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Don McNeill and His Breakfast Club

Doolittle, John

4 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0268008981 / ISBN 13: 9780268008987
Published by University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IL, 2001
Hardcover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Contains a CD with selections from Breakfast Club broadcasts. xvi, 245 p. Illustrations. Chronology. Notes. Index. Before morning talk radio, before Garrison Keillor and Lake Wobegon, before Oprah, Jay, Rosie, and Dave, there was Don McNeill and his Breakfast Club. From his first broadcast in June 1933 until his sign-off in December 1967, Don McNeill presided as emcee over his creation, along the way cultivating as widespread an audience and as long-lived a show as any that flourished in the decades when radio was the dominant source of news and entertainment in American life. McNeill's genius was to insist on an unscripted show produced before a studio audience. In that format, his spontaneous wit and genial manner, coupled with his good-natured banter with the Breakfast Club cast and audience, meshed beautifully into an uplifting show of emotional immediacy. Listeners tuned in at 8 a.m. to hear the first of four calls to breakfast; they knew to expect the March Around the Breakfast Table and such other regular features as the Moment of Silent Prayer and Memory Time. Through a mix of comedy, music, interviews, and upbeat moral encouragement-all centered around the everyday fixture of the breakfast table-McNeill both entertained his listeners and welcomed them as participants in a morning ritual that became part of their daily routine. Their response was overwhelming, rewarding the show with support for over thirty-five years. With Chicago as his base, McNeill aimed first to capture a listening audience of stay-at-home, middle-income women in the Midwest. He soon extended that base to a national audience by hosting such celebrities as Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Jimmy Stewart, Jane Russell, Joe Lewis, Lucille Ball, Danny Kaye, and Groucho Marx. The Breakfast Club then hit the road to great success, even spawning, in 1948, the "Don McNeill for President" campaign complete with whistle-stops across the country. McNeill's sincerity, warmth, and humor entertained his audience and gave it a welcome balance to the deprivations and horrors of the Depression, WWII, and the Korean War. Often corny and always rooted in down-to-earth friendliness, McNeill never shied away from conveying his values: civility to all, respect for family and marriage, compassion for others, and spirituality as a source of inner strength. Complete with a CD of selections from Breakfast Club broadcasts, this set will charm old-time radio devotees, students of media and Chicago history, as well as former Breakfast Clubbers. Very good in very good dust jacket. Signed by author. Bookseller Inventory # 63846

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Don McNeill and His Breakfast Club

Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, IL

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: Presumed first edition/first printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

Before morning talk radio, before Garrison Keillor and Lake Wobegon, before Oprah, Jay, Rosie, and Dave, there was Don McNeill and his Breakfast Club. From his first broadcast in June 1933 until his sign-off in December 1967, Don McNeill presided as emcee over his creation, along the way cultivating as widespread an audience and as long-lived a show as any that flourished in the decades when radio was the dominant source of news and entertainment in American life. McNeill's genius was to insist on an unscripted show produced before a studio audience. In that format, his spontaneous wit and genial manner, coupled with his good-natured banter with the Breakfast Club cast and audience, meshed beautifully into an uplifting show of emotional immediacy. Listeners tuned in at 8 a.m. to hear the first of four calls to breakfast; they knew to expect the March Around the Breakfast Table and such other regular features as the Moment of Silent Prayer and Memory Time. Through a mix of comedy, music, interviews, and upbeat moral encouragement - all centered around the everyday fixture of the breakfast table - McNeill both entertained his listeners and welcomed them as participants in a morning ritual that became part of their daily routine. Their response was overwhelming, rewarding the show with support for over thirty-five years. With Chicago as his base, McNeill aimed first to capture a listening audience of stay-at-home, middle-income women in the Midwest. He soon extended that base to a national audience by hosting such celebrities as Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Jimmy Stewart, Jane Russell, Joe Lewis, Lucille Ball, Danny Kaye, and Groucho Marx. The Breakfast Club then hit the road to great success, even spawning, in 1948, the "Don McNeill for President" campaign complete with whistle-stops across the country. McNeill's sincerity, warmth, and humor entertained his audience and gave it a welcome balance to the deprivations and horrors of the Depression, WWII, and the Korean War. Often corny and always rooted in down-to-earth friendliness, McNeill never shied away from conveying his values: civility to all, respect for family and marriage, compassion for others, and spirituality as a source of inner strength. Complete with a CD of selections from Breakfast Club broadcasts, this set will charm old-time radio devotees, students of media and Chicago history, as well as former Breakfast Clubbers.

About the Author:

JOHN DOOLITTLE teaches broadcast journalism in the School of Communication at American University where he is Director of the Journalism Division. He has been a producer, reporter, and news anchor, and continues to work in the field.

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