Tuesday, June 25, 2013


The ubiquitous “Sparrow” button. Every kid had to have one. (Photo: LuLac archives). 

The Sparrow 

When the “Batman” TV program began its run on ABC TV, it was wildly popular. Radio stations across the land decided to try their hand at creating superheroes that would be identified with their area. In Chicago, WCFL Radio, the Voice of Labor and the Big 10 created a character called “Chicken Man”. The end tag line for the fowl bird was, “He’s everywhere, he’s everywhere”. 
 In WARMland,. Ron Allen, the programming genius of the Mighty 590 created a character called “The Sparrow”. The tag line was “The Sparrow Knows”. 
Allen created a cast of characters turning “The Sparrow” into WARMland's Superhero. Scripts were written by Allen and voices were performed by various and sundry WARM personalities and staff members who just happened to be nearby. Ted Raub, famous for the Uncle Ted program and “The Ghoul School” was a major voice contributor along with then WARM newsman Bob Oliver. 
“The Sparrow” series ran throughout 1966 when “Batman” was hot and continued sporadically through 1967. After “Batman” bit the dust, so did “The Sparrow”. 
For a Top 40 station, an old time radio series was very labor intensive as both WCFL and WARM learned. But WARM had Ron Allen to do the production, scripting and voices. “The Sparrow” was an homage to old time radio as well as an attempt to do what WARM consistently did in its heyday, take a hot idea and put it into practice for WARM’s benefit. 
Plus “The Sparrow” served a dual purpose. The old time radio theatre gave adults listening to WARM a taste of the old days and gave their kids an idea of what it was like in their parent’s time. 
In the turbulent and divisive 60s, it was a bridging of generations that would soon fade into a memory. But “The Sparrow” had a good run, there were thousands of buttons that flooded WARMland that promoted the program. The late Bruno Gallagher dressed up in “The Sparrow” contest for remotes and made it popular. 
“The Sparrow” is fondly remembered as a piece of WARM history that still brings a smile to the faces of WARM listeners of a certain age. 
Editor’s note: Thanks to WARM’s Tom Woods for filling in some of the blanks and my friend Drew Wasko for sending “The Sparrow” button along for this stor.

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