Tag Archives: The Henry Morgan Show

5 November: Pushed, pulled, nicked, and nicked

Should Henry Morgan have been a bigger radio star? John Crosby, the heralded radio critic of the New York Herald-Tribune, probably thought so as he wrote for 13 September 1946, after the new show premiered:

1946-47 ad for Morgan's half-hour hash . . . (Photo: ABC.)

1946-47 ad for Morgan’s half-hour hash . . . (Photo: ABC.)

Some time ago I expressed the wish that Henry Morgan, one of radio’s original wits, would some day be given a big half hour program of his own with entertainers, an orchestra and all the trimmings. Well, he’s got one now, The Henry Morgan Show, and you’ll find him, in the East, on the American Broadcasting Company network.

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31 March: A 99th birthday commemoration

Our birthday boy . . . (Photo: NBC.)

Our birthday boy . . . (Photo: NBC.)

It’s probably safe to assume that the only time in our hero’s life in which he didn’t even think about slapping back was tonight’s date 99 years ago. Alas, his birthcry wasn’t exactly “Good evneing, anybody, here’s Morgan.” Not even because he was born Henry Lerner van Ost, Jr. And he’d require at least a quarter century to come before Kate Smith annoyed him enough to hit back at her “Hello, everybody!” (After playing a snippet of her theme song on something resembling a circus calliope.

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5 November: Pushed, pulled, clicked, nicked

"When things were going well for him, he'd do something to destroy himself. He just couldn't deal with success."---Arnold Stang (left) on his long-enough-time boss Henry Morgan. (Photo: ABC.)

“When things were going well for him, he’d do something to destroy himself. He just couldn’t deal with success.”—Arnold Stang (left) on his long-enough-time boss Henry Morgan. (Photo: ABC.)

Henry Morgan isn’t now and never will be a ratings champion. Which probably doesn’t bother him when all is said and done. The now 31-year-old satirist is forging a career as something of a contemporary version of Fred Allen: the cerebral cynic who doesn’t quite wrap to broadcasting’s conceits and takes a cheerful bludgeon to them, caring almost nothing for the consequences.

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Good evening, mom and dad and doc, here’s Morgan! Old-time radio appreciation, 31 March

One of a kind, even if you suspect that after the doctor gave him that first slap, the nurses lined up to take their whacks . . . (Photo: NBC.)

One of a kind, even if you suspect that after the doctor gave him that first slap, the nurses lined up to take their whacks . . . (Photo: NBC.)

It may prove the last time old-time radio’s eventual most shameless iconoclast (“If Fred Allen bit the hand that fed him,” historian Gerald Nachman will recall in due course, [he] tried to bite off the whole arm”) gets any kind slap without even thinking about slapping back.

Neither, alas, is the newborn’s birthcry, “Good evening, anybody, here’s Morgan.” (OK, so I made the headline a lie.)

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The war effort launches: Old-time radio listening, 9 December

Fibber McGee & Molly: Forty Percent Off (NBC, 1941)

The First Couple of 79 Wistful Vista and their sponsor wasted no time getting behind the World War II effort after Pearl Harbour was bombed . . . (Photo: NBC; S.C. Johnson.)

That’s what a post card offers at the Wistful Vista Wholesale Outlet, a natural lure for a sucker like our man McGee (Jim Jordan). But it’s the program beginning which makes this program particularly significant, especially in light of what this show and its performers will come to mean throughout the war.

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