LOCAL NEWS

Forgotten radio scripts discovered in state archives

Jun 22, 2016, 5:18 AM | Updated: 10:43 am
Apart from the Smith Tower and the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the Seattle skyline looks 
much different i...
Apart from the Smith Tower and the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the Seattle skyline looks much different in this Washington State Ferries image from the early 1950s. (Photo credit: Department of Commerce and Economic Development Photograph Collections, Washington State Archives)
Passengers aboard a Washington State Ferries vessel gaze upon the nearly 
unrecognizable early 1950s skyline of Seattle.  The Alaskan Way V
iaduct is visible 
just above the waterline. 
(Photo credit: Department of Commerce and Economic Development Photograph
Collections, Washington State Archives ) Apart from the Smith Tower and the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the Seattle skyline looks 
much different in this Washington State Ferries image from the early 1950s. 
(Photo credit: Department of Commerce and Economic Development Photograph 
Collections, Washington State Archives) Washington State Ferries actively promoted tourism in the San Juan Island
s 
with 
colorful brochures such as this in the 1950s. 
(Photo credit: WSDOT Records, Washington State Archives.) A make-believe character known as 
Dz
Ann Green
dz
 was the friendly and 
knowledgeable spokesperson for Washington State Ferries in a series of
 radio ads in 
the early 1950s. 
(Photo credit: WSDOT Records, Washington State Archives. ) This 
Dz
Scenic guide and map of the land of enchantment
dz
 enticed tourists and locals 
to cruise Puget Sound via Washington State Ferries in the 1950s. 
(Photo credit: WSDOT Records, Washington State Archives.) The cover of the 1956 Fall Ferry Schedule, published by Washington S
tate Ferries. 
(Photo credit: WSDOT Records, Washington State Archives.) Rates for Washington State Ferries routes from the Fall 1956 schedule. 
(Photo credit: WSDOT Records, Washington State Archives.)

A collection of long-forgotten radio scripts created in 1952 to promote Washington State Ferries was recently discovered by an employee of the Washington State Archives in Olympia.

The scripts are from a series of short features known as “Your Ferry Line.” The series was designed to highlight Washington State Ferries as more than simply a practical mode of transportation, and to encourage local tourism.

Each radio feature was about five minutes long, and featured a Betty Crocker-like fictional character known as Ann Green. Green, portrayed by an unidentified actress, was paired with real-life Seattle radio announcer Reg Miller of KJR to act out short daily dialogs about local history, parks, Puget Sound area communities, and other attractions accessible by ferry.

In this sample script, from June 30, 1952, Reg and Ann discuss the merits of Washington State Ferries as an oasis for mothers looking to edify and entertain their young children during those long, boring days of summer.

REG: For the child, there’s the exciting maritime activity of Seattle’s harbor, busy with ships of every size and kind, the thrill of passing over the smooth surface of Elliott Bay aboard a powerful ferryboat in the midst of all this aquatic hustle and bustle. He has a thousand impressions of sights and sounds fascinating and wonderful.

ANN: And on a clear, hot day, how welcome the view of surrounding foothills and mountains, how pleasant the coolness of Puget Sound breezes to mother! She can relax, do a bit of knitting of sewing, read a story in her latest woman’s magazine, or just take it easy and enjoy herself.

REG: She can still have her morning or afternoon cup of coffee, too, because those ferryboat lunchrooms are really proud of their coffee. Of course, there are snacks for hungry young appetites, as well, quickened by the fresh air and walks along the promenade deck.

This month marks 65 years since Washington State Ferries was created as a public entity to acquire and manage what had been privately-owned and operated car and passenger ferry routes in the Evergreen State.

In an email, Washington State Archives staffer Benjamin Helle said that finding the ferry scripts wasn’t a complete surprise. “[I] came across them as I was rifling through the collection looking for material to celebrate the 65th anniversary on June 1. [I’m] always keeping an eye out for interesting things.”

Other documents shared by Helle show that it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Ann Green while the series was being developed. In a memo to the radio production team dated February 15, 1952, then-Washington State Ferries publicity director Marianne Cassar wrote, “it strikes me that the impression given is that Ann Green is a know-it-all, preachy tin god who has no attachment to her audience.”

Cassar continued, “And regarding any plugs for the ferry system – they should be extremely subtle. The public is quick to pick up an attitude of self-praise and they certainly aren’t going to tune in a program just to continually hear us telling how wonderful we are.”

Cassar, who was described by The Seattle Times in 1950 as a “former New York publicity woman,” went on to become a renowned Pacific Northwest stained-glass artist whose work graces several local churches, including Central Baptist Church in Tacoma and Seattle’s John Knox Presbyterian Church, as well as a bank in Honolulu and a building on the University of Washington campus. She passed away in 1987 at age 76.

In the 1952 memo, Cassar’s artistic sense was already on display, as she went on to suggest ditching that “preachy tin god” Ann Green in favor of a much more elaborate series featuring a full family of characters, including mom and dad, two kids, and a friendly “grand dad” who would partake of various activities that required transportation by ferry to reach.

With skillful writing and compelling characters, Cassar wrote, we can make people “want to get out to the spots we describe and USE OUR FERRIES.” And, yes, the all caps are there in Cassar’s original memo.

It’s unclear why, but Cassar’s not-so-subtle suggestions were rejected. Perhaps all that writing and all those characters would have exceeded the project budget. Either way, know-it-all Ann Green and avuncular Reg Miller set sail on the local airwaves, presenting as many as 40 episodes over a few month period in the spring and summer of 1952. However, for unknown reasons, it looks like the pair had only this single run of radio adventures on behalf of Washington State Ferries.

No memo has yet turned up in the archives documenting Marianne Cassar’s thoughts when the maiden (and, it’s believed, only) radio voyage of Ann Green came to an end. If such a memo ever does appear, it’s easy to imagine what it might say.

I TOLD YOU SO.

Local News

powerball...
Lisa Brooks

Lucky Washingtonian wins $754.6M Powerball prize

Check your tickets. Somebody in Washington state won Monday night's $754.6 million Powerball drawing.
8 hours ago
(Jennifer Bakos via AP)...
Associated Press

1 missing, 2 rescued from crab boat off Washington coast

A crew member remains missing and two others were rescued from crab boat that sank near Willapa Bay in southwest Washington on Sunday evening, according to the Coast Guard.
8 hours ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Deborah Horne, KIRO 7 News

Light rail riders frustrated by broken escalators, elevators at stations

Frustrated Link light rail riders say they have had it with escalators and elevators at light rail stations that don’t work.
8 hours ago
child marriages...
Associated Press

Proposed bill would pay incarcerated workers minimum wage

A Washington state lawmaker who has spent time in prison wants the state to pay incarcerated workers minimum wage for doing their jobs.
8 hours ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Crash into utility pole cuts power to Kent neighborhood

A Kent neighborhood is in the dark Tuesday morning after a crash into a utility pole cut power.
8 hours ago
USS John McCain...
L.B. Gilbert

Navy conducting anti-terrorism exercises in Everett

If you live near a Navy base like naval station Everett and you hear sirens this week -- it's not an emergency.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Forgotten radio scripts discovered in state archives