|Here we present the ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT’s
coverage of the festivities surrounding the changing
of Waters to Pine Ridge and the welcome given to
Lauck & Goff on their return home. The articles span
three days: April 25, 26, and 27, 1936.
April 25, 1936
Many Persons Will Welcome Lum and
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Parade Will Follow Arrival of Noted
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Gov. J. M. Futrell, Mayor R. E. Overman, and 153rd
Infantry Band and several hundred Little Rock and
Arkansas residents will welcome Lum and Abner,
Arkansas’s noted radio team, to the city tonight when
they arrive to present a special radio program from the
steps of the state capitol Sunday afternoon.
The two entertainers, who in real life are Chester
Lauck and Norris Goff of Mena, will arrive at the
Missouri Pacific station at 6 p.m. A parade, headed by
the Infantry Band, will form immediately and will
proceed to the Albert Pike hotel. Governor Futrell,
Mayor Overman, Lum and Abner, members of the
official committee, and others, will participate in the
The line of march for the parade will be east on
Markham from the Missouri Pacific station to Main
street and then south on Main to Eighth street and to
Mrs. Lauck and Mrs. Goff will be formally welcomed by
Mrs. Futrell and Mrs. Ernie Maddox, daughter of Gov.
and Mrs. Futrell. Along with Mrs. Charles Lyon, wife of
the NBC announcer sent here to have charge of the
program, they will be presented corsages of David 0.
Dodd roses, official centennial flower.
At 7 p.m. they will be guests of honor at a banquet at
the hotel, arranged for members of the official
welcoming committee and a few old friends of the
entertainers. Following the banquet, arrangements are
being made to have a brief reception for Lum and
Abner at the hotel.
The local chapter of the Sigma Chi fraternity, of which
both were members when they attended the
University of Arkansas, will entertain them with a party
at the home of W. E. Lenon Jr., in North Little Rock,
following the reception.
Tomorrow’s radio program will begin at 3 o’clock,
lasting a half hour, but the Little Rock high school
band will play a concert starting one hour before the
broadcast. The KTHS barn dance band also will be on
hand to play. Both bands will be heard on the
broadcast along with Lum and Abner and Governor
The program will mark the fifth anniversary of the first
Lum and Abner broadcast and will also commemorate
the changing of the name of the town Waters, Ark., to
Pine Ridge, a name made famous by the entertainers.
Arrangements for the program are in charge of Jack
Ryan, business manager for Lum and Abner, and
Harlan Hobbs, centennial publicity director.
April 26, 1936
Lum and Abner Are Welcomed By Big
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Governor Among Fans at Station; Public
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Chester Lauck and Norris Goff, Lum and Abner to
most people, arrived here late yesterday to be
welcomed by some 1,000 persons gathered at Union
Station to get a first hand glimpse of one of the nation’
s most popular radio teams.
The two young men who left Mena five years ago this
month to gain a place among the top-rank entertainers
of the country, attracted their fans to the city from all
parts of the state, with Pine Ridge, or Waters, in
Montgomery county, turning out almost en masse to
see the “home town” boys.
It was almost a “Lum and Abner Homecoming Day”
with parents of the two, many relatives and friends,
former classmates at the University of Arkansas and
acquaintances waiting their time to greet the men and
wish them well. But they had time for everyone
despite a full schedule of events planned during their
brief stay in the city.
Immediately after their arrival at 6 p.m., they were
placed in cars and paraded to the Albert Pike hotel,
where a buffet supper was scheduled. By the time the
two finished greeting their friends, the supper began
at 7:30. Then the youthful entertainers took time out
to see newspaper men and assure them that
“anything you say is all right with us.” After that, they
were guests of the local chapter of the Sigma Chi
fraternity at a party at the home of W. E. Lenon Jr. on
the Galloway pike.
First thing on today’s schedule will be a rehearsal
during the morning of their program this afternoon.
Then at 3 o’clock this afternoon, they will appear at the
state capitol to join Governor Futrell and others in a 30-
minute broadcast over the National Broadcasting
System. The broadcast will be in observance of the
fifth anniversary of their first program and will mark
the changing of the name of the town Waters to Pine
Ridge, a name made famous by the two.
The Little Rock high school band and the KTHS barn
dance band will participate in the program, which will
be carried over stations from coast to coast.
Charles Lyon, noted NBC announcer, accompanied
Lum and Abner here from Chicago to serve as master
of ceremonies for the broadcast. The program will be
broadcast from the steps of the state capitol, with the
Little Rock high school band playing a concert for an
hour in advance of the program.
Mrs. Lauck and Mrs. Goff, both natives of Arkansas,
accompanied their famous husbands here. Mrs. Lyon
was also their guest on the brief trip to Arkansas. Mrs.
Lauck formerly lived at Hot Springs while Mrs. Goff’s
home is at Mena.
The young men were well pleased with their reception
at the station and especially with the informal
welcome extended them by Governor Futrell, but their
first thoughts were for “their folks.” Their mothers,
Mrs. William J. Lauck and Mrs. R. Goff, both of whom
live at Mena, were on hand to make their visit more
Mrs. Futrell and Mrs. Ernie Maddox, daughter of
Governor and Mrs. Futrell, were present to welcome
wives of the two entertainers and Mrs. Lyons, H.C.
(“Sport”) Graham, city clerk, represented Mayor
Overman and along with Governor Futrell extended a
The fact that Lum and Abner are still in their twenties
seemed to amaze many present to greet them. “Why
we thought they were much older,” many persons
commented. And that comment, to Lum and Abner, is
the highest praise they could receive. As Abner
commented, “Our biggest ambition is to be as much
like our characters as possible. That’s because we
love our characters, we know them and they are
almost real people.”
“Chet” took up the conversation there. “The people
we portray in our sketches are the backbone of this
country. They are the people who have built it to the
high place it occupies among nations. They’re the
kind of people who would give you two slices of
bacon if they only had three in the house.”
“Tuffy” — that’s Abner’s nickname — resented the
fact that he and his partner have to leave tonight to be
back in Chicago Monday for their program Monday
night. “Why on the way down here, passing along
some of those rivers and creeks, I caught enough fish
to last me two weeks. That is, in my dreams. I’d like to
take about a week off and just go fishing.”
Lum and Abner don’t map their sketches in advance.
In fact, they prepare their broadcasts just a few
minutes before they go on the air. “We never know
what’s going to happen, that way. In fact, we honestly
can’t tell you what tomorrow night’s broadcast will
develop.” However, they did guarantee that their
horse is going to reach the derby and will run.
Whether he’ll win, “Well, we don’t know about that
Lum, taking time out from an interview, called little
Nancy Ann Hall, daughter of C. G. “Crip” Hall, a former
schoolmate, on the phone. It seems that little Nancy is
a real Lum-and-Abner fan.
“Nancy, this is Lum,” went the introduction.
Amazement was registered at the other end of the
wire. “Now Nancy, Squire Skimp has a few words to
say to you,” came over the phone in the voice of Lum.
Then the voice changed to a deep bass. “Hello,
Nancy; this is Squire Skimp. Now, Nancy, Cedric
Weehunt wants to say hello.” The voice changed to a
high pitch. “Hello, Nancy; this is Cedric Weehunt.
Now you go on back to bed and be a good girl.”
Nancy hung up the phone, apparently dumbfounded.
That conversation, or skit, characterized the visit of
the two — informal. They had a pleasant word for
everyone and appeared amused at the fact that
anyone could enjoy their show. One well-wisher
remarked; “I’ve missed your program the last week.”
The reply from Abner was, “That’s your good luck.”
But it was easily evident that the two are proud of their
work, and the welcome that they received assured
them that they are doing a good job.
April 27, 1936
Pine Ridge Is Given Place On State Map
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Thousands Cheer Lum and Abner at
Special Program Here
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Lum and Abner’s mythical village of Pine Ridge
officially took its place on the Arkansas map today as
a tribute to the state’s native sons of the radio.
Officially launching Arkansas’ Centennial celebration,
Governor Futrell in dedicatory exercises on the state
capitol steps yesterday re-christened in the
Montgomery town of Waters as Pine Ridge. For five
years, Lum and Abner — Chester Lauck and Norris
Goff — have built their daily radio act around the
village from which many of the characters of their
script are drawn.
The radio stars were central figures in the exercises
viewed by several thousand persons. Three of their
real characters took part in a coast to coast broadcast,
the storekeeper, Dick Huddleston receiving from
Governor Futrell the new charter of his home town.
“It seems to me a singularly happy circumstance that
we can combine three important features in the
activities of this one Sunday.”said the Arkansas chief
executive in his radio address. “First we are
celebrating the change in name of a little town out
here from Waters to Pine Ridge.
“Another reason for our being here at this particular
time is that just five years ago our state sent these
young fellows, Chester Lauck and Norris Goff, out to
try their luck at making a name for themselves on the
“All of us, I believe, are convinced that in these five
years they have turned into a national institution and
we are just about the proudest folks in creation today.”
Lauck responded in the character of Lum, declaring it
“mighty thoughty of all you folk to come over here and
hold this celebrate fer us. Me and Abner want you all
to know that we are deeply tetched.”
Lum and Abner in another event of the day selected
Miss Edna Eberie Epperson of Amity, daughter of Mr.
and Mrs. H. E. Epperson, as Dark county’s Centennial
A crowd of several thousand persons loudly cheered
as Chet and Tuffy adopted their radio roles in the
broadcast from the capitol. The crowd had gathered
more than an hour in advance of the broadcast to hear
a concert by the Little Rock high school band. The
KTHS barn dance also stepped in from time to time to
entertain. Both bands had a part on the program, the
school unit playing the Lum and Abner theme song,
“Eleanor” and the barn dance band offering
Charles Lyon, ace NBC announcer, who came here
from Chicago for the program, was master of
ceremonies. A huge birthday cake was presented to
Lum and Abner during the broadcast by station KTHS,
with Douglas Hotchkiss making the presentation
speech. The two Arkansas boys broadcast their first
radio program over that station five years ago.
Following the broadcast, a reception was held in the
governor’s office with Lum and Abner greeting
hundreds of old friends and autographing many more
cards for their fans.
Following the reception they went to the Arkansas
Theater to appear before a meeting of the Independent
Theater Owners of Arkansas. Miss Epperson also
was presented as were Miss Mary Tucker, Miss Wanda
McMaster and Miss Marian Harmon, runners-up in the
The two entertainers were forced to call in Ted
Morrow, president of the theater group before they
could finally agree upon the contest winner. Mr.
Morrow cast the deciding vote for Miss Epperson.
At 10 o’clock last night, Chet and Tuffy, their wives
and Mr. and Mrs. Lyon boarded a Missouri Pacific
train for Chicago from where they will go back on their
nightly program tonight. Jack Ryan, their business
representative, remained here last night and planned
to leave today for Chicago.
The program was the initial offering of the Arksansas
Centennial Celebration, and Gov. Futrell went at
length to tell his radio audience about the centennial
and to invite his listeners to visit the state this summer.
Will S. McLafferty of Mena, formerly Chet’s law partner,
represented his home city on the broadcast and
extended greeting to Lum and Abner. Ed L. Goble of
Pine Ridge, who furnished the inspiration for the part
of Cedric Weehunt in the broadcast, and Uncle Cling
Wilhite, who in the broadcast is Grandpappy Spears,
had parts on the broadcast, and were introduced to
the huge crowd.
The trip marked Uncle Cling Wilhite’s first visit to Little
Rock. Following the broadcast he attended the
reception in the governor’s office and at the invitation
of Mrs. Futrell seated himself at the governor’s desk.
That was the “biggest kick” of the day for the Pine
|PHOTOS AND CAPTIONS:
Governor Futrell (center) welcomes Chet Lauck,
Elizabeth Goff, Harriet Lauck and Tuffy Goff to Little
Lauck and Goff were honored by a parade from the
Little Rock railroad station to their hotel.
Charles Lyon was the announcer for the NBC
broadcast from Little Rock.
To our knowledge, this newspaper photo is the only
one actually taken during the April 26, 1936 broadcast
from the steps of the state capitol.
This commemorative envelope, with facsimile Lum and
Abner autographs, was issued on April 26, 1936, the
first day the postmark of Pine Ridge, Arkansas was
used. Notice that this particular example was also
autographed by Dick Huddleston himself.
This is Waters/Pine Ridge resident "Uncle Cling"
Wilhite, the supposed real-life model for Grandpappy
Spears, as he appeared at the name change ceremony
in Little Rock.
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