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Every month, this Bulletin Board will highlight a new document or set of documents that are available in the Archives. These are intended solely for the edification of our viewers and cannot be copied or otherwise reused without permission.

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February 2013: George Beverly Shea and Club Time

[added later: For the BGC Archives Memorial Page for Mr. Shea, click here]

Newspaper advertisement from Journal American, August 18, 1947. WJZ was only one of main stations nationwide that carried Club Time.


In honor of the 104th birthday of George Beverly Shea on February 1, 2013, the Bulletin Board features some very early recordings from his singing ministry.

Click here to listen to some of these original recordings.

Beginning in 1944, Gospel singer George Beverly Shea was the featured artist on the radio program Club Time. Chicago businessman Herbert J. Taylor was the president of Club Aluminum. Taylor, like Shea, was involved in many evangelistic ministries around the Chicago area, including Youth for Christ, which Shea helped start. Taylor designed Club Time around Shea's talents. The show was sponsored by Club Aluminum cookware, "Looks like silver, cooks like magic and lasts forever."

The program was first on the air locally in the Chicago area. Beginning October 20, 1945, it was broadcast once a week (first on Saturday, then moved to Tuesdays) over the national network of ABC radio. Each show included hymn singing by Shea and the choir (sometimes called the Club Gospel Singers, sometimes the Club Choral Singers) and Bible readings, usually by Beverly Taylor, Herbert's daughter. Sometimes Shea also said a few words. The announcers for the program over the years included Don Dowd and Jay Arlen. The music, at least on the early shows, was arranged by Don Hustad.

Robert Walker wrote the scripts for the show. The program was simply broadcast live and not recorded in any way. However, in mid 1944, Billy Graham had begin to invite Shea to be the soloist at evangelistic service he was holding around the Midwest. Then Graham invited Shea to a meeting that would entail Shea's missing a broadcast. As Walker wrote in an article in Christian Life many years later, "After some jockeying with the studio, it was agreed that the program could be 'cut on wax' in advance, not a common practice in those days, and Shea made the trip." This was the beginning of recording the program ahead of broadcast and the reason why there are transcription disks for the Archives to preserve.

Starting April 20, 1946, the program added another feature to help get publicity. Every program featured the Favorite Hymn of a Famous Person. People whose favorite hymns were featured ranged from Chief Justice of the United States Fred M. Vinson to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover to comedian Joe E. Brown to track star and minister Gil Dodds.

The Archives has dozens of the original transcription disks of these programs in Collection 20, the Papers of Herbert J. Taylor.

Click here to listen to some of these original recordings.

 

A 1947 full page ad in Life magazine, advertising the ABC radio network's schedule of morning programs, including Club Time

 

A compilation of newspaper stories about Club Time

April 16, 1945 letter from Shea to Robert Walker about Club Time.

October 16, 1945 letter from Taylor to the employees of Club Aluminum about Club Time.

December 14, 1946 newspaper clipping from the Yankton Press (Yankton, South Dakota)

September 17, 1947 newspaper clipping 0f
from The Guidon(Portland, Maine)

 

 


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Last Revised: 2/01/13

Expiration: indefinite

Wheaton College 2013