Googling Wyllis Cooper

Title Googling Wyllis Cooper
Message Text Here is a new batch of Cooper clippings. Some of these are incomplete and undated fragments I found while looking up Cooper on Google Book Search ( ). That particular search engine sometimes provides only part of the text from a book or journal, either a "limited preview" (of pages) or a "snippet view" (of sentences). Very frustrating, but I guess something is better than nothing.

[From "The Story Behind Empire Builders," an article (circa April 1930) in _The Great Northern Goat_, a magazine published by the Great Northern Railway's traffic department.]

... Some of the writers outside of the Great Northern organization, who have prepared continuities for Empire Builders programs, are introduced on these pages. Most of these have spent many years in the territories which were the locales of the programs they wrote, while the others made special trips into the Northwest to acquire the necessary local atmosphere.

Ben Hur Lampman, a recognized nature story author and editorial writer for the Portland Oregonian, was the author of the "Coming of the White Man," a tale of Portland [December 16, 1929] and "Steelhead Fishing," an Oregon nature story [January 1930].

W. O. Cooper, a member of the staff of the McJunkin Advertising Company, who handle the Great Northern's national advertising, prepared Thriller Films Glacier Park story [February 24, 1930], the Armistice Day story [November 11, 1930] and the St. Patrick's Day program [presumably March 17, 1930].

Ruby Bailey Harlowe, a nationally known author of Seattle, Washington, wrote the program that marked the first anniversary of the Cascade Tunnel [January 13, 1930].

Walter Dickson, a fiction writer and author of numerous sketches for KOMO in Seattle, compiled the Denny Hill program and the Oriental romance which was broadcast March 10.

George Redmond, continuity editor of the Chicago studios of NBC, is the author of several of the programs, among them being "Rising Wolf," a story of Glacier Park and the Wenatchee apple program.

H. S. Bokhof, a member of the McJunkin staff, is the author of a musical comedy—burlesque—historical program, featuring the first run of the Wm. Crooks [March 3, 1930] and Minnesota's lakes, which will be broadcast May 5.

Alice Elinor, on the staff of the Hearst papers on the Pacific Coast, wrote the Empire Builder travel story which will be broadcast April 25. ...

[Meanwhile, at -- you can read the complete January 1931 Goat which features a detailed, illustrated article about the Empire Builders series written in the style of a radio script. It reads suspiciously like something Cooper himself might have written or contributed to and includes a small photo (the earliest one I've seen) of W. O. Cooper and his spiffy haircut.]

[From Paul K. Damai's Short Circuits radio column in the November 11, 1933 Hammond (IN) Times. Damai discusses a short-lived 15-minute-long daily show for which Cooper apparently wrote the scripts.]

... WMAQ these nites at 6.15 have an innovation called Fifty-Fifty. Lines are printed in the paper which you read as part of the dialogue. The other characters say theirs from the studio. Everyone, they say, wants to be an actor, and this is supposed to be the golden chance and right in your own home, too. We tried it once and the stuff wasn't so hot but if you have an audience it might be better. We just followed the lines mentally and alone.

But what we wanted to point out in connection with Fifty-Fifty is our own adaptation of the game. Supply your own lines that are missing in the paper. At a party it affords endless fun by taking turns filling in the lines to make a logical (?) story. The story we made out of it one night could not be put in print, or we're afraid, offered on the air! ...

[Now, which Chicago newspaper was printing the daily dialogue? And how are you, pal?]

[From a circa 1941 issue of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company's _Bell Telephone Magazine_]

... A broadcast from the New York Information Center was arranged by the Columbia Broadcasting System during which Captain Wyllis Cooper, Military Commentator for CBS, said:

"This is essentially the same warning and interception system that the British have used in interdicting large sections of their island to enemy bombers. The systems were developed independently and we are adapting British methods to our own use, while we pass on to them whatever we have discovered that they don't already know.

"The difference between our system and the British is this: England has high-quality telephone service, but there are relatively fewer telephones. That means that there are blank spaces that aren't covered by observers.

"That's not the case with us—we can have more observers because we have the finest telephone service and equipment in the world, all concentrated under one company, a company that has been so enthusiastically helpful in cooperating with the Army that it can be said with assurance that it couldn't have been done without the telephone company. They have developed special equipment; their engineers have worked with the Army over long periods; they have designed and built information centers and lent their experts to teach people how to run them; they have done, are doing, a magnificent job. ..."

[Well, it was a pretty good commentary until it turned into a commercial for the phone company.]

[Cooper's entry in the 1941 _Who's Who in America_. It includes a line about the number of scripts Cooper had written to date that I don't remember reading elsewhere.]

COOPER, Wyllis ..., Radio writer; b. Pekin, Ill., Jan. 26, 1899, s. Charles E. and Margaret L. (Oswald) C.; grad. Pekin High Sch., 1916; m. Emily Beveridge, Sept. 14, 1929. Advertising writer, 1919-29; radio writer and dir. since 1929; also motion picture writer, 1936-39; continuity editor Columbia Broadcasting System, Central Div., 1930-32, Nat. Broadcasting Co., Central Div., 1933-36. [sic] Originated radio dramatic series "Lights Out," 1933, [sic] and wrote and directed it to 1936; also author of "Empire Builders," 1929-30, [sic] "Immortal Dramas," 1934 [sic], "Hollywood Hotel," 1938-39 [sic]; has written about 4500 radio plays ("about 200 or 250 of these have really been pretty good," he says); now writing a series "Good Neighbors" for the S. Am. broadcast of Nat. Broadcasting Co. Served as sergt. U.S. Cav., on Mexican border, 1916; in infantry and Signal Corps, 1917-19 (overseas, 1918-1919; in 4 major offensives; wounded once); capt. 131st Inf., Ill. Nat. Guard, 1923-27; capt., Cav. Reserve, 1928-33. Democrat. Mason. Home: 242 E. 72d St., New York, NY References: TM [Time Magazine], June 2, 1941. p. 62; Variety Radio Directory, 1940.

[First part of a 1941 article in something called _Brazil_, presumably published by the American-Brazilian Association]


"Good Neighbors," the National Broadcasting Program, Dramatizes Brazil and other Latin American Nations for the Radio Network Audience of the United States.

EVERY Thursday night the coast-to-coast NBC Red Network dramatizes the historical background and the present progress of a Latin American republic to the radio millions of the United States. "Good Neighbors" is a program dedicated to the Good Neighbor Policy and Inter-American understanding.

The sixth "Good Neighbors" program, June 26, was devoted to Brazil. The script was written by Wyllis Cooper. Charles Schenck staged the production. Dr. Frank Black, who has collected a library of Latin American music for the series, was music director. "Good Neighbors" is under the personal supervision of Sidney Strotz, NBC Vice President in Charge of Programs, and of John Royal, Vice President in Charge of the International Division.

Musical theme of the program was the NBC Concert Orchestra's interpretation of Carlos Gomes' "O Guarany." A feature of the program was the dramatic device of cutting in voices with pithy facts about Brazil:

VOICES: I know a lot about Brazil.

ANNOUNCER (MILTON CROSS): What? Who are you?

VOICES: I'm Everybody.

CROSS: Oh, you are, eh? Well, what do you know about Brazil?

VOICES: I know that Brazil's the largest country in South America.

VOICE 1: Yes, but Everybody doesn't know that Brazil's the largest country in all the Americas, and the sixth largest in the world.

CROSS: And what else does everybody know about Brazil?

VOICES: Coffee comes from Brazil.

VOICE 2: But Everybody doesn't know that diamonds come from Brazil--and rubber and cotton and cocoa and wax and hardwoods.

VOICES: Rio de Janeiro is the principal city of Brazil.

VOICE 3: But Everybody doesn't know that there are four communities in Brazil called Philadelphia; six named New York; 28 Californias; one Washington -- yes, and a Brooklyn!

VOICES: The Amazon River is the largest river in the world.

VOICE 4: Does Everybody know that the mouth of the Amazon is 180 miles wide? And that transatlantic ships navigate over 1000 miles up the Amazon— far beyond the city of Manaos?

CROSS: I guess Everybody doesn't know all there is to know about Brazil.

Romantic Dramatizations

Narrators told of Vincente Yanez Pinzon, one of the companions of Columbus, credited with first seeing the (Continued on page 24) ...

[Photo caption 1: "GOOD NEIGHBORS" CREATIVE STAFF -- Left, Charles Schenck, who directs production of the program; Center, Dr. Frank Black, director of the NBC Concert Orchestra -- and Right, Wyllis Cooper, who writes the scripts.]

[Photo caption 2: NBC STUDIO from which "Good Neighbors" is broadcast to millions of listeners in the United States.]

[From a column in _Film News_ by Educational Film Library Association, probably dated circa 1944 or '45.]


_It's All Yours_, a two-reeler for Pocket Books, Inc. on the value of reading, for distribution among high school groups. The production was supervised by Wyllis Cooper of Compton Advertising, Inc, and directed by Howard Styles of Willard Pictures.

[From circa "the early 1950s," here is part of a piece in a journal called _The Canadian Forum_ which quotes from a journal called _The Wisconsin Idea_.]

... [S]omeone sent me a copy of _The Wisconsin Idea_, a magazine of the University of Wisconsin. In the course of an article on the University's own radio station, the magazine has many nice things to say about the CBC, including: "... a truly mature medium of expression," "... a truly artistic national radio," and two paragraphs which I will quote in full:

"It is just this tenacity not to abandon cultural standards that has driven Canadians to develop their radio in terms of true artistry, directly in the teeth of American overtures. This singleness of purpose has produced radio playwrights who have outwritten America's best. Only people like Norman Corwin, an extremely agile propagandist; Wyllis Cooper, a creatively original pioneer; Jim Mosher, [sic] the "Dragnet" scripter; certain poets on an occasional fling; and tape-script men, can compare with Canada's top writers. This situation does not exist simply because the Canadians have something to say and Americans have not.

"The situation exists because Canadian writers get a chance to say things--American authors do not. It simmers down to an essential difference--which creates an essential chasm between American and Canadian radio--the CBC has guts."

That this has been true in the past is unquestionable; that those guts are at present turning to water seems just as unquestionable. ...

[From _The Television Program: Its Direction and Production_ by Edward Stasheff and Rudy Bretz. This is the updated 1962 edition of a book which seems to have been first published in the '50s.]

... In discussing the various methods of directing, a word should be said about a technique developed many years ago at CBS by Wyllis Cooper and now in very common use. Under this system, the director runs all his rehearsals from the studio floor instead of the control room. With only one monitor before him on which he can see the program line, he places himself in a strategic location, almost among the cameras, and works out his camera shots from there. Switching instructions are given to the T.D. [technical director] in the control room; the audio engineer is also on headphones; and the assistant director is usually in the control room to keep his timing records and production notes on the script. It is only when the program goes into the first complete run-through that the director goes into the control room. This has the very real advantage of allowing the director to work very intimately with the cameramen as well as the actors; their every problem is immediately evident to him, and he always keeps a clear picture in his mind of where the cameras are positioned. ...
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Submission Date May 08, 2007