The Breakfast Club Menu

Helpings of Corn, Music, Sentiment

Seasoned with Family Fun and Prayer

Right: Don McNeill and Dick Teela, the first Breakfast Club singer, as a candid cameraman caught them during an actual broadcast in 1933. The only other persons in the studio during those early broadcasts were Walter Blaufuss and his 12-piece orchestra, an announcer and an engineer.

"The general idea behind Breakfast Club when I took over on June 23, 1933," recalls Don, "was to try to do something to change the old American custom of not smiling before breakfast.

"This was a real challenge for me, a breakfast grouch. Those first few mornings on Breakfast Club were a nightmare. Several times I was ready to give up the job. Then things began to happen.

"I must have sounded cheerful, even though I felt miserable, because letters began to come in from people saying they enjoyed smiling with me at breakfast. The letters made me feel better. I began to enjoy myself and, in doing so, I encouraged more people to join me around the breakfast tavle."

Breakfast Club continues to follow the policy of being cheerfully corny and helpful with complete disregard for routine broadcasting practices. The result has been a completely informal, relaxed program sprinkled with McNeill's personality.

The breakfast menu has changed little in 20 years. To the four musical calls, songs, chatter, March Time and Memory Time which McNeill introduced on the first show, he has added comedy and singing acts, studio interviews, his famous Prayer Time and the Sunshine Shower. Now it takes 47 persons to get the show on the air, compared to 17 in 1933. But it still is, as Don originally announced...

"The Breakfast Club of the Air---a get together time for all of us who smile before breakfast and then can't break the habit all day long---the place to come when a feller needs a friend."

Return to the "Twenty Years of Corn" index

Introduction and main index to this site
WMAQ radio history | "Amos 'n' Andy" | "Fibber McGee and Mollie" | "The Breakfast Club"
Dick Kay | Television at the Merchandise Mart | 1970 television facilities tour | Channel 5 turns 20
The "Chicago School" of television | "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" | Dave Garroway | Mary Hartline
"Lights Out" | Sound effects | 1930 studio tour | WLS | "Empire Builders" | Barry Bernson
Floyd Kalber | The Queen of Love and Beauty | "Today's Children" | Staff announcers | Carol Marin
Ron Magers | Studs Terkel l "Chicago Tonight" | Channel 5 News scrapbooks |Roger Miller recalls
Zoo Parade | Clifton and Frayne Utley | Val Press | Len O'Connor | Johnny Erp | Bill Ray | Daddy-O
Experimental Television: 1930-1933 | Bob Deservi | Kermit Slobb | Ding Dong School | Quiz Kids
Bob Lemon | The Korshak Chronicles | KYW: The Chicago Years | WENR | O.B. Hanson | Renzo
Jack Eigen | Ed Grennan | The World's Best Cup of Coffee | Glenn Webster | Mr. Piano | Hawkins Falls
Chicago Television for Kids |
Radio Hall of Fame |The NBC News Night Report: 23 February, 1967
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