Magazine article St. Louis Journalism Review

City-Bred Sisters Were Hillbilly Singers: KXOK Was Also a Conduit for the Two Women to Strike Up a Professional Relationship with One of Hollywood's Most Famous Cowboy Stars, Roy Rogers

Magazine article St. Louis Journalism Review

City-Bred Sisters Were Hillbilly Singers: KXOK Was Also a Conduit for the Two Women to Strike Up a Professional Relationship with One of Hollywood's Most Famous Cowboy Stars, Roy Rogers

Article excerpt

Mary and Ruth Miccolis are excellent examples of how good old-fashioned tenacity could pay off for radio entertainers during the medium's heyday.

They were known for their singing and yodeling work, both on the radio and in appearances.

Born in the early '20s in the Chicago suburb of Melrose Park, the singing sisters moved to the St. Louis area while in their teens to pursue their dream of breaking into show business.

Even now it's hard to imagine two youngsters making such a break from their parents. But back then, it was almost unheard of for young girls to take such a step. They did, however, have a good reason for taking the chance.

A talent scout for KMOX had heard their work in an audition and offered them a job on the radio. It was 1938, and there was still a lingering economic depression, so having a job at such a prestigious station made their decision a bit easier.

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St. Louis, while not the city Chicago was, offered Mary and Ruth plenty of opportunities. They won a national yodeling competition that was held at Kiel Auditorium, employing a vocal technique known as triple-tounge yodels.

They became part of Pappy Cheshire's group on KMOX and regularly participated in the Barnyard Follies show and The Old Fashioned Barn Dance show, sponsored by "Uncle" Dick Slack's furniture stores, endearing them to the rural listeners as well as those in the city. They also sang on a Saturday morning show that KMOX fed live to the CBS Network.

Pappy Cheshire was a promoter, and he schooled the girls in the realities of the radio business for entertainers. He didn't pay his people as well as one might expect because, he reasoned, the radio exposure created plenty of opportunities for personal appearances, and that's where the money was. And there was plenty of demand for the Miccolis Sisters. …

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