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Capitol Records salutes CJAT, 1958

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

On Sept. 29, 1958, CJAT Trail opened a new studio in the former post office at 1300 Cedar Ave. They also marked their 25th anniversary as a commercial station (they first went on air on Christmas Day 1931 as an amateur station known as 10AT). To commemorate the occasion, several Capitol Records artists and others recorded greetings to air on the station between music and commercials.

CJAT broadcast centre, 1958 (Greg Nesteroff collection)

Ken Hughes, who worked at CJAT, kept a copy of the tape and donated it to the BC Archives in 1986. I’m pleased to present it here with permission from them and CJAT (now EZ Rock).

The celebrities involved were all reading off the same scripts and probably had no clue where Trail was but it’s still neat to hear them utter CJAT and Trail. The two greetings from non-celebrities are actually a lot more interesting. Photos and mini biographies below are gleaned (stolen?) for the most part from Wikipedia.

Nelson Riddle

Arranger, composer, bandleader, whose career stretched from the late 1940s to the mid-1980s. He worked for Capitol Records with such vocalists as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, and Rosemary Clooney.

Tennessee Ernie Ford

Recording artist and television host who enjoyed success in country and western, pop, and gospel music. Noted for his rich bass-baritone voice and remembered for his recordings of The Shotgun Boogie and Sixteen Tons. He hosted The Ford Show on NBC-TV from 1956 to 1961.

Gene Vincent

Member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and posthumously the first inductee into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. Known for his 1956 hit Be-Bop-A-Lula. He died at age 36 of a ruptured stomach ulcer.

June Christy

Jazz singer whose success began with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. She recorded two dozen albums for Capitol between 1947 and 1965 and performed frequently on TV in the 1950s and ‘60s before semi-retiring from the music business.

Marilyn King

Member of the King Sisters, a big band-era group consisting of six sisters. They were popular in the 1930s and ‘40s and then began hosting The King Family Show on ABC TV in 1965. Marilyn, who died in 2013, was the last surviving sister.

Sylvia Sims

Jazz/cabaret singer and actress who was a protege of Billie Holiday. Her recording of I Could Have Danced All Night in 1956 sold over a million copies. Collaborated on an album with Frank Sinatra. Continued to perform after having a lung removed.

4WK in Warwick, Queensland, Australia

4WK was established in 1935 and like CJAT, it’s still on the air. Unlike CJAT, they’re still doing a buy, swap, and sell program.

Dennis Sweeting

Former CJAT announcer, then of Canadian Players in Stratford, Ont., and later an administrator for the Association of Canadian Radio and Television Artists. The Internet Movie Database credits him with 13 roles between 1966 and 1995, including Street Legal and Quentin Durgens, MP. He was also an organizer for the Actors’ Equity Association and had amazing eyebrows. There’s a great photo of him here.

Julie Andrews

At just ten seconds, this is the shortest greeting and has the worst sound quality. But she’s by far the biggest name on the tape and, thanks to Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, probably the only one kids today would recognize. She’s also the only person on this list who’s still alive.

Announcer Ralph Milton in the control room during the official opening of the CJAT Radio Centre, Sept. 29, 1958. (Greg Nesteroff collection)

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