Forty-two years ago, December 27, 1968, "The Breakfast Club" signed off ABC Radio for the last time after airing for more than thirty-five years.
Don McNeill hosted the program, which originated from Chicago, the entire thirty five and half years. The show began at 8:00 a.m. It consisted of music, talk, jokes, "a get-together time for all of us who smile before breakfast and then can't break the habit all day long -- a place to come to when a feller needs a friend" and audience participation.
Regular guests were Fran Allison, as Aunt Fanny, pictured here with Don McNeill, Jim and Marion Jordan before they became famous as Fibber McGee and Molly and Johnny
Mom was a loyal KMA morning listener, but we listened to "The Breakfast Club" often enough for me to remember it. And what I mostly remember is the sponsor, Cream of Wheat and the "Call to Breakfast" every quarter hour. That was when we were supposed to "March Around the Breakfast Table".
I think the reason I remember marching around the breakfast table has to do with getting my little brother to do it with us. He was so darn cute. The Cream of Wheat commercials always made me think I wanted Cream of Wheat for breakfast, but I actually preferred the taste of Malt-O-Meal or even regular oatmeal. Cream of Wheat was rather bland.
For one year, February, 1954 to February 1955, The Breakfast Club was simulcast on ABC Radio and Television. During the last few months it was on in 1968, it was known as "The Don McNeill Show".
Iowa born Fran Allison had her own television show, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, which I also remember watching with my little brother.