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Aug 31: Happy Birthday, Arthur Godfrey

Ukulele master and banjo buccaneer Arthur Godfrey entered the human race on this day in 1903. The host of Arthur Godfrey Time grew up on the hard-scrabble streets of NYC. Though an affable personage in general, Godfrey would eventually become well-known for firing one of his singers, Julius LaRosa, on live TV. Godfrey also waged public feuds with Ed Sullivan and with 
Jack O'Brien.

Godfrey broke into the national scene in 1945 by being the journalist tapped to narrate President Roosevelt's Washington, D.C. funeral procession.

From there, it was Arthur Godfrey Time, a CBS morning show with monologues, guests, and maybe some ukulele strumming from the host. He also starred in a variety show Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. This program brought in ace guests such as Roy Clark, Lenny Bruce, Tony Bennett, and Patsy Cline.

It was Godfrey's television appearances with ukulele in hand that reportedly helped boost sales of that instrument. Quite an accomplishment, indeed. Thanks for the memories, Arthur Godfrey.

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