What did the Bedford Boys hear on the radio the night before they shipped out for service in the regular army, service that eventually took them into the war and to Omaha Beach on D-day?
We can’t know the answer to that question, but we can surmise that it may well have been a live musical performance broadcast from the Roanoke studio of WDBJ radio. A little news, some corny humor, some advertising for sponsor Dr. Pepper, and a lot of great music would have been on the agenda.
On Saturday, April 23, the Java Brothers will recreate a live WDBJ radio broadcast from the 1940s such as departing National Guardsmen from our area may have heard. Ralph Berrier, whose grandfather and his twin brother (the Hall brothers) often performed live on WDBJ, headlines the group, and portrays the announcer, the beloved Roanoke icon “Cousin” Irv Sharp. In between songs, Berrier will read original homespun scripts extolling the medicinal value of Dr. Pepper, the sponsor of the shows in the 1940s. Check out a video of their performance below:
The Java Brother’s will perform the recreated broadcast (plus some of their more modern music) at the National D-Day Memorial in conjunction with the annual “Prelude to Invasion” event. Their performances will be at 11:30 and 2:00. Other activities include reenactors, a skit on the Bedford Boys, children’s activities, and special programs for Scout troops.
Regular admission fees to the Memorial apply, with discounts available for Boy and Girl Scout groups. For more information, call 800-351-DDAY or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you there!