|All rights reserved.
September 15, 2010
Casey Meulig of California writes:
Where is this type of home spun entertainment today? Folks need to get back to the roots! All this stuff about
guns, car chases and explosions is really bad stuff. I hope and pray civilization has not expanded beyond simple,
honest comedy based on real life. Time to return to the good stuff.
Take care now...Casey
CONTACT Casey Meulig
Agreed, Casey! Lum and Abner and other "OTR" programs are truly family entertainment. Casey, by the way, was
one of the biggest fans of the 1995-2010 CHS-TV program The Golden Age of Radio incidentally.
September 16, 2010
Rich Meyer of St. Clair, PA writes:
Was there a traditional Lum and Abner Christmas story broadcast in 1941? It’s perhaps the most mislabeled show
of the series and I’ve yet to find a confirmed copy of a Christmas show for that year. Was this show
broadcast/transcribed and is it in circulation anywhere?
CONTACT Rich Meyer
Yes! It's one of the many programs rediscovered and circulated by the NLAS in the early 1990s. What we found
was the Keystone Broadcasting System transcription #103, the version used for delayed syndication to stations
not on the live network. It may be considered mislabled because Lauck and Goff would have had to record the
transcribed version in advance so it could have been shipped to the KBS-affiliated stations on Christmas Eve.
As such, it is labeled "out of sequence" and falls between KBS #119 and #120. Here is how we had it listed in our
old NLAS Tape Catalog:
TAPE #AS-21 90 minutes
A. Mon., Dec. 22, 1941(Keystone #118)
Mousey knocks Lum out.
B. Tue., Dec. 23, 1941 (Keystone #119)
Mousey beats up Snake Hogan and marries Gussie.
C. Thur., Dec. 25, 1941(Keystone #103)
1941 performance of “Lum & Abner’s Christmas Story.”
A. Fri., Dec. 26, 1941 (Keystone #120)
Lum decides Mousey should become a prizefighter.
B. Mon., Dec. 29, 1941(Keystone #121)
Mousey refuses to fight carnival performer Iron Ike.
C. Tue., Dec. 30, 1941 (Keystone #122)
Squire pulls a fast one and becomes Mousey’s manager.
Unfortunately, we no longer have permission to sell cassettes or CDs these days and are not certain where and
how to tell you to find a recording.
September 17, 2010
Jon Robertson of Collegedale, TN writes:
The web site is great! Sorry to learn about the loss of Jim the web master. You are doing a great job carrying on
his faithful work. Wish I could have attended some of those conventions! Lum and Abner are my all time favorite
radio stars. I heard them when I was a kid and was hooked. Thank you for all the work you have done and
continue to do to preserve and keep alive memories of our friends from Pine Ridge, Lum and Abner. Thank you
for bringing so much information forward in the form of The Jot 'Em Down Journal about the boys.
CONTACT Jon Robertson
Jon, thank you for your nice words. As our vice-president Sam Brown always says when he receives a nice letter
like yours, "This is our pay." Write any time with questions, comments, etc.
September 18, 2010
Tom McDaniel of Rio Rancho, NM writes:
To all Lum and Abner lovers from a new member. I listened to the radio shows for years with my granddad, and
still enjoy hearing the old guys and their "colleagues" especially when I'm on long driving trips. I am an organist
and love theater organs. Does anyone know anything about the organs used through the years? I read about
some of the organists, but not much about the organs. In those early days, many network and local studios had
real pipe organs (mostly Wurlitzers) since even the earliest electronics were not invented until late '30s. The
theme music does change through the years, but nearly always used the organ. Thanks for the work you are
CONTACT Tom McDaniel
Great question, and I know someone(s) out there can help with an answer! I'll pass it along to Ralph Waldo
Emerson III, the son of Ralph and Elsie Mae who were the last two organists for Lum and Abner and see if he
knows. Yes, there were three different themes used on the radio show, "Eleanor," "Evalena" and "Down on the
Old Party Line," the latter composed by the Emersons. Speaking of theater organs, in 1987 Cecil Whitmire of the
Alabama Theater helped us get a recording of "Eleanor" on their "Mighty Wurlitzer." We used it many times at our
NLAS Conventions. If anyone reading this replies to Tom, please share it with us as well! Thanks!
September 19, 2010
Kenneth Smith of Fayetteville, AR writes:
Have been to the Jot Em Down Store many times. I will never forget the first time. It was out of season but the
owners opened it up for us anyway. Talk about nice!! Anyway....my question is this....
"I noticed in several of the movies the merchandise was stacked on the shelves upside down. It isn't in every
movie but several. I was wondering why they did this." Thanks in advance......
CONTACT Kenneth Smith
Wow, what a great question! I've heard two possible answers, but I want to encourage you folks reading to write
us and add your ideas. If you reply to Kenneth, please send it to the Mail Hack too! We've heard:
(1) It was done to minimize the recognizability of name-brand products (the same way many films and TV shows
used "fake labels" on products.
(2) It was done to keep products from settling and spoiling as quickly.
Either theory has merit, but again, if anyone knows for certain, please write us and join the discussion!
September 19, 2010
Dave Mantor of Fairmount, IN writes:
Greetings to you all over the party line... Well... I have been spending a little bit of time each evening
reading one or two of the journals I received recently from Uncle Donnie.
Three reasons why I like them....
1) They are GREAT!!!
2) They are GREAT!!!
3) They are GREAT!!!
Obviously, reading them is great entertainment. But for an even better reason, they give SO MUCH background
to Lum and Abner, well... they're just GREAT!!! (I guess I said that, didn't I?) I'm only sorry that I didn't know of the
society back in the day (the '80s) when it was going on. How's come you didn't tell me, Donnie?
Many thanks for making these back issues available.
CONTACT Dave Mantor
Doggies, Dave, I wish I'd a-knowed ya in the 1980s! We'd a-writ you a letter (with a stub of a pencil while lollin' our
tongues out) and made shore you knowed! Thanks, Dave! Dave was one of the "super fans" of the OTR radio
show produced by "Uncle Donnie" and his CHS-TV students (until it ended in January 2010) and his enthusiasm
and all the donated recordings were - and ARE - "GREAT"-ly appreciated.
September 19, 2010
An anonymous person writes:
I am just now getting into old radio shows and don't know a lot about them, but my aunt told me Lum and Abner
were supposed to be black people, but white people played them on the radio. The pictures you people show are
of white men. What's the real story here?
Thanks for writing! Your aunt is confusing Lum and Abner with another long-running radio (and TV) show, Amos
'n' Andy. Lum and Abner concerns two old fellows from Arkansas. They were white men playing white men. The
radio actors who played Amos 'n' Andy were indeed white men playing black men, but thanks to radio's "magic" -
called "The Theatre of the Mind" - the listeners formed mental images based on what they heard. In the early
1950s, there was an Amos 'n' Andy TV show which was a trend-setter in that an all-black cast portrayed every
character. Please explain this to your aunt, and as you do more research and listen to more classic radio shows, I
think you'll begin to enjoy it more and more. Please check our "Journal" pages and you'll learn a lot. Thanks!
September 19, 2010
Kenneth Smith of Fayetteville, AR writes:
My next question is this.... I often wonder if Chet and Norris mingled and mixed with the Holly Wood types. Did
they go to the parties and wear the "in" clothes. I was just curious as I don't see much about their social life
anywhere. Thanks again!!
CONTACT Kenneth Smith
Doggies, two questions in one day? You're tryin' to make me earn my salary, ain't ya? (I'm kidding, folks!)
Actually, they were friendly with several celebrities in Hollywood. The covers and articles in The Jot 'Em Down
Journals often depict them with the likes of W. C. Fields, Andy Devine, Clark Gable, Don Ameche, Laurel and
Hardy, Gosden and Correll and many others. They were friends with the couple Robert Taylor and Barbara
Stanwyck, and she guested on a couple of their programs as you may recall. They knew just about everyone in
the radio business, naturally, and remember that Bob Hope, Jack Benny and others guested on their shows, and
they in turn were on Hope's, Benny's, Crosby's and others. Of course, their families and other friends would know
much better than we would. Chet Lauck said in an interview once that they were not "top stars" in the motion
picture industry but were received well by those who were. Any comments from others about this?
September 21, 2010
James Jones of Rockport, Indiana writes:
Hi, I just received my order of back issues of the Jot ‘Em Down Journals and cannot say enough about their quality,
I was wanting to order more plus the two script books. Thanks also for the signed print of the "Christmas Star."
Thanks again for all you do in promoting the Lum and Abner show.
CONTACT James Jones
Thank you so much, James! As you know, the Lum and Abner Scripts books are selling out very quickly. We're
thinking of making more available, possibly in a digital format. What does everyone think? Would you like to read
them on your computer screen, or do you prefer a printed book?
September 30, 2010
Brian C. Farmer writes:
"Wonderful World" to all of you from a new NLAS member!
I absolutely love Lum & Abner. I heard it on a local radio station a few years ago and was hooked instantly. The
storyline of Cedric having washed the labels off the canned goods was in full swing, and I was cracking up.
The old fellers left radio over 25 years before I was born (I'm now 30), but the comedic timing, simple appeal, and
unforgettable characters are, to me at least, radio's precursor to Mayberry--a simple little place where everyone
knows everyone--and while the situations may be the slightest bit far-fetched at times, ultimately, the subject
matter comes down to thoughts and ideas to which regular, everyday people can relate.
Having said my piece, here's a question I've been curious about for awhile: Several sources I've seen around the
'net state that the show went off the airwaves due, in part, to Goff's failing health. Was there a specific illness
that he was dealing with that made it difficult to continue, or just a general lack of well being, or what?
Hi Brian! You've certainly stated the way many of us fee about Lum and Abner in a concise, meaningful manner. I
agree! As to your statement "radio's precursor to Mayberry," you're also right! In fact, several Lum and Abner
plots turned up on The Andy Griffith Show! And there is also the Opie Cates/Opie Taylor connection.
As for Norris "Tuffy" Goff, yes, he did suffer some life-threatening illnesses. In the late 1940s, he was diagnosed
with colon cancer and underwent surgery. He missed several of the 15-minute broadcasts but Chet Lauck
continued with the help of Clarence Hartzell who was playing Ben Withers. True to his nickname "Tuffy," Goff
returned to the show as soon as he was able. We've also been told Goff had a series of heart attacks.
Actually, the loss of sponsorship and the failure of the half-hour format took them off the air in 1950, and Lauck
and Goff spent a few years experimenting with formats (we've dicsovered a couple of deejay-style programs
produced as audition discs) until they signed on with a sustaining show in 1953, returning to their traditional
15-minute format. This series was renewed after it ended temporarily and was apparently offered for some type
of regional sponsorship by ABC. It left the air in 1954 and the pair cut a deal to star in the three TV pilots which
became Lum and Abner Abroad. Mr. Goff seemed fit in that production, but it's possible his heart ailment
contributed to the end of the series, but I'd venture to say they were simple unable to sell the Abroad segments
as a television series. Lauck and Goff once said in an interview that during production of Abroad they decided to
end the act after completing the film. Possibly the reason for the program's demise is "all of the above."
Of course, Norris Goff was well enough to appear in an episode each of Gomer Pyle USMC and The Andy Griffith
Show during the next decade!
September 21, 2010
Michael Coates writes:
Years ago, I heard a series of Lum and Abner broadcasts in which Lum had a broken leg. There are many
episodes available on the internet, but I've never rediscovered them. Anyone know. I'll bet so.
CONTACT Michael Coates
Thanks Michael! That's a funny series, and they actually did that plot more than once. In October 1941, Lum
fibbed (through Abner) about breaking his leg to avoid a date with a lady. Our good NLAS friend (and 1987, 1988
NLAS Convention guest) Jerry Hausner played "Prince Ali Kush" the fake "miracle healer" in that series. In
October 1948, the plot was recycled on one of the half-hour programs. The 1941 scripts were recycled (with some
editing) in late March-April 1953. (If the idea was used prior to all these, I am not aware of it.)
October 5, 2010
David Sisson writes:
Today I "discovered" the Lum and Abner website and organization. I would love to be a member of the National
Lum and Abner Society. I am 72 years old and remember, as a child, listening to and loving the "Lum and Abner"
program on radio.
In fact, for many years, until his passing in 2004 at age 94, my father had a family tradition, each Christmas eve, to
"get out" an old cassette tape on which was recorded the "Christmas episode"...and our entire family gathered
round, even the youngsters who were born many years after Lum and Abner, and listened to that
wonderful episode. I have continued the tradition. Forgive my rambling.
I would appreciate being accepted as a member of the Society.
Sincerely, David Sisson
( childhood home: Ridge Farm, Illinois....a village not too unlike
Pine Ridge )
Thanks, David, for your priceless memories of Lum and Abner! The annual Christmas program is one of radio's
finest. Welcome to the National Lum and Abner Society!
|Well, I'll be a pigeon-toed son of a knock-kneed gnat, thar ain't no
spavin-legged "in-vellup" #11 twixt the flat-footed #10 and the
Why don't somebody tell me these things? Did we lose one? Or did the
dad-blame webmaster make a mis-stake?
Maybe Diogenes Smith stole the extra "1" outa the job case that day
b'fore Lum could lock it inta th' chase an' print it up.