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Great Beginnings: Jack Armstrong November 30, 2006

Posted by William Spear in >> Great Beginnings, >> Radio Drama.
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(Amended Sunday 28 January 2007) 

Inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989, Jack Armstrong, The All American Boy was one of the first and most memorable juvenile adventure shows.

Created by Chicago advertising agency Blackett-Sample-Hummert and writer Robert Hardy Andrews in 1933, and sponsored by Wheaties for many years, the show aired until 1950. It’s main characters were Hudson High School students Jack Armstrong and his friends Billy and Betty Fairfield. From 1933 to 1950, the trio joined Billy and Betty’s Uncle Jim for a series of adventures around the world. During the 1950-51 season, Jack became a government agent and the show was renamed Armstrong of the SBI.

Six different actors played the title role of Jack Armstrong, including St. John Terrell who is credited with being the first voice for Jack Armstrong (Obituary: St John Terrell; Independent, The (London),  28 November 1998 by Edward Helmore). Jim Ameche (1933-38), Charles Flynn (1939-43 and 1944-51), and others also voiced Jack. The program’s best-known announcer was legendary Chicago voice Franklyn MacCormack, who delivered his commercials with the help of an a cappella quintet.

VOICE ONE: (FAR OFF MIC) Jack Armstrong.
VOICE TWO: (OFF MIC) Jack Armstrong.
VOICE THREE: (NEAR MIC) Jack Armstrong.
VOICE FOUR: (ON MIC) JACK ARMSTRONG. The al-l-l-l American-n-n Boy!

QUINTET: Wave the flag for Hudson High, boys
         Show them how we stand,
         Ever shall our team be champions
         Known through-out the land!
         (CONTINUE TO HARMONIZE WITH HUMMING)

MACCORMACK: Wheaties, the Breakfast of Champions, brings you the thrilling adventures of Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy.

If a bowl of Wheaties can get those kind of results, then sign me up. Major kudos to Jack Armstrong; he and Hudson High will always be champions to us.

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