Sunday, June 1, 2014

Howie Wing Gallery

In my last post, I tell how former Northwest Airlines stewardess Helen Jacobson Richardson is key to my discovery of Howie Wing.

To recap, for one year prior to joining Northwest Airlines, Helen flew for United Airlines.

Helen Jacobson at work for United Airlines, 1938-1939

In January, 1939, Kellogg promoted Howie Wing by arranging the first radio broadcast from an airplane.  Here Helen Jacobson is making sure Bill Janney, who played the part of "Howie", sound effects man Alexander Binnie and actor Robert Strauss are comfortable.

Helen's experience set me on a hunt for information about Howie Wing. Who was he? Please note: This will not be  the whole delicious story of Howie Wing and Kathy and Jim Hanmel's discovery of long-lost episodes of Howie Wing, A Saga of Aviation radio shows.  For the whole story, please read Kathy's 3-part report of 2005 and her follow up report in June 2007 in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old Time Radio Club.

"The airplane had greater impact upon our popular culture after the sky battles of WW-I over Europe. The Howie Wing Radio Program was created by Wilfred G. Moore and aired from 1938 to 1939. Wing was a 21-year-old "junior pilot" whose adventures were typical for aviator fiction of the time. He was taught by Captain Harvey, a WW-I ace. Howie's girlfriend was Donna Cavendish. A fellow pilot was Zero Smith, one of the best "tough weather pilots" but cranky, devious, and generally disagreeable, and often suspected of working for the Germans. The villain of the show was Burton York, who posed as an insurance agent to discredit Captain Harvey."

Following is a sampling of tidbits I have enjoyed thanks to the research of Kathy Hammel and her team, who so graciously have shared them with me, and now I share them with you!

When young listeners sent in their two circle K box tops and a nickel, they received the Cadet Aviation Corps handbook, pilot wings and an official membership certificate with their name neatly typed on it. Kathy Hammel

Included in the handbook are these handsome profiles of an "air stewardess" and commercial pilot: Note: click on the pages for easier reading.

Before long other airlines got into the act:

Thank you Kathy for opening up the whole new world (to Lady Skywriter) of old time radio!

l-r Kathy Hammel, Jerry Haendiges, and Kathy's husband  Jim, in Jerry's recording studio
 Jerry digitized and cleaned up the recordings Kathy and Jim found so that they sounded brand new.
 Jerry has a pretty extensive website at

Last but not least, Click here to listen  to episodes of Howie Wing, A Saga of Aviation. Note: I suggest you may find it easier to listen to individual episodes, listed below the collection.

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