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OLD TIME RADIO - 2 DVD - 226 mp3 - Total Playtime: 137:09:54

Edgar John Bergen (February 16, 1903 – September 30, 1978) was an American actor and radio performer, best known as a ventriloquist.

Bergen was born Edgar John Bergren in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Swedish immigrants Nilla Svensdotter (née Osberg) and Johan Henriksson Berggren. He grew up in Decatur, Michigan. He taught himself ventriloquism from a pamphlet when he was 11. A few years later he commissioned Chicago woodcarver Theodore Mack to sculpt a likeness of a rascally Irish newspaperboy he knew. The head went on a dummy named Charlie McCarthy, who became Bergen's lifelong sidekick. At age 16, he went to Chicago, where he attended Lake View High School and worked at a silent movie house.
His first performances were in vaudeville, at which point he legally changed his last name to the easier-to-pronounce "Bergen". He also worked in one-reel movie shorts, but his real success was on the radio. He and Charlie were seen at a New York party by Elsa Maxwell for Noël Coward, who recommended them for an engagement at the famous Rainbow Room. It was there that two producers saw Bergen and Charlie perform. They then recommended them for a guest appearance on Rudy Vallée's program. Their initial appearance, on December 17, 1936, was so successful that the following year they were given their own show, as part of The Chase and Sanborn Hour. Under various sponsors (and two different networks), they were on the air from May 9, 1937 to July 1, 1956. The popularity of a ventriloquist on radio, when one could see neither the dummies nor his skill, surprised and puzzled many critics, then and now. Even knowing that Bergen provided the voice, listeners perceived Charlie as a genuine person, but only through artwork, rather than photos, could the character be seen as truly lifelike. Thus, in 1947, Sam Berman caricatured Bergen and McCarthy for the network's glossy promotional book, NBC Parade of Stars: As Heard Over Your Favorite NBC Station.
It was Bergen's skill as an entertainer and vocal performer, and especially his characterization of Charlie, that carried the show. Many of the shows have survived and are available for audiences today to experience the phenomenon firsthand. Bergen's success on radio was paralleled in the United Kingdom by Peter Brough and his dummy Archie Andrews (Educating Archie).

For the radio program, Bergen developed other characters, notably the slow-witted Mortimer Snerd and the man-hungry Effie Klinker. The star remained Charlie, who was always presented as a highly precocious child (albeit in top hat, cape, and monocle) – a debonair, girl-crazy, child-about-town. As a child, and a wooden one at that, Charlie could get away with double entendre which were otherwise impossible under broadcast standards of the time.

Charlie: "May I have a kiss good-bye?"
Dale Evans: "Well, I can't see any harm in that!"
Charlie: "Oh. I wish you could. A harmless kiss doesn't sound very thrilling."

Similar lines given to Mae West in a sketch on the show broadcast December 12, 1937, resulted in her fifteen-year broadcasting ban. "Charles, I remember our date and have the splinters to prove it."[cite this quote]

Charlie's feud with W. C. Fields was a regular feature of the show.

W.C. Fields: "Well, Charlie McCarthy, the woodpecker's pinup boy!"

Charlie: "Well, if it isn't W.C. Fields, the man who keeps Seagram's in business!"

W.C. Fields: "I love children. I can remember when, with my own little unsteady legs, I toddled from room to room."
Charlie: "When was that? Last night?"

W.C. Fields: "Quiet, Wormwood, or I'll whittle you into a venetian blind."
Charlie: "Ooh, that makes me shutter!"

W.C. Fields: "Tell me, Charles, is it true that your father was a gate-leg table?"
Charlie: "If it is, your father was under it."

W.C. Fields: "Why, you stunted spruce, I'll throw a japanese beetle on you."
Charlie: "Why, you bar-fly you, I'll stick a wick in your mouth, and use you for an alcohol lamp!"

Charlie: "Pink elephants take aspirin to get rid of W. C. Fields."

W.C. Fields: "Step out of the sun Charles. You may come unglued."
Charlie: "Mind if I stand in the shade of your Nose?"

Bergen was not the most technically skilled ventriloquist – Charlie McCarthy frequently twitted him for moving his lips, but Bergen's sense of comedic timing was superb, and he handled Charlie's snappy dialogue with aplomb. Bergen's wit in creating McCarthy's striking personality and that of his other characters was the making of the show. Bergen's popularity as a ventriloquist on radio (where the trick of "throwing his voice" was not visible) suggests his appeal was primarily the personality he applied to his characters.

Bergen and McCarthy are sometimes credited with "saving the world" because, on the night of October 30, 1938, when Orson Welles performed his War of the Worlds radio play hoax that panicked many listeners, most of the American public had instead tuned in to Bergen and McCarthy on another station and never heard Welles' play. Conversely, it has also been theorized that Bergen inadvertently contributed to the hysteria. When the musical portion of Bergen's show, The Chase and Sanborn Hour, aired approximately twelve minutes into the show, many listeners switched stations and found the War of the Worlds presentation already underway, with a realistic sounding reporter detailing terrible events.

Ray Noble was the musical director and composer and teenage singer Anita Gordon provided the songs on his show. Gordon was said to have been discovered by Charlie, who had a crush on her.

361217 Bergen Debut
370509 001 Wc Fields Ann Harding
370516 002 Carole Lombard Joseph Bentoelli
370523 003 Mary Boland Sonja Henie
370530 004 Josephine Hutchinson Jose Iturbi
370606 005 Constance Bennett
370613 006 Joan Blondell
370620 007 Mae Robson Greta Garbo
370627 008 Sonja Henie
370704 009 Zazu Pitts
370711 010 Gladys George
370801 013 Bruna Castagna
370808 014 Wendy Barrienelson Eddy Joins Cast
370822 016 Glenda Farrell
370905 018 Ida Lupino
370912 019 Bette Davis
371212 xxx C S Adam and Eve with Mae West
380724 Five Star Final (with Spencer Tracy)
380731 Fay Bainter
380814 Ella Logan
380828 Ralph Bellamy
381030 C S with Don Ameche Halloween Party
390813 119 Joan Blondell Vera Vague
390827 121 Miriam Hopkins Alan Mowbray
390903 122 Wendy Barrie Vera Vague
390917 124 Helen Broderick Fred MacMurray
390924 125 Anita Louise David Niven
391112 132 JeanArthur
391119 133 John Garfield Alan Mowbray
391126 134 Loretta Young Vera Vague
391203 135 Maureen Ohara Arthur Treacher
391210 136 Joan BlondellVera VagueLansing Hatfield
391217 137 Geraldine Fitzgerald
400421 Charles Laughton
401027 Frankie Laine
410921 W C Fields
411207 Judy Garland
420303 Edward Everett Horton
420503 JudyGarland
420621 Edward Everett Horton
420628 Walter Brennan
420906 Charles Ruggles
421005 Guest Rosemary Clooney
421011 From Annapolis Naval Academy
421018 From Quantico Marine Base
421102 W C Fields
421108 262 Jabs with WC Field
430207 Teresa Wright
430214 Charles Ruggles
430221 Carmen Miranda
430307 Sydney Greenstreet
430328 Guest Roy Rogers
430404 Bill Thompson and Mary Bolen
430411 Martha Raye and Bill Thompson
430418 Ronald Coleman
430425 A Spoof On 'Showboat' (with Irene
430502 Barbara Stanwyck Acts as Charlies Agent
430516 Claudette Colbert and Rags Ragland
430523 Charles Boyer
430530 Walter Pidgeon
430905 Jean Arthur
430912 Humphrey Bogart
430926 Chase and Sanborn Hedy Loves Mortimer
431010 Marjorie Main
431031 Dorothy Lamour
431107 Elsa Maxwell
431205 Guests Bert Lahr Fats Waller Jane Powell
431212 Bert Lahr and Lena Horne
440000 with Lucile Ball
440123 Greer Garson
440130 with Basil Rathbone
440206 Susan Hayward
440220 Edgars Birthday With WC Fields
440306 Cecil B Demille
440313 Charles Ruggles and Jane Powell
440402 Orson Welles and Jane Powell
440917 Guest Leo Carillo
440924 Dorothy Lamour
441015 Charlie Wants More Allowance with Gertrude Niesen
441022 Charlie Opens a Frog Farm Welles Burke
441029 Halloween Orson Welles
441105 John Robert Powers
441112 Frank Fay
441203 Don Ameche
441210 Charlie Answers Ad for Edgar
441224 Navy Choir Night Before Christmas
441231 New Years Party Play with Charles Laughton
450000 Bergen Gets Amnesia
450107 Guest Don Ameche Carmen Miranda
450114 Louis Bromfield
450121 Frank Sinatra
450204 Albert E Wiggem
450218 Ginny Simms and Veronica Lake
450225 Gene Tierney
450311 Joan Blondell Bud Blooms in Brookl
450325 Little Red Riding Hood with Lynn Bari
450422 Rita Hayworth
450429 A F R S 105 Ida Lupino
450502 Dr Max Mason
450520 Running Away with Janet Blair
450903 Guest Fred Allen Portland Hoffa
450909 Keenan Wynn
450916 Joan Blondell
450923 Ann Baxter
450930 Fred Allen Portland Hoffa
451014 Hildegarde
451021 Fred Allen
451028 Boris Karloffs Haunted House
451104 Elsa Maxwell
451111 Gov Kerr of Oklahoma
451118 Margaret OBrien
451202 Walter Pidgeon
451216 Trip to the Planetarium Susan Hayward
460210 Jose Iturbi
460217 Memories with Ray Milland
460303 Walter Slezak
460324 At the Barbershop with W C Fields
460331 Jack Mather, Charles Kemper, Roy Russell
460621 Abbott Costello Part 1
460628 Abbott Costello Part 2
461113 Fred Allen Tribute
461117 Tallulah Bankhead
461124 Everette Edward Horton
470105 Charles Boyer
470112 Edward Arnold
470119 10th Anniversary Show
470125 Roy Rogers
470202 Jane Wyman
470209 Nelson Eddy
470216 Nelson Eddy Billie Burke
470309 Monty Woolley
470423 Roy Rogers
470509 Getting Ready for Hunting Trip
470902 Jack and the Beanstalk
470914 Michael Romanoff
470921 Walt Disney and Donald Duck
470928 Betty Hutton
471005 Don Ameche
471012 Linda Darnell
471019 Jane Wyman
471026 Richard Widmark
471102 Fred Allen
471109 Maurice Evans
471116 Lana Turner
471123 Carmen Miranda
471130 Edward Everett Horton
471207 Roy Rogers
471214 Gary Cooper
480111 Lucille Ball
480118 Hoagy Carmichael
480404 Rudy Vallee and Ken Murray
480411 Dr Max Mason
480509 Getting Ready for Hunting Trip
481017 Don Ameche
481219 Christmas Show
481226 Last Show for Chase Sanborn
490119 10th Anniversary Show
490130 Basil Rathbone
491113 Dick Powell
491218 June Allyson
491225 Hopalong Cassidy
500000 Hedy Loves Mortimer
511216 Frankie Laine
520525 The Mills Brothers
521005 Rosemary Clooney
521100 with Marilyn Monroe
530611 Last Show of Season 16 Years On Radio
540117 Liberace
540228 June Allyson and Dick Powell
540620 Nelson Eddy
541226 Hopalong Cassidy
551113 Charlie Dreams That He Visits Hell
551120 Charlie Wants to Be a Gossip Columnist
551127 Dr Fred Webb Hodge and Jack Benny
551218 Candy Bergen Xmas
551225 New Edgar Bergan Hour With Charlie Mccarthy Christmas Show
560101 Lew Ayers
560115 Tad Sanders
560122 Rudy Whistler, Cecil Zong
560129 Stan Erwin, Dale Evans
560304 Fugitives from the F B I
560318 Mc Carthys Cavalcade of Flops
560325 Mortimers Ups and Downs
560408 Interplanetary Western
560415 Ben Him
560422 Lost in the Woods
641115 Chase & Sanborn 100th Anniversary
661113 NBC Radio 40th Anniversary Pt1
Biography in Sound 560228 W C Fields
Biography in Sound 560515 Recolections at 30
Biography in Sound 560529 Fred Allen
Command Performance 420412 Gene Tierney, Edgar Bergen, Betty Hutton
Command Performance 420922 Don Ameche, Edgar Bergen, Tommy Dorsey
Command Performance 421103 GuestsBetty_Grable_Judy_Canova_Bergen_and_McCarthy
Command Performance 431127 Herbert Marshall, Edgar Bergen, Bob Wills
Command Performance 441101 Ethel Merman, Joe E Lewis, Connie Boswell
Command Performance 460529 Fourth Anniversary Special
Command Performance 461225 Christmas Special, Host Bob Hope (part 1)
Command Performance 461225 Christmas Special, Host Bob Hope (part 2)
Command Performance 470514 June Havoc, Connie Haines, Edgar Bergen
Command Performance 480323 Martha Tilton, Edgar Bergen
Command Performance 481225 1948 Christmas Special, Announcer Ken Carpenter (part 1)
Command Performance 481225 1948 Christmas Special, Announcer Ken Carpenter (part 2)
Double Feature 440813 Guest Edgar Bergen
Eternal Light 451028 The Unbroken Circle
Eternal Light 591227 From BergenBelsen to Wuppertal
Fibber McGee And Molly 411111 Bergen and McCarthy Come to Movie Premiere
Fred Allen Show 451007 Auditions
GI Journal 441020 Guest Edgar Bergen, 1st Song Is You Is
Golden Age of Radio WTIC 49 1974 April Edgar Bergen
Jack Benny Program 461013 Jack and Mary Walk to the Studio
Jack Benny Program 490925 Guest Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, Red Skelton
Jackie Gleason Les Tremayne Show 440813 First Song Amor, Amor, Amor, Guest Edgar Bergen
Kraft Music Hall 471002 First Song Sonny Boy, Guest Edgar Bergen
Mail Call 450207 130 Marion Hutton, Edgar Bergen, Ingrid Bergman
Philco Radio Time 481103 Edgar Bergen
Recollection at 30 560718 The Chase Sanborn Hour
Rudy Vallee - Edgar Bergen
Rudy Vallee - Royal Gelatin Hour 36-12-17 Guest - Edgar Bergen-Shirley Booth
Rudy Vallee - Royal Gelatin Hour 37-03-04 Guest - Edgar Bergen-Walter Abel
Rudy Vallee - Royal Gelatin Hour 37-03-25 Guest - Edgar Bergen-Bob Hope
Rudy Vallee - Royal Gelatin Hour 37-04-01 Guest - Edgar BergenMarc Connelly
Screen Guild Theater 440424 Snow White
Screen Guild Theater 461223 Snow White
Sealtest Variety Theater 490421 Guest Edgar Bergen
This Is Your Life 5003xx Guest – Edgar Bergen



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This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 30 September, 2010.

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