OLD TIME RADIO - 1 mp3 CD - 51 Shows - Total Playtime: 21:30:01
Henry Morgan (born Henry Lerner Van Ost, Jr. March 31, 1915 – May 19, 1994) was an American humorist. He is remembered best in two modern media: radio, on which he first became familiar as a barbed but often self-deprecating satirist, and on television, where he was a regular and cantankerous panelist for the game show I've Got a Secret. Morgan was a second cousin of Broadway lyricist/librettist Alan Jay Lerner.
His radio career began as a page at New York station WMCA in 1932, after which he held a number of obscure radio jobs, including announcing. He strenuously objected to the professional name "Morgan". What was wrong with his own name, Henry van Ost, Jr.? he asked. Too exotic, too unpronounceable, he was told. "What about the successful announcers Harry von Zell or Westbrook Van Voorhis?" he countered. But it was no use, and the bosses finally told Henry he could take the job or leave it. Thus began a long history of Henry's having arguments with executives.
In 1940, he was offered a daily 15-minute series on Mutual Broadcasting System's flagship station, WOR. This show was a 15-minute comedy, which he opened almost invariably with "Good evening, anybody; here's Morgan." In his memoir Here's Morgan (1994), he wrote that he devised that introduction as a dig at popular singer Kate Smith, who "...started her show with a condescending, 'Hello, everybody.' I, on the other hand, was happy if anybody listened in." He mixed barbed ad libs, satirizing daily life's foibles, with novelty records, including those of Spike Jones. Morgan stated that Jones sent him his newest records in advance of market dates because he played them so often.
Morgan appeared in the December 1944 CBS Radio original broadcast of Norman Corwin's play, The Plot to Overthrow Christmas, taking several minor roles including the narrator, Ivan the Terrible and Simon Legree. He repeated his performance in the December 1944 production of the play.
He also targeted his sponsors freely. One early sponsor had been Adler Shoe Stores, which came close to canceling its account after Morgan started making references to "Old Man Adler" on the air; the chain changed its mind after it was learned business spiked upward, with many new patrons asking to meet Old Man Adler. Morgan had to read an Adler commercial heralding the new fall line of colors; Morgan thought the colors were dreadful, and said he wouldn't wear them to a dogfight, but perhaps the listeners would like them. Old Man Adler demanded a retraction on the air. Morgan obliged: "I would wear them to a dogfight." Morgan later recalled with bemusement, "It made him happy." This incident appears to have later been incorporated, with the names changed, into the 1957 movie A Face in the Crowd, with Andy Griffith playing an iconoclastic radio and television personality.
Later, he moved to ABC (formerly the NBC Blue Network) in a half-hour weekly format that allowed Morgan more room to develop and expand his topical, often ad-libbed satires, hitting popular magazines, soap operas, schools, the BBC, baseball, summer resorts, government snooping, and landlords. His usual signoff was, "Morgan'll be here on the same corner in front of the cigar store next week."
He continued to target sponsors whose advertising copy rankled him, and those barbs didn't always sit well with his new sponsors, either. He is alleged to have said of his sponsor's Oh Henry! candy bar (after exhorting listeners to try one), "Eat two, and your teeth will fall out." When Eversharp sponsored his show to promote both Eversharp pens and Schick injector razor blades, Morgan threw this in during a show satirizing American schools: "They're educational. Try one. That'll teach you." He also altered the company's Schick injector blade slogan "Push-pull, click-click" to "Push-pull, nick-nick." Eversharp finally dropped him in December 1947, citing what Dunning called "flabby material," to which Morgan—picked up promptly by Rayve Shampoo—replied, on the air, "It's not my show, it's their razor."
Perhaps most notoriously, Life Savers candy, another early Morgan sponsor, dropped him after he accused them of fraud for what amounted to hiding the holes in the famous life saver ring-shaped sweets. "I claimed that if the manufacturer would give me all those centers," Morgan remembered later, "I would market them as Morgan's Mint Middles and say no more about it." Radio historian John Dunning, in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, has noted that Morgan also started describing his "mint middles" flavors as "cement, asphalt and asbestos." Notwithstanding, Morgan enjoyed a last laugh of a sort: ABC had been founded by Life Savers chief Edward Noble—who had bought and renamed NBC Blue as ABC, after NBC was forced to sell the Blue Network following a federal anti-trust ruling.
ABC afforded Morgan his first exposure on television as host of a low-key variety series, On The Corner, produced at affiliate station WFIL-TV in Philadelphia (ABC's New York station and production center was still under construction) and aired on the fledgling TV network as a summer series in 1948. True to his iconoclasm, he satirized his sponsors during the short run of that show as he had so often done on radio.
Veteran radio announcer Ed Herlihy, a friend of Morgan, remembered him to radio historian Gerald Nachman (in Raised on Radio): "He was ahead of his time, but he was also hurt by his own disposition. He was very difficult. He was so brilliant that he'd get exasperated and he'd sulk. He was a great mind who never achieved the success he should have." Nachman wrote of Morgan that he was radio's "first true rebel because—like many comics who go for the jugular, from Lenny Bruce to Roseanne Barr—he didn't know when to quit."
Morgan had his fans and his professional admirers, including authors Robert Benchley and James Thurber, fellow radio humorists Fred Allen, Jack Benny, and Fanny Brice, future Today Show host Dave Garroway, and Red Skelton. Morgan, for his part, claimed Allen as a primary influence; Allen often had Morgan as a guest on his own radio hit, including and especially the final Fred Allen Show in 1949, in a sketch that also featured Jack Benny. ("If Fred Allen bit the hand that fed him," Nachman wrote, "Henry Morgan tried to bite off the whole arm.") Morgan's byline appeared in three 1950s issues of the similarly sardonic Mad magazine.
Another supporter was Arnold Stang, who worked as one of his second bananas on the ABC shows and was known later as the voice of Hanna-Barbera's Top Cat. "He was a masochist, a neurotic man," Stang told Nachman about his former boss. "When things were going well for him, he would do something to destroy himself. He just couldn't deal with success. He'd had an unhappy childhood that warped him a little and gave him a sour outlook on life. He had no close friends." Stang also claimed Morgan's first wife "kept him deeply in debt and refused to give him a divorce"; the divorce occurred in due course, and Morgan remarried happily enough.
Henry Morgan 41-11-26 Quoted In The Reader's Digest
Henry Morgan 42-00-00 Dog Horoscopes
Henry Morgan 42-04-16 Morgan Left the Ballpark Early
Henry Morgan 42-05-07 On the Bottom of the Seagram's Bottle
Henry Morgan 42-06-04 Morgan's Recipe for Success
Henry Morgan 46-03-07 What Time Is It
Henry Morgan 46-03-14 A Program About Foolishness
Henry Morgan 46-03-21 Washington's Gettysburg Address
Henry Morgan 46-09-02 (001) Manhattan in the Year 3000
Henry Morgan 46-09-09 (002) The March of Science - the Discovery of Air
Henry Morgan 46-10-30 (009) Pockets
Henry Morgan 46-12-25 (017) Christmas Story
Henry Morgan 47-01-01 (018) New Years Eve Show
Henry Morgan 47-01-29 (022) Morgan Digest - Analyze the Condensed Version of the Mikado
Henry Morgan 47-02-05 (023) Strange Men of History
Henry Morgan 47-02-19 (025) The Radio Program Blood Test
Henry Morgan 47-02-26 (026) The Invention of Work
Henry Morgan 47-03-05 (027) Broadcasting Radio Programs Back to the Russians
Henry Morgan 47-03-26 (030) Dedicated to America's Landlords
Henry Morgan 47-05-07 (036) Dedicated To Schools
Henry Morgan 47-05-14 (037) Visit To The Hat Emporium
Henry Morgan 47-05-28 (039) Morgan's Vacation
Henry Morgan 47-06-04 (040) Morgan's Around the World Listening Post
Henry Morgan 47-06-11 (041) Morgan Summer Resort Hotel - Doctor Ij the Mental Fox
Henry Morgan 47-06-18 (042) The Question Man
Henry Morgan 47-06-25 (043) A Veteran Is Taking out a Loan - the Morgan Trouble program Clinic
Henry Morgan 47-09-24 (048) Look Into The Future - Sept 24, 1967
Henry Morgan 47-10-01 (049) Henry Is Making a Movie - the John J Morgan Trouble Clinic
Henry Morgan 47-10-08 (050) Radio Soap Operas
Henry Morgan 47-10-15 (051) More Soaps - Mr Wagstaff from Flagstaff
Henry Morgan 47-10-22 (052) The Morgan British Broadcasting Company
Henry Morgan 47-11-05 (054) The Discovery of Weather
Henry Morgan 47-12-24 (061) Morgan's Christmas
Henry Morgan 48-10-01 Radio Serial to End Radio Serials
Henry Morgan 48-10-22 A Takeoff on the BBC
Henry Morgan 49-10-14 (110) Spoofing Sports Commentators
Henry Morgan 49-12-09 (118) Murder in the Club Copacabanish
Henry Morgan 49-12-16 (119) The Quest Pests
Henry Morgan 49-12-30 (121) New Years Eve Show
Henry Morgan 50-03-14 (130) The Quest Pests Strike Again
Henry Morgan 50-03-21 (131) I J Morgan - Trouble Clinic
Henry Morgan 50-03-28 (132) Tall In The Saddle
Henry Morgan 50-04-04 (133) Magazine Ads
Henry Morgan 50-04-11 (134) Radio France - We Was There
Henry Morgan 50-04-18 (135) The Question Man
Henry Morgan 50-04-25 (136) Ham Spade, Private Orb
Henry Morgan 50-05-02 (137) Married Life - East Coast Bowling Champion Oscar Carny
Henry Morgan 50-05-09 (138) On Canasta - Dr I J the Mental Fox
Henry Morgan 50-05-16 (139) Mother's Day - Pee Wee Carny - Baseball Player Coming Attractions
Henry Morgan 59-00-00 Henry Discusses News Reports and Other Topics
Henry Morgan 59-00-00 Henry Discusses Playboy Magazine
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