John Dunning, author of On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio , called Jack Kirkwood a "comic's comic." This was due to Kirkwood's passion and dedication to the craft, his great work ethic, and his background banging out jokes for years on the vaudeville circuit. The host of The Jack Kirkwood Show was born on this day in 1894. His show ran from '43-'53 under various named, and treated audiences to sketch comedy, including spoofs of Westerns and other genres of radio programs (this also according to Dunning). The veteran comic made appearances all over the dial, trading wits with Bob Hope and Edgar Bergen , and also guesting on Ozzie and Harriet , Hallmark Playhouse , and Fibber McGee and Molly . A happy birthday to Mr. Kirkwood!
Today's birthday boy is Edgar Bergen ! Born Feb 16, 1903, Edgar Bergen had a successful career during the golden age of radio. With other characters including Charlie McCarthy , Mortimer Snerd, Effie Klinker and simply Bergen's hand with a handkerchief on it, Edgar Bergen entertained radio and vaudeville audiences with his quick wit and radio ventriloquism . Enjoy Bergie's banter with alter ego Charlie McCarthy : " Guest Star Nelson Eddy & Billie Burke "
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!
December 14: Happy Birthday, Spike Jones! Spike Jones was born December of 1911, but that is not all that there is about this talent of early radio. Besides he being an accomplished bandleader, Jones also inspired a satirical approach to his music by incorporating sound effect into the score. Spike Jones and His City Slickers were hugely renowned as the king of music jocularity. By adding cowbells and catcalls, Jones developed a musical blend and comedy routine that shook the rafters of wherever their venue. His group was especially big during the 1940’s and 50’s. Lindley “Spike” Jones gained his famous nickname because he resembled a railroad spike as a lanky and skinny individual. The sound effect addition came as a result of his youth when he was taught the “art” of pots and pans as added noise makers. He performed on Bing Crosby ;’s first recording of White Christmas. Spike gained a radio following when he performed , The Chase and Sanborn Program, for NBC . As Edgar Bergen