Having discussed my impressions of watching an interview with a heretofore unknown (to me) Mary Margaret McBride in my previous post, I felt I needed to learn more about a woman who had been so important in the daily lives of so many people at one time but who is now almost completely forgotten. I was happy to see that there is a fairly recently published biography of her called It’s One O’Clock and Here Is Mary Margaret McBride: A Radio Biography by Susan Ware. I read the book yesterday — the whole thing in one day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I was fascinated by MMM when I watched her on the the Mike Wallace Interview show, and I wanted to find out more about her, so I was happy to see that there was a biography of this woman I knew nothing about — I ordered it on Monday, it arrived on Thursday, and I read it Saturday. And I’m proud to say that I now know a LOT about MMM. That she has drifted into obscurity is a crime. She was a pioneering broadcaster in the 1930s through the 1950s, and she was one of the best-known and most-loved radio personalities of her era. I have a feeling that she WOULD be remembered were it not for the fact that she was a woman whose audience was primarily women (although her show was not a “women’s show”).
I wish I had known her. I also wish I had been able to listen to her daily 45-minute interview show. I’m sure I would have a learned a lot about the world, the arts, and about MMM herself. And, like all of her listeners, I’m sure I would have felt that I was listening to a gentle and soft-spoken friend who would ask her guests all the questions I would want to ask myself. Now I know why Mike Wallace, of all people, spoke to her with such warmth and respect. Every woman now toiling in the broadcast industry owes her a great debt. If only more of them possessed her charm and genuine curiosity.
Susan Ware is interviewed about the book on NPR here.