In 1945, my father began a five-year contract to host the weekly radio show “Harvest of Stars” for farm equipment manufacturer, International Harvester. The program was to be broadcast from wherever he was concertizing, which benefited not only his schedule, but enhanced International Harvester dealers’ advertising efforts with the local publicity. He had a good-natured joke about his sponsor: “International Harvester stands behind every product they make—except their manure spreader.”
One feature of these varied “Harvest of Stars” broadcast venues was his use of local talent. In each city he was scheduled to visit, local music critics and cognoscenti would be consulted about the best soprano or mezzo in the area, and my father would feature her as his singing partner on the show. One of those lucky ladies was Dorothy Warenskjold from San Francisco. Another one was the 18-year-old Lillian Murphy in 1948. More about these two lovely ladies in a later post.
After four years International Harvester canceled the contract, due to its own financial difficulties, and the realization that the majority of radio listeners to the “Harvest of Stars” program were not the farmers who bought their tractors. My father sued for the remainder of his contract and won.