Have a question? Need assistance? Use our online form to ask a librarian for help. The Library of Congress has materials related to the Original Amateur Hour in a variety of formats and in several divisions. These materials include recordings of the radio program hosted by Bowes, photographs, administrative materials, contestant applications, and film reels of the television program hosted by Ted Mack. Recordings of the Amateur Hour can be discovered in several ways.
Major Bowes Original Amateur Hour | Variety | Old Time Radio Downloads
Reproduction is prohibited. Talent Contest The amateur talent contest craze was at its height in the s, and Major Bowes stepped in to take advantage of it. At the height of the depression, this popular show made the major a rich man, making two million a year — twice that of Al Jolson , and Jack Benny. Poor folks traveled from all over the country to be on the New York show.
Major Bowes’ “Original Amateur Hour” aired to a national audience – 3-24-1935
After leaving grammar school he worked as an office boy, and then went into the real estate business, until the cataclysmic San Francisco earthquake wiped out his fortune. He then moved to New York City in search of other opportunities, soon realizing that the theatrical world was lucrative, and he worked busily in New York as a musical conductor, composer, and arranger. He became managing director of New York's Capitol Theatre , which he ran with military efficiency.
The Major Bowes Amateur Hour was an American radio talent show broadcast in the s and s, created and hosted by Edward Bowes — Selected performers from the program participated in touring vaudeville performances, under the "Major Bowes" name. The program later transitioned to television under host Ted Mack. The show remained on CBS for the remainder of its run on radio. Bowes sent the more talented contestants on "Major Bowes" vaudeville tours, often with several units roaming the country simultaneously.