Watched Don McNeill's Breakfast Club (Part 4) from YouTube
After watching most of an entire show on YouTube a few observations as relates to the broader picture of these sorts of shows.

Though I’m sure it originated more in vaudeville and even earlier forms, there’s a solid example of a sidekick/foil/straightman operating here, though the he operates almost more in the visual than he would have in the radio version which loses much in the translation without vision.

There is an early example of a request for monetary support for a respirator which is an analogue of modern day Patreon/Kickstarter sort of fundraising within a community to help a community member.

This is obviously a direct precursor to more modern morning shows both on the radio and on television including Good Morning America, the Today Show, Regis and Kathy Lee, etc.

There are examples of having callers put on the show, but in this version they didn’t use the telephone, but instead did it via mail.

There were lots of live musicians, an art form we don’t see in public as much, though the highest end talk shows still have them. I was intrigued that they were all wearing sunglasses so early in the morning, and perhaps the studio lights were on the bright side, but they may have also been up all night playing other gigs before showing up in the morning. Another woman mentioned this herself on the show which I found warming to have had my own thoughts pre-echoed.

There was an interesting cultural discussion about diet thrown in with an audience member. Not surprisingly it was aimed at a female guest who was asked about her regimen. Certainly an early example of social pressure put on women, especially as I recall that she appeared to be in better shape than her husband.

There was at least some effort at making audience participation here. Not as sophisticated as some that would be seen later on shows like Leno who took it to a higher art form. McNeill did bring up some visiting Brownies, but the segment was so pedestrian compared to those seen today.

I was a bit shocked that he took some time out to do a prayer live on the otherwise secular show. Definitely shows a precursor to the 700 Club and other religious-themed talk shows.

He ended the show with the sign-off, “So long and be good to yourself.”

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

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