Studio D

Dimensions: 57 x 42 x 26.5

Decor: "Tones of brown and gold
Studio D

Studio D was the home of Don McNeill's "Breakfast Club" as long at the Blue Network remained an NBC property. (McNeill went with ABC when it was spun off from the NBC Blue Network in 1942; his show eventually moved to the Civic Theater adjoining the Civic Opera House and ended its run, in 1968, at the Allerton Hotel.)

NBC's long-running "National Farm and Home Hour", hosted by Everett Mitchell ("It's a beautiful day in Chicago!") was another tenant of studio D---as was "Hymns of All Churches", a weekday choral show that General Mills inserted admidst its afternoon block of soaps.

The configuration of studio D's control room allowed the engineering and production staff an unobstructed view of the performers.

Studio D, to my ears, had the best acoustics of all the Merchandise Mart studios---though the recordings I have heard of broadcasts from it all postdate its remodeling following World War II. It had a brighter, more live sound than studio A. This characteristic presented Joseph Gallichio and the NBC-Chicago Orchestra in their best light. If you can find any tapes of the sustaining network show Dave Garroway hosted from studio D on Sunday nightsduring the 1947-1948 season, they're well worth listening to: the Gallichio group (38 strong) was the house band. Weekly featured guests included Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie (imagine bebop on netork radio in 1948!). The "Garroway at Large" television show (1949-1951) was essentially this show translated to the video medium.

In 1966 studio D became the last of the Merchandise Mart studios to be converted to television. NBC in Chicago was thus left without a large radio studio. But the need for such a facility had long since passed. The staff musicians were axed the following year. Television broadcasting in the Mart now concentrated on news. Locally produced entertainment programs were rare.

During studio D's last years, the ceiling skylight became notoriously leaky. This problem was dealt with through the strategic placement of large plastic trash barrels.

Return to the 1930 Studio Tour Guide

Introduction and main index to this site
WMAQ radio history | "Amos 'n' Andy" | "Fibber McGee and Mollie" | "The Breakfast Club"
Dick Kay | Television at the Merchandise Mart | 1970 television facilities tour | Channel 5 turns 20
The "Chicago School" of television | "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" | Dave Garroway | Mary Hartline
"Lights Out" | Sound effects | 1930 studio tour | WLS | "Empire Builders" | Barry Bernson
Floyd Kalber | The Queen of Love and Beauty | "Today's Children" | Staff announcers | Carol Marin
Ron Magers | Studs Terkel l "Chicago Tonight" | Channel 5 News scrapbooks |Roger Miller recalls
Zoo Parade | Clifton and Frayne Utley | Val Press | Len O'Connor | Johnny Erp | Bill Ray | Daddy-O
Experimental Television: 1930-1933 | Bob Deservi | Kermit Slobb | Ding Dong School | Quiz Kids
Bob Lemon | The Korshak Chronicles | KYW: The Chicago Years | WENR | O.B. Hanson | Renzo
Jack Eigen | Ed Grennan | The World's Best Cup of Coffee | Glenn Webster | Mr. Piano | Hawkins Falls
Chicago Television for Kids |
Radio Hall of Fame |The NBC News Night Report: 23 February, 1967
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