You could almost say that Eddie Cantor, certainly throughout the thirties, was Mr. Radio. From the time in February 1931 that he appeared on The Rudy Vallee Show he was destined to become the biggest thing that radio had ever encountered. Stemming from that appearance he was taken up by Chase and Sandborne, the coffee people, for a trial period. He came on the air courtesy of his sponsors and NBC on September 13th (lucky for some) 1931, for a four week period that lasted until November 25th 1934.
Cantor was nobody’s fool, he very quickly realised that here was an opportunity of a lifetime and he set about establishing a show which broke all audience figures for any radio show in any state in America. When his four week trial was up he was signed up for a further year and his audience rating figures went through the roof. All the top rated shows were left far behind and Cantor became the one to beat.
One thing he learned from appearing on the Rudy Vallee show was that audiences loved to listen to good, new talent and he made it part of his show. Time was set aside for the introduction of people who had just one foot on the ladder of success.
Later years would see some big name stars getting a chance on Eddie Cantor radio shows. Gracie Allen for instance made her first radio appearance on one of Eddie Cantor’s Shows, as did Deanna Durbin (the skylark of the movies in the forties) when she was only thirteen. Dinah Shore was another who found stardom, thanks to a helping hand from Cantor and Thelma Carpenter who replaced Dinah when she moved on, became one of the first Afro-American lady singers on a radio variety show.
These were but a few that found fame after appearing on the show but there were others who may not have made it in the stardom league but who certainly found fame on the radio. People like Harry Einstein who was a Boston Advertising Executive but who also enjoyed a little air time with a Greek character he’d created called Nick Parkyakakas. Cantor heard him, thought he was funny, and offered him a spot on his show. He was a great success and became a firm favorite with audiences, as did another of Cantors discoveries, a guy by the name of Bert Gordon who became a nations favorite as Barney Gorodetsky, the Mad Russian.