August 26: Happy Birthday, Phil Baker!
Phil Baker had his career beginnings on the stage of his local movie house, then later in the vaudeville circuit. He went on tour in the 1920s with Ben Bernie as an accordion-violin playing headliner. His early work included accordion music and radio skits with an English butler character who had a love for Shirley Temple dolls.
Phil Baker was a very nervous actor, and would get the trembles before he went on the air. To calm his fears, he created a heckling character nestled somewhere in the audience that would shout at him through a megaphone. The heckler shouted that he was no good and should get off the air. By creating and thus controlling his worst fear, the heckler, this helped Phil to relax and allowed him to proceed with his show in a calm manner. It also provided great comedy relief that kept the show moving.