@ National Portrait Gallery
DescriptionMiguel Covarrubias’s 1938 caricature, Radio Talent, depicted a cloud of popular celebrities who came to fame during the heyday of American radio broadcasting. At the depths of the Depression, radio’s two major networks—NBC and CBS—provided a cultural glue that helped bind the country together in the worst of economic times. Because everyone listened to the same thing, the vast listening audience shared a mainstream culture that was broadcast daily. Programs radiating both high and low forms of entertainment wafted through the airwaves and reached not only big cities but also small towns everywhere. Here, Covarrubias captured the most famous stars "on the air," including Jack Benny, Rudy Vallee, W. C. Fields, Burns and Allen, Kate Smith, Benny Goodman, Arturo Toscanini, and Bing Crosby.
Watercolor On Illustration Board
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution