Biographical Note/Scope and Content

Records documenting the broadcasting career of the host of the long-running ABC Network radio program The Breakfast Club (1933-1968) and Don McNeill's TV Club (1950-1951), including audio and video recordings; advertising, publicity, and production files; audience mail; and photographs.

Recordings of The Breakfast Club are also held by the Library of Congress and the Museum of Broadcast Communications.

Gift of Don McNeill, 1969.

Processed by Jenna Popovich, Katrina Stokum, and Phil Runkel, 2011.


Biographical Note

Don McNeill (1907-1996) was a broadcasting pioneer best remembered as creator and host of ABC Radio's immensely popular weekday morning audience participation and variety program The Breakfast Club, which first aired on 23 June 1933. When it ended its run on 27 December 1968, McNeill had set a record for longevity as emcee of a network entertainment program. He also appeared on television as host of Don McNeill's TV Club (1950-1951), a Breakfast Club simulcast (1954-1955), and Take Two, a summer replacement panel show (1963), and as a substitute host of I've Got a Secret (1955-1956). He graduated from Marquette University (Journalism, 1929).

See also: Doolittle, John. Don McNeill and His Breakfast Club. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001.


Scope and Content

Series 1, Audio and Visual Recordings, ca. 1932-1979, contains recordings of a limited number of Breakfast Club programs, most of the Don McNeill's TV Club programs, and other radio and television programs on which McNeill appeared. Audiocassette, DVD, and videocassette user copies have been made when possible. The final seven months of The Breakfast Club (retitled The Don McNeill Show) are only available on the original broadcast master tapes. The series is arranged in chronological order.

Series 2, Production Files. 1943-1968, contains internal memoranda, reports, and a sampling of scripts, arranged in alphabetical order by subject or type of document, and chronologically thereunder.

Series 3, Promotion and Publicity Files, 1936-1969, includes magazine and newspaper clippings, news releases, and information on the "McNeill for President" publicity campaign in 1948. Arrangement is alphabetical by subject or type of document and chronologically thereunder.

Series 4, Photographs, 1913-1967, includes photographs of audiences, cast members, guests, and special anniversary and tour programs, arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically thereunder.

Series 5, Advertising Files, ca. 1939-1968, contains information on advertising and marketing campaigns, policies and procedures for sponsors, and a sample of files on Breakfast Club sponsors. It is arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically thereunder.

Series 6, Audience Mail, 1936-1968, contains letters from Breakfast Club listeners on the issues of the Supreme Court ruling on prayer in public schools and teenage drinking, a sample of other correspondence, and letters from VIPs, including Justice William O. Douglas. It is arranged in alphabetical order by subject and chronologically thereunder.

Series 7, Memorabilia, undated, consists of Don McNeill's clarinet and a souvenir Breakfast Club coffee cup.