Lum and Abner

"Lum and Abner", an American radio comedy which aired as a network program from 1932 to 1954, became an American institution in its low-keyed, arch rural wit. One of a series of 15-minute serial comedies that dotted American radio at its height as America's number one home entertainment—others included "Amos 'n' Andy", "Easy Aces", "The Goldbergs", and "Vic and Sade"—"Lum and Abner" included various elements of each but yielded something as singular as the others and became somewhat more of an institution.

Jot 'em Down Store

The creation of co-stars Chester Lauck (who played Columbus "Lum" Edwards) and Norris Goff (Abner Peabody), "Lum and Abner" was as low-keyed as "Easy Aces", as cheerfully absurdist as "Vic and Sade", and raised "The Goldbergs" ethnic focus by amplifying the protagonists' regional identities. As the co-owners of the Jot 'em Down Store in the then-fictional town of Pine Ridge, Arkansas, they were always stumbling upon moneymaking ideas only to get themselves fleeced by nemesis Squire Skimp, before finding one or another way to redeem themselves, Lum and Abner played the hillbilly theme with deceptive cleverness: The hillbillies just knew the slickers were going to get theirs, sooner or later, and either didn't mind or knew more than they let on that the slickers getting theirs was a matter of fortunate circumstance.

Rise from rural radio

Lauck and Goff had known each other since childhood and attended the University of Arkansas together (joining the Sigma Chi Fraternity together while there). They performed locally and established a blackface act which led to an audition at radio station KTHS in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Prior to the audition, the two men decided to change their act and portray two hillbillies, since there were already an overabundance of blackface acts at the time. After only a few shows in Hot Springs, they were picked up nationally by NBC, and "Lum and Abner", sponsored by Quaker Oats, ran until 1932. Lauck and Goff performed several different characters, modeling many of them after real-life residents of Waters, Arkansas.After the Quaker contract expired, Lauck and Goff continued to broadcast over two Texas stations, WBAP (Fort Worth) and WFAA (Dallas). In 1933, Ford Motor Company became their sponsor for approximately a year. Horlick's Malted Milk, the 1934-37 sponsor, offered a number of promotional premium items, including almanacs and fictional Pine Ridge newspapers. During this period, the show originated from Chicago's WGN (AM), one of the founding members of the Mutual Broadcasting System. In 1936, the city council of Waters changed the town's name to Pine Ridge. [ [http://www.oldstatehouse.com/educational_programs/classroom/arkansas_news/detail.asp?id=790&issue_id=37&page=8 Lum and Abner Now Have Real “Pine Ridge,” Arkansas » The Arkansas News ] ] Postum cereal sponsored "Lum and Abner" in 1938-39, before Alka-Seltzer picked up the duo for eight years. Over the course of its life, "Lum and Abner" appeared on all of the major radio networks, CBS and ABC (formerly NBC Blue), in addition to NBC and Mutual.

Films

Like several of their classic radio contemporaries, Lauck and Goff had the opportunity to take their famous alter-egos to the movies. Beginning with "Dreaming Out Loud" (1940), the duo starred in seven movies built around Lum, Abner, and the doings and undoings in Pine Ridge. They also went to the US national capital in their very funny 1943 film, "So This is Washington." The film series ended with "Lum and Abner Abroad" in 1956.

In 1948, the show changed from a 15-minute "comedic soap opera" to a 30-minute self-contained show. New writers were added, along with an orchestra and a live audience. The problem was that many listeners were unhappy with the change, and Lauck and Goff changed back to its original format in 1953. The show went off the air in 1954 due to competition from television and the failing health of Goff. The team broadcast more than 5,000 shows, and over 1,630 episodes exist today.

Museum memories

Pine Ridge has never forgotten the comic pair that made the town famous enough to provoke an official town name change. The town is host to the [http://www.lum-abner.com/ Lum and Abner Museum] . Adjacent to the Museum is a replica of the legendary "Jot 'em Down Store," the central setting of the radio programs. And "Lum and Abner" is one of the more popular swaps among old-time radio fans.

"Adapted from the article [http://www.wikinfo.org/wiki.phtml?title=Lum_and_Abner Lum and Abner] , from Wikinfo, licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License."

Characters

Chester Lauck played Lum, Grandpappy Spears, and Cedric Wehunt. Tuffy Goff played Abner, Squire Skimp, Mousey Grey, Dick Huddleston, and most of the other characters.

watch

* [http://www.archive.org/details/so_this_is_washington Watch "So This Is Washington" 1943]

References

External links

* [http://www.compedit.com/lum_and_abner.htm 1979 interview with Chester Lauck]
* [http://home.inu.net/stemple/ National "Lum and Abner" Society]
* [http://home.hiwaay.net/~ajohns/retro/PRN/1.htm "Pine Ridge News" (November, 1933)]


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