The Good News series was a musical variety radio program that spanned from November 4, 1937 to 1940.
Good News of 1938 was billed as the most magnificent radio show to ever hit the airways and began with famous movie stars such as James Stewart and Robert Taylor as hosts. Many other Metro Goldwyn Mayer movie stars such as Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable were guests on the show that MGM also produced.
Critics weren’t excited about Good News of 1938 and although MGM put together a stellar list of movie stars, critics said that it fell short of the promised hype. MGM had promised to “dazzle ‘em with glitter,” and planned to make every star at MGM available to be featured on the program. In addition, a new MGM movie preview would be shown, further capturing the attention of the listening public and promoting the stars.
Maxwell House, who sponsored Good News, had recently dropped Show Boat after five seasons of success, and Good News was to follow. Many critics said that MGM had too much control over the series, which made it appear to be a giant advertisement of MGM’s movies. For example, one feature of the show was “Backstage at the Movies,” where listeners could hear what was being discussed during executive conferences at MGM and enjoy audio tours of the stars’ dressing rooms.
It cost Maxwell House $25,000 per week to sponsor Good News, and the series only pulled halfhearted responses from critics and listeners. But, as Newsweek indicated, “it was the first partnership between a movie studio and a major commercial sponsor,” and that alone was a benchmark to take notice of.
Eight weeks into the series, comedienne and Ziegfeld Follies star, Fanny Brice, joined the show and successfully commenced her broadcasting career as Baby Snooks. The character of Baby Snooks was a precocious young child who found herself in all types of entertaining situations. The Baby Snooks Show spun off from Brice’s appearances on Good News and began on CBS September, 1944 and was at times called Baby Snooks and Daddy.
Announcers on Good News included Ted Pearson and Warren Hull and the director of the show was Ed Gardner.
Good News opened with the musical theme of Always and Always, played by Meredith Willson and his Orchestra.
Singer, Mary Martin joined the show in 1940, just as Good News was winding down. The music on the show was always a triumphant addition, featuring Meredith Willson performing both classical and popular music as well as original works by Peter de Rose, Dana Suesse and Morton Gould.