Today in 1922, Ed Wynn became the first big-name vaudeville talent star to sign on as a radio talent. Previously, top talent never considered radio a respectable medium. The single broadcast in 1922 was over WJZ in Newark, and Ed Wynn traumatized by mic fright; he refused to consider broadcasting again until 10 years later when Texaco offered him a large sum of money in 1932. In the new Depression era, vaudeville and musical theatre was in a horrible state and Ed Wynn agreed and began broadcasting his “Texaco Firechief” shows.
Although the early 1920’s Ed Wynn recordings are not believed to still be existence, here’s a early 1930’s Ed Wynn broadcast sure to entertain:
Sponsored by Texaco: Ed Wynn is introduced as, “The Perfect Fool.” The band’s first tune is, “I’ve Got Rhythm,” they also play “Lady Be Good.” The Fire Chief jokes about the stock market and the Depression and answers his mail.