Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Dead air is aradio station's nightmare.  When a line failure caused programming to cease for station WMAK one day in 1930, announcer Wilbur Budd Hulick grabbed the first person he could find, lumberman Frederick Chase Taylor, who happened to be walking down the hall, and the two ad-libbed their way into radio history.  Hulick introduced Taylor as his special guest, Colonel Stoopnagle.  Taylor played the pipe organ and the duo exchanged barbs.  Hulick and Taylor had never met before that moment.

Stoopnagle and Budd were an instant hit and became a regular feature on the station.  The following year, they began their program, originally called The Gloomchasers, on CBS radio.  They were radio's first satirists, the forerunners to Bob and Ray, Fred Allen, and others.  Their show featured voice characterizations of well-known people, skits mocking other radio shows, spoonerisms, and much more.  The partnership ended in 1937 with no explanation as to why, and Stoopnagle and Budd went their separate ways.

Taylor, by the way, was a first cousin of H. P. Lovecraft and one of Lovecraft's most famous correspondents, Robert Bloch, was rumored to be a scriptwriter for the show -- something Bloch denied, saying that he only sold them a few jokes shortly after he left high school.

The episode below is from March 15, 1935 and is titled "If We Supervised Radio."


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