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Radio Talent

Artist
Miguel Covarrubias, 22 Nov 1904 - 4 Feb 1957
Copy after
Fortune, founded 1930
Sitter
Fred Allen, 31 May 1894 - 17 Mar 1956
Gracie Allen, 1906 - 1964
Don Ameche, 31 May 1908 - 6 Dec 1993
Kenny Baker, 1912 - 1985
Phil Baker, 1898 - 1963
Jack Benny, 14 Feb 1894 - 26 Dec 1974
Edgar Bergen, 16 Feb 1903 - 30 Sep 1978
Edward Bowes, 14 Jun 1874 - 14 Jun 1946
Fanny Brice, 29 Oct 1891 - 29 May 1951
Bob Burns, 1890 - 1956
George Burns, 20 Jan 1896 - 9 Mar 1996
Charles Butterworth, 1896 - 1946
Cab Calloway, 25 Dec 1907 - 18 Nov 1994
Eddie Cantor, Sept 1892 - 10 Oct 1964
Boake Carter, 1898 - 1944
Bing Crosby, 3 May 1903 - 14 Oct 1977
Milton J. Cross, 1897 - 1975
Jessica Dragonette, 1910? - 1980
Deanna Durbin, 4 Dec 1921 - Apr 2013
Nelson Eddy, 29 Jun 1901 - 6 Mar 1967
Jimmy Fidler, 24 Aug 1900 - 9 Aug 1988
William Claude Fields, 29 Jan 1880 - 25 Dec 1946
Benny Goodman, 30 May 1909 - 13 Jun 1986
Edwin C. Hill, 1884 - 1957
Ted Husing, 1901 - 1962
Al Jolson, 26 May 1886 - 23 Oct 1950
Hugh Samuel Johnson, 5 Aug 1882 - 15 Apr 1942
Andre Kostelanetz, 1901 - 1980
Frances Newbern Langford, 6 Apr 1913 - 11 Jul 2005
Beatrice Lillie, 29 May 1894 - 20 Jan 1989
Mary Livingston, 20th Century
Guy Lombardo, 1902 - 1977
Lily Pons, 12 Apr 1898 - 13 Feb 1976
Jeannette MacDonald, 1901 - 1965
Graham Mcnamee, 1888 - 1942
Jack Oakie, 1903 - 1978
Walter O'Keefe, 1900 - 1983
Al Pearce, 1899 - 1961
Joe Penner, 1904 - 1941
Dick Powell, 1904 - 1963
Tyrone Power, 5 May 1914 - 15 Nov 1958
Martha Raye, 27 Aug 1916 - 19 Aug 1994
Robert L. Ripley, 1893 - 1949
Edward G. Robinson, 12 Dec 1893 - 26 Jan 1973
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 30 Jan 1882 - 12 Apr 1945
Lancelot Patrick Ross, 1906 - 1988
Kate Smith, 1 May 1907 - 17 Jun 1986
Leopold Stokowski, 18 Apr 1882 - 13 Sep 1977
Robert Taylor, 1911 - 1969
John Charles Thomas, 1891 - 1960
Lowell Jackson Thomas, 6 Apr 1892 - Aug 1981
Lawrence Mervil Tibbett, 16 Nov 1896 - 15 Jul 1960
Arturo Toscanini, 25 Mar 1867 - 16 Jan 1957
Rudy Vallee, 28 Jul 1901 - 3 Jul 1986
Alfred Wallenstein, 1898 - ?
Paul Whiteman, 28 Mar 1891 - 29 Dec 1967
Don Wilson, 1900 - 1982
Walter Winchell, 7 Apr 1897 - 20 Feb 1972
Alexander Humphreys Woollcott, 19 Jan 1887 - 23 Jan 1943
Ed Wynn, 9 Nov 1886 - 19 Jun 1966
James Edward Jordan, 16 Nov 1896 - 1 Apr 1988
Marian Jordan, 1898 - 1961
Freeman Fisher Gosden, 5 May 1899 - 10 Dec 1982
Charles Corell, 1890 - 1986
Date
1938
Type
Drawing
Medium
Watercolor on illustration board
Dimensions
Image: 40 × 61.7 cm (15 3/4 × 24 5/16")
Mat (Verified): 56 x 80.1 cm (22 1/16 x 31 9/16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© Time Inc.
Object number
NPG.86.34
Culture
Cab Calloway: American\African American
Beatrice Lillie: Canadian
Arturo Toscanini: European\Italian
Lily Pons: European\French
Leopold Stokowski: European\British\English
Al Jolson: European\Lithuanian
Al Jolson: European\Russian
Exhibition Label
Miguel Covarrubias’s 1938 caricature, Radio Talent, depicted a cloud of popular celebrities who came to fame during the heyday of American radio broadcasting. At the depths of the Depression, radio’s two major networks—NBC and CBS—provided a cultural glue that helped bind the country together in the worst of economic times. Because everyone listened to the same thing, the vast listening audience shared a mainstream culture that was broadcast daily. Programs radiating both high and low forms of entertainment wafted through the airwaves and reached not only big cities but also small towns everywhere. Here, Covarrubias captured the most famous stars "on the air," including Jack Benny, Rudy Vallee, W. C. Fields, Burns and Allen, Kate Smith, Benny Goodman, Arturo Toscanini, and Bing Crosby.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection