Studdnoople bagling: Old-time radio listening, 15 March

Stoopnagle & Budd: If We Supervised Radio (CBS, 1935)

One and a half of a kind: Stoopnagle & Budd (Photo: NBC)

One and a half of a kind: Stoopnagle & Budd (Photo: NBC)

Frederick Chase Taylor, a.k.a. Col. Lemuel Stoopnagle, from “Col. Speaknagle Stoopling,” collected in You Wouldn’t Know Me From Adam (New York: McGraw-Hill/Whittlesey House, 1941):

I was born in a little log cabin (that’s a cabin made from little logs) many years ago. And if it hadn’t been for my long black beard, my high silk hat, and my extraordinarily long legs, I would never have been taken for Abraham Lincoln. But as the years passed, I got to look less and less like him, until now I am frequently referred to as “The Man Who Looks Least Like Lincoln.” The fact that I started life as an infant and eventually turned out to be a radio comedian is one of the phenomena of my strange existence; many infants, if they live, turn out to be people.

Fred Allen, from You Wouldn’t Know Me From Adam‘s introduction:

at the age of five, the little man would lie about on the floor of the cabin and do his homework by the light of a hot-foot he had given his uncle.

H. Allen Smith, from “Colonel Speaknagle Stoopling,” in How to Write Without Knowing Nothing (Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1961):

For eight years, in the 1930s, Stoopnagle & Budd entertained the American public. Then the team split up and the two men went their separate ways in radio. Stoopnagle was a thickset man with a cherubic face, a rarity among comedians of the time in that he was a college graduate, and he was frequently as funny off-mike as he was on the air. He could play but one song on the harmonium, “I Love Coffee, I Love Tea,” and that became his theme. He had an extraordinarily inventive mind and while he loved the reverse English involved in Spoonerisms, his clever way of dealing with the language sometimes approached sheer genius.

Col. Stoopnagle’s inventions, invariably described whenever hapless (and should have known better) Budd (real name: Wilbur Budd Hulick) is foolish enough to ask on the radio whether he had any new inventions to describe:

A twenty-foot pole, for not touching a guy you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole . . . twice.

A wrist watch with a whistle on it, in case someone came up and asked, “Hey, you got a wrist watch with a whistle on it?”

An upholstered deep, for sailors to fall asleep in them.

Eyeglasses with vertical stripes on them, so bank tellers can recognise their customers when they meet them outside the cage.

A daisy with only the she-loves-me petals on it, so she always loves you.

A square bathtub for not getting rings in it.

Col. Speaknagle stoopling, on tonight’s program:

I think once in awhile I’d like to hear a morning program called “Leap from Your Couch with a Grouch.”

Yours truly:

High crime: The survival of only one lousy Budnagle & Stoop program, under their own name, from the duo’s 1930s heyday.

H. Allen Smith, ibid:

Colonel Stoopnagle once advanced the brash opinion that parades, as conducted on the streets of our towns and cities, are not properly organised. Each person on the sidelines may have a particular section he wants to look at longer than the other sections . . . The section he particularly wants to see goes past him before he has a chance to take it all in and if he wants to study it further, he has to sort of trot alongside it, and stand the risk of being brought up for disorderly conduct. The Colonel proposed that all future parades be formed up a stretch of Fifth Avenue, or whatever street they ordinarily use, and that the marchers and floats and bands and horsemen and cops and everybody else in the parade stand still, so the onlookers could walk around them and take their time looking at the sections they liked best.

Colonel Spuddnagle, lexicographically booping:

Manokleptiac: a guy who backs into a department store, puts stuff on the counter, and runs like anything.

Lowell Thomas, eulogising Stoopnagle/Taylor, 29 May 1950:

Tonight the world of fun and laughs is bidding farewell to Colonel Lemuel Q. Stoopnagle. Today, in Boston, Stoop died of an internal ailment—and radio loses a famous, genial figure . . . He was a member of –in fact, the star—of our soft ball team, The Nine Old Men. He not only played a good game, but kept both teams and spectators in a merry uproar. One of the finest men I ever knew—with a way of making everybody happy.

Colonel Studdnoople bagling:

Lowell Thomas is a man whom posterity will recognise as the Lowell Thomas of his time.

Yours really and truly:

Col. Stoopnagle was a man whom posterity will recognise. Possibly after doing a triple-take.

Additional cast: Unidentified. Announcer: Andre Baruch. Music: Mark Warnow. Writers: Unidentified.

 

FURTHER CHANNEL SURFING . . .

Comedy

The Great Gildersleeve: Ten Best Dressed (NBC, 1942)—To the amusement of his family, since he doesn’t exactly look it while installing a new spring carpet, Gildersleeve (Harold Peary) has been voted to compete as one of Summerfield’s ten best dressed men, amusing and annoying Hooker (Earle Ross) into a quest to challenge for the title—assuming it’s legitimate, that is. Sleeving as usual. Leroy: Walter Tetley. Marjorie: Lurene Tuttle. Birdie: Lillian Randolph. Additional cast: Possibly Isabel Randolph, Arthur Q. Bryan. Announcer: Jim Bannon. Music: William Randolph. Director: Cecil Underwood. Writer: Leonard L. Levinson.

Duffy’s Tavern: Archie Takes Up Gardening (NBC; AFRS rebroadcast, 1946)—Archie (Ed Gardner) receives a handsome potted plant as an unexpected gift, from the nurse who tended him during his recent tonsillectomy, inspiring him to start a small farm in the back of the dive. Eddie: Eddie Green. Finnegan: Charles Cantor. Miss Duffy: Sandra Gould. Music: Marty Malneck. Writers: Ed Gardner, Larry Marks, possibly Larry Gelbart, possibly Robert Schiller.

The Life of Riley: Advice to the Lovelorn Column (NBC, 1947)—Riley (William Bendix) throws Babs’ (Sharon Douglas) boyfriend Simon out of the house—again; Peg (Paula Winslowe) argues that he’s wrong and overreacting—as usual; and, a frustrated Riley seeks helpful advice from a newspaper advice columnist—what a revoltin’ development thatis. Junior: Scotty Beckett. Digger: John Brown. Announcer: Wendell Niles. Music: Lou Kosloff. Writers: Irving Breecher, Alan Lipscott.

My Friend Irma: Buy or Sell (CBS, 1948)—Jane’s (Cathy Lewis) fed up with fighting the party line, so she decides she and Irma (Marie Wilson) must find a way to get a private phone line—and Al (John Brown) has a plan to get them one, which could end up slammed down in Jane’s face when the phone’s disconnected after Irma misinterprets Al’s plan . . . meaning Jane can’t receive critical instructions from boss/paramour Richard on a major stock transaction. Professor Kropotkin: Hans Conreid. Announcer: Frank Bingman. Music: Lud Gluskin. Director: Cy Howard. Writers: Parke Levy, Stanley Adams, Roland McLane. (Note: Radio Mirror’s editor presents the company with a citation for being voted best new comedy of 1947 by the magazine’s readers.)

Fibber McGee & Molly: Doc Gamble Day (NBC, 1949)—The town is preparing to surprise the good doctor (Arthur Q. Bryan) with a day in his honour . . . instigated by, of all people, the Sap of 79 Wistful Vista (Jim Jordan) himself, who’s quietly grateful for all Doc’s treatment over the years, but a surprise of his own awaits him. Molly/Teeny: Marian Jordan. La Trivia: Gale Gordon. Wimpole: Bill Thompson. Announcer: Harlow Wilcox. Music: Billy Mills Orchestra, the King’s Men. Writers: Don Quinn, Phil Leslie.

 

Crime Drama

Philo Vance: The Million Dollar Murder (ZIV syndication, 1950)—Paranoid business titan Ezra Simmons—who became a titan by stepping over any and every back he could get away with, who thinks his family and his rivals are really out to get him, and who only thinks he’s built a safe fortress-like mansion in which no one can harm him—alarms his loyal secretary, who stands to inherit a million dollars from him . . . if she can survive working now in the mansion without wanting to kill him first. It’s actually fun if you can bear with the over-soaped acting. Vance: Jackson Beck. Markham: George Petrie. Additional cast, director, writers: Unidentified.

Broadway is My Beat: The Gordon Merrick Murder Case (CBS, 1952)—Director Gordon Merrick, who called for champagne for two at midnight, in a continuing but failing bid to win back stage actress Carol Royce (Rita Johnson), is found shot to death, and Clover (Larry Thor) is taken aback by the woman’s apparent indifference to the man’s death . . . before he arrests incumbent suitor Vic Kane (Paul Richards) on suspicion of murder, she hires a private investigator (Herb Butterfield) to prove Kane’s innocence, and another woman turns up dead by the same gun that killed the director. Stretch a little too far for its poetic metaphors? When you’re making crime drama as good as this, you’re allowed a little such latitude. Tartaglia: Charles Calvert. Muggavan: Jack Kruschen. Mrs. Polk: Martha Wentworth. Announcer: Bill Anders. Music: Alexander Courage. Director: Elliott Lewis. Writers: Morton Fine, David Friedkin. (Bonus: a spot from film star Burt Lancaster plugging the network’s Lux Radio Theater.)

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar: The Clinton Matter, Part Four (CBS, 1956)—With a dead building inspector, further hints of payoffs, a fresh threat from the recalcitrant sheriff, and live help from his home office now in the mix, Dollar (Bob Bailey) gets closer to unraveling the elaborate coverup when he gets help from four unexpected sources including the burnt-down Clinton, Colorado school’s construction supervisor, three of his crew, and the local newspaper’s editor. Additional cast: Carleton Young, Bob Bruce, Jack Petruzzi, Jeanette Nolan. Announcer: Roy Rowan. Music: Amerigo Moreno. Director: Jack Johnstone. Writer: John Dawson.

 

Drama/Dramatic Anthology

Lux Radio Theater: Desire (CBS, 1937)—Marlene Dietrich (who starred in the 1936 film from which this is adapted) and Herbert Marshall (taking Gary Cooper’s film role) absolutely had to do this broadcast, so it’s said they insisted—enough that the two stars pushed back the start of a new film shoot in order to do it: Automobile engineer Tom Bradley (Marshall) is used to smuggle jewels stolen by a sultry thief (Dietrich) with whom he can’t help falling in love. Choppy in places but pleasant listening regardless. Additional cast: Otto Krueger, Zeffie Tillbury. Host/producer: Cecil B. DeMille. Music: Louis Silvers. Adapted from the screenplay by Edwin J. Mayer, Waldemar Young, and Samuel Hoffenstein; based on the play by Hans Szekely and R.A. Stemmle.

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