Hugh Barrett Dobbs was a physical education instructor who was hired by KPO in 1925 to do an early morning exercise program. Before long, another program was developed, "The Sperry Flour Happy Hour", which became the "Ship of Joy" program. Above at right, Dobbs conducts his morning program, with pianist "Wee Willie" Hancock, from the KPO studios in 1929.
The Ship of Joy was instantly a local sensation, and it later became a regular offering on the NBC Pacific Coast Network as the "Shell Ship of Joy", and then on the Columbia West Coast network (below).
The Ship of Joy was a mythical cruise "from Good Cheer Dock to the Isle of Happiness'. It would be considered gushy sentimentalism by today's standards. Part of each program was the wishing well ceremony, where the audience would be asked to place hand over heart, and "send out a wish to somebody - somewhere - who may be in sickness or trouble. Everybody - WISH!" Listeners were told to throw their right arm "high into the air in a vast wave of good will."
When NBC cancelled the program in 1935, Dobbsie moved it to the Columbia West Coast network, and then to KOMO in Seattle (below), where it continued to be popular until Dobbsie's sudden death in 1944 at the age of fifty.