A Sunny Jim Medallion
WFI Radio (later WFIL)
When WIP Radio came on the air in 1922, Uncle WIP, the children's bedtime story teller, became a huge success. Harry Ehrhart who portrayed Uncle WIP was hired away by Lit Brothers to become THEIR story teller. Obviously, he couldn't be called "Uncle WIP" because he wasn't any longer on WIP, so they gave him a different name, "Dream Daddy."
WIP went out and employed Christopher Graham to replace Harry. To the children, it didn't seem to make any difference. Uncle WIP was just as popular, no matter who portrayed the character.
Strawbridge and Clothier and their station WFI, not to be outdone, took a slightly different approach. They hired women to read bedtime stories to the kiddies, but with little success. In 1924, the employed Jean Hight, a man, to create a new character, Sunny Jim (the kiddies' pal). For awhile, Sunny Jim and Uncle WIP aired at the same time. At other times, Sunny Jim was counterprogrammed at a different and earlier time.
Sunny Jim had a young girl, "Dorothy Abbott" as his assistant. He referred to her as his "little prima donna." She sang and helped tell stories and other things. Not to be outdone by WIP and their "Uncle WIP Kiddie Klub," WFI Started their "Sunny Jim Sunshine Club." The Medallion above was something associated with the radio broadcast.
Early in 1925, Sunny Jim left Philly to go to Hollywood. He wasn't trying to be an actor. Everyone said he was so good with telling stories that he should go into the movies and write scripts. Well, that didn't last long. He came back to the Quaker City but then headed back to the west coast. He ended up on KNX (Los Angeles) telling stories as Sunny Jim to California children.
Jean Hight stayed out on the west coast. KNX became a CBS network O&O and he stayed with the network throughout the years. By the late thirties, he was working production on the Chesterfield broadcasts. In 1953, he took over as the director of the CBS radio series, "Let's Pretend." He joined the network in 1931. Hight also did some announcing and producing for the network before retiring in 1965. The network said the he had worked on over 30,000 CBS broadcasts.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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