Eddie Cantor was an American illustrated song "model," comedian, dancer, singer, actor and songwriter. Familiar to Broadway, radio and early television audiences, this "Apostle of Pep" was regarded almost as a family member by millions because his top-rated radio shows revealed intimate stories and amusing anecdotes about his wife Ida and five daughters.
His eye-rolling song-and-dance routines eventually led to his nickname, Banjo Eyes, and in 1933, the artist Frederick J. Garner caricatured Cantor with large round and white eyes resembling the drum-like pot of a banjo. Cantor's eyes became his trademark, often exaggerated in illustrations, and leading to his appearance on Broadway in the musical Banjo Eyes (1941).
Cantor appeared on radio as early as February 3, 1922, as indicated by this news item from Connecticut's Bridgeport Telegram:
Local radio operators listened to one of the finest programs yet produced over the radiophone last night. The program of entertainment which included some of the stars of Broadway musical comedy and vaudeville was broadcast from the Newark, N. J. station WDY and the Pittsburgh station KDKA, both of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing company. The Newark entertainment started at 7 o'clock: a children's half-hour of music and fairy stories; Hawaiian airs and violin solo; 8:00, news of the day; and at 8:20 a radio party with nationally known comedians participating; 9:55, Arlington time signals and 10:01, a government weather report. G. E. Nothnagle, who conducts a radiophone station at his home 176 Waldemere Avenue said last night that he was delighted with the program, especially with the numbers sung by Eddie Cantor. The weather conditions are excellent for receiving, he continued, the tone and the quality of the messages was fine.
Cantor's appearance with Rudy Vallee on Vallee's The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour February 5, 1931 led to a four-week tryout with NBC's The Chase and Sanborn Hour. Replacing Maurice Chevalier, who was returning to Paris, Cantor joined The Chase and Sanborn Hour on September 13, 1931. This hour-long Sunday evening variety series teamed Cantor with announcer Jimmy Wallington and violinist Dave Rubinoff. The show established Cantor as a leading comedian, and his scriptwriter, David Freedman, as “the Captain of Comedy.” Cantor soon became the world's highest-paid radio star. His shows began with a crowd chanting, "We want Can-tor, We want Can-tor," a phrase said to have originated when a vaudeville audience chanted to chase off an opening act on the bill before Cantor. Cantor's theme song was his own lyric to the Leo Robin/Richard Whiting song, "One Hour with You."
Indicative of his effect on the mass audience, he agreed in November 1934 to introduce a new song by the songwriters J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie that other well-known artists had rejected as being "silly" and "childish." The song, "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", immediately had orders for 100,000 copies of sheet music the next day. It sold 400,000 copies by Christmas of that year.
His NBC radio show, Time to Smile, was broadcast from 1940 to 1946, followed by his Pabst Blue Ribbon Show from 1946 through 1949. He also served as emcee of The $64 Question during 1949-'50, and hosted a weekly disc jockey program for Philip Morris during the 1952-'53 season. In addition to film and radio, Cantor recorded for Hit of the Week Records, then again for Columbia, for Banner and Decca and various small labels.
His heavy political involvement began early in his career, including his participation in the strike to form Actors Equity in 1919, provoking the anger of father figure and producer, Florenz Ziegfeld. He was the second president of the Screen Actors Guild.
In 1939, at the World's Fair, Cantor publicly denounced Father Charles Coughlin and was dropped by his sponsor, Camel cigarettes. A year and a half later it was his friend Jack Benny who was able to get him back on the air.
|Episode Title [Total of: 129]||Category||Rating|
|1 -||Eddie Cantor - How Eddie and Al Jolson Got Started|
Episode date: 1947-3-6
|2 -||Eddie Cantor -|
Episode date: 1935-4-14
|3 -||Eddie Cantor - 20 Years In Radio Ep.28|
Episode date: 1945-4-11
|4 -||Eddie Cantor - Adoption Ep.25|
Episode date: 1945-3-21
|5 -||Eddie Cantor - Alan Ladd|
Episode date: 1944-11-22
|6 -||Eddie Cantor - Amature Hour|
Episode date: 1936-10-11
|7 -||Eddie Cantor - Andrews Sisters|
Episode date: 1945-1-10
|8 -||Eddie Cantor - April Fools|
Episode date: 1934-4-1
|9 -||Eddie Cantor - Army Intelligence Ep.22|
Episode date: 1945-2-28
|10 -||Eddie Cantor - Audie Murphy|
Episode date: 1947-11-13