The Whistler was broadcast on C.B.S. and was sponsored by Signal Oil Company for most of its long run. With Signal's sponsorship, the program only aired on the West Coast affiliates of C.B.S. since Signal only operated in the Western U.S.A. (In 1950: Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington) and sold its products through dealer-owned stations. The company promoted this fact and their ethyl premium gasoline in their advertisements during the program. Listen to the opening of the show and the famous whistle, two commercials, and their jingle below.
The Whistler program premiered on May 16, 1942 and was played by numerous actors but the most notable was that of Bill Forman. For the first two years, the Whistler would narrate the surprising ending but starting in 1944 the actors actually played out the ending. This is much more appealing. Each week different actors and actresses would play the lead roles but the Whistler would play himself and continued to narrate the episodes. The whistle was actually performed by Dorothy Roberts. Roberts whistled the notes at the opening of each show for 13 years. The show's final broadcast was on September 8, 1955.
Opening of the The Whistler
Signal Oil publicizing their dealer network
Signal's ethyl gasoline advertisement
Signal Oil gasoline jingle from 1949
During World War 2, rationing was instituted and coupon books were needed to buy the necessities as well as tires and gasoline. Listen to how Signal Oil dealt with gasoline and tire rationing from the December 4, 1944 The Whistler episode "The Doctor Operates in Crime".
Gasoline rationing: Tire rationing:
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