Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Wendell Sirrine Noble 1916 - 1988

Wendell had rheumatic fever as a child.  When they treated it the doctors wrapped him in heavy blankets and starved him hoping it would bring the fever down. Instead it hurt his internal organs including his liver. Forever after his health was not good. Paula N. 
From Bio on Steve Allen: Allen became an announcer for KFAC in Los Angeles and then moved to the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1946, talking the station into airing a five-nights-a-week comedy show, Smile Timeco-starring Wendell Noble.

During the early years Steve Allen (with his first wife) and the Wendell Noble families were very close. They worked together and lived near each other. At a party one day Steve Allen was talking with a Hollywood Producer and suggested the idea of doing a late night TV show. Steve liked the idea and said he had a partner: Wendell Nobel. The producer said it was a one man gig. Steve Allen said it was one of the most difficult days of his life when he told Wendell he was not going to be a part of the show.  Paula N.

From Amazon: Wendell Noble, a distinguished narrator, lecturer, actor, musician and teacher, was born in Mesa, Arizona. He began his radio career at station KOY in Phoenix. For many years, he and his family lived in Southern California where Wendell enjoyed a successful career as a radio and television personality. His own program, The Wendell Noble Show, aired over KABC in Los Angeles. 

Perhaps Wendell is best remembered by the people of Southern California for his masterful narration of the Crucifixion and Resurrection at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. He was in great demand as a speaker and narrator. In 1942 Wendell married Gwenavere Gibson and they have 6 children. He remained a devoted father and husband until his passing in February, 1988. His wife now resides in Lindon, Utah.

Sister Barlow:  When I  worked at Forest Lawn I remember Wendell getting up to lead everyone in a song for the employee morning meetings.

Los Angeles Talk Radio personalities: Noble, Wendell: KHJ, 1944-49; KABC, 1960-61. Wendell died February 10, 1988.

The beginnings of Talk Radio: The new format debuted Aug. 1, 1960, with programming that hardly resembled what talk radio is today. In the early years, host Wendell Noble reviewed books, nutritionist Carlton Fredericks gave health tips and Pamela Mason — wife of actor James Mason — talked about Hollywood. But business picked up.

From personal history of Joe Robinson: excerpts, 
It was a month before our family was notified of Phil’s death. It was on a Saturday night, and the Joe Danas along with Wendel and Gwen Noble were guests in the Steve Allen apartment. It was there that we received a phone call from Ferrel that Phil was wounded. We joined the family and then were informed that he had been killed.

The following day, the Udalls both won additional prizes on the G.E. House Party, one for having youngest baby. They won an electrical appliance. While on this trip, we went to the Steve Allen home, and there Steve and Wendell Noble entertained us with the script for their first program on KHJ, a Mutual Network program out of Los Angeles.

Tongue twisters over the air were quite common. I introduced John McKormick’s accompanist, Teddy Schneider, as Sneddy Tider. Other introductions that I heard—Scotch soap covers the news—it came out as “Scotch soup cover the nose”---and “Wendle Newble covers the Nose”—for Wendle Noble covers the news.

America was engaged in World War II for approximately three and a half years—from Pearl Harbor to the surrender of Japan during the summer of 1945. KOY was very supportive of the war effort and was daily giving time and sending out personnel to any request made. I was in a trio with Wendell Noble and Marlene Ayers, and we performed at Williams Air Force base, Luke Air Force Base, Superior, Prescott, and noon-time meetings of the service clubs. When we went to Prescott, Steve Allen was our accompanist. While singing one of our numbers, the audience kept laughing. We discovered that Steve, with his knees under the keyboard, was raising the piano up and down, keeping time with the music.

Noble and I would have sing-a-longs in the studios with everyone joining in singing the popular songs, even resurrecting World War I tunes. The studios were rather small, but large enough to have a group of fun loving singers enjoying themselves. Noble had a beautiful voice, and he could also play the clarinet. At the time we felt that we made beautiful sounds.

Thomps2525:  Just want to say "You're welcome." After President Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, KHJ dropped music and provided full-time news coverage until Kennedy's funeral three days later. When KHJ returned to music, it was very low-key, mostly instrumentals and ballads. Do you remember listening to Steve Allen on KHJ? In 1945-46, Allen hosted a daily 15-minute comedy program called Smile Time with Wendell Noble and June Foray (who would later become famous as the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel). In the early '60s, Steve Allen and his wife Jayne Meadows hosted a mid-morning show which was broadcast from their home. Robert Q. Lewis, a panelist on dozens of television game shows, hosted mornings for a year or so. I'm wracking my brain trying to think of who else was on KHJ back then. Hey, I was just a itty-bitty kid! And besides, I was listening mostly to Color Radio Channel 98, KFWB.

Life History of Wendell Sirrine Noble

Written by granddaughter Jennifer

Lee  Allred Anderson, as told to her by Gwenavere Gibson Noble

Granddaddy’s full name is Wendell Sirrine Noble. He was the third son of Joseph Edward Noble and Maude Sirrine Noble. He was born September 30, 1916.  “When he was born his daddy was in the Army, he was a colonel in World War I.  Edward was his older brother and Linwood was barely older than he. Mother Noble had these three little boys.  While Joseph Noble, the father, was in France she lived in a little one room hut in the back of her parents yard in Mesa, Arizona. Her parents had quite a large farm and orchard.  It’s interesting, this little spot, where Wendell was born, was replaced by a mortuary and that mortuary was where we had his funeral services in 1988. He was born and had his funeral services on the very same piece of land.

“Wendell grew up with very talented parents. His father had a beautiful singing voice. His mother played the piano very well and had a beautiful alto voice. They were always involved in musical productions. After World War I Joseph and Maude Noble made their house in Phoenix then. They had four boys and 3 girls. It went Edward, Linwood, Wendell, twin girls - Myrtle and Mildred, Elnora and Kenneth. Myrtle passed away two months after her wedding in 1942. She had Leukemia.

Wendell as a child was always a fast runner, very good in sports, very bright. He could always read and spell very, very well. Reading carried over into his career as a radio announcer because he could read scripts and interpret them. In later years he would do voices and productions. The engineers would call him ‘One Take Noble' because he didn’t have to do things over and over until he got it right. He got it right the first time.“  He grew up during the Depression.  He was always very good in school. Being the third son, his two older brothers often mistreated him.  He was the last kid on the wagon who got pushed off the end. 

They always wanted to do things without Wendell, so he doesn’t have a very happy memory of his childhood in that way.  His mother was a very talented musician and insisted that they all learn how to play the piano, but often her teaching was done with a crack of the ruler on the knuckles. Wendell didn’t pursue music and the piano for that very reason. He was further away from the piano, but he always played the piano, but he played by ear and he read music very well.  His brother, Linwood, played the piano very well.“

Wendell majored in music and English in college.  He was a very fine director of choirs.  He directed choirs in every ward he was in. He directed choirs in the Shrine Auditorium and the Hollywood Bowl different years. He excelled with the saxophone and clarinet.  He played both the tenor sax and the alto sax in orchestras from the time he was fourteen years old.  This was how he earned his money. 

He would play in dance jobs until midnight and then by the time the musicians got something to eat it would be one in the morning. Then he would be on the highway hitch hiking his way to college for a seven o’clock class.  He did that for a few years.  He was the president of the junior class at Arizona State University.“

He applied for a mission, but because of his fragile health they wouldn’t take him.  He had a heart condition that was caused by rheumatic fever when he was nine years old. He had an aortic valve; they called it and aortic regurgitation because the blood just leaked out when his heart would beat. Because he had this they wouldn’t send him on a mission, no one wanted to take responsibility for him. 

Eventually W. Ed MacDonald, who was an old friend of Mother Noble’s became the mission president in California. She wrote to him and asked if he wouldn’t intercede for Wendell to go on a mission and he did. He told the general authorities that he would take special care of this young man and he wanted him to be sent to his mission.  So Wendell was, he was sent to the California mission which took in all of California, Arizona and part of Nevada.  In 1939 the World Fair was held in San Francisco and the president, who’s now our prophet, President Hinckley, was a young man and he designed a pavilion for the Mormons at the World Fair. He designed a miniature Tabernacle and Wendell was assigned to greet the people and give the lecture and sing.  His companion was Bill Richards, who was a fine musician and he accompanied Wendell when he sang and they would play the organ and sing to get the crowd in and then Wendell would give the lecture. That was a high point of his mission.“ 

He came home from his mission and got a job at Stapley’s warehouse where he would unload barbed wires from freight trains, which was a very hard job in Arizona in the summertime.  It was August and that was a challenge for Wendell. He’d do that in the day and play his dance jobs at night.  On September 2nd he met Gwenavere Gibson, his future wife. Just a few months later I remember so well we were in his model A Ford named Beulah and he took me with him, I waited in the car on Central Avenue, while he went into KOY and he was on this ship he found his sweetheart and married her.  He was one of the prominent men in the early days of San Francisco. He owned much property there, which he sold after his wife died. He went to San Diego for a time and worked in some mines. Then he went to San Bernardino.  That’s why it was wide streets like Salt Lake City. Then he was called home, as all the Saints were, when Johnson’s army was approaching. That as the first ime he actually got to Salt Lake City after going around the Cape.  He moved from Salt Lake to Bear Lake, Idaho.  That was where he was living when the prophet called him to go down and settle the wild places of Arizona. With his son Warren he went with a group of Saints it took them five months to go from Bear Lake, Idaho to Mesa, Arizona.  On the way a child was born to George Warren and to his son Warren, on that trip.  When you go from beautiful Bear Lake, Idaho and see that gorgeous country and then realize that he went down to settle Mesa, Arizona that was nothing but hot desert and Indians.  Here again he set out the city of Mesa.  Have you noticed the wide streets? He took a lot of flack when he did that. They said, 'Oh there will be so much dust from the wagons, why are you making the streets so wide?

Now, as our beautiful modern cars go up and down the street they are so glad there are wide streets in Mesa.  That’s where he lived the rest of his life.”

Desert Sun, Number 15, 10 November 1939

Desert Sun, Number 15, 10 November 1950

Kathy, Larry, and baby Paula with parents Gwen and Wendell Noble in May 1949.

Press Herald, 1968

Good Friday at Forest Lawn, 11 April 1952. Reverend Donald A. Minton; Reverend William Merwin; Wendell Nobel; Doctor Hugh Tiner (President of Pepperdine).
 April 16, 1954 Deseret News

Andrea Barlow was in this production.




1940 census:


Glendale address: