Thursday, October 29, 2009

Henry Morgan

Just rediscovered this boffo appreciative profile of Henry Morgan by at WFMU. Morgan is hardly mentioned nowadays but is, to these ears, much more fresh-sounding than other "Golden Age of Radio" luminaries. Bob and Ray are great, but got started a little later than Morgan. While an awful lot of "classic" comedy isn't too funny to current listeners, Morgan still can make me laugh.

The title of Nesteroff's profile gives you some idea of why Morgan was a difficult character for the burgeoning commercial radio networks. It's called Henry Morgan: Fuck the Sponsor.

The whole thing is worth a read, but it included a few things that stand out for me.
  • The transcript of the banter with Arnold Stang is hilarious.
  • Morgan was involved in the short-lived US version of the UK series That Was The Week That Was. "When the program was turned into a series by NBC in January 1964, regular contributors included Morgan, Nichols & May, Tom Lehrer, Steve Allen, Buck Henry, Mort Sahl and Woody Allen. " Holy crapoly.
  • The story of how he quit Canadian Broadcasting is both funny and an example of how curmudgeons can burn their bridges.
Fortunately, someone has put up some Harry Morgan radio programs on You can listen online or download for your player.

Henry Morgan Radio Shows, all from the late forties, in three small collections:
Enjoy. has a lot of old radio shows. It's a bit difficult to browse but the search function works well enough.

UPDATE: Jeez, Kliph has found and uploaded a 1952 Bob and Ray TV show with Audrey Meadows. Probably not of great interest unless one already appreciates Bob and Ray, but I'm amazed such a clean kinescope exists.

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