Month ago Merlin Hall ("Deac") Aylesworth acquired the title of DRAOCCCR-BAR, New Deal for Director of Radio Activities in the Office for Coordination of Commercial & Cultural Relations Between the American Republics. In plain English: chief of the radio sector of the Hemisphere Solidarity campaign.
Deac Aylesworth's immediate job is to let as much light as possible into the murk beclouding the average U.S. citizen's notion of life Down There; also to see that southbound programs do not conflict, hurt anybody's feelings or suffer from the dreary blight of what is known as "education"in general, to make them make sense.
"The National Farm and Home Hour," ventured the Deacon, "would not make much sense in Uruguay." Meantime, while radio's pioneer ringmaster (ten years president of NBC) was readying a comprehensive air program between the U.S. and Latin America, U.S. broadcasters voluntarily came forth with two of their most impressive stunts in ten years of more or less catch-as-catch-can short-waving back & forth across the Rio Grande. Initiated by the two major networks were two series of regular weekly half-hour shows.
CBS's Calling Pan-America (4 p.m.
Saturday, E.D.S.T.) began with a broadcast from Buenos Aires and will jump each week from Latin-American capital to capital, featuring local talent which will be mostly musical but also oratorical.
Columbia's initial effort celebrated Argentina's 131-year-old Independence Day.
NBC for its 22 Good Neighbors shows (10:30 p.m. Thursday, E.D.S.T.) threw in Dr. Frank Black and his 60-piece orchestra, a troop of some 20 actors and the gilt-edged intonings of Announcer Milton Cross. It will broadcast from Manhattan with appropriate guest diplomats on duty in Washington, and every week the program will be tailored to a different Latin-American country.
It is safe to predict that neither program will be as sensational as the career of Wyllis Cooper, veteran radio dramaturge who writes NBC's show. From 1933 to 1936 Radioman Cooper wrote and directed the silo-of-blood programs called Lights Out. Late at night, so children couldn't hear them and have their little livers scared out of them, they gushed from Chicago's WMAQ and were beyond doubt the most goose-fleshing chiller-dillers in air history. At each broadcast's opening a deep, dark, dank voice would instruct listeners to put their lights out and settle back in their chairs, whereupon gore would commence to flow, bones to snap, screams and groans to rowel the air.
Lights Out was a sound-effects man's paradise. On one occasion the audible illusion of a victim's hand being smashed on an anvil had to be achieved. Everything was tried from slapping a pork chop with a cleaver to pounding wet paper with a hammer. At last came triumph: a lemon was laid on an anvil and struck with a small sledge.