Jun 24, 2011 • By

Hollywood in Person

This week’s photo from the General Mills Archives focuses on “Hollywood in Person,” which began as a test on the National Broadcasting Company on March 15, 1936.

The radio show was meant to capitalize on the public’s desire to know what was going on “inside” the most fascinating industry in the world – the movie business.

A Packard towing a trailer equipped with a portable radio studio, a sound man, engineer, announcer and director soon became a familiar sight on the movie lots. The show was sponsored by General Mills, Inc. and advertised Bisquick.

In the April 1937 issue of “The Modern Millwheel,” “Hollywood in Person” was reported as a new radio program available up and down the Pacific Coast. Everyday, the General Mills Hollywood reporters, Captain Robert Baker and Miss Louise Roberts, climbed into their motorized broadcasting studio (which they christened “Fluffy”) and visited movie lots. They interviewed stars and stagehands, got firsthand hints on clothes and complexions and generally turned Hollywood inside out for the benefits of listeners.

On July 19, 1937, the new “Gold Medal Hour” was launched nationally via the Columbia Broadcast System (CBS). In the September 1937 issue of “The Modern Millwheel,” Baker got the lowdown from Leslie Howard and Joan Blondell as they paused during a scene from the movie “Stand-In”. Interviews ranged from Deanna Durbin to Jesse Lasky, as well as Basil Rathbone, Jackie Cooper and Ann Sheridan.

“Hollywood in Person” ended up being referred to as “Hollywood Headaches” because of the complications in putting on a live radio show with a lack of cooperation from the studios.

In March 1938, the show was scheduled to be replaced as Southern California was inundated with rain and flooding. The studio lots were navigated by boats and all wires were down. So “Hollywood in Person” ended its national eight month broadcast as a washout.

Editor’s note: The photo is from “The Modern Millwheel”, Vol. 1, No. 7, September 1937. Caption: KNX-CBS movie set radio studio sponsored by General Mills and Bisquick, September 1937.

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