Re-Imagined Radio sampled New Year's Eve episodes of The Whistler and Guy Lombardo's New Year's Eve Party to celebrate the start of 2021. Streamed live on KXRW-FM, Vancouver's community radio.
This performance was recorded live.
Post Production = Martin John Gallagher
Promotional Graphics = Holly Slocum
January, named for Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings, is noted for New Year's Eve, an opportunity to reflect and celebrate both the previous and upcoming years. The "New Year" episode of Re-Imagined Radio sampled two stories, one from The Whistler the other from Guy Lombardo's New Year's Eve Party, about this unique opportunity.
From The Whistler we sampled "The First Year," the December 31, 1947 episode in which a rich uncle decides to teach his niece, Lydia, the true value of matrimony by changing his will to require her and her husband, Elliott, to stay married for ten years before they inherit. If one of them dies, the other inherits everything. The story begins and ends on New Year's Eve of "The First Year" of their marriage.
The Whistler broadcast 692 episodes from 16 May 1942 to 22 September 1955. Each episode began with a 13-note theme composed by musical director Wilbur Hatch and whistled by Dorothy Roberts who worked at Lockheed. Roberts whistled the beginning of each episode of The Whistler the thirteen-year series. Additional compositions by Hatch added drama and transitions during the episodes. Hatch was also musical director and composed for other CBS radio programs like Suspense, Broadway Is My Beat, Our Miss Brooks, and others.
Ironically, most of America could not hear The Whistler as it was confined to the CBS Pacific Coast network where the program's sponsor, Signal Oil Company, had a presence. Despite this lack of national distribution, The Whistler was considered one of the most popular of all American radio mystery anthologies, and its whistled theme was known to millions. Each episode focused on criminal acts and their surprise undoing, narrated by the unnamed and omnipresent Whistler who often commented directly on the action like a Greek chorus.
Next we sampled from Guy Lombardo's New Year's Eve Party broadcast live from The Grill Room in the Roosevelt Hotel, New York City, December 31, 1957.
Lombardo, born and raised in London, Ontario, Canada, founded his orchestra in 1914 with brothers Carmen, Victor, and Lebert. In America, Lombardo and his orchestra wore bright red blazers and called themselves "The Royal Canadians." They became synonymous with New Year's Eve celebrations, performing for live nationwide radio broadcasts from 1929 (the first nationwide New Year's eve broadcast) until 1976. Beginning in 1956, Guy Lombardo and The Royal Canadians began broadcasting their New Year's Eve Party on both radio and television with each celebration featuring a televised segment from New York's Times Square.
From these years of live performances, Lombardo is noted as "Mr. New Year's Eve" and is honored as providing the theme song for these celebrations, "Auld Lang Syne" a traditional Scottish folk song based on the poem of the same title written by Robert Burns in 1788. The poem-song is about two friends reflecting over drinks about their long and sometimes distant friendship. The title best translates as "Old long since," or "For the sake of old times."