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The Dream Hour 20th Anniversary Program

The Dream Hour

20th Anniversary Program

Jun 9 1951



Band Auditorium, Marine Barracks,

For broadcast on June 9, 1951


1st ANNCR:

Travel back with us in time today -- twenty years in time -- to the Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., June 12th, 1931.


2nd ANNCR (at conclusion of drum roll):



2nd ANNCR (after vocal):

With the stirring strains of the "Marines' Hymn" the United States Marine Band and the National Broadcasting Company today, June 12th, 1931, inaugurate a new series of broadcasts -- the DREAM HOUR -- a program of musical memories for the Shut-Ins, originating in the band auditorium of the historic Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C. Captain Taylor Branson, Leader, is conducting today's concert.

1st ANNCR (at conclusion of "Marines' Hymn"): 

The announcement that you have just heard, with the music of the "Marines' Hymn" in the background, was what listeners to the first Dream-Hour program heard on that June afternoon twenty years ago this week when the measures of the Marine Corps' official song heralded the beginning of a series of broadcasts that was destined to become -- and is, today -- the oldest sustaining radio program on the air.

In retrospect, then, we look back now over the musical and historical highlights of the eventful and colorful twenty years that have made the Dream-Hour program an NBC tradition.

As our parade of memories begins we hear the opening selection presented on that first broadcast, the "Poet and Peasant" overture -- the composition with which Captain Taylor Branson, originator of the Dream-Hour, struck the key-note of the twenty years that were to follow: twenty years of musical memories; of old favorites and new; music of the masters and of the moderns that the American radio audience had learned to love and most wanted to hear.

The POET AND PEASANT overture, by Franz von Suppe.

(music) "POET & PEASANT" Overture   von Suppe


That was the "Poet and Peasant" overture, the first composition that listeners to the Dream-Hour program heard on that long-ago broadcast, twenty years ago this week. But music on the Dream-Hour didn't sound exactly like that in 1931. Music filtered through carbon "mikes" and detached cone loud speakers sometimes didn't sound too much like music in those pioneer days of radio.

But as the years passed, sound and radio engineering techniques improved. And the size of the Dream Hour audience grew; and letters in ever-increasing deluge poured into the Marine Band office. Letters requesting such favorites as the "Bells of St. Mary's", the "William Tell" overture, Sousa's "Stars and Stripes". And novelty numbers like "The Two Worried Drummers", "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down", and "The Rampage of the Old Gray Mare". But the favorite, and most often requested novelty number of all with the Dream Hour audience, was that carefree, lilting song that was so popular around 1935 and 36. Do you remember?



As we stroll down the twenty-year lane of memory that has been the Dream-Hour series from 1931 until today, we pass some of the most famous announcers in the history of radio. Men whose association with the Marine Band has been among the most pleasant of Dream-Hour memories. How many of our listeners recall the early days of the Dream-Hour when the familiar voice of Arthur Godfrey informally introduced each selection? And the broadcasts in the mid-30's when Bob Trout's tersely clipped syllables added interest, drama and color to the program? And do you remember this famous radio personality? 



Thank you, Mr. Brokenshire. And now we hear from another old friend of the Marine Band, a man who today is one of the top announcers on the NBC staff. 



Thank you Kenneth Banghart. I am sure your voice, and that of Mr. Brokenshire will bring back many pleasant memories to our Dream-Hour listeners.

Pleasant memories? Yes... most of our Dream Hour memories during those twenty years have been pleasant ones -- but a few are tinged with sorrow. Do you remember the 580th Dream Hour Program?

It was to have been a particularly light concert that week, a program of music reflecting the exuberance and light-heartedness of an America that was seeing the rising sun of victory on the horizon after four dark, blood-drenched years. Yes, it was to have been a light, cheerful concert that Friday, April 13th, 1945 -- but it was not. The news of the unexpected death of a great leader had flashed to the ears of a shocked, unbelieving America the day before and it was a saddened, heavy-hearted Marine Band that paid its last respects to Franklin Delano Roosevelt; for their association with him during his twelve years in office had been closer, perhaps, than it had been with any President before him. No, the 580th Dream-Hour program was not a light program of musical memories -- it was, instead, a tribute to a departed Commander-in-Chief whom the Marine Band had loved and respected.

Listeners to the 580th Dream Hour that day, as the President's body was being prepared for its final journey to Hyde Park, heard the "Goin' Home" theme from the New World Symphony; they heard "Anchors Aweigh", the official march of the great navy of which President Roosevelt was so justifiably proud. And they heard, too, his favorite of all, played for us now by the same Marine who played it in final tribute to his Commander-in-Chief on that program 243 Dream Hours ago. Master-Sergeant Robert De Hart.

(music) "HOME ON THE RANGE"  Guion 


Throughout the twenty-year course of the 823 Dream Hour programs that the National Broadcasting Company has presented, the Marine Band office has received thousands of letters requesting our listeners' favorites. But year after year one man's name has invariably headed the list of composers, and one of his marches the list of compositions requested.

Here now are the stirring measures of the selection that has been requested more than any other during the Dream-Hour's twenty years: The greatest march of America's greatest composer of marches -- and former leader of the United States Marine Band. "The Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa. 

(music) "STARS & STRIPES FOREVER"  Sousa 


As our 20th anniversary Dream-Hour program draws to a close we take a moment to read a message from Mr. Joseph McConnell, President of [the] National Broadcasting Company, the network that for twenty years has had the pleasure of bringing the music of the world-famous United States Marine Band to the people of America:

"Major Santelmann. It is with the greatest of personal pleasure that I express my sincere congratulations to you and the members of the Marine Band on your 20th anniversary with the National Broadcasting Company. I speak for all of NBC when I say that we have enjoyed the association as have our many listeners. I look forward to a continuing and successful association in the years ahead."

And now, as Mr. McConnell looks ahead, let us, reflectively, take one final look back at the 823 Dream-Hour Programs before they fade into the pages of radio history. And as this chapter ends and the book slowly closes, we see that throughout the Dream-Hour program since its inception have run several themes: This has been a program of musical memories; a program designed to present the music America loves; and to bring that music into the home for the shut-ins.

(hymn begins at this point)

ANNCR (to hymn background):

But of all the themes that have run through the format of the series, the predominant and the most constant theme has been that of the sincere devotion of a Marine for his God, as expressed in the beautiful hymn with which the Marine Band has concluded each of the 823 Dream Hour programs:.............

Oh God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come,

Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.

A thousand ages in Thy sight, Are like an evening gone;

Short as the watch that ends the night, Before the rising sun.

Oh God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come,

Be Thou our guard while life shall last, And our eternal home.


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DRUM ROLL (before "Semper Fidelis")

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ANNCR (to march background):

And so we bring to a close our 20th Anniversary program of Musical Memories for the Shut-ins -- the 823rd -- presented by the United States Marine Band and brought to you through NBC from the band auditorium of the Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C.

Address all requests to the United States Marine Band, Marine Barracks, Washington 25, D.C. and plan to be with us at this same time next week when NBC and the United States Marine Band begin their second twenty years on the air together with their presentation of the 824th Dream Hour program.

The Dream Hour program is written by Master Sergeant Irving Filler and produced by Technical Sergeant Eugene Kuhns.

Your announcers have been Mac McGarry and Kennedy Ludlam.