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Walt Roesner - NBC San Francisco Orchestra Leader

Roesner 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 dance tunes.

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 orchestra leader.

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.

Broadcast Weekly
San Francisco April 4, 1931

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