BW - EP126—007: April 1954—The End Of The Whistler

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April 18th, 1954 was both the first day of Passover and Easter Sunday. In Los Angeles, the weather was warm and foggy. The front page of The LA Times predicted record crowds at Easter services. The Major League baseball season was underway. It would be three years before Los Angeles imported the Dodgers from Brooklyn. Two days prior, V.P. Richard Nixon told the press he feared the U.S. would be forced to send troops to Vietnam. That evening, at 7:30PM over CBS’ KNX, The Whistler signed on the air, guest-starring Betty Lou Gerson and John Stephenson. The Whistler had been one of west-coast radio’s most-famous regional programs since its launch in 1942. For much of its run it was sponsored by Signal Oil. ​​Voiced by Bill Forman, the Whistler’s narration omnisciently taunted the characters. Stories were often told from the guilty party’s perspective. Their guilt was known, but the outcome was in doubt. The Whistler character was so popular that Columbia Pictures made eight films between 1944 and 1948. Dorothy Roberts whistled the notes. The Whistler would finally go off the air after the September 8th, 1955 episode.

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