The Maple City Four...

Curator's note: The Maple City Four (they were natives of LaPorte, Indiana) first broadcast on WLS in November of 1926 and continued to appear on the Prairie Farmer station until the mid-1950's. During the era of live "singing commercials" they pitched tractors for Catepillar and feed for Purina (to mention only two of their many sponsors). In 1936 they appeared on the silver screen with Gene Autry in "Git Along Little Dogies". In 1937 they joined Roy Rogers in "Under Western Skies." You can also see the group (with slightly modified personnel) in the 1941 WLS Family Album.

The four beloved rogues of WLS. When you hear them, you know which is which, but so you will know their faces in this picture at the right, beginning at the top, they are Art Janes, Fritz Meissner, Al Rice and Pat Petterson.

When the Maple City Four comes into the studio, the operator takes an extra grip on the control knobs and a hasty glance at the fuses, for he's never sure what's coming. Neither is anybody else.

You have heard them as the "Caterpillar Crew" and in the "Heroes in Overalls." Give them a few odds and ends of junk and they have a band or a minstrel show at a moment's notice. In the photo at the bottom of the page, the weird looking thing wrapped around Al Rice's neck is the famous "showerbath wheeze."

You have laughed at the comic antics of the boys, and you may have heard them in more serious moments at Hymn Time, when they sing some of the beloved old songs of comfort and inspiration.

Fritz and Pat are married. As we go to press, Al and Art are not, yet.
Maple City Four

Maple City Four

Return to the 1932 WLS Family Album index page

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
Audio and video downloads
About the Curator

Comments or suggestions? click here to send them to Rich Samuels

Created by Rich Samuels (e-mail to