Broadcast Pioneers member Lynne Barrett was born on January 10, 1927 in Philadelphia. She is probably best known for her television shows “The Girl Next Door” and “The Couple Next Door,” as well as her many years doing live RCA Victor, RCA Whirlpool, and Penn Fruit commercials on well-known TV shows such as “Gunnar Back and the News,” “Breakfast Time with Bill Wee Willie Webber,” and “Happy the Clown.” In 1950, Lynne also starred in an NBC-TV network show, the first network show to originate out of Philadelphia, called “Melody, Harmony, and Rhythm.”
As a little girl in Philadelphia, Lynne was identified as “the cute little blonde who played the harp and sang songs.” In 1939 at the age of 12, Lynne and her mother moved to Florida. There, she attended a guest night at the Pago Pago room at the Dempsey-Vanderbilt Hotel in Miami Beach and won the contest for her vocalizing. The award was a two-week engagement at the hotel. However, she was such a hit that she was held over for six weeks! She then sang at the Roney Plaza Hotel in Miami for a period of time.
Following an engagement at Atlantic City’s Hotel President, Lynne embarked on a western tour including San Francisco, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Denver. During the war years, Lynne worked with the Victory Committee in California. She toured army posts with celebrities like Mickey Rooney, Dorothy Lamour, and Lucille Ball, and sang with Desi Arnaz. Being a constant favorite wherever she went, Lynne accompanied the Rudy Vallee Coast Guard Band on a Mexican goodwill tour.
Monte Proser, the owner of New York City’s Copacabana, had seen Lynne in a Victory show and booked her as a soloist for ten weeks at his club. The ten weeks turned into five months, during which Lynne sang with old friend Desi Arnaz and his orchestra. She also was sharing top billing with Jane Froman, Phil Silvers, and Peter Lind Hayes.
After many more engagements in New York, New Jersey, and California, Lynne returned home to Philadelphia in the late 1940’s and joined the Jack Curtis radio show “As You Like It” on KYW radio. She immediately became popular in her home town and developed quite a following of radio listeners.
The radio show had a live audience. In 1948, Adrian Bauer and Broadcast Pioneers Board Member Emeritus Alan Tripp of the Bauer Tripp Agency attended a performance, realized how photogenic Lynne was, and asked her to appear on a new television show on WPTZ called “Life of the Party.” Lynne’s part in that George Skinner program kept getting bigger and bigger.
When the station’s Carol Reed became ill, Lynne briefly took over the “Carol Calling” show. From that evolved Lynne’s own show: “The Girl Next Door.” Lynne later had a “television marriage” to the station’s Charlie Dobson, and the two appeared on the popular “The Couple Next Door.” The “Next Door” shows became a staple on WPTZ for several years.
In 1950, Lynne starred in the first network TV show to originate out of Philadelphia called “Melody, Harmony, and Rhythm.” It was the 13-week replacement for the Morton Downey and Roberta Quinlan show. Lynne made appearances on many other TV shows in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
From the late 1940’s to the mid-1960’s, Lynne did countless television commercials, mostly live. She made the first color commercial in Philadelphia; it was for Penn Fruit. Lynne did commercials on shows in the mornings and evenings for advertisers such as Kissling’s Sauerkraut, Pillsbury, RCA Victor, RCA Whirlpool, and Penn Fruit. The well-known TV shows on which Lynne appeared included “Gunnar Back and the News,” “American Bandstand with Dick Clark”, “Ernie Kovacs, ”“Debbie Adams,” “Mr. and Mrs. with Gene and Joan Crane,” “Wee Willie Webber,” “Happy the Clown,” “Rex Morgan” and many others.
In addition to television, Lynne did numerous voiceovers at Recorded Publications for commercials and training films. She recorded for such products in Philadelphia as Abbott’s, Freihofer’s, Boscul Coffee, and Thrifty Liquid Starch. Lynne also made many training and commercial recordings for companies such as American Airlines, Lees Carpets, Whitman’s Chocolate, Wise Potato Chips and more. In New York, Lynne did national commercials for Lever Brothers, Beneficial Finance, and Buitoni Pasta Sauce. Lynne enjoyed singing the many Les Waas (a board member of Broadcast Pioneers) jingles on both television and radio. She continued her voiceover activity well into the 1970’s.
Lynne currently resides in Bal Harbour, Florida, and remains active with political causes that benefit the community. Her two children are Bruce and Judy Jawer, and she has five grandchildren. Lynne will be inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame on Friday evening, November 20, 2015.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Written by Judy Jawer, daughter of members Bob Jawer and Lynne Barrett
© 2015, Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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