The Carnation Contented Hour was a long-running radio music series, sponsored by the Carnation Milk Company, which premiered April 26, 1931 on the regional NBC West Coast network. The full network series began January 4, 1932, on the Blue Network and was broadcast for two decades until its final broadcast on CBS December 30, 1951.
With its opening theme, "Contented," the musical variety show featured Josef Pasternack conducting until he died of a heart attack during a rehearsal. Leroy Shield and other conductors played four-week tryouts until the network settled on Percy Faith and his orchestra.
Performers varied but usually included Buddy Clark, vocalist; Reinhold Schmidt, bass; and Josephine Antoine, soprano. The announcer was Vincent Pelletier. The program's producers were Harry K. Gilman and C. H. Cottington.
Until October 24, 1932, the program featured Gene Arnold and Herman Larson, broadcast over NBC Blue on Mondays at 8pm. Buddy Clark joined the cast on October 31, 1932. From October 2, 1949 until December 30, 1951 it aired Sundays on the Columbia Broadcasting System with Dick Haymes and Jo Stafford co-hosting.
During World War II, the Armed Forces Radio Service obtained rights to rebroadcast the program to military personnel. Recordings were made on 16" electrical transcription discs for playback at 331⁄3 rpm over AFRS. Commercial messages were edited out, and the program was re-titled The Melody Hour.
Ted Dale succeeded Percy Faith as musical director in 1949. Dale brought a dramatic and theatrical quality to the program with energetic, colorful arrangements.
Jay Hickerson's The Ultimate History of Network Radio Programming and Guide to all Circulating Shows indicates the program aired on NBC at 8pm from October 31, 1932, moving to 10pm from November 21, 1932 until September 26, 1949. He reports that there are 43 recorded shows available, 36 bearing dates.
- Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. P. 139.
- Holden, Alfred. "The Streamlined Man," Taddle Creek, December, 2000.
- Hickerson, Jay. The Ultimate History of Network Radio Programming and Guide to all Circulating Shows. Hamden, Connecticut: Hickerson, 1992.