Tag Archives: Radio

Jews of the Week: Philips Family

Gerald and Anton Philips

Gerald Leonard Frederik Philips (1858-1942) was born in the Netherlands, the son of a wealthy Dutch-Jewish financier (who was the first cousin of Karl Marx). In 1891, inspired by the recent invention of the light bulb, he decided to open his own light bulb and electronics company. His father purchased an abandoned factory where they set up shop and started producing carbon-filament lamps under the Philips brand the following year. The company did poorly, and nearly went bankrupt before younger brother Anton Frederik Philips (1874-1951) joined the business. A great salesman, with terrific innovations of his own, Anton quickly changed the company’s fortunes. Philips got another boost during World War I, when it filled the void left by the embargo on German electronics. By the 1920s, Philips had become a large corporation, and would soon establish the model for future electronics multinationals. After making their own vacuum tubes and radios, Philips’ introduced a new type of electric razor, the wildly popular Philishave. (It was invented by lead engineer and fellow Jew Alexandre Horowitz.) During the Holocaust, the family fled to the United States and ran the business from there. One son, Frits Philips, remained behind, and spent several months in an internment camp. He would save the lives of 382 Jews that he employed in his factory, convincing the Nazis that they would assist the war effort. In 1963, Philips introduced the compact audio cassette, revolutionizing the world of music forever. They did it again less then a decade later with the first home video cassette recorder. In the 1980s, Philips developed the LaserDisc, and together with Sony, brought about the age of the CD. Similarly, in 1997 Philips and Sony developed the Blu-ray disc. Today, Philips is still the world’s largest lighting manufacturer, employing over 100,000 people, with revenues of nearly €25 billion. In 2012, Greenpeace ranked Philips first among energy companies and tenth among electronics companies for their green initiatives and commitment to sustainability. This is very much in line with Gerald and Anton Philips’ original vision. The brothers were noted philanthropists, and supported many educational and social programs in their native Netherlands.

Words of the Week

Incidentally, Europe owes the Jews no small thanks for making people think more logically and for establishing cleanlier intellectual habits – nobody more so than the Germans, who are a lamentably déraisonnable race who to this day are still in need of having their “heads washed” first. Wherever the Jews have won influence they have taught men to make finer distinctions, more rigorous inferences, and to write in a more luminous and cleanly fashion; their task was ever to bring a people “to listen to raison.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

A 1968 Philips audio cassette recorder; a Philips Magnavox video recorder; Philishave rotary razor; and an early LaserDisc player model

Jew of the Week: June Foray

June Lucille Forer (1917-2017) was born in Massachusetts to a Ukrainian-Jewish father and a mother with Lithuanian-Jewish and French-Canadian ancestry. From a young age, she dreamed of being an actress. At 12, she was cast to voice a character in a radio drama. By 15, she had become a regular radio voice actress, and two years later moved to Los Angeles. She soon had her very own radio show, and was known across America as “June Foray”. A decade later, she started working in film, and went on to voice countless beloved characters, including Lucifer the Cat in Cinderella, Witch Hazel in Looney Tunes, as well as Granny (owner of Tweety and Sylvester), Grandmother Fa in Mulan, Aunt May in Spider-Man, and Cindy Lou Who in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Perhaps most famously, she was Rocky the Flying Squirrel (of Rocky and Bullwinkle), and voiced characters in Peter Pan, Woody Woodpecker, Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons, The Flintstones, George of the Jungle, The Smurfs, and The Twilight Zone. Foray also appeared as a guest on The Simpsons, Family Guy, and many other shows. All in all, Foray worked on 19 radio programs, nearly 100 TV shows, and over 100 films. She also appeared in 9 video games, voiced many talking toys, recorded several children’s music albums, and wrote two books. Foray won an Emmy Award for her work, and played a key role in establishing the Annie Awards (for achievement in animation) and creating the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in the Oscars. In fact, she was an Academy board member for 26 years, as well as governor of the Academy for a time. She founded the International Animated Film Society (which later named an award in her honour), and taught voice acting at the University of Southern California. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and was featured in a 2013 documentary about her life called The One and Only June Foray. Foray worked well into her 90s, once saying, “My body is old, but I think the same as I did when I was 20 years old.” Sadly, Foray passed away last week, just shy of her 100th birthday. She has been called the “actress of a thousand voices” and “the First Lady of Voice Acting”. Click here to see a compilation of her voices.

Words of the Week

You cannot add more minutes to the day, but you can utilize each one to the fullest.
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Jew of the Week: Rod Serling

The Twilight Zone

Rod Serling

Rod Serling

Rodman Edward Serling (1924-1975) was born in Syracuse, New York. From a very young age he was drawn to performing, spending hours each day acting in his basement. Initially a class clown, and thought to be a “lost cause” by his teachers, Serling was soon a key member of his high school debate team, a public speaker, journalist, athlete, and social activist. The day after graduating high school, he enlisted in the army and fought in World War II as a paratrooper, earning a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star, among other medals. After the war, he studied physical education, then switched to theatre, broadcasting, and literature. It was in his college days that he began writing, directing, and acting in radio programs. He struggled to break through in the radio industry for several years after, meanwhile earning money on the side by participating in dangerous flight experiments for the Air Force (and nearly getting himself killed on multiple occasions). He then tried his luck at television, and after many years of writing scripts, Serling finally got a break. His 72nd script, Patterns, earned many accolades and was described by some at the time as the best program in the short history of television. After this success, he had little worry finding jobs. However, corporate sponsors and politicians always meddled with his scripts. Fed up with this, Serling created his own show: The Twilight Zone. The series became an instant hit, and in 2013 was ranked as the third best TV show of all time. Serling went on to write and produce a number of other television, film, and radio programs. He also wrote many short stories and poems, and published 11 books. On top of this, Serling taught film and media at colleges across the US. Throughout his life, his primary goal was to spread awareness of human equality, world peace, and social justice. This was the underlying theme of all of his work, and Serling himself often stated that “the ultimate obscenity is not caring.” Sadly, Serling died at the young age of 50 from a string of heart attacks. He is credited with helping to establish television as a serious medium, and his episode of Patterns was the first TV rerun in history. He was ranked first among the “25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends” by TV Guide. Serling won 8 Emmys, 3 Hugo Awards, and a Golden Globe, among others, and has been inducted into both the Television Hall of Fame and the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.

Words of the Week

As long as they talk about you, you’re not really dead, as long as they speak your name, you continue. A legend doesn’t die, just because the man dies.
– From an episode of The Twilight Zone (written by George Clayton Johnson)