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TOMMY DIX
A Short Biography
by: Ken Robichaux

INTRODUCTION

In the mid–1930s, 12–year–old Tommy Dix began singing on a weekly religious radio show at WHN in New York City. Going under the name of Bobby Brittain, his appearances would prove to be the beginning of a 15–year career in Show Business and, though he didn’t realize it at the time, many of the people and institutions associated with that radio station would eventually have a profound impact on his career.

The Loew’s Theatre Organization owned WHN, and the radio station broadcast from the Loew’s State Theatre in the heart of New York City. Loew’s also controlled Hollywood’s most important studio, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, and the radio station’s call letters would eventually be changed to WMGM. In the mid–1930s the station was managed by Edward “Major” Bowes who debuted “The Original Amateur Hour” in April, 1934, and Ed Sullivan had a weekly Broadway gossip show on the station providing the first radio exposure to many future stars. These people and organizations would eventually play a vital role in the young Bobby Brittain’s professional career.

So when Bobby’s mother brought him to audition for Dr. Charles St. John, who ran a mission in the Bowery and hosted a radio show every Sunday, she couldn’t have known what an important step this would be for her son whose powerful baritone singing voice had matured prematurely. For a while Bobby would be a regular on Dr. St. John’s show, The Bowery Mission Service, and during this period he would become known to its radio audience as “Bobby Brittain, the Boy Baritone of the Bowery.”

 

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