Saturday, February 16, 2013

February 16: Happy Birthday, Edgar Bergen

February 16: Happy Birthday, Edgar Bergen

Where would Charlie McCarthy have been without Edgar Bergen? Edgar Bergen was one of the biggest legends of radio along with his ventriloquist's dummy, Charlie McCarthy. They weren't the first performers who got their radio start as guests on Rudy Vallee's show. For them it was Dec. 17, 1936. It quickly landed them their own show.

Wait a minute. A ventriloquist on the radio? You can't see the dummy! The utter improbability of the act makes their accomplishment even more stunning. For the duo became just about the biggest stars on the air and they had big stars on guests as their show.

Incidentally, on the night of the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast of Orson Welles, which caused a panic over a supposed Martian invasion, Bergen and McCarthy were also on the air. If they'd had less listeners, the panic may have been much bigger. Happy birthday, Edgar!

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