Card of the Day - 2022-01-25

turf radio celebrites no. 11
C151-685 [tobacco: UK] Carreras Turf slide "Radio Celebrities" 11/50

This card shows Vic Oliver, and he was the first person to appear on Desert Island Discs. His original name was Victor Oliver von Samek, and he was born in Austria in 1898, the son of a Baron. He planned to be a doctor but fell in love with music, at one stage being taught by Gustav Mahler. He fought in a cavalry regiment during the First World War, and rumour has it a fellow soldier in his squad was Adolf Hitler. I cant find any truth to this, and Adolf Hitler served in the 16th Reserve Division of the Bavarian Army from 1914 -1920 and not the Austro Hungarian Army with Vic Oliver.

After the war he (Vic Oliver) did several jobs before music came back into his life.By the late 1920s he was a conductor, violinist and comedian, appearing in variety and revues. Though he was an excellent violinist he played it badly for comedic effect. He also appeared in several films in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Eventually he would form the Vic Oliver Concert Orchestra and “Variety Playhouse”, a very popular radio show in magazine style with lots of different segments, possibly the forerunner of many of todays television shows.

In 1936 he married Winston Churchill`s daughter, it is said that the marriage met with parental disapproval and not just because she was the third Mrs Oliver. They divorced in 1945 and he married again the following year.

He appeared on Desert Island discs before it was on mainstream radio, this was on 29 January 1942 and it was broadcast over The BBC Forces Programme, a national radio station, intended to entertain soldiers waiting to go to war, and broadcast over regional stations, however it soon became more popular than the Home Service and many civilians started tuning in. It operated from January 1940 until February 1944 and was replaced by the General Forces Programme which appealed to overseas troops as well. That closed in 1946.