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Baker (Art) collection
PA Mss 155  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Scripts from Art Baker's radio program Art Baker's Notebook (KFI, Los Angeles, 1938-1958), photographs, clippings, scrapbooks, as well as personal correspondence and memorabilia.
Background
Art Baker was born January 7, 1898, in New York City. He initially planned to be a singer, and during World War I he was a song leader while serving in the United States Army. During his time in the Army, Art's hair turned prematurely white and would later serve as his trademark look. His post-war occupations included touring with traveling evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Foursquare Church, and operating an appliance store in Glendale, California. Baker's radio career began as an announcer on KFSG. Art was later employed at Forest Lawn Memorial Park as a tour guide. When it began a radio program, "Tapestries of Life," Baker was chosen to be the narrator. He went on to work on as many as 22 shows per week. The show aired on KFI and would become syndicated nationally. "Tapestries of Life" aired for 2 decades. In 1956, Time Magazine would feature an article on Art Baker titled "Radio: The Voice from Forest Lawn." In 1936 General Mills cast Art as Captain Bob Baker the Bisquick Maker to host the CBS show "Hollywood in Person." The show was a first of its kind tabloid show where a "studio on wheels" mobile production trailer would arrive at set locations to conduct candid interviews with celebrities about their gossip and rumors. The show was co-hosted by Miss Louise Roberts (Lois Collier) and ran for 2 years. On September 8, 1938, Baker created "Art Baker's Notebook" on Los Angeles' KFI radio station, which lasted for two decades. The program was syndicated in over 57 markets via electrical transcription. The show would air uninterrupted for over 2,000 episodes. An innovative and widely successful publicity stunt was performed in 1947 on "Art Baker's Notebook" when Art interviewed Jimmy Stewart about his upcoming film "It's a Wonderful Life." Art offered listeners a free transcript of the show and photo of him with Jimmy Stewart. The show received nearly 50,000 letters in the first week. Baker hosted many television shows in his career but is best known for his work on a series he created in 1950 titled "You Asked For It" (for which he became affectionately dubbed, the "genie with the light, white hair"). The show debuted under the title of "The Art Baker Show" and aired on the DuMont Television Network. The style was a write-in format that allowed viewers to make requests as to what they would like to see. The show would travel the world fulfilling the requests of its viewers. In 1951 the shows name was changed to "You Asked for It" and was moved to ABC. It aired until 1959 and became the longest running show if its kind and established the format for future travel/variety shows. The show would become one of Art's greatest achievements and solidify his place in television history. During the last 20 months of the show, Baker was replaced by Jack Smith. Another Baker TV program, "End of the Rainbow," debuted January 11, 1958. The program helped unsuspecting people "who are in need of a push to make a success of their dreams, such as a chance to regain a sound footing in business..." The show was co-hosted by Bob Barker. Art Baker lived in Glendale, CA for most of his career and would later move to Palm Springs, CA. Baker died of a heart attack at a bank in Los Angeles August 26, 1966. "Art Baker." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_Baker_(actor). Accessed on 8 November 2019.
Extent
7.26 linear feet (2 cartons, 3 document boxes, 3 flat boxes, 2 16mm films)
Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Research Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Research Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Research Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
Availability
The collection is open for research.