The Texas Company--better known as Texaco--was a prolific sponsor of Radio throughout the Golden Age of Radio. From the earliest days of broadcast Radio, Texaco produced and sponsored all manner of highly popular Radio programs:
1932 The Fire-Chief Program
1935 The Jumbo Fire-Chief Program
1936 The Fire-Chief Concert
1936 Texaco Town
1938-1949 Texaco Star Theatre
1939 The Ken Murray Show
1940-2004 The Metropolitan Opera
1941 The Treasury Hour -- Millions For Defense
1942 The Jane Froman Show
1942 The Texaco Star Theater Summer Show
1943 The James Melton Show
1946 The Eddie Bracken Show
1948 The Gordon MacRae Show
1948 The Milton Berle Show
Two of it's longest running programs were Texaco Star Theatre and The Metropolitan Opera. Texaco Star Theatre introduced some of Radio and Television's most durable stars to a national audience, such as Jimmy Durante, Fred Allen, Ed Wynn, Ken Murray, Eddie Cantor, Jane Froman, Jane Pickens, James Melton, Eddie Bracken, Gordon MacCrae, Tony Martin and Milton Berle.
Texaco mounted some of the finest popular programming ever heard over Radio, never stinting on production costs--or talent. Often employing Texaco's own orchestras and singing groups, Texaco's branding of both their productions and talent set the standard for many of the more well-heeled sponsors of the era.
Texaco was an oil company, first and foremost. From the very beginning of its sponsorship of Radio programming, Texaco pitched its entire line of petroleum based products and services. Its primary pitch from the earliest days was its production of gasoline derivatives set apart by meeting standards set by the United States Government for emergency vehicles and aircraft. Its Fire-Chief brand of gasoline, as well as its Sky-Chief, higher-octane gasoline were both based on the emergency vehicles and standards concept. Texaco touted the fact that an alleged 'majority' of Fire Departments across the nation employed Texaco's Fire-Chief gasoline almost exclusively, due to Texaco meeting and exceeding the aforementioned government standards. A Fire Chief's helmet and fire trucks were prominently featured in most of Texaco's print advertising of the era.
Texaco Marfak services ad promoting its 1941
Treasury Hour -- Millions For Defense over CBS
Texaco was also one of the first petroleum sponsors to aggressively promote their automotive services and ancillary products right along with their gas and oil products. As one of the very first petroleum companies to market their products in--then--all forty-eight states, Texaco had a powerful incentive to mount a national advertising program through every medium available. Texaco acquired its Havoline brand of oil products through its acquisition of the Indian Oil Company in 1931. It began the promotion of its Fire-Chief brand of gasoline in 1934--and its Sky-Chief brand in 1938. An automotive services innovator, Texaco commissioned noted industrial designer Walter Teague to design a modern service station building that could be standardized and replicated throughout the nation.
Walter Teague-designed Texaco Service Station circa 1940
Teague's 1937 design was a model of innovation and utility that soon became mimicked by competing service stations throughout the world. Featuring rounded building corners, porcelin covered tile panels for the walls, up to four service bays for mechanical services, Marfak lubrication, tire repairs, and washing, the stations were a model of utility, space-optimization and streamlined design. Teague's design was also the first to incorporate both men's and women's restrooms into the design, along with large plate glass windows overlooking the gas pump area and encasing an office for the service manager or owner. The large plate glass window afforded an opportunity to prominently display--and promote--tires, batteries and accessories [T.B.A.].
Notes on Provenances:
The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.
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[Date, title, and episode column annotations in red refer to either details we have yet to fully provenance or other unverifiable information as of this writing. Red highlights in the text of the 'Notes' columns refer to information upon which we relied in citing dates, date or time changes, or titles.]