FRIENDS,THESE ARE THE STORIES THAT MADE AMERICA SMILE THROUGH TRYING TIMES...THEY ARE GOOD OL'CORN BREAD AND TURNIP GREEN SOUTHERN HUMOR.TAKE A FEW HOME WITH YOU FOR THE YOUNG'UNS
"DEDICATED TO THE HUMOR OF THE OLD TIME RADIO OF MY YOUTH"
BOB BURNS AT THE MIKE
This is a program that features Bob Burns and Tommy Dorsey.This was part of a program for servicemen fighting in Europe.
Bob was a big favorite with the GI's in WWII. In this Armed Forces Radio Broadcast to the GI's in Europe, Bob was introduced by Claudette Colbert:"Well, thank you Claudette...and you men out there, I want to tell you hello.....and I want to tell you when I heard you asked about the news from Van Buren I was so happy that I went down there this summer and picked up some new information for you. While I was there I just wanted to browse around and look at some of the old places where I spent my boyhood.
One of the first places I went to was the old livery stable. That's where I started out in show business. I started out there as a comedian in that livery stable. They had some stubborn horses there that used to clamp their teeth shut and Wouldn't let the boys put the bits in their mouth. I used to tell jokes to them horses and when they would open their mouth to yawn, they would slip the bits in.
Well, I guess I would have been there yet....I just got to thinking about it...but I had some many other chores to do around the stable ...it just looked like I never would catch up with my work...If you boys have ever worked around a stable you know what I mean...I just used to get so discouraged...it just looked like no matter how hard I tried, or how I kept going...my workd just PILED UP on me.......That's the reason I happened to come to Hollywood and get into pictures....and if any of you men have seen some of my pictures, you know the atmosphere is just about the same.
A lot of people who have seen my pictures have written to me wondering why I don't do a more romantic type.....But the producers don't think I'm romantic. But I want to tell you men, I am romantic...I remember I went with a girl down home one time...I went with her for....I went with her for uh.....let's see...what did I go with her for?...I went with her for about four years, I guess, and finally she passed on to the third grade and I lost track of her."
At this point in the show, Tommy Dorsey breaks in and asked, "Hey, Robin, did you bring that Bazooka with you tonight?"
"Oh, Yes!"Bob said. "I took it with me to play to the boys in the hospitals this summer. I did have a little excitement at one of them hospitals....That's when two nurses fought a pistol duel to see which one would get me. It's the truth! One got me in the arm and one got me in the leg."
Tommy said,"would you like to play a duet with me?"
If you would like to hear Bob tell that jokeListen Here
"What do you mean duet?...Oh no!...If you want to play a duet with me you will have to start at the bottom and work up like I did?"
Tommy inquired:"You're trying to tell me that Bazooka is better than the trombone?"
"Why certainly, that trombone, all you can do with it is get music out of it...Why this thing here is versatile...you would be surprised what these boys could do with that thing if they had it" (note: a rocket launcher called the Bazooka, was being used by American soldiers to fight German tanks.)
Tommy asked,"Tell me Bob, how did you learn to play that thing?"
"Well, that is when I was a boy, Tommy. I would lay there on my back and put the Bazooka between my toes and look up in the sky and play it."
"Well, wasn't that a little awkward?" Tommy asked.
Well, it was a little awkward, but it gave me a chance to lookout for the neighbors and the policeman."
Tommy asked, "Can you blow that thing and get a real "Pear-shaped" tone?"
"Tommy,when I used to play this thing when I was in Vaudeville, I got every vegetable grown in the garden."
This is the kind of humor that was presented on Bob's and other radio programs during the 1940's....His was the forerunner of the highly successful "Hee Haw" T.V. shows; the country humor of Andy Griffin, "Beverly Hillbillys", and others.
Who Was Bob Burns?
Bob Burns of Van Buren, Arkansas, was a leading entertainer in movies and on radio in the 1930's and'40's. His own radio program was called"The Arkansas Traveler"....He made the name "Bazooka" famous. You can read a very interesting account of his life and career at the Van Buren site which can be accessed below. There is a section entitled:"Bob 'Bazooka' Burns"located there. Bob was a famous entertainer when I was a teenager, appearing in movies and on the radio with Bing Crosby, Martha Raye,and other greats of that period. Van Buren has a museum in its restored downtown section in which you can see an original Bazooka.
For a link to Bob's Filmographyclick here
On the air and in print the Burns character was that of a cracker-barrel philosopher,whose favorite characters (all fictional) were his Aunt Doody, Grandpa Snazzy and Uncle Fud. During the Rudy Vallee show he made political talks in the style of Will Rogers. But when Rogers died and became elevated to a legend Burns was forced to change his routine. He returned to his Arkansas origins and developed a hillybilly style that he was to continue on his own radio show.
In one scene from "Waikiki Wedding," Bob demonstrated his championship hog call:
Bob then demonstrated to Martha Raye why he was so popular with pigs.
Th en Bob tells about how tough those razorbacks are. Listen
The "Frontier Belle" on the Arkansas River near Van Buren
"One I Remember From 1941"
In one show, Bob told of a man with a speech problem...He could not speak, except in rhymes, when he became excited.One day, on a riverboat excursion, he ran up to the captain very upset about something...The captain told the man to compose himself and so after a couple of minutes the man returned saying:
"Should old acquaintence be forgot, ....and never brought to mind,.....my wife has fallen overboard, .....and she's half a mile behind...."
In Another Show Bob Became A Poet
Bob exaggerated the relaxed lifestyle of the hillbilly:
....with the shears,
cut off baby's ears,
Baby was so SIGHTLY
mother raised her eyebrows
Bob was commenting on doctor's illegible handwriting when he told of visiting his doctor and receiving a prescription for his condition. On his way home he decided to take in a movie and used the prescription as a free pass. Taking the streetcar home,they gave him a free ride.....and when he got home,he took it in and played it on the piano!!
"December, 1941"In the broadcast following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, I recall Bob attempted to strike a note of confidence when he said,"pretty soon they will be running faster than those silk stocking they've been selling us."
Bob and Spike Jones had a radio show inthe 1940's. Bob said he asked Spike Jones where he found the members of his band. Spike said, "Well, I just went in the pool hall and there they wuz."
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