[78-L] Amalgamated Broadcasting System

Elizabeth McLeod lizmcl at midcoast.com
Fri Feb 4 19:42:16 PST 2011

on 2/4/11 3:32 PM David Lennick wrote:

>Why does Gross not even mention Gygi by name in his 4-page account of the 
>fiasco in "I Looked and I Listened"? All other details are 
>there..fascinating stuff.

The more I dug into that story and learned about Gygi, and the various 
promotions and projects he was involved in, the more he came across to me 
as a con man/stock swindler ,maybe one part Kreisler to two parts 
Kingfish (he'd passed himself off in vaudeville as "the Viennese-born 
court violinist to King Alfonso of Spain") and Wynn as the prize sucker 
of the decade. Wynn was absolutely sincere about the whole project, but 
Gygi sold him a bill of goods in putting the package together, and with 
Wynn in Hollywood for most of the orgazational period, he had no idea 
where his money was going or what Gygi was up to. By the time he found 
out, it was too late.

Gygi didn't let the grass grow under his feet once the Amalgamated fiasco 
blew up. He turned up again in 1935 trying to convince disgraced 
utilities magnate Samuel Insull to bankroll yet another new radio 
network, the "Affiliated Broadcasting Company," to be based in the 
midwest but otherwise pretty much the same proposition that had done in 
Wynn. Insull, of course, had already lost his fortune by this point and 
Gygi apparently hadn't had a chance to catch up on the papers, because by 
the end of the year he was giving interviews about the many financiers 
and captains of industry ready to line up behind this impressive array of 

This whole project is an eerie echo of Amalgamated. Just like Wynn, 
Insull dropped out of the network shortly after it went on the air, and 
the whole thing caved in shortly after. Mr. Gygi was nothing if not 


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