Johnnie Turgeon was a native of the nation's capital, Washington, DC.
He had an unusual nickname, for he was known as "The Wanderer of the Wasteland".
Some might think that may be appropriate for that area (that's political
humor, folks!). He was exposed to the entertainment business at an early
age as he traveled with his parents, who were in vaudeville and radio
in the early 1920s.
When he was 17 years old, he became a staff artist for radio station
WESX out of Salem, Massachusetts. He became a popular act in the New
England area and soon found himslef on WHDH in Boston, where Billboard
Magazine was said to have mentioned him as the "...leading western
singer in that part of the country."
In a 1946 article, Cindy Angel wrote that from Boston, Johnnie moved
to WCKY out of Cincinnati, Ohio. While there, he teamed with
an act called The Western Sisters, composed of Jean and Edna Leeper
(Jean and Jane Leeper, seemingly of the same family, were later
known as the Oklahoma Sweethearts.)
But like many back then, his stint was interrupted by military duty.
His 40 month stint in the service ended on February 22, 1946.
He came back to Cincinnati and found work on a show called the Petticoat
party Line over WSAI from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. He was showing some promise
and the station hoped to get him an evening slot as soon as one opened up.
But Ms. Angel didn't tell us why he had the moniker, "The Wanderer
of the Wasteland."
Credits & Sources
- The Mountain Broadcast and Prairie Recorder; June 1946;
Mountain Broadcast Pub. Co.; New York, NY