20th Century, Americana, History, Minnesota, music, Uncategorized

WCCO Noon Hi-Lites

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Minnesota.cbslocal.com

1933
Piano player Norvy Mulligan, announcer Doug Baldwin, Cowboy Jim, and the WCCO Noon Hi-Lites are a midday hit on Minnesota radio.*

In this era, WCCO became a famous local radio station owned by Washburn Crosby Company. Initially, the radio station was a tool to promote Betty Crocker, (a fictitious personification of their company), who in turn sold their fine flour and other baking products. The Noon Highlights show had six half-hour shows a week, and were sponsored by the Hormel meat company.**

Thankfully, these giants of the food industry acquired the talents of announcer Doug Baldwin, who recognized the considerable talents of a local jazz great; Norvy Mulligan.
In the 1920’s, Minnesotans favored the sounds of Dixieland, but Mulligan sought to move the needle forward.

Local music aficionados compared Norvy to the iconic ragtime and jazz piano stylings of Fats Waller. More specifically, he played the same type of left-hand tenths with his thumb. He also favored playing the melody with his right hand while inventing a counter-melody with his left.**

Consequently, the combination of a quality music, a solid announcer, and a cast of fun personalities made for interesting and memorable radio that impacted the Midwest and regions of Canada!

We remember the Noon highlights with You today Lord. We are grateful that You masterfully lined up these creative forces for our enjoyment and benefit! You are the maestro of causes and effects, and condoned the unorthodox combination of: baking, meat-packing, cowboys, housewives, and jazz.

Will You bless WCCO and its inheritance and legacy in Minnesota? Will You inspire our musicians to go further out like Norvy Mulligan? We bless the impact of radio on our state, and its ability to give the previously unknown joys of connection to our peoples!

We ask for Your imagination in our present forms of communication. Illuminate us to cross-pollinate our imaginations, and shirk selfish boredom. Give us an open hand with our talents and inventions, our businesses and pleasures. Move us to accentuate the highlights of life, and remember the good we know today! Amen.
* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
** Goetting, Jay. “Joined at the Hip: A History of Jazz in the Twin Cities”

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20th Century, Business, History, Intercession, Minnesota, Uncategorized

Betty Crocker

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“The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air”

1921
Betty Crocker, General Mills’ symbol of the perfect homemaker, will become known to nine out of ten American women by 1940. Created in 1921 to answer letters about baking problems, she becomes a network-radio personality and cookbook author, and lends her name and changing image to hundreds of products.*

Betty Crocker became the personification of Washburn Crosby Company which later grew into General Mills. The iconic radio station WCCO, whose call letters are an acronym of the company’s name, was rescued by Washburn Crosby to become her voice. “According to Fortune magazine in April 1945, she was the second best-known woman in America, following First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Betty Crocker was known as the First Lady of Food.”**

Lord, how does one pray for a “First Lady”, especially a fictional one? We constantly interact with icons and symbols in the present era: through smartphones and devices, in all kinds of advertising, and through mascots of our favorite sports teams. You also use the power of symbols and icons, Good Shepherd, and lead Your sheep to better know and remember You.

I will begin with thanking You for the impact of Betty Crocker on the state of Minnesota. How many millions or billions of bags of beautiful Gold Medal Flour did she sell? How many farmers, truckers, railroad workers, dockworkers, millers, and barge crew members were kept employed by her friendly voice and baking tips? How many families ate dinners, cookies, and pies that were touched by her red spoon? For these, and so many other unmentioned aspects, I give thanks to her creators, the voice of WCCO, and the Washburn Crosby Company.

Will You bless this company and the genius of personifying the fairly mundane product of spring wheat flour? Will You help the businesses of Minnesota to take joy in meeting the needs of its customers because they are worthy persons created in Your image? Will You bless the imagery of service that Betty Crocker implies: to her family, for her friends, and to herself through the soul-feeding acts of cooking and baking?

“And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.” Ezekiel 34:23 ESV***

* P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://www.bettycrocker.com/menus-holidays-parties/mhplibrary/parties-and-get-togethers/vintage-betty/the-story-of-betty-crocker#!
***http://biblehub.com/ezekiel/34-23.htm

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