JOHN JENSEN TALKS
HOLLYWOOD AND THE HOME FRONT
Tinsel Town’s Contribution to World War II
During World War II, the War Department realized the importance of not only keeping up the morale of America’s fighting forces abroad, but the morale of those at home. Experience the still powerful images, radio and film that emerged from this dramatic time in American history.
2016 - 2018 SPEAKER
A former San Francisco broadcaster, John Jensen has been an avid student and collector of music, movies, and radio broadcasts of the 1930s and 40s. Early fascination led to eventual employment and later general manager of a Bay Area radio station devoted to playing the music and radio broadcasts of those years (KMPXRadio.com). He produced a world-wide radio broadcast honoring the US Navy’s 200th Anniversary, starring, in person, Bing Crosby, Mel Blanc, and other radio stars from the 1940s.
In 1992, he directed the broadcast of the 50th Anniversary Salute to Armed Forces Radio, heard world-wide over AFRTS. As an audio historian, he has provided research and assorted media to filmmakers, such as Frances Ford Coppola, George Lucas and Jack Haley, Jr.
He recently retired after 25 years as Senior Director of Public Relations for the international humanitarian organization World Vision and has been lecturing at various venues including the University of Washington and Bellevue College Continuing Education programs as well as various libraries, senior centers and civic organizations. His topics include early radio broadcasting, the Roots of Rock and Roll and the Home Front during World War II.
WHO PUT THE BOMP?
THE STORY OF DOO WOP
Join music archivist and former Bay Area broadcaster John Jensen as he takes us on a lighthearted but informative musical journey to find the answer to not only who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp, but who put the ram in the ram a lam a ding dong. Through rare photos, film and audio clips we see and hear how early close vocal group harmonizing developed into an art form that became part of mainstream rock ‘n’ roll during the 1950s and 60s. Along with your favorites you’ll hear rare studio outtakes and alternate recordings that will demonstrate how this exciting and enjoyable musical style came into being and flourished during those years.
THE ROOTS OF ROCK 'N' ROLL
TRACING THE BEGINNINGS OF ROCK FROM THE 1920S TO THE 1960s
Take a fascinating, informative and entertaining journey with Bay Area broadcaster John Jensen as we seek the roots of rock. You’ll hear great music, see rare film and video clips while examining the legacies of the pioneers who contributed greatly to this popular music genre. You’ll hear how Rhythm and Blues, Gospel, and Country all converged during that first decade and became the bedrock of what we now call Rock n’ Roll. Along the way we’ll hear the musicians, the singers, the guy and girl groups, the personal stories and the influence of radio, television and big business. You’ll play 50s rock trivia, hear rare songs, studio sessions and see how this music impacted America in the decades to come.
THE HOMe front in 1942: WASHINGTON STATE IN WARTIME
Although Washington State population numbered only 1.7 million at the war’s outset, it supplied crucial resources in millions of tons of food and raw materials, thousands of airplanes and tanks and hundreds of ships. No state was more profoundly affected economically by the introduction and expansion of war industries. Through seldom seen film clips, radio broadcast excerpts and rarely viewed photographs, those early days of the war are vividly captured in detail.
the young orson welles and the broadcast
that shocked the nation
Who was this young man who took Broadway and radio by storm in the 1930s? Come hear about the early years of Orson Welles; his controversial stage plays and early radio dramas. Subsequently on an October 30, 1938 radio broadcast, Welles aired his unforgettable version of H.G. Well’s The War of the Worlds as the country feared we were being attacked by an alien invasion. Learn what led up to it, the conditions during it, the public panic aftermath, and how the government dealt with it.
the legacy of Pearl Harbor
EIGHTY-THREE years later
Much has been written and shared about the December 7th attack on Pearl Harbor. Information recently released through the Freedom of information Act has shed new light on the controversy of just who knew what, when and where? Did FDR have a hidden agenda to get America into the war? Was the attack that morning really a surprise? Through rare audio and video clips you’ll see and hear the intrigue that took place between the United States and Japan and discover just what it was like to live not only on the mainland but in Hawaii during those turbulent times.
the life and times of bing crosby america's troubadour
Bing Crosby was America’s first superstar having triumphed on radio, TV, screen and recordings. With the aid of archival film, broadcast audio clips and personal reflection we take an in-depth look at not only why he was so popular but how his contributions are not only still cherished by many but being newly discovered by a 21st century generation.
a people at war:
the home front in world war II
An informative look at the events leading to the US entry into World War II and the sacrifices made by many to aid in the war effort. With the use of rare audio and video clips as well as assorted documents we explore the events and conditions and what it was like to live in a country experiencing an all encompassing conflagration and the contributions of the many who were fighting it on the home front. Available as a single or multiple talk extended education series. Recently presented at UW Continuing Ed program OLLI-UW
the early days of radio
a look at the golden age of broadcasting
A review of the early pioneers of broadcast radio as it swept the nation in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. We’ll hear examples of innovative ways in which “theatre of the mind” blossomed during those years with special emphasis on many comedy greats who frequented the radio dial. We’ll examine reasons for its demise and its rebirth through the creation of the deejay and talk radio formats. Available as a single or multiple talk extended education series. An OLLI-UW program
bob hope: america's funnyman
Bob Hope is considered one of the most popular comedians of the last century. Learn about the humble beginnings of this titan of comedy as we explore his early days in vaudeville, on Broadway, in movies and his long history with radio and television.
Come see and hear rare video and audio clips as we learn how this man became so popular and how he maintained that popularity for decades
entertaining the troops in wartime
the early history of armed forces radio
During World War II, the War Department realized very quickly the need for keeping the morale up of America’s fighting forces abroad. One of the most effective and beneficial ways was through the launch on May 26, 1942 of a world-wide radio network called the Armed Forces Radio Service. See and hear once again through original audio and rarely seen film clips the still powerful messaging that emerged from that dramatic time in American history.
bing and bob in world war II
Bing Crosby and Bob Hope were two of the greatest names in Hollywood during the second world war. With the aid of archival film and broadcast audio clips, we take an in-depth look at not only why they were so popular at that time but also the many contributions they made to entertain our troops overseas and improve morale on the Home Front.
1941: THE YEAR THAT CHANGED AMERICA
Learn about the last year of peace for America before it plunged into four years of war. Relive the pivotal events of that year as we look at everything from the role of government played in preparing us for war to learning about those that insisted we stay out of it. How did newspapers, radio shows, the movies and music reflect those uncertain times? Through rare audio and video clips you’ll see and hear from the world of politics, entertainment, industry and the average citizen as we revisit this turbulent year that resulted in permanent change for America.
PRISONERS WITHOUT TRIAL
THE INCARCERATION OF JAPANESE-AMERICANS IN WORLD WAR II
Join former Bay Area Broadcaster John Jensen as he outlines the events leading up to and culminating in the forced relocation and incarceration of between 110,000 and 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry in concentration camps in the western interior of the country, most of whom lived on the Pacific coast. Through newly released documents, archival film and personal stories you’ll see and hear of an injustice perpetrated on a group of mostly fellow American citizens.
WHAT WAS THE FIRST ROCK 'N' ROLL RECORD?
Former broadcaster and music archivist John Jensen takes us on a chronological journey to discover that first song and along the way we encounter the influences of radio DJs like Alan Freed and Dick Clark who introduced rock n’roll to mainstream America. Using audio and video clips we revisit how payola and the discrimination and banning of black artists from being heard on radio stations resulted in many white performers unfairly benefiting from their music. But what was that first rock n’roll song? Was it in the 1950s? The 1940s? Earlier? You may be surprised.
THE GREAT GIRL GROUPS OF THE 1950s and 60s
Former Bay Area broadcaster John Jensen takes us on a fascinating, informative and entertaining journey to rediscover the genesis of the girl groups of the 1950s and 60s and how this genre became such a popular niche during the golden days of rock. You’ll hear the great early sister acts like the Brox, the Boswells and the Andrews that spawned the fabulous 50s groups like the Chordettes, the McGuires and the Shirelles that further led to the incredible groups of Motown such as the Crystals, the Blossoms, the Dixie-Cups, Chiffons, Ronettes, Supremes and many others. Along the way we’ll hear the back stories on how their recordings were made and you’ll play 50s and 60s rock trivia, hear some rare songs and learn how this music impacted America during that special time.
THE EMERGENCE OF FOLK-ROCK
Take a fascinating, informative and entertaining journey with Bay Area broadcaster John Jensen as we explore the beginnings of the folk-rock movement in the late 1950s and early 1960s. You’ll hear the early pioneers of traditional folk music like Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives and The Weavers, who, in turn, were the forerunners when folk went mainstream in the late 1950s with the likes of The Kingston Trio, The Limeliters, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. You’ll hear the electrifying moment when folk-rock burst on the scene with the groups who revolutionized this sound like The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, The Mamas and the Papas, The Lovin’ Spoonful and so many others. You’ll hear rare songs, studio sessions and outtakes as this sound swept mainstream America.
THE ROOTS OF ROCK AND ROLL PART II
Bay Area broadcaster John Jensen further explores the roots of rock. You’ll hear great music, see rare film and video clips while examining the legacies of the pioneers who contributed greatly to this popular music genre. You’ll hear how Doo Wop developed into its own special niche during those early years; how girl groups became so popular and also explore the popularity of the guys and guy groups who became teen idols. We’ll also investigate folk rock and the British Invasion and along the way you’ll hear the personal stories and the influence of radio, television and big business on this incredible movement. You’ll play 50s and 60s rock trivia and hear rare outtakes and studio sessions and see how this music impacted American culture during those early days.