A co-worker recently suggested that I do a search on my computer for “U.S. Treasury” and “Guest Star.” Those two things did not seem to go together! When I did, however, I found a fun find. Guest Star was a public service radio program produced by the U.S. Treasury Department during the 1940s and 1950s to promote the sale of U.S. savings bonds for our nation’s defense during and after World War II.
Each episode was hosted by a prominent radio actor, like Les Tremayne or Kenny Delmar, and featured a different entertainment star. Famous singers and comedians of the time, such as Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, Peggy Lee, Harry James, Dick Haymes, Doris Day, Gene Autry, Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Jo Stafford, Kay Kyser, and many more guest starred on the program, which truly was for the sake of selling savings bonds. Savings bonds were pitched at the beginning, in between, and at the end of each show. The hosts even made sure that everyone knew they could purchase savings bonds at work through the payroll savings plan or the bond-a-month plan!
Despite the constant sales pitch, the radio show with its variety of featured guests is fun to hear even today. Listeners enjoy comedy, skits, and musical entertainment from the guests and the Savings Bond Orchestra. You can listen to episodes for free at https://archive.org/details/Guest_Star_Radio. I have listened to several this week. I just finished one starring Gene Autry and really enjoyed the one starring both Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. They really make you want to buy a savings bond!
“Twelve Facts for American Farmers About Defense Savings Bonds and Stamps from the U.S. Treasury Department,” she read aloud.
Songbird, Chapter 16