Tag Archives: Maxwell House

Breakfast with Bob and Betty

5 Feb

February 5, 2010

Need some help here folks.
Back in the early to mid-eighties, there was a morning radio show called Breakfast with Bob and Betty. It aired in NYC on, I think, the old WMCA. (That was long after it left the “Good Guys” music format behind, but long before the current “God Guys” Christian talk format.

It was a really strange show. I was young and I used to listen to it as I got ready for school. I’m not sure what this says about me. Every other kid was listening to Z100 (their motto: “You can never get too much A Flock of Seagulls”) pop hits, and I was listening to old folks talk about used razor blades.

So what was the show about? It was an attempt to recreate an old-style radio show from the 40’s or 50’s. Bob and Betty were a real-life senior citizen married couple who “invited” listeners into their “kitchen” where they served coffee (coffee was a major sponsor) and discussed the day’s events. “Neighbors” would “drop by” to give traffic and weather updates. Strangely, they would drop by regularly every twenty minutes or so. Bob and Betty should have gotten a better lock.

Bob and Betty would read the paper and discuss news events, and they would sometimes, somehow, include the listeners in their conversation.

BOB: I see that the President is at it again.
BETTY: Oh dear. And what do our listeners think?
BOB: They’re shaking their heads in amazement.
BETTY: Would they like more Maxwell House Dark Blend Coffee, from the container with the Stay-Fresh seal?
BOB: Of course!
BETTY: Yummm!

They were also folksy and talked about such things as when to replace your razor-blades. Bob, a few days later, claimed that the listeners didn’t stop calling about that topic. It really caused a stir. (It seems that Bob changed blades every month, while his listeners were aghast- they got three months out of a blade. I think they were just too cheap to buy a new blade.) They talked about cleaning your drapes, washing the dog, all the sorts of things you’d expect a happily married 1950’s-style radio couple to talk about on the radio.

But they weren’t happily married. It was clear that they were having real-life marriage problems and they often seeped into the show. Some days the banter between the two of them would be icy. The coolness between them was thick and palpable. Some days they wouldn’t talk to each other at all, and the newsreader would be stuck in the middle.

BOB: I see that the President is at it again.
NEWSMAN: Well, he is proposing some new initiatives that-
BETTY: Perhaps our listeners would like more Maxwell House Dark Blend Coffee, from the container with the Stay-Fresh seal?
NEWSMAN: Sure, um, more coffee would be great.
BOB: What were you saying about the President’s new initiatives?
NEWSMAN: Uh, he feels that-
BETTY: I think our sponsor is more important than the President, don’t you?
BOB: I’m stepping out on the porch for a smoke.

On other days, you’d get only one of them, and you were never sure if it would be Breakfast with Bob or Betty. On those days the newsreader would sit in all day and banter. Invariably, the remaining host would take thinly-veiled shots at the absent host.

Soon enough both Bob and Betty were fired and the newsman became the host of a new morning news program.

That’s really all I remember. Did any of you listen to the show? Can any of you give me any more information? I really want to know.

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