This Week in History

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“Dinah Shore Show” debuts on NBC radio

August 6, 1939
Dinah Shore
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Dinah Shore, Miami Book Fair International, 1990. Image courtesy of MDCarchives.

Frances “Fanny” Rose Stein remade herself into Dinah Shore shortly before beginning a career on America’s airwaves with the debut of her variety show on NBC Radio on this date in 1939. She would continue to be a cultural force in the United States for over fifty years.

Raised in urban Tennessee, where Jewish families were a rarity, Shore felt pressure as a girl to be well behaved and accomplished in performance at all times. Beginning her singing career shortly after graduating from Vanderbilt University, her hits included “Blues in the Night” and “You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To.” She had 80 charted popular records in the following decades.

Her radio show made the move to television in 1951, where the variety show (shown “in living color” after 1956) continued until 1963, always ending with Shore blowing a big kiss to the camera. She moved to a daytime talk show format for a decade in the ‘70s with Dinah’s Place and Dinah and Friends, where her warmth and intelligent spirit charmed a new generation of viewers, as she mixed her singing with informal chats with entertainment and political figures. Her public romance with actor Burt Reynolds (20 years her junior) reinforced her independent image as a new role model for women. She completed her broadcasting career with the TNN show A Conversation with Dinah, a half-hour one-on-one interview show that aired from 1989 – 1992.

There is now a Dinah Shore Boulevard in her hometown of Winchester, Tennessee.

To learn more about Dinah Shore, visit Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia.

See also: Television in the United States.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History - “Dinah Shore Show” debuts on NBC radio ." (Viewed on April 18, 2014) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/aug/06/1939/dinah-shore>.