The Colgate Sports Newsreel was a radio program focusing on sports. It has been called "one of the most successful and most listened-to shows in radio history" and "one of radio broadcasting's most entertaining and engaging programs." However, much of the information reported as fact was actually fiction.
The program was first broadcast in October 1939, on NBC Blue. Although Colgate dropped its sponsorship in June 1951, the show continued on NBC as Bill Stern's Sports Newsreel through September 1953. It then switched to ABC, where it ran until June 1956. During World War II, the Newsreel was among the programs that NBC rebroadcast by transcription to members of the United States armed forces stationed abroad.
Bill Stern, the star, made the program memorable with his enthusiastic, dramatized delivery. He was already both the narrator of MGM's News of the Day newsreels and a sports announcer. Thus the format of this program came naturally.
For most of its run, the show was sponsored by Colgate brushless shave cream. The opening theme "was sung in barbershop quartet style to the tune of 'Mademoiselle from Armentieres'" and mentioned the sponsoring product prominently. Although the singing group was not named in the program, a news brief announcing the show's launch in 1939 identified it as the Armchair Quartette. The theme's lyrics varied a bit over the years, but the basic form was as follows:
Bill Stern the Colgate shave-cream man is on the air.
Bill Stern the Colgate shave-cream man with stories rare.
Take his advice, and you'll look keen.
You'll get a shave that's smooth and clean.
You'll be a Colgate brushless fan.
Celebrity guests include Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Doris Day, Babe Ruth, Joe Lewis, Roddy McDowell, Casey Stengel, Ted Williams, and more.