George Ansbro

Last updated
George Ansbro
BornJanuary 14, 1915
Brooklyn, New York
DiedNovember 5, 2011(2011-11-05) (aged 96)
OccupationRadio announcer
The cast of Young Widder Brown with Florence Freeman, who had the title role, seated in the middle and announcer George Ansbro at top left. Youngwidderbrown.jpg
The cast of Young Widder Brown with Florence Freeman, who had the title role, seated in the middle and announcer George Ansbro at top left.

George Ansbro (January 14, 1915 November 5, 2011) was a radio announcer for NBC and ABC for six decades, working with soap operas, big bands, quiz shows and other programs.

NBC American television and radio network

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial television network that is a flagship property of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The network is headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, with additional major offices near Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. The network is one of the Big Three television networks. NBC is sometimes referred to as the "Peacock Network", in reference to its stylized peacock logo, introduced in 1956 to promote the company's innovations in early color broadcasting. It became the network's official emblem in 1979.

Big band remote

A big band remote was a remote broadcast, popular on radio during the 1930s and 1940s, involving a coast-to-coast live transmission of a big band.

Contents

Early years

Ansbro was born January 14, 1915, in Brooklyn, New York. [1] His first experience of the radio “showbiz” came on a family trip to Springfield, Massachusetts. His family went to the B.F. Keith Theater and saw Singer’s Midgets. The group sang “A Kiss in the Dark”.

Ansbro’s mom signed him up for singing lessons with a man named Thomas Hannom. The lessons didn’t last long, but the one thing that Hannom left him was a connection with someone at the station WNYC. The station decided one day to open their microphones to newcomers to show off their singing ability. Hannom took George the station where he introduced him to Tommy Cowan. [2]

He began at NBC in 1928 as a boy soprano on Milton Cross' Sunday show, Children's Hour (also known as Coast to Coast on a Bus [3] ). Three years later, he was hired as an NBC page in 1931, but he was soon employed as an announcer at NBC. On Friday, May 18, 1934, radio columns in New York newspapers noted that Bert Parks of CBS would be “relinquishing his status as New York’s youngest network staff announcer to the newly appointed George Ansbro on the NBC announcing staff.” [2]

Bert Parks American actor and singer

Bert Parks was an American actor, singer, and radio and television announcer, best known for hosting the annual Miss America telecast from 1955 to 1979.

CBS American broadcast television network

CBS is an American English language commercial broadcast television and radio network that is a flagship property of CBS Corporation. The company is headquartered at the CBS Building in New York City with major production facilities and operations in New York City and Los Angeles.

Parade of programs

Ansbro’s radio career included announcing for The Avenger, [4] FBI Washington, [5] Chaplain Jim, Ethel and Albert , When a Girl Marries , [6] Treasury Salute, Wake Up, America, Young Widder Brown , and the popular Dr. I.Q. quiz show. He also announced for Across the Board and other television shows. During these years, he lived in Manhattan at 50 East 10th Street and thus could be at an NBC microphone in a matter of minutes.

<i>Ethel and Albert</i>

Ethel and Albert was a radio and television comedy series about a married couple, Ethel and Albert Arbuckle, living in the small town of Sandy Harbor. Created by Peg Lynch (1916-2015), who scripted and portrayed Ethel, the series first aired on local Minnesota radio in the early 1940s before a run on the NBC Blue Network and ABC from May 29, 1944 to August 28, 1950. It co-starred Alan Bunce as Albert.

<i>When a Girl Marries</i>

When a Girl Marries was an American daytime radio drama which was broadcast on three major radio networks from 1939 to 1957. Created by Elaine Sterne Carrington, it was the highest rated soap opera during the mid-1940s.

<i>Young Widder Brown</i>

Young Widder Brown was a daytime radio drama series broadcast on NBC from 1938 to 1956. Sponsored by Sterling Drugs and Bayer Aspirin, it daily examined the life of "attractive Ellen Brown, with two fatherless children to support."

By 1948, with NBC Radio's Blue Network subsidiary having led to the formation of the ABC Television Network, Ansbro had moved into television announcing as well. He would ultimately become one of ABC's longest-lasting and principal live voice-overs, in most of the network's weekday and weekend dayparts, along with the rotating staff of announcers.

In the early 1950s, Ansbro had a Monday-Friday 4:30-5 p.m. (Eastern Time) disc jockey program in New York. A Billboard review noted an unusual aspect of the program: "Manhattan Maharajah features a tongue-in-cheek East Indian poet spinning pop platter favorites of the new West." [7] The reviewer cited "the maharajah's (George Ansbro) deliberate, sonorous-voiced reading of mystic couplets, complete with college humor-type punch lines." [7]

<i>Billboard</i> (magazine) American music magazine

Billboard is an American entertainment media brand owned by the Billboard-Hollywood Reporter Media Group, a division of Eldridge Industries. It publishes pieces involving news, video, opinion, reviews, events, and style, and is also known for its music charts, including the Hot 100 and Billboard 200, tracking the most popular songs and albums in different genres. It also hosts events, owns a publishing firm, and operates several TV shows.

Come the 1980s, the majority of Ansbro's announcing was during the ABC daytime lineup, handling sponsor plugs for their daytime soap operas especially, mid-break bumpers (specifically for One Life to Live ) and the show preview announcements that were run during end credits. However, in prime time, Ansbro would still be heard occasionally.

During the 1970s, he appeared on two shows looking back at vintage radio, beginning with ABC's Return To Studio 1A (1970). Radio's Golden Age which aired July 16, 1976, on WMUK-FM (Kalamazoo, Michigan), featured an interview with Ansbro about early radio soap operas. It was written and produced by Eli Segal for Western Michigan University.

In a letter dated October 1, 1986 (the 55th anniversary of his hiring by NBC), Ansbro was acknowledged by ABC's then-parent owner Capital Cities for not only being the oldest employee of ABC and its derivatives, but for being the longest-tenured employee of any network in the history of American broadcasting. Ansbro continues to hold the record to this day, having served fifty-eight years, three months and twelve days with ABC upon his retirement on January 14, 1990, his 75th birthday. [2] His retirement heralded turnover in ABC's on-air voiceover staff in 1990; that summer, two more tenured staff announcers, Ed Jordan and Wally Parker, also retired. In August, the daytime shifts once covered by Ansbro, Jordan and Parker were officially taken over by Ken Lamb, who in 2008 became ABC's chief booth announcer. (Bill Rice, who had become ABC's senior announcer in 1990, retired in 2008.)

Memoirs

Ansbro wrote a book about his radio experiences, I Have a Lady in the Balcony: Memoirs of a Broadcaster in Radio and Television (McFarland, 2000). The title is taken from the once familiar catch phrase heard weekly on Dr. I.Q. Leonard Maltin did the foreword for the book. [2]

Death

Ansbro was a resident of Spring Lake, New Jersey. [2] He died on November 5, 2011 in Bloomfield, Connecticut, aged 96.

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References

  1. DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN   978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 13.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Ansbro, George. I Have a Lady in the Balcony: Memoirs of a Broadcaster in Radio and Television, (McFarland, 2000)". Archived from the original on 2009-08-09. Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  3. Cox, Jim (2007). Radio Speakers: Narrators, News Junkies, Sports Jockeys, Tattletales, Tipsters, Toastmasters and Coffee Klatch Couples Who Verbalized the Jargon of the Aural Ether from the 1920s to the 1980s--A Biographical Dictionary. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN   978-0-7864-6086-1. Pp. 13-14.
  4. Cox, Jim (2002). Radio Crime Fighters: More Than 300 Programs from the Golden Age. McFarland. p. 45. ISBN   9781476612270 . Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  5. "'FBI, This Week' at 1,000". The Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  6. Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition, Volume 1. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN   978-0-7864-5149-4. P. 34.
  7. 1 2 Bundy, June (May 26, 1951). "Television-Radio Reviews: Manhattan Maharajah" (PDF). Billboard. p. 8. Retrieved 5 November 2015.[ permanent dead link ]