Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mac and Slim- The Windy City Part 2; Back to NY


Here's one for the Guinness Book of Records: First live performance from an airplane!

Yes, Mac and Slim were there. Here's the promo photo for the event from WLS. Mac and Slim are in their checkered shirts Slim is seated and Mac is behind him. Jack Dunnigan is on right with guitar. Also on the flight was future country star Red Foley (standing with guitar on left).

On opening night of the Chicago World's Fair in 1933, Clayton McMichen and his Georgia Wildcats broadcast a segment of the WLS "Barn Dance" from an airplane circling Chicago. A Century of Progress International Exposition was the name of a World's Fair held in Chicago, Illinois from 1933 to 1934 to celebrate the city's centennial which opened on May 27, 1933.

"We were the first musical group to play from an airplane," explained Slim. "We played and so did Red Foley. It was broadcast down to the stage on the Eighth Street Theater."

"In the Fall of 1933," said Bryant, "the fairs were closing down and the bookings at WLS had dried up so we (Georgia Wildcats) headed for NY landing a job at WGY in Schenectady. Jack Dunnigan and I think Bert Layne stayed on in Chicago for a while, I was offered a job at WLS but I went to NY with Mac."

In 1926, WGY became an early affiliate of the NBC Red Network, and after the split of the sister NBC Blue network into today's ABC Radio, WGY remained with NBC radio until it folded in 1989.

"We stayed at WGY through the winter and then we went to the Village Barn in NY," said Slim. "We were guests a few times on what they called the 'Yankee' radio network (WMCA)." "Dick Powell was the MC in NYC," remembered Juanita, "and Alice Faye was a showgirl trying to make it. Dad said NY was was too tough with a family; cost too much to live."

The Georgia Wildcats headed back south; to the city that would eventually become their home: Louisville.

More to come,


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