Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dr. Roy K. Marshall

In 1949 and 1950, scientist/astronomer Dr. Roy K. Marshall was featured in the live commercials for Ford automobiles, on Kay Kyser’s television show on NBC. On each program, Marshall explained the engineering/technology of Ford cars.

In a review of the first Kay Kyser telecast, in 1949, critic Harriet Van Horne (of the New York World-Telegram) wrote that Marshall’s Ford commercials “are a show in themselves. And a very good one.”

After Kay Kyser’s program went off the air, at the end of 1950, Marshall was featured in the Ford commercials of the program’s replacement, the Ford Star Revue, starring Jack Haley.

From 1948 until 1954, Marshall was the host of the NBC-TV science show, The Nature of Things. As Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh note—in their superb encyclopedia, The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (Ballantine Books, several editions)—Marshall “was one of early TV’s favorite scientists.”

Seen above is the cover of a 1951 book Marshall wrote. The illustrator for the book, as the cover indicates, was Jon Gnagy—who was also a well-known personality in early television. His instructional show about art, You Are an Artist, began airing on NBC in 1946; its last network telecast was at the start of 1950.