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The Jack Berch Show

The Jack Berch Show was a radio variety/talk program in the United States. It was broadcast on ABC, CBS, Mutual, and NBC at various times 1935-1954.[1] The program at times went by other names, including The Kitchen Pirate (1935–36) and The Sweetheart Serenader (1939-1941).[2]

The Jack Berch Show
Other names Jack Berch and His Boys
The Kitchen Pirate
The Sweetheart Serenader
Genre Variety and talk
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Syndicates ABC
Announcer Joe Bier
Eddie Dunn
Ed Herlihy
John Reed King
Written by Howard Blake
Dick Charles
Directed by Dick Charles
Henry Hull, Jr.
Herb Leder
Produced by Robert Ross Smith
Original release 1935 – 1954
Sponsored by Fels Naptha Soap
Gulfspray Insect Killer
Prudential Insurance
Sweetheart Soap



The Berch programs featured "light music and informal chatter. When housewives tired of listening to the tribulations of their soap opera characters, they turned for relief to the songs of Berch."[2]

Berch usually began his program with a whistle and a song. In an article in the January 1949 issue of Radio and Television Mirror, he gave the reason for that: "I was reading the morning paper. Suddenly I realized that the whole front page was full of disaster -- fires, murders, political troubles, jealousy and strife between persons and between nations. ... 'Now,' I said to myself, 'something ought to be done about this. And, in my own small way, I'm the guy to do it.' Then and there, in theory at least, the Heart to Heart Hookup and the Good Neighbor Club came into being."[3]

The Heart to Heart Hookup and the Good Neighbor Club were features of Berch's program. Heart to Heart Hookup featured Berch reading "letters dedicated to the encouragement of more unfortunate people in the world."[4] The Good Neighbor Club highlighted good deeds sent in by the program's listeners.[4]

In that same article, Berch wrote: "There's a certain informality about the Jack Berch Show. We like to think of ourselves as coming into your living room for a visit every morning ... you'd get pretty tired of stiff and formal guests every day, wouldn't you?"[3] The program featured a variety of types of songs, "from the old favorites to the latest popular tunes from Tin Pan Alley.[5]

The show's ability to not only entertain listeners but to prompt them to act was demonstrated in 1950. After a listener wrote to Berch requesting used Christmas cards for a project, NBC received more than 5 million Christmas cards.[6]


A review in the April 20, 1937, issue of the trade publication Radio Daily commented: "Berch offers an enjoyable program of singing and chatting that is well geared to appeal to the feminine ears. Jack's style is friendly, and he slips in the commercial remarks in a manner that makes them easy to take."[7] Another comment in the same publication four months later said, "The singing of Berch is particularly well designed to give the day a sunny sendoff."[8] On the other hand, a 1943 comment in the trade publication Billboard described Berch's program as "strictly a long quarter-hour of flimsy whimsy."[9]


Musicians heard on the programs included Jerry Colonna, Raymond Scott, Johnny Williams,[10] Nick Tagg,[11] John Gart, Carl Kress, Sammy Prager,[12] Mark Warnow, Charles Magnante,[2] Tony Mottola, and George Wright.[13]

Ed Herlihy,[14] Joe Bier,[15] John Reed King[12] and Eddie Dunn were the announcers.[3]

Dick Charles was both writer and director for the program.[16] Other directors included Herb Leder[17] and Henry Hull, Jr.[18] Other writers included Howard Blake.[14]

Robert Ross Smith was a producer.[19]


The broadcast schedule of The Jack Berch Show varied widely during its time on the air. The table below gives pertinent information.

Years Days Network Sponsor
1935-1936 Fridays Blue NA
1936-1937 MWF Mutual Wasey Products Corporation[15]
1937 MWF CBS Fels Naphtha Soap[15]
1937 Thrice weekly Mutual NA
1939-1940 Twice weekly NBC NA
1939 MWF Blue Sweetheart Soap[14]
1939-1940 Twice weekly Mutual NA
1941 Tuesday/Thursday Station WHP Gulfspray Insect Killer[12]
1943-1944 Weekdays Mutual Kellogg
1944-1946 Weekdays ABC Prudential Insurance
1946-1951 Weekdays NBC Prudential Insurance
1951-1954 Various days ABC Prudential Insurance

Source: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio,[1] except as noted.


  1. ^ a b Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. P. 363.
  2. ^ a b c DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 30.
  3. ^ a b c Berch, Jack (January 1949). "World Full of Neighbors". Radio and Television Mirror. 31 (2): 34–35, 83–84. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Letter Praising Work of Mrs. Lester Fry Read Over NBC Radio Stations Today". Pennsylvania, Franklin. The News-Herald. November 4, 1949. p. 11. Retrieved November 30, 2015 – via  
  5. ^ Reed, Ted (August 1, 1939). "Radio: A 'Lucky Bum' Has His Day on 'We, the People' Tonight". Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Harrisburg Telegraph. p. 11. Retrieved November 30, 2015 – via  
  6. ^ "(NBC advertisement)". Sponsor. April 10, 1950. pp. 60–61. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  7. ^ "Air Parade in Review: Jack Berch" (PDF). Radio Daily. April 20, 1937. p. 5. Retrieved 28 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Program Reviews and Comments" (PDF). Radio Daily. July 20, 1937. p. 6. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Comment". Billboard. November 6, 1943. p. 10. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  10. ^ Gerhard, Inez (April 22, 1948). "Star Dust". Indiana, Waterloo. The Waterloo Press. p. 2. Retrieved December 1, 2015 – via  
  11. ^ "Jack Berch Show Heard Over KPLT". Texas, Paris. The Paris News. October 7, 1951. p. 8. Retrieved November 30, 2015 – via  
  12. ^ a b c "Berch Is Back". Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. Harrisburg Telegraph. June 7, 1941. p. 24. Retrieved November 30, 2015 – via  
  13. ^ "Radio Guide". Pennsylvania, Altoona. Altoona Tribune. March 4, 1947. p. 11. Retrieved November 30, 2015 – via  
  14. ^ a b c Grunwald, Edgar A., Ed. (1940). Variety Radio Directory 1940-1941. Variety, Inc. Pp. 283, 457.
  15. ^ a b c Grunwald, Edgar A., Ed. (1938). Variety Radio Directory 1938-1939. Variety, Inc. P. 353.
  16. ^ Pincus, Herman (August 10, 1945). "Words and Music" (PDF). Radio Daily. p. 6. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Coming and Going" (PDF). Radio Daily. March 1, 1946. p. 2. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  18. ^ "Dial Chatter". Wisconsin, La Crosse. The La Crosse Tribune. January 12, 1952. p. 7. Retrieved November 30, 2015 – via  
  19. ^ Alicoate, Jack, Ed. (1951). The 1951 Radio Annual. Radio Daily Corp. P. 987.

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