rand’s esoteric otr

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Arthur Godfrey - Pgm 14

January 29th, 2010

I have to admit that I was a bit too young to grow up during the classic Old Time Radio period.  So, I never experienced a personality like Arthur Godfrey first hand.  Listening to him in recordings from the era, though, there's something that creeps me out about him.  He reminds me of that annoying creepy uncle in everyone's family who is always trying to be funny but sounds a bit spaced out or something.

transcription label

He's best remembered today for his work in fifties television, including "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts".  Here we offer a sample of his work on the show, which was originally simulcast on CBS radio and television on November 28, 1949, and broadcast as program 14 in the "Arthur Godfrey" series on the Armed Forces Radio Service.

In the series, average people would appear on the program and introduce someone they knew who was talented in some way and audience applause determined who was crowned the winner and got a chance for a showbiz contract.  Contestants on this episode include a wonderful harmonica player, Harry Breen, singer Andrea Lee and Bill Blockson and a quintet called the White Guards.  Something a bit unexpected happens during the contest, but I'll let you listen in and find out how it turns out.

This previously lost episode of the series was digitized directly from a vinyl AFRS transcription.  The date is from the disc matrix.

By the way, Goldin lists an episode of the series featuring contestant Lenny Bruce, introduced by his mother.  I'd love to hear that one.  ("You should hear my son Lenny - he's so funny!  I keep telling him he should be on the radio!")


  • Nemo

    I never thought of Godfrey in the way you do- but when you stop to think about it- yeah there is that side to him.

    I’ve always liked Godfrey, though, because when I was starting to get interested in OTR in my early teens he was still on the air with “Arthur Godfrey TIme” weekday mornings at 10 on CBS and I used to listen to him on days when I didn’t have school. He was finally cancelled in early 1972, just atter I turned 15.

    I’ve heard the Lenny Bruce epsiode of “Talent Scouts”. He is quite funny and- of course- totally clean. I’ve heard a few episodes of “Talent Scouts” and he is one of the few non-musical acts. He’s also the only act tha I recognized by name. I guess “American Idol” produces more stars than “Talent Scouts” did.

    Jan 29, 2010 at 9:39 pm
  • polistra

    The Lenny Bruce episode is online here


    I also remember Godfrey from TV. He didn’t strike me as creepy at the time, but biographers seem to agree that he was an unpleasant man in real life.

    Jan 30, 2010 at 3:41 pm
  • Dr. OTR

    My main exposure to Godfrey is through Stan Freberg’s “That’s Right, Arthur,” which Godfrey wouldn’t OK and thus it sat on the shelves until finally being released in Stan’s boxed set in the 90s. “Well, howareya howareya howareya…” It’s not a very flattering portrayal.

    Jan 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm