Al Jolson Home Page|His Works|Radio|02 Oct 47 Kraft Music Hall

Al Jolson's experience with radio began in the dawn of the medium, and continued until the birth of television, and his death. He started the Kraft Music Hall, along with programs for Lifebuoy Soap, Colgate Tooth Powder, and Chevrolet, and died while waiting to go on to Bing Crosby's Chesterfield program. On this page, I will be featuring radio programs, in Real Audio format, for your enjoyment.


Al Jolson with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy
Listen to Al Jolson with
Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy
Al Jolson started The Kraft Music Hall on NBC in 1933. After going through several hosts, including Bing Crosby, Jolson returned to the Kraft Music Hall on October 2, 1947. Along with pianist Oscar Levant, Jolson electrified Thursday nights for two seasons.

On this premier episode of The Kraft Music Hall, we meet the ensemble of Al Jolson, Oscar Levant, announcer Ken Carpenter, and singer Milena Miller. The producers of the program feared that Jolson would not be sufficient to support the program, so a "girl singer" was added. Milena Miller was said to have been the girlfriend of the producer. She lasted for only the first two shows, being fired at Jolson's request.

Jolson opened this show with "Toot, Toot, Tootsie," after some introductory remarks. Oscar Levant established a form of doing the second number in the show, in this case "Malagueña."

Al Jolson returned to the spotlight, with the beautiful song, "All My Love."

Melina Miller and Al Jolson
Al Jolson and Melina Miller
Melina Miller, the "girl singer" of the format, came up next, with the song, "Just Too Marvelous."

The guest stars, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy then joined the show. One always has to wonder about the popularity of a ventriloquist on the radio! Jolson did a version of "Sonny Boy" with Charlie McCarthy that, well, that defies description.

The close of the show was the number first featuring the Jolson voice in The Jolson Story, "Sweet Sixteen."

Travel back more than a half century, and enjoy this first edition of the Kraft Music Hall starring Al Jolson!


Listen to this radio program and watch a Video Podcast with an excerpt of the show illustrated with photos of the stars.

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     This is an excerpt of the 02 Oct 1947 Kraft Music Hall, starring Al Jolson with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. This was the premier broadcast of the program, with this excerpt featuring a then unique version of "Sonny Boy" done between Jolson and Charlie McCarthy, Bergen's ventriloquist dummy. This version was reprised later in the KMH run by the Andrews Sisters, and again by Jerry Lewis with his father and son, but this was the original. It is illustrated with pictures of the stars together on the radio.


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This listing and material Copyright © 1995-2017 Marc I. Leavey, M.D. Baltimore, Maryland
Updated 05 Oct 08
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