Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Wanna Buy a Career?

Joe Penner's post-Baker's Broadcast radio career was one long downhill slide. This blurb from the October 1st, 1938 issue of Radio Guide strives to draw a distinction between the old "wanna buy a duck?" Penner and the new "situation comedy" Penner, whose second series for CBS was to premiere on the 5th. Of course, the "wanna buy a duck?" phase of Penner's career had been over since 1936 when he ditched Baker's and pilfered Jack Benny's head writer Harry Conn (overrated, as it turned out) for a new series structured around the misadventures of the "Park Avenue Penners". Apparently few noticed. Joe's monogrammed shirt is pretty cool, though.

The In Hollywood photo feature on the right comes from the March 25th, 1939 issue of Radio Guide. Penner's second series for CBS was about to fold (his third and final series would be on NBC Blue). It's kind of sad that Joe's writers had to resort to a gimmick like a masked man and a letter that can't be opened until the end of the series to "create suspense" on the show instead of, you know, creating suspense through engaging narrative. What do you bet the letter said something like "Huskies Whole Wheat Flakes can't be beat!"? And what's Eddie Cantor doing down there? Don't do it, Eddie!!!!

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