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Words from the Sponsors: “order a ton of Blue Coal” February 2, 2007

Posted by William Spear in >> Words from the Sponsors.

In 1928, Time Magazine reported that the Glen Alden Coal Company of New York had been dying its anthracite coal to give it advertising appeal. The anthracite was already put through several washes before being sold and the last wash, adding color, cost only three cents per ton and did not change the coal’s heating properties.

The color the company chose was blue. And the Blue Coal Radio Revue began sponsoring Street and Smith’s Detective Stories in 1931 on CBS. The announcer for the series caught the public’s interest and, over time, became a character with portrayals in Detective Stories and other Street and Smith publications. In 1937, on the Mutual Broadcasting System, Blue Coal debuted a show based upon the announcer. The success of the show, The Shadow, lit the fortunes of Blue Coal.

Blue Coal sponsored The Shadow character and program through two decades and across CBS, NBC, and Mutual. During the show’s run, Orson Welles played The Shadow and the program created one of entertainment’s greatest phrases: “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.”

The following is a typical commercial from The Shadow:

. . .  

ANNOUNCER:  Here’s a proposition. Regardless of what coal you’re now burning in your furnace, order a ton of Blue Coal. Try Blue Coal for a week. And see if it doesn’t give you more even, more dependable, longer lasting heat. That’s fair enough, isn’t it? And remember, when you order Blue Coal, you get courteous, careful delivery and helpful consideration of all your heating problems. Phone your neighborhood Blue Coal dealer tomorrow.

. . .

Anybody have that telephone number? The furnace is getting low and we need more Blue Coal.

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