After achieving success on Broadway and in vaudeville, The
Songbird of the South made her radio debut in 1931. Even on
Kate Smiths first show, her theme song of When the Moon
Comes Over the Mountain and her opening and closing lines
(Hello, everybody and Thanks for listening)
were already in place.
Kate Smith was born May 1, 1907, in Greenville, Virginia, and was
once described by Time as The First Lady of Radio.
During the 1930s, she became radios number one attraction,
due not only to her evening show, but also to her appearances on
Kate Smith Speaks, a popular weekday show where she offered
homespun advice on current topics.
In 1938, she introduced Irving Berlins God Bless America
to the country, and it became known as her song. Smith made over
2,000 recordings19 of which sold over a million copies. During
WWII, her on-air appeals for war bonds topped $600 million.
The Kate Smith Hour featured music, but it also was a variety
show introducing new talent, such as Abbott & Costello and a
teenager named Henry, who became the star of The Aldrich Family.
Smiths final radio program aired on Mutual in 1958.
Kate Smith died on June 17, 1986.
Kate Smith was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1999.
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