KNBC 68, San Francisco
The Standard Hour
Sunday, December 4, 1949

“This Hour Is Yours…”

Only a brief moment is presented here, but for many years “The Standard Hour” was a cultural staple for listeners in the Bay

Pierre Monteux

Area and throughout the West Coast.

The program featured the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of the distinguished Paris-born conductor Pierre Monteux. In his beloved 1949 collection, “Baghdad By The Bay,” Herb Caen wrote, “At seventy-three, the bouncy, bubbly little maestro of the San Francisco Symphony is richly enjoyed by thousands who never attend a concert. With his thick mane of black hair and his white Santa Claus mustache, he is a daily sight to see as he walks his French poodle, Fifi, around the Fairmont Hotel. … In 1948 the amazingly vital M. Monteux conducted one hundred and fifty-three concerts — more than any other major conductor in the country. His Symphony records sold so widely and steadily that his annual royalties from them alone totaled $40,000.”

Broadcast directly from San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House under the sponsorship of Standard Oil of California, “The Standard Hour” made its debut on Sunday, October 21, 1926, and by the time of this airing was billing itself as “Radio’s Oldest Hour of Music.” Maestro Monteux assumed leadership of the Symphony in January 1936 after having served as principal conductor of the Ballets Russes, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, as well as his own Orchestre Symphonique de Paris.

Maestro Monteux conducted the San Francisco Symphony until 1952, after which he served as a guest conductor for the Boston Symphony until his death. A character to the end, he demanded a 25-year contract, with a 25-year renewal option, before accepting the role of principal conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1961 — at the age of 86. He passed away in 1964.


1949             The Standard Hour (2 minutes) Audio Presentation

Presentation of this recording was made possible
through the generosity of Rose Leber
in memory of her husband, Frank Knight


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