Old Time Radio 2 CD-ROM - 136 mp3
Edgar John Bergen (February 16, 1903 – September 30, 1978) was an American actor and radio performer, best known as a ventriloquist.
Bergen was born Edgar John Bergren in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Swedish immigrants Nilla Svensdotter (née Osberg) and Johan Henriksson Berggren. He grew up in Decatur, Michigan. He taught himself ventriloquism from a pamphlet when he was 11. A few years later he commissioned Chicago woodcarver Theodore Mack to sculpt a likeness of a rascally Irish newspaperboy he knew. The head went on a dummy named Charlie McCarthy, who became Bergen's lifelong sidekick. At age 16, he went to Chicago, where he attended Lake View High School and worked at a silent movie house.
His first performances were in vaudeville, at which point he legally changed his last name to the easier-to-pronounce "Bergen". He also worked in one-reel movie shorts, but his real success was on the radio. He and Charlie were seen at a New York party by Elsa Maxwell for Noël Coward, who recommended them for an engagement at the famous Rainbow Room. It was there that two producers saw Bergen and Charlie perform. They then recommended them for a guest appearance on Rudy Vallée's program. Their initial appearance, on December 17, 1936, was so successful that the following year they were given their own show, as part of The Chase and Sanborn Hour. Under various sponsors (and two different networks), they were on the air from May 9, 1937 to July 1, 1956. The popularity of a ventriloquist on radio, when one could see neither the dummies nor his skill, surprised and puzzled many critics, then and now. Even knowing that Bergen provided the voice, listeners perceived Charlie as a genuine person, but only through artwork, rather than photos, could the character be seen as truly lifelike. Thus, in 1947, Sam Berman caricatured Bergen and McCarthy for the network's glossy promotional book, NBC Parade of Stars: As Heard Over Your Favorite NBC Station.
It was Bergen's skill as an entertainer and vocal performer, and especially his characterization of Charlie, that carried the show. Many of the shows have survived and are available for audiences today to experience the phenomenon firsthand. Bergen's success on radio was paralleled in the United Kingdom by Peter Brough and his dummy Archie Andrews (Educating Archie).
For the radio program, Bergen developed other characters, notably the slow-witted Mortimer Snerd and the man-hungry Effie Klinker. The star remained Charlie, who was always presented as a highly precocious child (albeit in top hat, cape, and monocle) – a debonair, girl-crazy, child-about-town. As a child, and a wooden one at that, Charlie could get away with double entendre which were otherwise impossible under broadcast standards of the time.
Charlie: "May I have a kiss good-bye?"
Dale Evans: "Well, I can't see any harm in that!"
Charlie: "Oh. I wish you could. A harmless kiss doesn't sound very thrilling."
Similar lines given to Mae West in a sketch on the show broadcast December 12, 1937, resulted in her fifteen-year broadcasting ban. "Charles, I remember our date and have the splinters to prove it."[cite this quote]
Charlie's feud with W. C. Fields was a regular feature of the show.
W.C. Fields: "Well, Charlie McCarthy, the woodpecker's pinup boy!"
Charlie: "Well, if it isn't W.C. Fields, the man who keeps Seagram's in business!"
W.C. Fields: "I love children. I can remember when, with my own little unsteady legs, I toddled from room to room."
Charlie: "When was that? Last night?"
W.C. Fields: "Quiet, Wormwood, or I'll whittle you into a venetian blind."
Charlie: "Ooh, that makes me shutter!"
W.C. Fields: "Tell me, Charles, is it true that your father was a gate-leg table?"
Charlie: "If it is, your father was under it."
W.C. Fields: "Why, you stunted spruce, I'll throw a japanese beetle on you."
Charlie: "Why, you bar-fly you, I'll stick a wick in your mouth, and use you for an alcohol lamp!"
Charlie: "Pink elephants take aspirin to get rid of W. C. Fields."
W.C. Fields: "Step out of the sun Charles. You may come unglued."
Charlie: "Mind if I stand in the shade of your Nose?"
Bergen was not the most technically skilled ventriloquist – Charlie McCarthy frequently twitted him for moving his lips, but Bergen's sense of comedic timing was superb, and he handled Charlie's snappy dialogue with aplomb. Bergen's wit in creating McCarthy's striking personality and that of his other characters was the making of the show. Bergen's popularity as a ventriloquist on radio (where the trick of "throwing his voice" was not visible) suggests his appeal was primarily the personality he applied to his characters.
Bergen and McCarthy are sometimes credited with "saving the world" because, on the night of October 30, 1938, when Orson Welles performed his War of the Worlds radio play hoax that panicked many listeners, most of the American public had instead tuned in to Bergen and McCarthy on another station and never heard Welles' play. Conversely, it has also been theorized that Bergen inadvertently contributed to the hysteria. When the musical portion of Bergen's show, The Chase and Sanborn Hour, aired approximately twelve minutes into the show, many listeners switched stations and found the War of the Worlds presentation already underway, with a realistic sounding reporter detailing terrible events.
Ray Noble was the musical director and composer and teenage singer Anita Gordon provided the songs on his show. Gordon was said to have been discovered by Charlie, who had a crush on her.
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EBCM 370509 Ann Harding Rodgers Hart
EBCM 370606 C S W C Fields Joan Blondell
EBCM 370905 C S Ida Lupino
EBCM 371212 C S Adam and Eve with Mae West
EBCM 381030 C S with Don Ameche Halloween Party
EBCM 400421 Charles Laughton
EBCM 401027 Frankie Laine
EBCM 410921 W C Fields
EBCM 411207 Judy Garland
EBCM 420303 Edward Everett Horton
EBCM 420503 Judy Garland
EBCM 420621 Edward Everett Horton
EBCM 420628 Walter Brennan
EBCM 420906 Charles Ruggles
EBCM 421005 Guest Rosemary Clooney
EBCM 421011 From Annapolis Naval Academy
EBCM 421018 From Quantico Marine Base
EBCM 421102 W C Fields
EBCM 430207 Teresa Wright
EBCM 430221 Carmen Miranda
EBCM 430328 Guest Roy Rogers
EBCM 430411 Martha Raye and Bill Thompson
EBCM 430418 Ronald Coleman
EBCM 430425 Barbra Stanwyck
EBCM 430502 Barbara Stanwyck Acts as Charlies Agent
EBCM 430516 Claudette Colbert and Rags Ragland
EBCM 430523 Charles Boyer
EBCM 430530 Walter Pidgeon
EBCM 430912 Humphrey Bogart
EBCM 430926 Chase and Sanborn Hedy Loves Mortimer
EBCM 431031 Dorothy Lamour
EBCM 431107 Elsa Maxwell
EBCM 431205 Guests Bert Lahr Fats Waller Jane Powell
EBCM 431212 Bert Lahr and Lena Horne
EBCM 440000 with Lucile Ball
EBCM 440123 Greer Garson
EBCM 440130 with Basil Rathbone
EBCM 440206 Susan Hayward
EBCM 440220 Edgars Birthday With WC Fields
EBCM 440306 Cecil B Demille
EBCM 440313 Charles Ruggles and Jane Powell
EBCM 440402 Orson Welles and Jane Powell
EBCM 440917 Guest Leo Carillo
EBCM 441015 Charlie Wants More Allowance with Gertrude Niesen
EBCM 441022 Charlie Opens a Frog Farm Welles Burke
EBCM 441029 Halloween
EBCM 441105 John Robert Powers
EBCM 441112 Frank Fay
EBCM 441203 Don Ameche
EBCM 441210 Charlie Answers Ad for Edgar
EBCM 441224 Navy Choir Night Before Christmas
EBCM 441231 New Years Party Play with Charles Laughton
EBCM 450000 Bergen Gets Amnesia
EBCM 450107 GuestDon Ameche Carmen Miranda
EBCM 450114 Louis Bromfield
EBCM 450121 Frank Sinatra
EBCM 450204 Albert E Wiggem
EBCM 450218 Ginny Simms and Veronica Lake
EBCM 450225 Gene Tierney
EBCM 450325 Little Red Riding Hood with Lynn Bari
EBCM 450422 Rita Hayworth
EBCM 450429 A F R S 105 Ida Lupino
EBCM 450502 Dr Max Mason
EBCM 450520 Running Away with Janet Blair
EBCM 450903 Guest Fred Allen Portland Hoffa
EBCM 450909 Keenan Wynn
EBCM 450916 Joan Blondell
EBCM 450923 Ann Baxter
EBCM 450930 Fred Allen Portland Hoffa
EBCM 451014 Hildegarde
EBCM 451021 Fred Allen
EBCM 451111 Gov Kerr of Oklahoma
EBCM 451118 Margaret OBrien
EBCM 451216 Trip to the Planetarium
EBCM 460210 Jose Iturbi
EBCM 460217 Memories with Ray Milland
EBCM 460324 At the Barbershop with W C Fields
EBCM 460621 Abbott Costello Part 1
EBCM 460628 Abbott Costello Part 2
EBCM 461117 Tallulah Bankhead
EBCM 461124 Everette Edward Horton
EBCM 470105 Charles Boyer
EBCM 470112 Edward Arnold
EBCM 470119 10th Anniversary Show
EBCM 470125 Roy Rogers
EBCM 470202 Jane Wyman
EBCM 470209 Nelson Eddy
EBCM 470216 Nelson Eddy Billie Burke
EBCM 470223 Nelson Eddy Elsa Maxwell
EBCM 470302 Nelson Eddy Chester Morris
EBCM 470309 Monty Woolley
EBCM 470423 Roy Rogers
EBCM 470509 Getting Ready for Hunting Trip
EBCM 470902 Jack and the Beanstalk
EBCM 470914 Michael Romanoff
EBCM 470921 Walt Disney and Donald Duck
EBCM 470928 Betty Hutton
EBCM 471005 Don Ameche
EBCM 471012 Linda Darnell
EBCM 471019 Jane Wyman
EBCM 471026 Richard Widmark
EBCM 471102 Fred Allen
EBCM 471109 Maurice Evans
EBCM 471116 Lana Turner
EBCM 471123 Carmen Miranda
EBCM 471130 Edward Everett Horton
EBCM 471207 Roy Rogers
EBCM 471214 Gary Cooper
EBCM 480404 Rudy Valee
EBCM 481017 Don Ameche
EBCM 481219 Christmas Show
EBCM 481226 Last Show for Chase Sanborn
EBCM 490119 10th Anniversary Show
EBCM 490130 Basil Rathbone
EBCM 491113 Dick Powell
EBCM 491218 June Allyson
EBCM 520525 The Mills Brothers
EBCM 521005 Rosemary Clooney
EBCM 521100 with Marilyn Monroe
EBCM 530611-Last Show Of Season - 16 Years On Radio
EBCM 540000 Hedy Loves Mortimer
EBCM 541226 Hopalong Cassidy
EBCM 551113 Charlie Dreams That He Visits Hell
EBCM 551120 Charlie Wants to Be a Gossip Columnist
EBCM 551127 Jack Benny
EBCM 551218-New Edgar Bergan Hour With Charlie Mccarthy - Xmas With Candy Bergen
EBCM 551225-New Edgar Bergan Hour With Charlie Mccarthy - Christmas Show 008
EBCM 560304 Fugitives from the F B I
EBCM 560318 Mc Carthys Cavalcade of Flops
EBCM 560325 Mortimers Ups and Downs
EBCM 560408 Interplanetary Western
EBCM 560415 Ben Him
EBCM 560422 Lost in the Woods
EBCM 640000 Chase Sanborn 100th Ann
EBCM 661113 NBC Radio 40th Anniversary Pt1