One of the first bandleaders to become a radio celebrity, Kay Kyser
was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on June 18, 1906. Kyser formed
his first dance band in 1926 at the University of North Carolina.
The band was playing Chicagos Blackhawk Restaurant in 1937
when Kyser came up with "Kays Klass," a freewheeling
combination of community sing, amateur night and audience quiz.
The show was re-christened Kay Kysers Kollege of Musical
Knowledge and WGN/Chicago gave it a trial run on the air. In
1938, the show moved to New York and became an instant hit on NBC.
As "The Ol Perfessor," Kyser greeted listeners
with his trademark "Evenin, folks. How yall?"
while wearing a long robe and mortarboard hat. Contestants were
often given a "true-false" quiz and expected to offer
"false" answers to "true" statements. When they
did, Kyser proclaimed "Thats right, youre wrong!"
Kay Kysers Kollege of Musical Knowledge ran on radio
until 1949. Kyser retired from show business in the early 1950s
and later became manager of the film and broadcasting department
of the Christian Science Church.
Kay Kyser died on June 23, 1985.
Kay Kyser was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1990.
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