Old Time Radio Program 1939-1945

During WWII the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) decided to create a program specifically geared toward Black soldiers. Today it is said that some of the best jazz shows came out of this program with greats such as Fletcher Henderson, Lena Horne, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Fats Waller.

Jubilee was conceived and programmed to present African-American artists and their music to the Armed Forces personnel of the United States and allied nations around the world.
During the history of the program, eventually other artists were invited to participate, but Jubilee is remembered as a showcase for African-American talent. In addition to big bands, small jazz groups and singers, many talented dramatic and comedic performers appeared on Jubilee. Aimed as a morale-building service for black troops and aired for military personnel, The show was hosted first by Dooley Wilson, the piano player in the movie Casablanca, then by Ernie “Bubbles” Whitman, a well-known comedian. Most of the shows were recorded before live audiences in Los Angeles.
By 1942 Eddie, my father, was fifty-one years old, too old to be drafted (although the government chose to sign up  “men of a certain age” just in case), however, he was asked to perform his comedy routines along with Lena Horne in 1942,  Ernie Whitman in 1944, and Hattie McDaniel in 1945, on the Jubilee radio program.

Here is one routine Eddie and Ernie did on a Jubilee program for the troops in October, 1944. Ernie introduces Eddie Green from Duffy’s Tavern. Eddie says he is bored and is looking for something exciting to do in his life. Ernie suggests Eddie become a volunteer fireman:

ERNIE: It’s Saturday morning at the station house and the alarm goes off. I can see you now, sound asleep up there in the firehouse.

EDDIE: So far, I like it.

ERNIE: Four in the morning the fire alarm rings, what do you do?

EDDIE: I get up. Then I take a sleeping pill and go right back to bed.

ERNIE: No, you don’t. You grab your fire hat, run to the pole and slide down.


ERNIE: What’s the matter?

EDDIE: The pole is cold, I forgot my pants!!

Lucky me, someone sent me a CD with this Jubilee program on it, so I get to hear these shows.

In 1942 Memorial Day had become the popular title for a day to acknowledge all of our military personnel who died while in service.

This post is just a glimpse into how other citizens, along with our government, were helping to keep up the morale of our soldiers.

In Remembrance



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