Sunday, May 21, 2017

More Contenders for the FIRST Bible Kids Program.

Last month I excitedly (and cautiously) declared that KTBI's Aunt Martha's Children's Hour from 1926 MIGHT have been the first broadcast children's Bible program in North America. More research has led to the discovery of  not one but TWO programs that were on the air two years earlier.

So, going chronologically backwards here are two of the oldest ministries for children in American broadcasting. Both are also listed on my radio page.

Songbook cover (partial close-up) with a picture of Harry "Dream Daddy" Ehrhart
of "How Granny Told The Bible Stories". From the Author's Collection.

How Granny Told The Bible Stories -  (October 19, 1924 - c. 1925, WDAR Philadelphia; WLIT 1925).

Most likely this early radio series was based on the 1921 children's book of the same name by Eleanor Herr Boyd. Boyd was an author of several Bible teaching books which are still used to this day.

The "Granny" program was hosted or narrated by "Dream Daddy" Harry Ehrhart, one of radio's earliest children's "uncles" over WDAR - LIT on alternate Sundays. The station was later renamed WLIT in favor of the Lit Brothers who were co-owners of station.

Interestingly, today WLIT is WFIL-AM "Philadelphia Christian Radio" AND the call letters WDAR now belong to a FM contemporary Christian station in Darlington, South Carolina.

Children's Bible Story [a.k.a. Children's Bible Stories, Bible Story For The Children] - Children's (1922 - c. 1923, KDKA Pittsburgh)

This program aired Sunday afternoons usually around 2:45pm EST. This was the radio ministry of Rev. W. A. Logan of the Alpha Lutheran Church of Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. Being at the historic KDKA, the first commercial radio station, may mean it was the first children's bible program every broadcast. It is unknown if Rev. Logan started this program and if each and every Bible story broadcast was conducted by him. From reviewing multiple newspaper schedules his name is the only one connected with this program.

Rev. William A. Logan (1884 - 1966) was the pastor of the Alpha Lutheran Church of Turtle Creek, Alleghany County, Pennsylvania. He was born in Pennsylvania, the son of Scottish immigrants. He attended the Pennsylvania College at Gettysburg, earning his bachelors degree in 1910.  According to the 1930 US Census his wife was Elsie M. Logan, and the couple had at least 9 children. According to some newspaper articles, Rev. Logan was active in concerns for Sunday School and youth ministries. This researcher would like to learn more about his life and ministry for children AND the events that led him to be perhaps the first children's minister in the history of broadcasting.

Find A Grave - Grave of William and Elsie Logan