Ray Faiola of Ellenville has uploaded to Youtube a pilot of a 1951 television program with Mary Margaret McBride, who interviews Ed Dowling. Dowling was the director of the first major Tennessee Williams play, The Glass Menagerie. The interview takes place in her West Shokan home, which is a two-minute drive from mine. The panoramas of the reservoir and the mountains look as they do today. McBride's house is still there; I've met the owner.
McBride was a personal friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. Roosevelt frequently visited the same West Shokan home in which the interview takes place. According to Wikipedia, during World War II McBride was among the first to break the color barrier in radio. She broadcast on all the major networks until 1960. She was known as the first lady of radio. One of the old timers in West Shokan told me that he recalls Mrs. Roosevelt's visits. In this 1960 newspaper article, Roosevelt writes about an afternoon at one of McBride's local radio broadcasts:
As time went on, she appeared in smaller radio media markets, in upstate New York, and toward the end of her life hosted "Your Hudson Valley Neighbor" three times a week on WGHQ Kingston, NY from the living room of her home. Her longtime companion and business partner, Stella Karn, died in 1957.
She died at the age of 76 on April 7, 1976 at West Shokan, New York. McBride's ashes were placed in her former rose garden. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in radio.
McBride's celebrity was hardly a secret confined to daytime radio listeners, either: her 15th anniversary celebration in 1949 was held in Yankee stadium, the only facility large enough to hold the 75,000 people who filled every seat and formed huge crowds outside. Her magazine show was on the air continuously for 25 years.