Tying the knot on TV
My favorite radio memory—and my favorite TV memory, too—is of a great old 1940s programs called Bride and Groom, which featured actual weddings of young couples from all over the country. The 15-minute show aired each weekday morning, sandwiched between popular soap operas. It debuted in 1945 and rode the radio airwaves until moving to national TV in 1951. The show ran on CBS until ’53 before jumping to NBC for a single season in ’54.
The 1950s televised Bride and Groom stuck more or less to the same format as the 1940s radio version. The show’s host, John Nelson, would briefly interview the couple, asking them about how they met and their plans for the future. After a commercial break, singer and sidekick Phil Hanna would croon a love song as the couple rushed off to a small chapel for the ceremony. When the vows had been exchanged and the bride had been kissed, Nelson presented the grinning newlyweds with a variety of household gifts and sent them off on an all-expenses-paid honeymoon.
Little did I suspect, as I listened to the show in the 1940s, that I would one day in the 1950s I would tie the knot as TV viewers watched. On June 25, 1954, Marlene Tuller—like me, a lifelong resident of Columbus, Ohio—married me on Bride and Groom, broadcast live on NBC Television.
By Robert W. Hatton
I met a girl in drama class at Pomona High School in California. It was 1941, and her name was Genevieve. We were in several plays together, and before long we became a couple. After high school the draft caught up with me, and I spent 2½ years serving with the infantry in Europe. Genevieve waited for me, and when I came home I asked her to marry me. She said yes.
We were married on the Bride and Groom radio program on May 2, 1947. The show was broadcast live from the Chapman Park Hotel in Los Angeles. The host, John Nelson, interviewed us on the air before hurrying us off to a chapel in another part of the hotel to be married. During our 10-minute ceremony, Nelson chatted with football star Tom Harmon and his wife, movie actress Elyse Knox, who set the scene and described Genevieve’s wedding gown.
When we came back to the microphone, Nelson presented us with a new stove, a set of luggage, a camera and a photo album filled with shots of the show and our wedding.
Then he told us we were going off by limousine to Los Angeles International Airport and flying to San Diego for a weeklong honeymoon at the Hotel Del Coronado.
Since our Bride and Groom send-off, we’ve added three children, six grandkids and four great-grandkids to our family. And this year we’ll celebrate our 65th wedding anniversary!
By Earl Ranney