Thanks to the generosity of
Fred Wostbrock, we have dozens of examples of this
unusual part of Bill's career from Bill's personal
collection. Over the years, we've managed to add
significantly to the collection. We're also pretty sure that
the picture above is from Bill's work on these syndicated
shows. However, we don't know who the man is sitting
Celebrity Radio Productions remains active today, producing a variety of series that mostly target an older, middle-America audience.
September 30, 1963 to January 2, 1970
The first of these series, as well as the longest running, this was a four-minute informational program sponsored by Grollier's Encyclopedia.
Despite the title,
there was nothing adventurous about the
program. There wasn't even musical
accompaniment. For each session, Bill gave
four unadorned minutes of interesting facts and
unusual trivia about a subject. Subjects could
be almost anything: Mount Everest, centipedes, hair
dying, youth hostels and sorcery were discussed in
one week. Since episodes were designed to play
on a specific date, anniversaries of famous events
would frequently be topic material.
We have hundreds
of episodes from this series, some from Bill's
personal collection. Based on the numbering of
the earlier episodes in our possession, we believe
the program began September 30, 1963. Its
1,635th and final episode aired on Friday, January
2, 1970. The final record provided to stations
included only one week's worth of programming
instead if the usual two. The following
Monday, Bill began hosting the similar Knowledge
|IDEAS FOR BETTER
March 22, 1965 to 1968?
Bill and his fellow I've Got A Secret panelist Betsy Palmer shared the microphone for this one. The title is self-explanatory. The pair chatted away on such subjects as medical care for your pets, the meaning of happiness, imaginative children's toys and -- frequently -- the differences between men and women in various endeavors. We have six weeks of shows from the spring of 1965, and one week of shows from June, 1968, all sponsored by DuPont. We don't know for how long the series was produced.
Bill and Betsy look at happiness
January 5, 1970 to late 1971?
Similar to Cullen's Adventures above but at half the length, this two-minute feature began with a question that had been submitted by a caller, followed by Cullen offering the answer to the query. The only thing remotely "mod" about the feature was the brief bass-beat theme music. We have a couple dozen records covering hundreds of episodes. The show ran at least through April, 1971.
An entire two-minute segment about the sound of the human voice
September 23, 1972 to December 22, 1972
A thirteen-week series of four-minute segments which focused, as the title might suggest, on human interest stories in the world of sports. Stories tended to center on then-current subject matter, though historical items would be discussed occasionally. Legendary sportscaster Red Barber replaced Bill for twenty shows in the middle of the run, from November 6 to December 1.
sponsored the series, and each episode featured a
plug for a sports-themed Helbros contest, for which
the grand prize was a trip to the Super
Bowl. We have the entire series.
|PEOPLE WHO ARE
Two-minute-long human interest profiles, sponsored by Nestle. We don't know any more about this feature, and have no examples in our collection.
COMING TO DINNER
Five two-minute Thanksgiving stories produced for the National Goose Council. Given the sponsor, it's not surprising that the stories pointed out the role of the goose in history, and the bird's superiority to turkey as a Thanksgiving meal. We have the entire brief series.
Bill shares some goose propaganda
This David J. Clark offering was a little more blatantly commercial than the others. According to a tape case provided to us by fellow collector James Owen, Fuji Facts with Bill Cullen was "25 1-minute tips on Photography, Video and Computer Use". Jim remembers this being offered to stations around 1987 or so. Roger Munyon was able to provide us the actual recordings for this program.
Bill offers some brand-specific photography advice
|THE PARENT'S NOTEBOOK
Another two-minute series, this one on child-raising tips and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. Through Ebay, Bill's personal archive and fellow collector Kenneth Johannessen, we have forty weeks of shows, mostly from 1987 but including four weeks from October, 1985.
Radio vet James Owen tells us he remembers playing The Parent's Notebook in 1985, and he thinks the show might have started even earlier. He says they were irregularly provided to stations. We learned from documents associated with the discs that 160 episodes were produced in 1985, scheduled to air between March and October, and that the series was scheduled to resume in March of 1986. (We have no 1986 discs.) Oddly, the program numbers on the documents do not match the program numbers on the discs. Program 160 according to the documents is identified as program 560 on the discs. Presumably, that means an additional 400 episodes had been produced previously. For some reason, the numbering started anew in 1986, and by September, 1987, an additional 350 episodes had been produced. All told, this series may approach Bill's first syndicated series, Cullen's Adventures, in total episodes produced, though at only half the length of that original series.
In an October 7, 1988 radio interview, Bill mentions that he's doing a syndicated radio show for Johnson & Johnson, almost certainly this same series. Whether he was actually recording additional episodes at that point is unclear. Nevertheless, this would be Bill's last professional work.
Bill offers parents playpen advice