Walt Roesner - NBC San Francisco Orchestra Leader
The magic baton of Walt Roesner takes to the air! Thousands of western radio listeners
thrilled to the music of Roesner's great concert symphony orchestra as it made its
first studio broadcast Monday via the microphones of the Shell Happytime. But if
music lovers were thrilled at this single presentation of that nation-famous aggregation,
they were doubly thrilled at the announcement which followed. Roesner is to
be a weekly feature of the Shell Oil Company's Monday morning Shell
Happytime conducted by Captain Dobbsie! [Hugh Barrett Dobbs]
This announcement was the signal for a deluge of telegrams and telephone
calls from thousands of grateful fans throughout the Pacific Coast. The
immediate and enthusiastic response could leave little doubt in the minds of
Shell executives tht the tremendous expense in bringing Walt Roesner and his
musicians to the radio audience would be justified a hundred fold.
The signing of Roesner for weekly programs over the Shell Happytime amounted
to little short of a "scoop," for Roesner is undoubtedly the most popular
and able conductor in the West today. His production overtures, in which he
arranges the opera classics in a modern tempo, have won him acclaim among
theater-goers and music lovers throughout the United States. From those
who like their music in the lighter vein, Roesner has gained great
popularity for his symphonical and jazz presentations of the present day
Born and raised in San Francisco, Roesner left school at an early age to
follow the urge of music which had surged within him from his youngest days.
His first job was playing the trombone and, occasionally, the violin, in the
Santa Cruz Civic Band and at the age of 17 he had risen to the post of
But still surging within him was the desire to express himself yet further
in music. This took him to Los Angeles to study the 'cello and while there
he earned his way by paying in various cafe orchestras. Completion of his
studies found him in San Francisco, his home town, as musical conductor and
master of ceremonies at several of the city's theaters.
In 1914 he joined Art Hickman and made two trips to New York, where the band
proved an overnight sensation and quickly spread his fame throughout the
nation. Roesner remained with Hickman until 1921, when he again returned to
San Francisco to join Paul Ash's famous musical organization at the Granada
Theater. Within a short time his music ability won him a position as
director of his own band at the T & D Theater in Oakland. A year later he
was again back at the Granada, but this time was master of ceremonies and
conductor of his own musical organization.
So tremendous was his popularity that he soon found himself in New York,
leading the orchestra at the Capitol Theater in that city. Here he remained
for two years, setting an all time record for sustained popularity among New
York's Great White Way.
With the completion of the million dollar Fox Theater in San Francisco,
Roesner was prevailed upon to return here as conductor of that theater's
grand concert orchestra. Here he has remained, and from here comes the great
musical aggregtion which the radio audience of the Shell Happytime will hear
each Monday morning from 8 to 9 o'clock over the Pacific Coast network of
the National Broadcasting Company, including Stations KPO, KFI, KGW, KOMO,
KHQ and KSL.
San Francisco April 4, 1931