Jane King Hall
Broadcast Pioneers member Jane King Hall was born in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, May 4, 1912. But family travels took her to Detroit, New York City, London, Brussels, Rochester and Albany, New York, where at the age of 21 she began her career in broadcasting.
Jane joined WOKO, a 500-watt station at 1440 on the AM dial. There, she did radio commercials for which she was paid $0.50 for a one minute commercial. In the fall of 1933, Jane began appearing twice weekly on a quarter hour dramatic show sponsored by Fels Naphtha soap called “The Newlyweds.” The program aired Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:15 am to 11:30. Jane played Mary Lee, wife of Johnny Lee.
She moved to Hartford, Connecticut and continued acting on WTIC radio. A sidebar, Broadcast Pioneers founding member Ray Green (of WFLN fame) got his start at WTIC the year after Jane left.
In 1937, Jane came to Philadelphia and got started in commercials again. She also did modeling and worked fashion shows and did commentary for those events, at Strawbridge & Clothier and elsewhere.
Jane and her mother, Nell, modeled together at the Wanamaker’s Department Store. After marrying Nobel Hall in 1941 and being a Navy wife and mother during the Second World War, the family moved back to Philadelphia in 1946. Jane got back into broadcasting on Radio and TV commercials.
In 1948 Stan Lee Broza gave Jane her first TV job. It was for an in-store commercial, appearing each week in a different department. Shortly thereafter, she was on Channel 3 with Broadcast Pioneers member Jack Creamer on his “The Handy Man” television broadcast.
In the early 50’s Jane started to work with George Skinner (“Let Skinner Do It”). In the last half hour of the show, George showed cartoons with the Mechanical Man “Mr. Rivets” played by Broadcast Pioneers member Joe Earley. One commercial Jane did was for Robert Hall clothes, and George got a kick out of introducing her as Robert Hall’s mother, which in fact she was (her son’s name is Robert). She also interviews guests and demonstrated cooking hints and recipes. Her daughter, Jane Hall, said that her mother received tons of letters from viewers requesting recipes or cleaning tips.
Jane King Hall was also a spokeswoman for Keebler Cookies. One time she drafted her son Robert to work with her in a commercial. No, not as one of the Keebler Elves, but in the cereal commercials on Ranger Joe’s TV show. Ranger Joe was played by Jesse Rogers, by the way, Sally Starr’s first husband.
Jane has been a member of the American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT) and joined the Broadcast Pioneers in 1965. One of Jane’s favorite memories was working with Broadcast Pioneers member Eloise Danenhower and the SPCA presenting animals on local children’s shows such as Captain Noah, Bill Webber among others during the sixties and seventies
Jane always said that she preferred to ad lib a commercial in her own words instead of working from a script. She felt that she was able to communicate better with the viewers if the words were her own.
Jane King Hall was a member of our Board of Governors (now the Board of Directors) since 1978. On Friday, November 21, 2003, she was inducted into our “Hall of Fame.”
Jane King Hall passed away on Monday, March 21, 2005 at the age of 92. Her husband of 56 years, Nobel died in 1997.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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