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Beat the Band

Beat the Band was a musical quiz show heard on NBC radio from 1940 to 1944 in two distinctly different series. The program popularized the show business catch phrase, "Give me a little traveling music", often uttered on TV a decade later by Jackie Gleason.

Beat the Band
Ted weems orchestra beat band.jpg
Ted Weems and his orchestra, with Perry Como, Marilyn (Marvel) Maxwell and Elmo Tanner, 1940
Genre Music and Quiz
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Home station NBC
Starring Garry Moore (1940-1943)
Ted Weems and his orchestra (1940-1941)
Hildegarde (1943-1944)
Harry Sosnick Band (1941-1944)
Eddie Mayehoff (1944)
Announcer Marvin Miller
Tom Shirley
Fort Pearson
Recording studio Chicago (1940-1943)
New York (1943-1944)
Original release 28 January 1940 – 6 September 1944
Opening theme Out of the Night



In the first series, broadcast on Sundays at 6:30 p.m. from Chicago, emcee Garry Moore read music-related questions submitted by listeners to band members in the 14-piece Ted Weems Orchestra.[1][2] Originally sponsored by the General Mills cereal Kix, listeners whose questions were used on the air received $10; those who stumped the band received $20 and a case of Kix.[3] Questions were often posed in the form of puns or riddles. such as, "Suppose a small fur-bearing animal gets so angry he explodes. What song title is suggested?" The answer from comedian-violinist Red Ingle, "Pop Goes the Weasel."[4] Band members who answered questions incorrectly had to toss a fifty-cent piece on the bass drum. The musician with the most correctly answered questions at the end of the program took home the bass drum "kitty". Unlike most radio shows of the time, Beat the Band did not always originate in Chicago; the program was often broadcast on location from places like Denver, St. Louis, and Milwaukee.[5]

The program's vocalists were Perry Como, Parker Gibbs and Marvel Maxwell. Other cast members included Country Washburn[6] and Elmo Tanner, the Whistling Troubador.[7][8] Fort Pearson was the announcer.[9] This series aired from January 28, 1940[10] to February 23, 1941.


Relocating to New York as a summer replacement for Red Skelton's Raleigh Cigarettes Program, the program began anew on June 15, 1943, with Raleigh Cigarettes as the sponsor (until June 1944). Music was supplied by the Harry Sosnik band. The first host of the second series was Hildegarde. After June 1944, the host was Eddie Mayehoff. The program came to an end on September 6, 1944.

Announcers were Marvin Miller and Tom Shirley. The program's theme music was "Out of the Night," composed by Harry Sosnik; and Walter Hirsch.[11] The first version of this theme was by Weems and Hildegarde. The second version was performed by Sosnik.[12]

Music was the basis for several quiz shows, such as Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge.[13] In 2001, Soundcraft issued a compact disk of transcripts for some of the 1940 episodes of the show.[14]


  1. ^ Herzog, Buck (15 October 1962). "Along Amusement Row". The Milwaukee Journal.
  2. ^ "Stars of 'Beat The Band' Will Be Heard In Person". Youngstown Vindicator. 10 December 1940. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  3. ^ "Beat the Band". Radio Echoes. Retrieved 25 September 2013.
  4. ^ DeLong, Thomas A. Quiz Craze: America's Infatuation with Game Shows. Praeger, 1991
  5. ^ Goldin, David. "list of 'Beat the Band' episodes". RadioGold. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  6. ^ "Music Legends-Joe "Country" Washburn". Museum of the Gulf Coast. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  7. ^ Bartlett, George (14 February 1960). "'Heartaches' Made Him Famous Coast-To-Coast". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
  8. ^ "Elmo Tanner To Appear With Como". St. Petersburg Times. 13 October 1961. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
  9. ^ ""Beat the Band"" (PDF). Billboard. February 10, 1940. p. 7. Retrieved 24 August 2016.
  10. ^ "'Beat The Band'". Original Old Radio. Retrieved 12 January 2011.
  11. ^ "List of Radio Series Themes on".
  12. ^ Dunning, John, ed. (1998), On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, Oxford University Press, USA, p. 840, ISBN 0-19-507678-8, retrieved 10 June 2010
  13. ^ Buxton, Frank and Bill Owen. The Big Broadcast, 1920-1950. Viking Press, 1972.
  14. ^ "Beat the Band". 2001. Retrieved 26 November 2010.

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