Saturday, October 15, 2011

Commercial Break! Columbia Records - March 1957

It isn't unusual for a DJ or radio personality to read a commercial from a sponsor, whether live or recorded. For Bob Crane, however, commercials were just another avenue to include gimmicks, sound effects, or voices. In the clip presented here (scroll to bottom of post), Crane promotes a new offer from Columbia Records, only to have his sidekick, "Charlie," objecting to the type of music Columbia is trying to sell. 

Why would a company even bother buying air time when it knew the product or service was fair game for a hearty roasting?

The beauty of Crane's style of humor is that it got people to listen. How many times do you change the radio station when a commercial comes on? Or in broader terms, fast forward through your DVR to skip the commercials? Probably quite frequently. These days, perhaps the only time we choose to watch commercials is during the SuperBowl. Why? Because they are clever, different, and often funny.

On Bob Crane's radio show, listeners stayed put to hear the commercials on a regular basis. They wanted to hear the advertisements because they never knew what Crane might do next. He made people laugh, and for that, advertisers rarely backed out, but instead, paid top dollar to be on Crane's show. It doesn't matter what time or place or medium. If you can get people to want to watch or listen to commercials, that's genius. And that is the word so many of Bob Crane's radio colleagues have used to describe him.

Columbia Records Buy of Broadway Commercial
The Bob Crane Show / KNX-CBS Radio
March 27, 1957