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Peggy Lee with William B. Williams (1968 & 1976)

Posted by Iv 
Do you know where I can purchase any recordings? I believe American Express or Diners Club sold cassettes at one time, but I can't seem to find them. Does anyone have any info?
Just discovered this string and feel I should contribute somewhat as I grew up listening to Martin Block, William B. Williams, Ted Brown, Jerry Marshall and more people than I can name here.

Indeed William B. was Jewish and born in Babylon, Long Island in NY. I believe his real name was Bill Breitban or something similar, sorry I may not have it exactly right. When I got out of the Army in 1954 I settled on Long Island and used to listen to him on WNEW at 9:00PM every night. His show was titled The William B. Williams Show. He used to start his show with "Good evening world this is William B. Williams" and then his theme song "You Are The One" (which I have) by Henri Rene. That lasted about three years and then in 1957 he took over The Make Believe Ballroom.

I have the book "Where The Melody Lingers On" 1934 to 1984 published for the 50th annivesary of WNEW. In it there are many many references to Willy B. and all the other great people that worked there, too numerous to mention here.

It's too bad that great station no longer exists. The closest thing we have in NY is as some other poster mentioned Jonathan Schwartz heard on WNYC and XM Satellite radio on Saturday and Sunday for four hours.

If anyone has any questions regarding WNEW feel free to email me. JLand919446@aol.com

PS - Some time back, it might have been in the late 80's , not sure, WNEW hired Willy B's son Jeffery B. Williams to do a night time DJ show. I called him one night and expressed my fondness for his father. He was very gracious and thanked me. I don't believe the show lasted too long.
Email address correction:

In my previous post about William B. Williams I inadvertently typed in a wrong email address. The correct one is JLand91946@aol.com
Jim, thanks for your recollections. I love many kinds of music, but I owe my love for the kind of music we post about on this site to my dad and WNEW-AM. (I was also a listener of WQEW which changed its format to accommodate the WNEW crowd in the early 90's when Mayor Bloomberg bought WNEW for his news & business format. Alas, around 1999 didn't the New York Times go and sell WQEW to the folks at Radio Disney - all that great potential unfulfilled! Now all we New Yorkers have is eight hours per week of Jonathan Schwartz to enjoy on another great station, WNYC.

Regards to all the Peggy fans,
Bill C.
Hi Bill

Yes WQEW did try and fill the shoes of WNEW and they were succeeding, but like you said it was sold or leased to Disney. At least Jonathan Schwartz keeps us supplied with Sinatra, Basie, Ella, etc. When he eventually leaves the scene, so will the golden age of radio, at least that's my opinion.

I didn't mean to step on Peggy Lee's thread by sidestepping to these other issues, but whenever I see WNEW or William B's names, I just have to add my 2 cents worth. ;-)

The name of the song that he used in "Encore" is "Trumpet Blues & Cantabile." Not sure who is performing his version, but I have the song on one my Harry James CDs. Although, not sure if that's the show to which you're referring.

I've been listening to "Encore" for a year or two on our local station (KLBB 1400 (and KLBP 1470)). Thoroughly enjoy it... even finding myself starting to say "Hello world" more and more. Started recording about a month ago.

Hopefully the radio station will continue to play the show (as well as Big Band Jump) for quite a while.

Maybe in 2030...
"Hello world, where were you in 2005?"

Minneapolis, MN
I remember William B. Williams in the early 50s broadcasting live jazz from the Embers on East 54th Street. He also claimed that actor/author Tom Tryon was his brother. Can anybody confirm or even remember any of this?

Caswell Beach NC
Sorry, I never heard Willy B mention Tom Tryon.

I once heard Al "Jazzbow" Collins mention that Martin Block was his father. I've never been able to find corroboration of this, and I think it might be bogus. (I'm sure that's what he said, but he may have meant some kind of a spiritual fatherhood.) Anybody?

I have a five (5) Volume Set of LP records sold by American Express named "William B. Williams Make-Believe Ballroom." Each dark blue box with silver lettering contains four LP records and a folder showing a short biography of the artists on the LP. It states the "Entire Series Conceived by Multilingua, Inc., Available Exclusively Through American Express. Produced by CSP A Service of CBS Records." If I can supply any further information, please just let me know. Thanks and take care.

Betty A Knight
San Jose, CA
Hi Bill,

I have un-scoped shows of WNEW-AM... Please e-mail me if you're interested. Shows are available on cassettes or CDs.

Wliiiam B. Williams' theme song was "You Are the One" by Henri Rene. I am 72 years old and listened to Willie B. back in the fifties while riding around in my candy-apple-red convertible in Connecticut. I would give anything for a recording just to hear him say "Hello world, this is William B."


Alfred Watteron
36 Ward Hill Road, Tunbridge, Vermont
I hope you folks don't mind if I join in the conversation. I too remember William B. Williams. I worked for my father in his gas station in New Jersey in the 60s and early 70s as a kid and from the mid 70s to mid 80s in my 20s. At first I had many fights with my father and uncle about WNEW, and would change the station to WABC, remember that one? They would promptly change it back. After about three months of this I gave up. Eventually I began to love the music and the talk and have missed it greatly since it went off the air in that format. I would like to mention one more form of Willie B which was Wilhelm B. Wilhelm. The Smith Street Society Jazz Band actually wrote a song celebrating the name William B Williams. Many of the people that have contributed here have mentioned different "music personalities" as Willie B. called DJs, but no one has mentioned Ted Brown, a real favorite of mine.

Regards to everyone,
David Melchionne
High Point NC

P. S. Sirius satellite radio has two fantastic stations, Swing Street and Standards, both of which celebrate the music of WNEW
This has little to do with Peggy Lee (one of my favorites), but back in the late 40s while in college in the New York area, I listened religiously to William B. One of his favorites was Slim Gaillard's recording, with Slam Stewart, of "Eight Nine and Ten," which I consider a long-forgotten landmark in the late 30s style. It is still one of my favorites of that genre, listened to frequently with nostalgic admiration.

But it was one comment of William B's that has kept my attention over all of these years. One evening, when commenting about the typically blustery New York weather, he said, "When the wind blows east -- walk west." Nuff said.

Barry Thomas
To Dave M,

Ted Brown, aka Yasha Buntchik, had a morning drive time show on WNEW that was hilarious. He lived on Long Island when he retired. I wonder if he's still alive?

Marty G
Ted Brown passed away on March 20, 2005. I used to hear his show all the time when I was growing up in NYC.
I was sorry to hear that Ted Brown has passed away. I have often wondered over the years if he was still alive. I enjoyed his characters such as Bernie the Attorney. I also got a kick out of the comedy clips he used to play, some of which included The Bickersons, the always funny Allan Sherman, and many more some of which I never identified. Does anyone remember this one: 412 WHAT'S A 412?

David Melchionne
I have the complete collection (25 blue boxes). Is the collection available in CD?
I listened to Wm B a lot in the mid 50s when I was in HS in NJ. I liked it when he identified himself as "Guillame B Guillames".

A good gig, Willie B.
Reading all those posts on Wm. B. brought back so many memories of growing up in a little town in the Berkshires during the late 40's and 50's and listening to WNEW. Both Wm. B and Martin Block introduced me to my lifelong love of Frank and Ella plus showtunes that I can still sing today.

I had a crush on Willy - (once went to NYC and hung around outside WNEW - he came out in a camel's hair coat - I said nothing) and remember he married a woman named Dottie Mack who had the oddest program out of I think Cincinnati - she mouthed words from popular songs - that was her talent - but somehow she and Willy connected and had a son - must be Jeffrey - Wm. died of leukemia - "those were the days"
To Dorothy,

I remember William B. Williams and the other personalities at WNEW in the mid to late 1950s while growing up in Central New Jersey. I believe at that time he was on twice each weekday. First he was on at 10 a.m. and then again later with a separate program at 6 p.m.

I also remember now that you mention her, Dotty Mack, performing silently to hit records by female vocalists in the early to mid-1950s. She appeared on the Paul Dixon Show out of Cincinnati on the old Dumont Network. I used to watch the show in the afternoon at around 3 p.m. after getting home from school. This was a few years before American Bandstand went on the ABC Network in the afternoon. Later, I vaguely remember her on a similar show on Saturday night.
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