with fire extinguishers. Of particular interest are applications from various performers, now well-known, who "got their break" on the show, including Teresa Brewer, Stubby Kaye, Robert Merrill, Beverly Sills, and Frank Sinatra.

The second series is PHOTOGRAPHS consisting of photo prints (B&W) of various sizes and arranged by subject. An interesting collection of photographs from the 1940s and 1950s provides a visual record of the show.

The third series is CORRESPONDENCE consists of correspondence to and from program staff members Lou Goldberg, Daniel Manjarrez, and Harry McWilliams recounts some of the program's business transactions and is arranged by subject.

The other nine series consist of administration and operations materials. The general program information, advertising packages, and ratings information are included with Advertising/Sponsor papers. Scripts are housed with the Production materials.

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Selected Search Terms

People

  • Bowes, Edward, Major, 1874-1946.
  • Brewer, Teresa.
  • Kaye, Stubby.
  • Mack, Ted.
  • Merrill, Robert, 1917-2004.
  • Sills, Beverly.
  • Sinatra, Frank, 1915-1998.

Subjects

  • Talent shows--United States.

Titles

  • Major Bowes' original amateur hour collection, 1934-1948
  • Original amateur hour collection, 1934-1948
  • Original amateur hour--Sources.

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Organization of the Amateur Hour Collection

The Amateur Hour Collection is organized in 12 series:

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Container List

Contestants

Applications and other related materials of contestants for the Amateur Hour. The majority of which pretain specifically to the Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour radio program between 1934 and 1948.

Arrangement is in three subseries: Contestant applications; Contestant biographical sketches; Lists of Performers.

Contestant applications, related correspondence and documents

Applications from contestants who appeared on the Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour radio program between 1934 and 1948.

Arranged in alphabetical order by name

Aalrud to Alvi

Amato to Astroff

Atanasoff to Banks

Barad to Beloff

Benak to Bishop

Bjornie to Bombara

Bon Bons to Bauner

Breen to Brydof

Buchannan to Capwell

Cardonna to Caye

Clancy to Connie

Connors to Cross

Crowell to Davis

Davy to Dexter

Diamond to Dottie and Bobbie

Dougherty to Dynamic Harmonica Four

Eagle to Ely

Emerick to Farrow

Fasany to Fiore

Five Aces to Flatbush Floogies

Fleer to Foster

Four Amateur Rogues to Fourtan

Fox to Fyfe

Gaderick to Gaynor

Geankoplis to Giusti

Goerger to Grazzini

Great Lakes Swing Sextet to Gypsy Quartet

Hackman to Harmony Four

Harold to Hechl

Hedling to Hjerpe

Hoag to Hopkinson

Horlbogen to Hylselop

Idaho Ranch Boys to Jive'n Five

Joan and Ernie to Juvinall

Kaaren to Keenan

Keister to Kiwanis Quartette of Yonkers

Klaff to Kwan

Laborde to Lazzesi

Leah to Leslie

Leuname to Logue

Lohr to Lyric Male Quartet

Maas to M[a]cVeigh

Macchiaverna to Mansan

Maranville to Maryella

Mäsch to Melodie

Melodious Harmonica Trio to Mike and Bill

Miki to Mistichelli

Mitchel to Morris, D.

Morris, M. to Myers

Nadel to Nogueira

Nona to O'Neil, R.

Ooms to Pagin

Pagliarini to Payne

Peace and Pizzuto

Plantation Four to Puzelli

Quantico Marine Quartet to Rezits

Rhodes to Robbins, R.

Robbins, S. to Rondeau

Roosa to Rozman

Rubenstein, L. to Sanders

Sandherr to Scott

Seabee Quartet to Shiff

Shilton to Six Janitors

Six Jars of Jam to Southwick

Spadafora to Stewart

Stock to Swing Sisters Trio

Swingers of Harmony to Texas Wanderers

Thatcher to Three Coxswains

Three Davis Brothers to Three Mouth Organ Kings

Three Niblicks to Towle

Tracy to Tyler

Watcher and Freeman to Weal

Wetherson to Westward Ho!

Uccellini to Vuylsteke

Whalen to Williams, L.

Williams, M. to Wittig

Wobnick to Wyoming Range Buddies

Yaffe to Zyne

Contestants' biographical sketches

Brief biographical sketches of contestants who appeared on the Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour radio program between 1934 and 1948.

Arranged alphabetical order by name

All Girl Swing Band to One Man Band

Kathleen Ray to Frances White

Lists of performers

Typescript lists of performers from the Amateur Hour.

Arranged in alphabetical order by nationality

American

Irish

Mexican

Photographs

Photo prints (B&W) of various sizes.

Arranged in alphabetical order by subject

Cowboy Acts

Dancers: Adult, male

Dancers: Adult, female

Dancers: Child, female

Partners, Adult

Partners, Child

Impersonators

Instrumentalists:

Accordion players

Bands

Bellringers

Guitar players

Harmonica players

Piano players

Trumpet players

Xylophone players

Rollerskaters

Singers: Adult, male

Singers: Adult, female

Singers: Child, male

Singers: Child, female

Novelty acts

Performing Groups

Major Bowes

Ted Mack

Game shows

Stage Set

Promotional banners and billboard

Others, identified and unidentified

Correspondence

Correspondence, drafts, letters received variously related to the operation and performers of the Amateur Hour.

Arrangement is by subject

Drafts and copies of letters of Lou Goldberg, June 26, 1936 to February 11, 1957

Drafts and copies of letters of Daniel Manjarrez, March 27, 1957 to June 25, 1957

Drafts and copies of letters sent by Harry McWilliams, June 1, 1936 to December 2, 1957

Letters received, filed alphabetically by correspondent

Collage of commendatory letters received by Ted Mack (photocopies)

Undated and unidentified

Advertising/Sponsor Materials

Various types of materials created or generated by the Amateur Hour intended to advertise the unique entertainment value for potential investors or broadcasters.

Arrangement is by subject

General program information

Program ratings sheets

Station listings sheets

Program listings

Other TV & Radio program listings

Miscellaneous

Promotional Materials

Various publications, brochures, and packages created by the Amateur Hour in order to promote its unique entertainment value to potential investors or broadcasters.

Arrangement is by subject or genre.

Press release drafts

Program fact sheets and announcements

In-house publications

Original Amateur Hour magazine

Flyers and proofs

Newspaper materials

Posters

Ted Mack

Miscellaneous

Production Materials

Various materials created by the Amateur Hour intended and used for show production.

Arrangement is by subject

Scripts

Commercials scripts (English and Spanish)

Program order and sequence, La Hora Stage directions

Stage directions

Miscellaneous

Financial Papers

Finacial papers concerning the operation and expenses of the Amateur Hour.

Arrangement is by subject or genre

Balance sheets

Bank deposits lists

Bills (facturas)

Payroll sheets

Program budgets

Time/rate tables

Travel expenses

Miscellaneous

Legal Papers

Contracts and other legal writ concerning the operation and rights acquired by the Amateur Hour.

Arragnement is by genre or subject

Contract for La Hora Internacional

Servicio Postal Mexicano registration form

Printed Programs of Performances, 1934-1954, undated

Amateur Hour programs from various productions throughout its history.

Arrangement is chronological by date

Printed programs of performances of the Amateur Hour contestants, 1934-1954, undated

Clippings, 1935-1957

Clippings from various periodicals related to the Amateur Hour.

Arrangement is chronological by date

January 1935 to November 29, 1935

January 28, 1936 to December 4, 1936

March 11, 1937 to April 20, 1937

January 6, 1939 to October 2, 1941

August 6, 1947 to May 15, 1953

April 19, 1956 to December 5, 1956

January 25, 1957 to March 16, 1957

April 7, 1957 to June 19, 1957

July 1, 1957 to November 6, 1957

Collage of clippings (photocopy)

Undated

Awards

Honorary certificate given to Ted Mack and the Amateur Hour.

Arrangement is by subject

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States presented to Ted Mack and The Original Amateur Hour, 2 May 1953. [photocopy]

Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous materials related to the Amateur Hour.

Arrangement is by format or subject

Notebook of Lloyd Marx

Catalogues of films

Harry McWilliams: Notes from Amateur Hour tours and miscellaneous notes

Articles

Samples of stationery and forms

Travel brochures, postcards and maps

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