This is an extremely rare recording of the Little Miss Bab-O program in 1934… From the New York Times that year… “UNDOUBTEDLY the most successful child star in radio today is Mary Small, the singing star on Little Miss Bab-O. Mary is thirteen years old. Her father is in the shirt business in Baltimore where Mary began her radio work…. Today she earns over $400 a week…. That gives you the bright side of the radio picture for children…
Collectible Matchbooks of Radio Stars from the 1930’s
A surprise find on a random Google images search brings up these promotional matchbooks distributed by NBC in the late 1930’s. This is the second one (from 1938) I’ve found. A handful of stable stars were selected to appear on these and they probably lit a lot of cigarettes in the day.
The matchbook cover reads:
Sixteen year old singing star who astounded listeners when she appeared as a guest star with Rudy Vallee five years ago. Despite her youth, Mary is quite at home in front of a microphone. Can learn a song in five minutes, and adopts it to her own style. She was born in Baltimore on May 13* and has been singing since she celebrated her fifth birthday.
*Mary’s birthday is listed as May 10th on IMDB and May 13th in a Press Release on her 13th Birthday.
The matchbooks were made by the Diamond Match Company which you can read more about here.
FAN LETTER RESPONSE – 1936
These types of fan letters typically had to be typed up in 1936. As much as it resembles a form letter, it still strikes me as possibly more sincere or thoughtful than say… an auto-generated twitter reply? I wonder if any stars still respond in this manner or if it has gone the way of a letter.
Mary’s bio from Playbill: Little Me – Opening Night at Eugene O’Neil Theatre – 1982
This did not have a very good run, but what the hell, they can’t always be winners right? From IBDB:
Eugene O’Neill Theatre
First Preview: Dec 26, 1981
Total Previews: 30
Opening Date:Jan 21, 1982
Closing Date:Feb 21, 1982
Total Performances:36 Musical, Comedy, Revival, BroadwaySetting: Southampton, 1962 (present). Venezuela, Illinois, Chicago, Somewhere in France, On the North Atlantic, Hollywood, Monte Carlo, and A Principality in Middle Europe past).
MARY SPEAKS OUT AGAINST HER SUITORS!
Here’s one of a few articles Mary wrote by herself and that was published in columns like this from the Pittsburgh Press in 1935. Because television was not widespread and Mary’s voice was so mature, rumors flew as to her true age. NBC even went so far as to publicize her 13th birthday but still much of the public refused to believe she was that young. I think the same thing happened when people first listed to the Jackie Evancho Youtube clips. Well she was indeed 13, but some people will always need to see a birth certificate I guess! The odd thing was, many men sent engagement proposals to the radio station addressed to Mary, making it flattering and awkward at the same time.