(Left to right - standing) Bernie Rich, Joey Forman, Fred Bonaparte and Eddie Fisher. Sitting at the piano are Skipper Dawes and an unidentified girl.
In the forties and fifties, Skipper Dawes was a main stay at WFIL Radio. He was featured on many programs including "The Magic Lady." That show (shown in the picture on the left) started out as a radio broadcast and then expanded to WFIL-TV. Channel 6 in Philadelphia.
Broadcast Pioneers member Charlie Higgins said that the actress portraying the Magic Lady was Charlotte Kagan (who used the name Charlotte Dennis at that time). She passed away in the early years of the beginning of the 21st century, at the age of 83. She was a professional actress and "...wore a blue satin dress and carried a magic wand. She later was an advertising copywriter in New York, where she died of lung cancer," stated Higgins.
Joey Forman later went on to be a sidekick of Mickey Rooney.
Dr. Allen Joel Harris of Burlington, Massachusetts, a visitor to our website, sent us the above photo, which has been dated as 1946 or 47. He e-mailed us:
I just saw your web site and it brought back a lot of memories, as I grew up in Philadelphia. Attached is a publicity picture from the Magic Lady Supper Club. Also attached is the reverse side with autographs of Magic Lady, Eddie Fisher, Joey Foreman, Napoleon, and Coughdrop. I went to a show with my sister who was more of a fan than I was. I also went to Ed McMahon's morning show in the WCAU studio in Center City. I went to a radio quiz show "Dollars or Donuts" at the Clic Club, "Bill Campbell's Sports Clinic," and Red Benson's late night talk show in the WPEN studio. Before Red Benson, I listened to Frank Ford.
In 1950 I saw demonstrations of CBS non-compatible semi-mechanical color television with the color wheel. The color fidelity was very good - much better than the RCA color which came out (later).... These demos were on a building on either Chestnut or Walnut Street on the east of Broad Street.
My father, Manuel Harris, was a telegraph operator in the 1920's and 1930's and worked for Postal Telegram and the Philadelphia Evening Ledger. He did play by play on the telegraph of all of the Philadelphia Athletics home games which were then sent to other cities so that the game could be recreated. When the crowd was making a lot of noise, my father would transmit the Morse Code for GXP which was Phillips Code for Great Excitement Prevailed. The person in the other city recreating the game would then turn on the crowd record. He also did Army-Navy games and political conventions.
The Magic Lady Supper Club was a fifteen-minute broadcast originally airing three times a week in the early forties. By the end of World War II, the show was being aired Monday through Friday at 6 pm and was sponsored by the Lit Brothers Department Store.
The "regulars" on the program would sing a song or two, and then the Magic Lady, Charlotte Dennis, would appear. Everyone was transported to the "mysterious kingdom of Natar" or "Tip Top Mountain." There, the cast would barely survive some sort of danger and then, shortly before the broadcast would end, they would find themselves in an even more dangerous situation.
It was a radio cliff-hanger just for children and was one of the most popular programs of that era in the Philadelphia area. Eddie Fisher's character was called Boney, and two of his friends, Joey Foreman and Bernie Rich were also on the program. They played Slick and Cough Drop. Skipper Dawes wrote all the scripts and he was the Educational Director for the WFIL Stations. He even traveled to area schools to audition students. None of the youngsters on the program were paid. However, Eddie Fisher tells the story that when Skipper Dawes found out that Eddie was walking several miles each way to get to the studio, he gave him daily, two PTC (Philadelphia Transportation Company) tokens.
Broadcast Pioneers member Allen Stone (later an icon for his Famous 56 newscasts) is pictured in the right side of this 1947 photograph.
Allen was an announcer at WFIL Radio at the time this picture was snapped. This studio was in the Widener Building in Center City Philadelphia.
Broadcast Pioneers member Allen Stone e-mails:
...though I can't be sure, this appears to be a picture of The Magic Lady Supper Club, a childrens' program aired at 6 pm each evening. I was the announcer. The dark-haired young man in the background could be Eddie Fisher. In the foreground, looking from left to right, it's possible that the first young man is Joey Forman with Bernie Rich (Coughdrop) in the center, and I don't recognize the young lady or the young man behind her. I must emphasize that I could be wrong about these identifications.
Jean Hickey, a visitor to our website, e-mailed that there was a Magic Lady doll which wore a blue gown. Ruth Brodsky, also a visitor to our site e-mailed: My son, Stuart, was on the show, playing the part of "Hickey," circa 1948 - 1954.
In 1953, the program was still sponsored by Lit Brothers, "a Great Store in a Great City." At that time, they had two locations; 8th and Market Streets in Center City Philadelphia and 69th Street near Market Streets in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philly.
The picture is from a publicity handout which says: Listen to the Magic Lady Supper Club on WFIL (radio) every Monday through Friday, 6:00 to 6:15 pm. See the Magic Lady Program on Television every Friday from 6:00 to 6:15 pm on WFIL-TV on Channel 6.
Friday's show was simulcast on radio & TV.
(Left to right - standing) Patsy Grady, Martha Ryder, Skipper Dawes, Joan Breen & Grandma played by Janie Overington. In the chair was "The Magic Lady" with the girl seated to her left being Maureen Grady (Jellybean). To the Magic Lady's right was Hickey played by Stuart Brodsky.
Hickey was portrayed by Stuart Brodsky, who later a became a doctor. The character "Hickey" was so named because he hiccupped when he talked. Stu Brodsky e-mailed that Jellybean, Maureen Grady was Patsy's younger sister. A sidebar, Patsy, Martha and Joan sang as a trio on the broadcast, calling themselves, "The Three Sharps."
Stu also said: "If I remember correctly, Skipper Dawes' first name was Edmond. Napoleon (Nappy) was played by Fred Bonaparte. Good guy and terrific pianist. ... Another point of interest: we had, on occasion, a young announcer (charcoal gray suit, pink shirt, black necktie (uniform of the day back then), who did our station breaks ("this is WFIL AM and FM in Philadelphia"). Guy's name was Dick Clark." Brodsky also said that " the villain on the show was Nasha Nausea, played by none other than Bernie Rich (Coughdrop)."
Stuart's mother Ruth writes: "I don't know what happened to the others but his first day on the set he met Eddie Fisher who was leaving the show that same day. It was quite a thrill for him." Brodsky appeared on the broadcast from 1948 until 1954.
Stuart hailed from Dresher, Pennsylvania and was a Commander in the United States Navy. He was awarded a Navy Commendation Medal for meritorious service in Saudi Arabia during "Desert Shield" and "Desert Storm I." Stuart Brosky was a 1963 graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and is Chief of Surgery at the U.S. Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton, California.
Dr. Stuart Brodsky was department head of general surgery at the Naval Hospital in Camp Pendleton. While in Saudi Arabia, he led a 200 person company and set up field hospitals at Manifa Bay and Ras al Mishab.
Marine Brig. General B. D. Lynch of Camp Pendleton said, "Commander Brodsky's exceptional professional ability, outstanding initiative and loyal dedication to duty through reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service."
Stuart Brodsky is no longer in the United States Navy.
Janine Goldsmith, a visitor to our website e-mailed:
I am a collector of American Character dolls and a few years ago was able to acquire a Magic Lady doll for my collection. At the time, this doll was the first I had ever seen of this kind so I had no more information about her or, indeed, what a Magic Lady was supposed to be. Just recently, I was able to acquire a mint-in-box Magic Lady Supper Club doll. On the end of the box, there was information saying that the doll represented the Magic Lady from WFIL's Magic Lady Supper Club. The doll was produced by the American Character Doll Company for the Lit Brothers Department store. This is only the second of this particular doll that I have ever seen and I have collected dolls for well over twenty years.
Magic Lady Doll
Ad for the the program
Claire Ernsberger, a visitor to our website, e-mailed:
I am the owner of a magic lady doll. She is similar to the one in your article, but longer and has more mature features. She has all her original clothing, but her wand is now missing. As a little girl, hers was my favorite radio show.
Fred Bonaparte, a visitor to our website, e-mailed:
My name is Fred Bonaparte and I played the part of "Napoleon" on the Magic Lady radio and TV programs in the nineteen 40's. After leaving the cast, I served as a pianist with the First Air Force Band at Mitchell Field, Hempstead, Long Island. I attended Hofstra College after my discharge. Returning to Philadelphia, I was employed as a new car salesman and then as an advertising salesman for The Philadelphia Tribune, a local newspaper.
Moving to the editorial department, I was promoted to City Editor, a position I held 10 years. My next move was to the Evening and Sunday Bulletin, which was the largest Philadelphia newspaper at that time. Before the newspaper folded, 17 years later, I had advanced to the position of advertising manager of the rotogravure magazine, the first African American in the country to hold that responsibility on a major newspaper staff.
After three and a half years at a major insurance company, where I was the ranked number 12 among new agents, I went to work for the Bose Corporation, world innovator in sound. I retired as a Sr. Sales Manager in 1998 and I now live in Stone Mountain, GA. I speak to Eddie Fisher every now and then, but I've lost track of the rest of the cast. I do know that Joey Forman died several years ago.
Bruce Reeves, a visitor to our website e-mailed:
The reason I saw your website is because the damn "Magic Lady Supper Club" theme song has been running through my head, and I thought I'd check the net to see if it was mentioned. I can still sing some of the theme song: We're ...calling... Everyone to come and join the fun, because the music's on the air; everyone's excited, everyone's invited, boys and girls from everywhere. So come and listen in dah dah dah dah, the Magic Lady Supper Club todaaaay."
Judy Davidson, a visitor to our website, e-mailed:
I was born in 1942 in Mount Holly, Burlington County, New Jersey, and I vividly remember visiting her (The Magic Lady) and Uncle Wip each Christmas at Lit Brothers Department Store in Philadelphia. (Actually, it was Gimbel Brothers).
I still see girlfriends I grew up with, including kindergarten through high school, and no one else seems to share my memories about these two characters. I remember listening to them on the radio and watching each evening on TV. Thank you for validating my memories!!
I remember my Dad bought our first TV in 1953, because he allowed me to stay at home all day to witness the coronation of Queen Elizabeth that year, the same year the Magic Lady Supper Club was first simulcast. He
said it was a "once in a lifetime" event, and I should witness it. I'm not sure which station broadcast it or whether all three did, but I'm so glad Dad had that foresight.
Stanley Gornish, a visitor to our website, e-mailed:
One of my earliest memories was of my mother taking me on her shopping trip to Lit Brothers. I remember the bell that used to sound every minute or so in that store and I wondered what that was about. I remember my father picking us up on the corner of Market Street outside of Lit Brothers where I heard "The Magic Lady Show" on the car radio. I distinctly remember Eddie Fisher singing, "Oh Magic Lady, You're A Friend of Mine."
I remember how impressed I was, even as a little kid of maybe 3 or 4 years old, hearing Eddie Fisher's voice. It was so powerful and beautiful. Just a handful of years later, I remember the girls in class singing "Oh My Papa" over and over. For those of us in our mid and late 60's, Eddie Fisher was an icon in our lives. He had a gifted voice, and had so much else going for him....
Elaine Hannon, a visitor to our website, e-mailed:
I have this doll but her gown is missing. I was given her for Christmas in the late 40s. The picture will help me to get a new dress made as my doll is in mint condition with crown. My mother took me to see the Magic Lady at Lits and I was so in awe I could not talk to her. Some years later I bought my wedding gown at Lits.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Top photo and autographs originally donated by Allen Joel Harris
Picture with Allen Stone originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Jane Felix
1953 snapshot originally donated by Ruth Brodsky, mother of Stuart Brodsky who played Hickey
Photos of doll and box originally donated by Janine Goldsmith
Text researched and compiled by Broadcast Pioneers historian Gerry Wilkinson
© 2000, 2010 & 2011, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
All Rights Reserved
The e-mail address of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia is firstname.lastname@example.org