Long before The WABC All Americans and the WMCA Good Guys there was Martin Block. He, along with Al Jarvis in Los Angeles, are recognized as radio's first DJ's. Martin's DJ career started by accident in a way. WNEW-AM was covering the 1935 trial of Bruno Hauptmann and asked Block to go into a studio with a stack of records to fill the time during court breaks. That was the start of The Make Believe Ballroom and an almost 20 year reign for Block at WNEW-AM.
While very little recorded material of Block at WNEW-AM can be found there is this one rare clip. This is a live jam session from June of 1940 on Martin's show. It features Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Gene Krupa, Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins and others. The talent all piled into one studio at one time shows the popularity and power Martin Block had.
Cut Time - 13:10
The second cut on this CD features Martin Block closing down the Make Believe Ballroom in 1960 on WABC. Block left WNEW-AM in 1954 to move to WABC. That later made for an odd on air mix in the late 1950's when WABC featured both Martin Block and Alan Freed.
This is an unscoped final quarter hour of The Make Believe Ballroom. Block shares some looks back at some of the superstars of music and shares a look forward as he says "Goodbye."