BW – EP107: Back to School with The Nelsons (1933-1954)

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In Breaking Walls episode 107, we go back to school with the Nelson family and find out why David and Ricky joined the program, and how it affected the entertainment industry forever.


• Oswald George Nelson—Boy from New Jersey
• The Ukulele Craze and the Boy scout Jamboree
• Ozzie Starts a Band
• Splitting Time Between Football and Music
• Cleaning Up Around Town
• On the Banks of the Old Raritan
• Law School and WMCA
• Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra Gets on Radio
• Ozzie Meet Harriet
• Harriet Hilliard—One Heck of a Talent
• Harriet Joins the Band
• Joe Penner and Robert Ripley
• Getting Married—Harriet Becomes a Film Star
• Touring—David and Eric Are Born
• Red Skelton
• The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet is Born
• Changing Networks in 1948
• Jack Benny Jumps to CBS—David and Ricky Join the Show
• Finding Their Groove as a Family
• ABC and a Ten-Year Contract
• Here Come The Nelsons to Television
• Looking Ahead to Halloween


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The reading material used in today’s episode was:

• On the Air — By John Dunning
• Ozzie — By Ozzie Nelson
• Network Radio Ratings, 1932-53 — By Jim Ramsburg
• Before Television — By Glenhall Taylor
• As well as articles from the archives of Broadcasting Magazine, Sponsor Magazine, Radio Daily, and Radio Mirror.


On the interview front:

• Ozzie Nelson spoke with: Johnny Carson, Chuck Cecil, and James Day
• Ricky Nelson spoke with Johnny Carson and David Hartman
• David Nelson spoke with David Hartman, and KRLA
• Jack Wagner and Johnny Hayes were also with KRLA
• While Harriet Nelson spoke with David Hartman and Chuck Schaden
• Chuck Schaden also interviewed Jack Benny, Lurene Tuttle and Janet Waldo Hear these chats and others from Chuck’s forty-year career at


Selected music featured in today’s episode was:

• Theme from A Summer Place — By The Ventures
• Colorado Trail — From Stephen Ives’ The West
• On The Banks of the Old Raritan — By The Rutgers Alma Mater Choir
• Auld Lang Syne — By the Manhattan Strings
• Dream a Little Dream of Me and Jersey Bounce — By Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra
• Get Thee Behind Me Satan — By Harriet Hilliard Nelson
• I Will Follow You — By Ricky Nelson
• The Haunted House Boogie — By Jack Rivers and Happy Wilson


Subscribe to Burning Gotham—the new audio drama set in 1835 New York City. It’s available everywhere you get your podcasts and at


Special thanks to:

The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society

Twelve Chimes, It’s Midnight

The Fireside Mystery Theatre
A special thank you to Ted Davenport and Jerry Haendiges: two radio show collectors who helped supply material for this episode. They’re who the large retailers go to.

Ted’s got a Facebook group –
For Jerry, please visit

I’d also like to thank Walden Hughes and John and Larry Gassman of SPERDVAC –


Thank you to:
Tony Adams
Steven Allmon
Orson Orsen Chandler
Briana Isaac
Thomas M. Joyce
Ryan Kramer
Barry Nadler
Christian Neuhaus
Aimee Pavy


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