The Radio Talk Show in 1934

Atwater Kent radio, Model 44

1928 Atwater Kent Model 44 radio

You think that cooking shows are new?  Not a chance!  I have found transcripts of my grandmother’s Kerrville, Texas radio show from 1934.  She included a recipe in every one.

Above you may see my father’s radio from “the olden days” when he ran a radio sales and repair shop.  Atwater Kent was a New England inventor and manufacturer who started out in car ignition systems, and by the early 1920’s, had moved into fine radio design and production in Philadelphia.  You may read more about him on this Atwater Kent website.

My father, James Harvey Mitchell, Jr., was born in 1912 and by the time the Great Depression arrived, he was a young man in love with technology.  Before the world in which permits were required from the FCC, he built a radio station, The Heart-of-the-Hills, in Kerrville, Texas, and broadcast from it until he closed it down after the Depression when permits became a requirement.  Apparently his radio station made a good living for him, since businesses desperate to stay in business faithfully advertised on his station.

Jimmy’s mother, Beulah Arney Cavitt Mitchell, was on the air several times a week, broadcasting a ‘local color’, music, and cooking show.  Below is my father’s vintage-1920’s microphone, quite likely the one he used at his radio station.

1920's vintage microphone

1920’s- vintage microphone made by I-D Transmitters Mtg.

Here is a transcript of Grandmother’s show, Aunt Betty’s Grab-bag, one day in 1934:

Well, you folks who were born during the period beginning with Feb. 20 and ending Mar. 21, here’s your horoscope as I promised.  If you’re like I am when I’m going to have my fortune told, you’re all agog to hear it, so gather round.

Usually, people during this time are kind, hospitable, friendly, sympathetic, and adaptable.  They are the best of companions and will often sacrifice material advancement in order to be with people they like.  Girls and women of this period make excellent nurses, servants, and home-makers.  a restlessness inherent in them , however, often causes them to marry at least twice.

Both men and women born under this sign have sensitive make-ups that lead them to become artists; musicians, dancers, and the like.  They do not stand hardships well and under stress or strain may give up the fight and disappear entirely.  It is this same trait that leads them to seek easy money, and many of them are gamblers.  A good many distinguished people- among them numerous millionaires- were born during this time.  In appearance they are often short and stocky and inclined to be brunettes.  The stones for this period are the chrysolite and the moonstone, and if you Feb. or Mar. born people want to be lucky, wear one of them in some form or other.  You’ll be lucky too if you have your pencils and Heart-of-the-Hills note-books ready and take down this recipe today, for it really is a treasure to have.  It is a delicious way to include dried fruits in your menu, is easy to prepare and still easier to eat!

It’s called “Heavenly Hash”, and here’s the way to prepare it:

Chop together:

1 lb. dried figs

1 lb. dates

1/2 lb. nuts

Separate 6 medium oranges from the coarsest part of the membrane that surrounds them and add to the fruit and nuts.  Allow to stand in ice box until thoroughly chilled and serve in [sherbert] glasses topped with whipped cream.  It’s especially good served with after dinner coffee and needs no other accompaniment, for its (sic) very rich.

Here’s another piece of luck for you today, too.  Mr. Andrew McCurdy, who entertained us so delightfully over the air yesterday is still in town and he’s consented to sing an old favorite, “Nancy Lee”.  It’ll take you back to your school days.  “Nancy Lee” by Mr. McCurdy


Thank you, Mr. McCurdy, we hope we’ll be lucky enough to have you on our program again soon.

Mrs. Schafner has on her shelves at the Smart Dress Shop many things which will have to be moved to make room for the spring merchandise which is arriving daily- Come in on Friday and Saturday and talk to Mrs. Schafner about your needs.  She’ll make the price rite [sic] with you.  See the smart new spring togs she has on display while you are there too.

Now I wonder: if Grandmother were here today, would she have a blog?