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Frank and Anne Hummert

Frank and Anne Hummert were known as the King and Queen of soaps during the golden age of radio. Frank and Anne were married in 1935 after Anne began working for Frank as his assistant. He was an advertising executive in Chicago at the time. Together they created daytime serial radio shows – what we now know as soap operas.

Their first show was Just Plain Bill.  It was a smashing success and led to the creation of shows such as Ma Perkins and Backstage Wife. After the rise of these shows, the couple moved to New York City and formed the company Air Features. From this production company, many shows were launched.

Some of their most well known shows were Mr. Keen, Little Orphan Annie, Mr. Chameleon, Our Gal Sunday, and Honeymoon Hill.  The creative process was unorthodox. Each week, Anne would give a synopsis for each show to a staff of writers who would then take her storylines and give them the detail and dialogue they needed.

While they’re best known for their work in soap operas, of which they produced 61, they also produced many shows for children, musical programs, dramas, news shows, and quiz shows. The couple formed a powerhouse in the Golden Age of radio.

Behind the scenes, the Hummerts were known for being somewhat difficult to work with. They would often give employees contradictory information and were known for firing people on the spot. They were also slow to give credit to the people who worked as writers and directors for their programs. At the same time, they were very loyal to those employees they esteemed. 

The Hummerts were a force to be reckoned with. At one time, over four hours of radio airtime every day was produced by their company. Many radio historians agree that without the Hummerts, radio would not have been what it was. And their work in radio translated into the popular television soap operas that can be seen today. 

Frank Hummert passed away in 1966, while Anne lived another 30 years passing away in 1996. After Frank’s death, Anne was so devastated that she completely stopped working. 

However, the couple had made enough money that she was able to retire and live a very good life without having to work. She remained very active with traveling and her social life until her death at the age of 91. You can still listen to many of the shows that the Hummerts produced in recordings.

Happy listening my friends,

Ned Norris