The Original Amateur Hour debuted on national radio.
The Original Amateur Hour was an immediate and extraordinary success. In the midst of the Great Depression, poor people from all over the country made their way to New York City, selling their homes and hitching rides in cars and trains, with hopes of being on the show. Over 10,000 people applied to the Amateur Hour every week; the vast majority did not even get to audition. Fewer than 700 people per week were reviewed, and only 20 appeared on each broadcast.
The on-air competition was just as fierce, with many contestants being cast off the show by the sound of a giant gong. Most of the winners did not achieve their dreams of stardom; many ended up stuck, penniless, living in New York. A few notable exceptions, Frank Sinatra and Beverly Sills among them, did go on to fame and fortune. The public's fascination with amateur talent ended as WWII began, but the show continued on the air until Major Bowe's death in 1946. A television version of the Amateur Hour ran from 1948 until 1970.