January 20, 2011 in City

Jim Kershner’s This day in history

By Correspondent

From our archives, 75 years ago

Spokane was overcome with excitement over “The Major Bowes Amateur Hour,” the most popular show on radio and the 1936 equivalent of “American Idol.”

Young Spokane soprano Catherine Green was one of the amateur contestants on the New York broadcast and she was a big hit – at least in her hometown. Spokane telephone exchanges were jammed with 26,181 phone calls to the show – nearly all casting votes for the young soprano.

The show that night was “dedicated to Spokane.” Major Bowes extolled the city’s gardens and industries while introducing young Miss Green. The only note of disappointment came when the three other Spokane contestants – two singers and a violinist – failed to make the broadcast. Bowes said they “may appear in a later program.”

A large contingent of Spokane residents attended the New York broadcast, including Louis M. Davenport and his wife, along with Eleanor Shaw, Spokesman-Review correspondent.

Shaw reported that Miss Green sang “The Bell Song” from “Lakme” so well that she “made a genuine impression.”

There was no immediate word on how Miss Green fared in the overall voting.

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