Ben Grauer

Show Count: 53
Series Count: 2
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Old Time Radio
Born: June 2, 1908, Staten Island, New York, USA
Died: May 31, 1977 , New York City, New York, USA

Benjamin Franklin Grauer (June 2, 1908 – May 31, 1977) was an US radio and TV personality, following a career during the 1920s as a child actor in films and on Broadway. He began his career as a child in David Warfield's production of The Return of Peter Grimm. Among his early credits were roles in films directed by D.W. Griffith.

Grauer was born in Staten Island, New York. After graduating from Townsend Harris High School, he received his B.A. from the City College of New York in 1930. Grauer started in radio as an actor but soon became part of the broadcasting staff at the National Broadcasting Company. He was one of the four narrators, along with Burgess Meredith, of NBC's public affairs series The Big Story, which focused on courageous journalists.

In 1954, he married interior designer Melanie Kahane.


Grauer's greatest fame lies in his legendary 40-year career in radio. In 1930, the 22-year-old Benjamin Franklin Grauer joined the staff at NBC. He quickly rose through the ranks to become a senior commentator and reporter. He was the designated announcer for the popular 1940s Walter Winchell's Jergens Journal. Perhaps, most importantly, he was selected by Arturo Toscanini to become the voice of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Grauer took over as announcer in 1940 and remained until the orchestra was disbanded in June 1954. Toscanini said he was his favorite announcer.

Grauer did both the Toscanini radio and TV broadcasts. Several years after the death of Toscanini, Grauer and composer Don Gillis (who produced the NBC programs from 1947 to 1954), created the Peabody Award-winning radio series Toscanini, the Man Behind the Legend. It began in 1963 and continued through the centennial of Toscanini's birth in 1967. This series ran for nearly two decades on NBC Radio and then other radio stations until the early 1980s.

Starting in 1932, Grauer covered the Olympic Games, presidential inaugurations and international events. During his radio career, Grauer covered nearly every major historic event, including the Morro Castle fire, the Paris Peace Conference and the US occupation of Japan. Millions remember his NBC coverage of the New Year's celebrations on both radio and TV. Between 1951 and 1969, Grauer covered these events 11 times live from New York's Times Square. He continued covering New Year's Eve for Guy Lombardo's New Year's Eve specials on CBS in the 1970s, with his last appearance on December 31, 1976, the year before both he and Lombardo died. From the mid-1950s until the mid-1960s, Grauer's reports were part of the NBC television network's The Tonight Show, where he worked with Johnny Carson and prior to that, Jack Paar, and Steve Allen. Grauer was also one ofNBC Radio's Monitor "Communicators" from 1955 to 1960.

Grauer also was one of five hosts/narrators of "The First Fabulous Fifty", a five-part NBC Radio Network documentary series on the history of the network, featuring soundbites from past NBC programs. The series was broadcast on the occasion of the network's 50th anniversary in the autumn of 1976. Grauer narrated the first installment, which covered the network's first decade on the air, 1926 through 1936.


Grauer as the host of WNBT-TV's (later WNBC-TV) tenth anniversary special.

Grauer provided the commentary for NBC's first television special, the opening in 1939 of the New York World's Fair. In 1948, Grauer, working with anchor John Cameron Swayze, provided the first extensive live network TV coverage of the national political conventions. In 1954, NBC began broadcasting some of their shows in living color, and in 1957, the animated Peacock logo made its debut. It was Grauer who first spoke the now famous words, "The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC," behind the Peacock graphic. During his 40-year broadcast career, he hosted numerous TV programs on NBC, including game shows, quiz shows, concerts and news programs.


It is for announcing the Toscanini radio concerts that Grauer is best known to modern classical music buffs. Several CD reissues have included those announcements to give the listener the feeling of hearing the NBC Symphony broadcasts exactly as they sounded when first aired. However, on the videocassettes and DVD's of Toscanini's television concerts, Grauer's voice has been replaced by that of Martin Bookspan. This was done because the music tracks now heard are not taken from the actual 1948-52 television audio, which was very inferior, but from live, hi-fi magnetic tape sound recordings made of these same concerts at the studio. They are exactly synchronized to the visual images so that it now appears that these programs were made with high-fidelity sound. In order to maintain a complete illusion of superior sound, the announcements had to be redone; the difference in audio quality between Grauer's announcements and the music tracks as they are now heard would have been blatantly obvious.

An archival recording of Grauer's voice calling, "Here it is," begins Harry Shearer's Le Show.

Final years and death 

In the decade before his death, Grauer collected material for a projected history of prices and pricing, with special attention to book prices. He was active in several professional journalistic organizations as well as the Grolier Club. Grauer had a strong interest in the graphic arts; he even printed his own Christmas cards.

The headstone of Ben Grauer inWestchester Hills Cemetery
The grave marker of Ben Grauer

Ben Grauer died of a heart attack in New York City in 1977 at the age of 68. He is interred in Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

Source: Wikipedia

Henry Morgan Show TheHenry Morgan Show The
Show Count: 24
Broadcast History: 28 October 1940 to 25 January 1943, 8 October 1945 to 16 July 1946, 3 September 1946 to 24 June 1948, 13 March 1949 to 16 June 1950, and 6 February 1950 to 23 June 1950
Cast: Henry Morgan, Arnold Stang, Art Carney, Florence Halop, Madeline Lee, Kenny Delmar
Director: Kenneth MacGregor, Charles Powers
Host: Henry Morgan
Henry Morgan's radio career began as a page at New York station WMCA in 1932, after which he held a number of obscure radio jobs, including announcing. He strenuously objected to the professional name "Morgan". What was wrong with his own name, Henry van Ost, Jr.? he asked. Too exotic, too unpronounceable, he was told. "What about the successful announcers Harry von Zell or Westbrook Van Voorhis?" he countered. But it was no use, and the bosses finally told Henry he could take the job or leave it. Thus began a long history of Henry's having arguments with executives.
Information, PleaseInformation, Please
Show Count: 226
Broadcast History: 17 May 1938 to 25 June 1948
Cast: Clifton Fadiman, Oscar Levant, Bernard Jaffe, Dr Harry Overstreet, Marcus Duffield, John Kieran, Franklin P Adams
Director: Dan Golenpaul
Producer: Dan Golenpaul
Broadcast: May 16, 1937
Added: May 16 2019
Broadcast: April 11, 1948
Added: May 18 2024
Broadcast: July 5, 1936
Added: Jun 19 2018
Broadcast: April 25, 1948
Added: May 21 2024
Broadcast: January 26, 1944
Added: Feb 27 2023
Broadcast: May 2, 1937
Added: May 05 2019
Broadcast: February 28, 1955
Starring: Ben Grauer
Added: Feb 26 2017
Broadcast: June 21, 1947
Added: Oct 17 2020
Broadcast: April 4, 1948
Added: Apr 05 2016
Broadcast: November 15, 1936
Added: Nov 27 2018
Broadcast: June 21, 1936
Added: Nov 28 2017
Broadcast: May 14, 1939
Added: May 08 2018