His radio show was so popular that pilots claimed that they could see the lights go out all across the region promptly each night after he signed off his 10 p.m. newscast.
Cedric grew up in a very small town in southwestern Minnesota, Magnolia, with a population of 261, but as an adult, he made his home in Edina. While most other notable Edinans lived here quietly, Cedric made his adopted town famous by his columns and radio shows. He broadcast his shows several days a week from his home office and even had a show called Dinner at the Adams’, aired from his dining room table.
With an infectious chuckle and a folksy style of “good neighbor” humor that became the trademark of WCCO, Cedric talked about his children, weight, marriage, clothing, neighbors and life in the suburbs.
Who knows? Perhaps Cedric, in his way, contributed to Edina’s post-war housing boom. After all, he was an unparalleled salesman. When he advertised Purity Bread on air, sales increased 145% in the Twin Cities alone. Purity couldn’t keep up with the orders. When Cedric spoke for TCF Bank, people actually sent him money and wanted him to deposit it. One listener sent him $10,000 to deposit for him. He was a master at connecting with people and sponsors were plentiful.
His influence amazed even famed comedian Bob Hope: “It is amazing that one man can wield the power that Cedric holds on the Twin Cities and suburbia. The mere mention in his column that the nights are getting chilly and his office is flooded with a thousand bed-warmers.”
One can only guess the impact of a photo brochure "Cedric Adams' Album," celebrating the announcer's 25 years with radio and newspaper. The undated pamphlet (courtesy of the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting) features an TCF home mortgage ad with Cedric, and a feature story showing him at home with his family at 5404 Larada Lane.
Here is one page:
Cedric's also owned businesses in Edina, including Cedric's restaurant, Cedric's clothing and the Biltmore hotel. I'll post more about those on another day.
For more info:
- See the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting page on Cedric Adams, who is the Minnesota Brodcasting Hall of Fame. You can hear his broadcasts and see more photos.
- Read "Everyone Called Him Cedric," by Benedict E. Hardman. The biography, funded by Twin City Federal, was published in 1970.
- See the Minnesota Historical Society photo collection for photos of Cedric Adams.
- Check out a variety of media on Cedric, compiled by his granddaughter.