Jimmie Allen Flying Club
From the thrilling and golden age of radio come these three premiums that were the prized possessions of the young fans of The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen, a 15-minute radio serial that was originally broadcast from Radio station WDAF in Kansas City, Missouri between 1933 and 1937. These premiums were distributed by the show’s commercial sponsors such as Skelly Oil Company or Hickok Oil Corporation and were made available at any of the companies automobile service stations – all the kids had to do was to get their father to drive them to the station to sign them up as members of The Jimmie Allen Flying Club. At the height of the show’s popularity, 600,000 copies of the Flying Club’s newsletter were being mailed out each week.
Above: About three inches in diameter, this silk-screened felt “squadron” patch let everyone know that the wearer was a proud cadet of the Jimmie Allen Flying Corps. This version was made available to listeners of the show by Be-Square Motor Oil. c. 1935 Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.
While entertaining to the show’s young target audience, the scripts always portrayed the show’s stars as models of good, honest and decent behavior. Radio shows targeted to young audiences without exception always sought to teach their young fans something about character and good behavior – the good guys were always good, the bad guys always bad and the good guys always bested the bad guys but did so honestly and fairly.
Above: A postcard-sized Jimmie “High Speed” Allen Flying Cadet membership card c. 1935 bearing the photograph of 16-year-old Murray McLean who leaned a face to the otherwise unseen radio character of Jimmie Allen. This particular card was mailed out by the Hickok Oil Corporation and promoted their “High Speed” brand of gasoline. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.
The character of Jimmie Allen was written as a 16-year-old and he was portrayed on the radio by the show’s 40-some-year old director John Frank. For personal appearances and for publicity photographs – such as the Flying Cadet membership card show above – 16-year-old Murray McLean stood in for Jimmie. The show was created by Bob Burtt and Bill Moore both who had both been pilots during World War I. After the show came to an end in 1937 Burtt and Moore continued to collaborate with their next “air adventure” being Captain Midnight.
Above: Measuring about two inches wide and made of stamped bronze colored metal, these Jimmie Allen pilot’s wings were one of the popular premiums available to loyal fans of the radio serial. This set of wings was made available by Richfield Oil and promoted that company’s “Hi-Octane” brand of gasoline. c. 1935. Source: Collection of Edward T. Garcia.
Above: measuring an impressive 28 inches high by 65 inchs wide, this full-color map was made available by Skelly Oil. Kids (and probably many parents) could spread the map out in front of them and follow Jimmie Allen’s aerial adventures all the while receiving an unsuspected lesson in geography and current events. c. 1935 Source: David Rumsey Map Collection.