He was the announcer, narrator and Petri wine pitchman on Mutual Radio's "The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" (1945-1946). On the program, Dr. Watson would relate a Sherlock Holmes story to Bartell, almost always over a glass of Petri wine.
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Graduated from Rice University in 1933. Attended Harvard Business School and then worked for a while in retail. His first steady radio job was as a disc jockey with station KFWB, located on the Warner Brothers lot. He simultaneously studied acting at the Pasadena Playhouse.