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The character of Phinus was introduced on
the broadcast of May 25, 1944, still fighting the
(NOTE: If you want to hear this segment, try
this audio clip!)
PHINUS: …so I sez to General Hooker, “Give me
six good men an’ a pack o’ musket balls an’ I’ll
blast ‘em clean outta West Virginny…”
ABNER: Yeah, you tole me about that, Papa.
PHINUS: Heh heh, then General Hooker sez to me,
he sez, I’m hungry, Abner… when are we gonna
ABNER: Oh, purty quick now… Papa, I want ya ta
meet up with Cedric Weehunt.
CEDRIC: Howdy doo, Mr. Phinus.
PHINUS: Eh? Ph, shore, yeah… then, General
Hooker… oh, howdy do, boy, proud ta see ya…
you’ve growed taller since I seed you last…
ABNER: Uh, Papa, you’ve never saw him before…
you don’t know him…
PHINUS: Why shore, I know him! How are ya,
Vesper? Good ta see ya, ag'in! How's Ed?
ABNER: Papa, this ain’t Vesper.
PHINUS: Shore, I’d know Vesper Hawkins anyplace!
Looks just like his mama Bessie! How are ya,
CEDRIC: Oh, jus’ dandy, I think.
ABNER: Uh, ther’s somebody else that’s jes’ dyin’ ta
see ya, Papa…
LUM: Yeah, put ‘er ther, Mr. Peabody… shore is
good ta see ya again.
ABNER: Papa, you recollect who this is.
PHINUS: Shore! I’d know that face anywhere!
Nobody needs to tell me who he is!
LUM: Well, I didn’t think so.
PHINUS: You’ve growed, ain’t ya?
LUM: Oh, I don’t think so…
PHINUS: No, no, you’ve got shorter… I knowed ya
looked different… how long has it been, anyway?
LUM: Since you’ve seed me? Well, it’s been about
PHINUS: 25?! That’s a… I remember hit was jes’
before the battle of Chickamaugy, we had a
colonel that was jes’ 26 years old…….
Phinus appeared on the show all throughout that
summer and fall, and when B. J. Webster took Lum
to trial for alleged embezzlement, Elmore doubled
as the courtroom bailiff. As it turned out, Tuffy was
never drafted after all, and the Phinus character
last appeared in the early part of 1945. A little over
a year later, Abner referred to him as living near
Brentwood, Tennessee, probably to clarify exactly
what had become of the old gent. Elmore himself
resurfaced on several of L&A’s 1949 half-hour
shows under the name of lawyer Durwood
Zinkafoose, who was basically the same character
as Senator Fishface, and who got his words just as
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Elmore found
himself in great demand as a character actor in
many movies and TV shows; in 1961, he recorded a
new series of comical speeches for RCA Victor,
now renamed “Senator Bolivar Gassaway.” He also
developed quite a reputation as an after-dinner
speaker, creating routines he still uses today. One
of these was his comic/dramatic rendition of “The
Man Who Knew Lincoln,” based on a true story and
considered his masterpiece of characterization.