DURANTE RADIO APPEARANCES AS REGULAR HOST
Jimmy Durante had his own radio show from the fall of 1943 through the first half of 1950. That fall he would move to the still infant medium of television. Before all this, however, he would appear in the 1935-36 radio season in a move intended to draw publicity to the Billy Rose show at the Hippodrome, JUMBO. For a very detailed discussion of the radio days see JIMMY DURANTE: HIS SHOW BUSINESS CAREER by David Bakish, Chapter 6 and Appendix C.
JIMMY DURANTE: JUMBO FIRE CHIEF
NBC, Tues. 9:30, 30 min. Premiered Oct. 29, 1935, running through March 3, 1936. Appearing with Durante were Donald Novis and Gloria Grafton from the cast of JUMBO. (The name "Fire Chief" was closely associated with the comedian Ed Wynn, whose program ED WYNN: TEXACO FIRE CHIEF had run the previous three years.)
CAMEL COMEDY CARAVAN
CBS, Fri. 10:00, 30 min., beginning Oct. 8, 1943, with Durante and Garry Moore co-hosts. During the 1943-44 and 1944-45 seasons the show depended upon its regular cast rather than guest stars. Songs were handled by Georgia Gibbs, the orchestra led by Roy Bargy, and the announcer Howard Petrie. Some of the shows were rebroadcast by the Armed Forces Radio Service. On the show of May 4, 1945, Marilyn Maxwell was a guest, and on June 29, 1945 Ray Bolger was a guest.
THE JIMMY DURANTE-GARRY MOORE SHOW
On April 6, 1945, Rexall became the sponsor, same network, time and length. There were no guest stars in the 1945-46 season, and only two in the 1946-47 season. Frank Sinatra appeared twice, on Nov. 8, 1946 and March 21, 1947. Surprise guest Phil Baker appeared on Nov. 15, 1946. The last show for Garry Moore as co-host was on June 27, 1947.
THE JIMMY DURANTE SHOW
Premiere Oct. 1, 1947. Still sponsored by Rexall but moved to NBC, Wed. 10:30, 30 min. To make up for the loss of Garry Moore there was a guest star each week of the 1947-48 season. They included Greer Garson. Eddie Cantor, Margaret O'Brien, Victor Moore (who later became a regular), Lucille Ball, Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, Carmen Miranda, Charles Boyer, Boris Karloff, and for their first time on radio, old Durante partners Lou Clayton and Eddie Jackson to recreate vaudeville routines (April 21, 1948). During this season when Durante missed four shows for minor surgery, his show was covered by a different host each week: Red Skelton, Bob Hope, Frank Morgan, and Al Jolson. The regular vocalist was Peggy Lee.
THE JIMMY DURANTE SHOW, WITH ALAN YOUNG
Premiere Oct. 8, 1948. NBC, Fri. 10:30, 30 min. Back under the sponsorship of Camel cigarettes. Guests included Ed "Archie" Gardner of the radio program DUFFY'S TAVERN, Judy Canova, Bing Crosby, Al Jolson, Bob Hope. Co-host Alan Young left after the April 1, 1949 show and from April 8, 1949 onward the show was renamed THE JIMMY DURANTE SHOW, WITH DON AMECHE. Additional guests after Ameche took over for Alan Young were Hal March and Marion Hutton. The last show of the season was aired on July 1, 1949.
THE JIMMY DURANTE SHOW, WITH DON AMECHE
NBC, Fri. 10:30, 30 min. Premiere Oct. 7, 1949. Final season for Durante on radio, ending June 30, 1950. No guest stars. Durante would now prepare to launch the television portion of his career in the fall of 1950.