From the Pit

Henry Morgan

Once upon a time there was a very good radio show. It had a sponsor. He was satisfied with the whole affiair and everyone lived happily ever after. This little tale is completely apocryphal. If you don't believe me ask a radio comedian name Henry Morgan. He'll tell you.

Mr. Morgan first appeared on the wireless scene over a decade ago directly behind 710 on your dial, --if your dial happened to be in the vicinity of New York city. His efforts there, for WOR, were better documented than rewarded. Since then rivals have stolen his jokes but very few sponsors have paid for them.

This is until recently. At present, one of the few comedians who doesn't have to steal Morgan's jokes is allegedly paying for them. The Henry Morgan show, a half hour of sporadic Sunday night drollery is sponsored by the Fred Allen show, another half hour of the same sort of thing. The combined shows run from eight to nine on NBC.

One of the more pleasant things about Morgan is that he is unlike other radio comedians who seem to aim their programs at the category Life forgot--the no-brows. He eschews the Wilshire Boulevard school of humor, where in an ether buffoon sends a studio audience into unrestrained hysterics at the mere mention of a name such as "Wilshire Boulevard" of "La Brea tarpits." Nor does he open closet doors to the accompanyment of a eacophony of sound effects. If he is going to insult somebody he doesn't call him "baldy."

When Morgan wants to make fun of Judge Anthony or Gabriel Heatter or Luella Parsons, the Messrs, Anthony and Heatter and Miss Parsons hurt for a long time thereaftr. Once you hear Morgan spoof scientific experts you are pretty shame-faced the next time you take a Reader's Digest cure for acne seriously.


With the help of the best straight man in radio, Arnold Stang, Morgan manages to parlay his destructive parodies into an average of ten really excellent minutes of humor and twenty satisfactory ones every Sunday night.

And Lisa Kirk is the only variety show soubbrette I ever heard who realizes that the vocal chords and not the nasal passages are the proper origins for sounds emanating from female vocalists. If thirty entertaining minutes out of a whole week's effort can be interpreted as a good sign, there still may be hope for radio.