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original Leave It to Joan header art

The Leave It To Joan Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Leave It To Joan

Premiere spot ad for Leave It to Joan from September 9th 1949
Premiere spot ad for Leave It to Joan from September 9th 1949

Roi-Tan Cigars sponsored twenty-six episodes of Leave It to Joan
Roi-Tan Cigars sponsored twenty-six episodes of Leave It to Joan

Joan Davis mugs during a script reading on Leave It to Joan
Joan Davis mugs during a script reading on Leave It to Joan


Spot ad for Leave It to Joan from March 3rd 1950, the last program of the first full season of Leave It to Joan
Spot ad for Leave It to Joan from March 3rd 1950, the last program of the first full season of Leave It to Joan

Joe Kearns as 'Pops' Davis sets Joanie straight on Leave It to Joan
Joe Kearns as 'Pops' Davis sets Joanie straight on Leave It to Joan

Background

Between 1945 and 1950, slapstick comedienne Joan Davis headlined a series of situation comedy series' over Radio:

Long a favorite over Radio and in Film, Joan Davis had generally played second banana to other leading comedians. It was Lever Bros. and Swan Soap that elevated Joan Davis to 'star' quality with its 1945, record-breaking $1,000,000 contract for her services--making Joan Davis the highest paid comic in history up to that point.

By 1945, Joan Davis had already appeared in over 40 films and comedy shorts. As pointed out by LIFE magazine in their October 1st, 1945 article: "Her rise to these remarkable financial heights started four years ago when she got a job as a comic with Rudy Vallee and John Barrymore on the Sealtest hour.  When Barrymore died and Vallee enlisted in the Coast Guard, skeptics thought the Sealtest program was finished.  To their surprise, Joan Davis' wacky comedy not only carried the program by itself, but shot popularity skyward."

Given her rising popularity, Swan Soap may well have thought that their $1M investment in Joan Davis was entirely warranted. Capitalizing on both Joan Davis' popularity and Swan Soap's own 'Swanny' the Goose cartoon character, Swan Soap aggressively promoted The Joan Davis Show thoughout its 39-episode run over Radio. CBS picked Joan Davis up again in 1947 for its network-sustained Joan Davis Time for another thirty-eight episodes during 1947 and 1948.

After a second hiatus over CBS, Joan Davis launched her last starring Radio series, Leave It to Joan, as a Summer replacement for Lux Radio Theater during 1949. CBS and American Tobacco's Roi-Tan Cigars picked up Leave It to Joan for the Fall Season of 1949.

Spot teaser for the end of Leave It to Joan's only full season featuring Joe Kearns as 'Pops' Davis
Spot teaser for the end of Leave It to Joan's only full season
featuring Joe Kearns as 'Pops' Davis

During Joan Davis' first two outings in starring roles over Radio, Joan Davis appeared as "Joanie", the owner of 'Joanie's Tea Room,' in perhaps an homage to the wildly popular, long-running Duffy's Tavern (1941-1952). By Leave It to Joan, Joan Davis transitioned to the role of a salesgirl for the fictional Willock's Department store, in yet another homage to Southern California's Bullock's Department Store chain.

From the Spring 1950 issue of Radio Album :

for joan:
wisecracks behind the counter

She was named Madonna, of all things, and at the age of seven was billed as the "Toy Comedienne." Since then, Madonna Josephine Davis has dropped her dignified name, but not her dignity For the audience, her specialty is making herself look ridiculous--as awkward as each of us sometimes fears we must look to other people. But you have to be a very self-assured person to be able to spend your life appearing as a bundle of misplaced arms and legs with a collection of unworldly facial contortions and uninhibited actions. The Joan Davis that you never see is a poised, attractive woman, serious-minded, an avid reader, and a hard worker. At the age of three, she sang and recited pieces at church entertainments, retired for a while until she was six, and since then has risen from the Toy Comedienne to the "Queen of Comedy."
Joan married Si Wills, her vaudeville partner in 1931. Pretty soon Si was writing her scripts. In 1936, Joan had a part in a movie called "Millions in the Air" and clowned like no woman had ever clowned before. She bounced and split through dozens of movies after that, and in 1941 she appeared on the Rudy Vallee radio program. Came a parody of "Hey Daddy," and became a regular member of the cast. Since then, she's been splitting sides between movies and radio, but in private life she maintains all the dignily that Joan says a woman should have. One of the best-dressed women in Hollywood, Joan is also the mother of 17-year-old Beverly Wills. Father Si Wills and Joan were divorced in 1947. Beverly, whose main ambition is to be like her mother, now plays the role of Fluffy Adams on radio's "Junior Miss."

She's been living in an atmosphere of theatrical chatter all her life, The day she came home with her first report card she announced excitedly, "Look, Mother, did you see the swell write-up' I got." They live together in a small home in Hollywood.

Joan is now reigning over Willock's Department store on Leave it To Joan every Friday night. The customers suffer, but they'll never know what Mr. Hackady, the manager, has to endure. Madonna, not the customer, is always right.


Joan Davis was supported by Radio legends, Joseph Kearns (as Police Sergeant 'Pops' Davis), Willard Waterman (as store manager, Mr. Simon Hackaday), Elvia Allman, Sara Berner, Bob Jellison, and Lou Merrill. Not stinting on music direction, Lud Gluskin, then Lyn Murray, provided the series' scoring. Leave It to Joan also continued CBS' tradition of frequent guest appearances by other CBS stars in its annual line-ups.

By mid-Season, Roi-Tan was already considering abandoning Leave It to Joan
By mid-Season, Roi-Tan was already considering abandoning
Leave It to Joan


True to its word, Roi-Tan pulled out of Leave It to Joan after twenty-six sponsored episodes
True to its word, Roi-Tan pulled out of Leave It to Joan after twenty-six sponsored episodes

Series Derivatives:

AFRS
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Situation Comedy
Network(s): CBS: The AFRS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 49-07-04 01 Society Jenny
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 49-07-04 to 50-08-21; CBS; Forty-three, 30-minute programs;
Syndication: Columbia Broadcasting System
Sponsors: American Tobacco [Roi-Tan Cigars]
Director(s): Dick Mack [Procuder/Director]
Principal Actors: Joan Davis, Joe Kearns, Willard Waterman, Lou Merrill, Elvia Allmann, Sara Berner, Herb Vigran, Bob Jellison, William Grey, Wally Brown, Al Jolson, Beverly Wills
Recurring Character(s): 'Pops' Davis [Joseph Kearns]
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): None
Writer(s) Al Gordon, Jesse Goldstein, Jack Harvey, Marvin Marx
Music Direction: Lud Gluskin
Lyn Murray and His Orchestra
Musical Theme(s): "Leave It to Joan, Leave It to Joan"
Announcer(s): Bob Lemond, Ken Niles [spokesman for Roi-Tan]
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
43
Episodes in Circulation: 2
Total Episodes in Collection: 2
Provenances:

Billboard Leave It to Joan review of July 16th 1949
Billboard Leave It to Joan review of July 16th 1949
RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were the log of the RadioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.

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[Date, title, and episode column annotations in
red refer to either details we have yet to fully provenance or other unverifiable information as of this writing. Red highlights in the text of the 'Notes' columns refer to information upon which we relied in citing dates, date or time changes, or titles.]







The Leave It To Joan Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
49-06-27
--
--
49-06-27 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Radio Theater
49-07-04
1
Society Jenny
N
49-07-04 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Leave it to Joan (WBBM):
new comedy show starring Joan Davis.
49-07-11
2
Title Unknown
N
49-07-11 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Joan Davis (WBBM): muddles through to store's exchange department.
49-07-18
3
Title Unknown
N
49-07-18 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Leave It To Joan
49-07-25
4
Title Unknown
N
49-07-25 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Leave It to Joan (WBBM):
two robbers encounter Miss Davis.
49-08-01
5
Title Unknown
N
49-08-01 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Leave It To Joan
49-08-08
6
Title Unknown
N
49-08-08 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Leave It To Joan
49-08-15
7
Title Unknown
N
49-08-15 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Leave It to Joan (WBBM):
the Davis gal tries to snare an author.
49-08-22
8
Title Unknown
N
49-08-22 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Leave It to Joan (WBBM):
Miss Davis becomes a one-woman marriage bureau.
49-08-29
--
--
49-08-29 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Radio Theater





49-09-02
1
Title Unknown
--
[Moves to Fridays]

49-09-02 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 This Is Broadway

49-09-02 Waukeshaw Daily Freeman
8 p.m.--Leave it to Joan--WISN

49-09-02 Hutchison News-Herald
KFH--8 p.m.--Leave it to Joan

49-09-02 Morning Herald
CBS—9 Leave it to Joan Davis;

49-09-02 The Times-Recorder
WJR--Leave it to Joan - 9 p.m.

49-09-02 The Daily Courier
WJAS--9 p.m.--Leave it to Joan

49-09-02 Cedar Rapids Gazette
WMT--8 p.m.--Leave it to Joan
49-09-09
2
Title Unknown
N
49-09-09 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Leave It To Joan

49-09-09 Lowell Sun
LEAVE IT TO JOAN:
Dept. store drama, with Joan Davis; WEEI, 9.
49-09-16
3
Title Unknown
N
49-09-16 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Leave It To Joan

49-09-16 Portsmouth Times
The high school football games are being broadcast without interruption, through the courtesy of sponsors of the "Leave It to Joan" show. " Scheduled for Friday night on the CBS network, the show is set for 8 p.m. Wednesday as a delayed broadcast, on WPAY.
49-09-23
4
Title Unknown
N
49-09-23 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Leave It To Joan
49-09-30
5
Title Unknown
N
49-09-30 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
49-10-07
6
Title Unknown
N
49-10-07 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
49-10-14
7
Title Unknown
N
49-10-14 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
49-10-21
8
Title Unknown
N
49-10-21 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
49-10-28
9
Title Unknown
N
49-10-28 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
49-11-04
10
Title Unknown
N
49-11-04 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
49-11-11
11
The Secret Willock's Dept. Store Float
N
49-11-11 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan

49-11-11 Long Beach Press-Telegram
6:00—KNX—
With a big parade in the offing Willock's department store builds a surprise float and Mr. Hackaday swears his staff to secrecy ... but ... "Leave It to Joan" .. . she spills the information to the rival store detective.
49-11-18
12
Title Unknown
N
49-11-18 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
49-11-25
13
Title Unknown
N
49-11-25 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
49-12-02
14
Title Unknown
N
49-12-02 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
49-12-09
15
Title Unknown
N
49-12-09 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan

49-12-09 San Antonio Express
JOAN DAVIS STARS IN THE NEW SITUATION COMedy show, "Leave It to Joan," which tells of a day-dreaming store salesgirl and her hilarious travails. The program is a Friday night feature on the CBS network. KTSA—8 P.M.
49-12-16
16
Title Unknown
N
49-12-16 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
49-12-23
17
Title Unknown
N
49-12-23 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
49-12-30
18
Title Unknown
N
49-12-30 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
50-01-06
19
Title Unknown
N
50-01-06 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan

50-01-06 San Antonio Express
THAT "ONE WOMAN MIRTHQUAKE," JOAN DAVIS, will have you rolling off your chair again tonight at 8 -p.m.
Joan Davis, star of "Leave it to Joan," is a salesgirl in a department store who mixes DAYDREAMS with SALESTALK. KTSA.
50-01-13
20
Investors and Taxes
N
50-01-13 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan

50-01-13 San Antonio Express
JOAN DAVIS ESCORTS TWO VISITORS THROUGH Willock's Department Store with her customary hilarity, on CBS' "Leave It to Joan" Friday. The first man on the Davis tour is a possible investor, for whom Joanie runs down the store. The second visitor gets a buildup, and he turns out to be the tax assessor. Dick Mack directs and produces. KTSA--8 P.M
50-01-20
21
Asa Jolson Fills In for Al Jolson
N
50-01-20 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan

50-01-20 San Antonio Express
ALL JOLSON, THE ALL-AMERICAN MINSTREL MAN,
visits Joan Davis and gets enmeshed in the comedienne's hilarious web of confusion on CBS' "Leave it to Joan," Friday. After being invited to entertain at the 25th anniversary celebration of Willock's Department Store, Jolson turns up in the record shop wehre Joan Davis is working. As she plays Jolson records, he joins in the singing. KTSA--8 P.M
50-01-27
22
Title Unknown
N
50-01-27 New York Times
9:00-WCBS--Joan Davis Show
50-02-03
23
Guest Art Linkletter
N
50-02-03 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan

50-02-03 San Antonio Express
Joan Davis, KTSA, 8 p.m., tangles with
Art Linkletter in what promises to be a hilarious half-hour program.
50-02-10
24
Title Unknown
N
50-02-10 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
50-02-17
25
Guest Garry Moore
N
50-02-17 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan

50-02-17 San Antonio Express
Garry Moore, KTSA, 8 p.m.,' invades the department store to provide a hilarious comedy sequence for Joan Davis.
50-02-24
26
Title Unknown
N
50-02-24 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
50-03-03
27
Title Unknown
N
[Last Roi-Tan sponsored program]

50-03-03 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
50-03-10
--
--
50-03-10 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole

50-03-10 Cumberland Evening Times
New shows for tonight: CBS 9 Up for Parole, stories of prison case bistories. replacement for the departed Joan Davis Comedy.





50-06-26
--
--
50-06-26 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 My Friend Irma
50-07-03
1
Title Unknown
N
50-07-03 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Leave It to Joan (WBBM):
Miss Davis returns to the air.
50-07-10
2
Title Unknown
N
50-07-10 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It to Joan

50-07-10 San Antonio Express
Leave It To Joan, KTSA, 9 p.m.—-
Joan Davis as a zany salesgirl in this comedy program.
50-07-17
3
Title Unknown
N
50-07-17 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It to Joan
50-07-24
4
Title Unknown
N
50-07-24 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It to Joan
50-07-31
5
Title Unknown
N
50-07-31 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It to Joan
50-08-07
6
Title Unknown
N
50-08-07 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It to Joan

50-08-07 San Antonio Express
Leave It to Joan, KTSA, 9 p.m.—Presents the scatterbrained Joan Davis as a sales girl of sorts.
50-08-14
7
Title Unknown
N
50-08-14 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It to Joan
50-08-21
8
Title Unknown
N
50-08-21 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It to Joan
50-08-28
--
--
50-08-28 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 My Friend Irma






The Leave It To Joan Radio Program Biographies




Madonna Josephine Davis
Vaudeville, Stage, Radio, Film and Television Actress and Comedienne
(1907-1961)

Birthplace: St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.A.

Radiography:
1942 Rudy Vallee Sealtest Show
1942 Command Performance
1943 Groucho Marx Audition For Pabst Beer
1943 Sealtest Village Store
1943 Camel Comedy Caravan
1943 Duffy's Tavern
1943 Kraft Music Hall
1944 Mail Call
1944 Eddie Cantor Show
1944 Elgin Christmas Day Greeting To America
1945 The Pepsodent Show
1945 Guest Critic Series
1945 Joan Davis Show
1946 Birds Eye Open House
1946 March Of the Movies
1946 Stars In the Afternoon
1947 Here's To Veterans
1947 Joan Davis Time
1949 Sealtest Variety Theater
1949 Leave It To Joan
1950 The Big Show
1951 Stars On Parade
1951 Martin and Lewis Show
1957 A Tribute To...The Memory Of Humphrey Bogart
1957 Recollections At Thirty
To the Rear March
Joan Davis circa 1947
Joan Davis circa 1947
From the May 23rd 1961 edition of the Ogden Standard-Examiner:
 
'Scatterbrain' Joan Davis Dies
On Coast After Heart Attack

     FINAL CURTAIN: Comedienne Joan Davis, 53, one-time runner-up to Bob Hope and Jack Benny as the highest paid radio star, died today of a heart attack at Desert Hospital, Palm Springs, Calif.
     The noisy, grimacing actress was admitted to the hospital late Monday.  With her when she died early today were her mother and a Roman Catholic priest.
     Miss Davis was born June 29, 1907, at St. Paul, Minn., to train dispatcher Leroy Davis and his wife, Nina.
     While best known in radio, the actress, who frequently portrayed the ungainly, frustrated female type, appeared in many motion, pictures, including "George White's Scandals," and "Love and Hisses."
     She entered pictures in 1934 as a hillbilly in a Mack Sennett short subject, "Way Up Thar."
     She easily made the transition to television, starring in the "I Married Joan" series with Jim Backus.
     After a long career in vaudeville, Miss Davis satirized the song, "My Jim," on a Rudy Vallee program to win her first nationwide attention.
     She appeared in an Abbott and Costello picture "Hold That Ghost," then became the highest paid woman on the radio with a network contract at $1 million a year.
     She married her vaudeville partner, Si Wills, in 1931 and their daughter, Beverly, later appeared with her in the television series.
     Miss Davis divorced Wills in 1947.




Elvia Allman [Tourtellotte]
(Patience the Cook)
(1904-1992)

Birthplace: Enochville, North Carolina, U.S.A.

Education: University of Chicago

Radiography:
1931 On With the Show
1933 California Cocktails
1934 Crazy Quilt
1934 Komedy Kapers
1934 The Laff Parade
1934 The Blue Monday Jamboree
1936 Lux Radio Theatre
1937 Komedy Kingdom
1937 John Barrymore Theatre
1937 Cinnamon Bear
1937 The Jell-O Program
1938 Hollywood Mardi Gras Mummers
1938 The Pepsodent Show
1940 Gulf Screen Guild Theatre
1942 Command Performance
1942 The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
1942 The Jack Benny Program
1942 The Abbott and Costello Show
1943 Fibber McGee and Molly
1943 Mail Call
1944 THe Bakers Of America Show For the Armed Forces
1944 Radio Almanac
1944 G.I. Journal
1944 Radio Hall Of Fame
1945 The Eddie Bracken Show
1945 Birds Eye Open House
1946 The Life Of Riley
1946 The Alan Young Show
1946 Maxwell House Coffee Time
1947 The Lucky Strike Program
1947 The Mel Blanc Show
1947 The Bill Goodwin Show
1947 Guest Star
1947 The Victor Borge Show
1947 The Jack Paar Program
1948 The Eddie Cantor Pabst Blue Ribbon Show
1948 Blondie
1948 The Railroad Hour
1949 Sealtest Variety Theatre
1949 Young Love
1949 My Favorite Husband
1949 The Amos 'n' Andy Show
1950 The Henn House
1950 The Adventures Of Maisie
1951 The Baby Snooks Show
1951 Bright Star
1951 Mr and Mrs Blandings
1952 Broadway Is My Beat
1953 The Edgar Bergen Show
1954 The New Beulah Show
1954 The Six Shooter
1954 Meet Mr McNutley
1954 That's Rich
1956 Recollections At Thirty
1962 Heartbeat Theatre
1973 Hollywood Radio Theatre
1979 Sears Radio Theatre
Elvia Allman circa 1942
Elvia Allman circa 1942

Elvia Allman got her start at KHJ, Hollywood over both CBS and Don Lee-Mutual throughout the 1930s
Elvia Allman got her start at KHJ, Hollywood over both CBS and Don Lee-Mutual throughout the 1930s

Elvia Allman promotional spot from November 6 1933
Elvia Allman promotional spot from November 6 1933

razy Quilt promo for S. & L. Co. from March 20 1935
Crazy Quilt spot ad for S. & L. Co. from March 20 1935

Elvia Allman as jane Adams appears with Gracie Allen in The Burns and Allen Program (1952)
Elvia Allman as Jane Adams appears with Gracie Allen in The Burns and Allen Program (1952)

Elvia Allman as jane Adams appears with George Burns in The Burns and Allen Program (1952)
Elvia Allman as Jane Adams appears with George Burns in The Burns and Allen Program (1952)

Elvia Allman appears as Henrietta Swanson in the Andy Griffith Show with Francis Bavier (1961)
Elvia Allman appears as Henrietta Swanson in the Andy Griffith Show with Francis Bavier (1961)

Elvia Allman as Henrietta Swanson in the Andy Griffith Show (1961)
Elvia Allman as Henrietta Swanson in the Andy Griffith Show (1961)


Elvia Allman as Julia Slovak in Perry Mason (1961)
Elvia Allman as Julia Slovak in Perry Mason (1961)

Elvia Allman as Mrs. Forbes in Perry Mason (1961)
Elvia Allman as Mrs. Forbes in Perry Mason (1961)

[Note: The thing you can't help noticing in virtually all of Elvia Allman's Television appearances are the reactions of her peers in each performance. It's as if they're trying not to stare at her as she's peforming, but they can't help their own reactions to her characters. They've almost certainly observed her rehearsals and outtakes, but it's as if they simply can't get enough of her. The only reason most people don't notice the reaction of her on-screen peers is that they usually can't take their eyes off of Elvia Allman's actual performance.]


Elvia Allman as Mrs. Luftwaffe in Bewitched (1966)
Elvia Allman as Mrs. Luftwaffe in Bewitched (1966)

Elvia Allman appears just a wee bit dubious as Mrs. Emily Graham in My Favorite Martian (1964)
Elvia Allman appears just a wee bit dubious as Mrs. Emily Graham in My Favorite Martian (1964)


Elvia Allman as Princess Millicent von Schlepp in The Addams Family (1965)
Elvia Allman as Princess Millicent von Schlepp in The Addams Family (1965)

Elvia Allman as the imperious Princess Millicent von Schlepp from The Addams Family (1965)
Elvia Allman as the imperious Princess Millicent von Schlepp from The Addams Family (1965)


Radio's Queen of Mirth, Elvia Allman was born in North Carolina but raised and educated in Texas. The local newspapers recorded her high school graduation exercise of June 1, 1921 from The Academy of Mary Immaculate--a graduating class of ten young ladies.

Upon reaching her majority, she emigrated to Southern California and began her radio career in 1926 at KHJ. Hired as a program arranger and children's story reader, she later became a singer for the station as well. She was also noted early on as a gifted dialectician and diseuse--a woman who is a skilled and professional reciter.

It was in 1930, while working as a studio singer, that she met her first husband, Wesley B. Tourtellotte, a studio musician. Though they divorced within two years, Elvia Allman and Tourtellotte criss-crossed the nation for three more years performing in the long-running California Cocktails (1933) program, Crazy Quilt (1934), Laff Parade (1934), and Komedy Kapers (1934)--and making quite a name for herself as a multi-talented singer, comedienne, and diseuse in the process. She'd also made a successful alliance with talented Lindsay MacHarrie.

MacHarrie and Allman had worked together at KHJ for almost five years. Lindsay MacHarrie rose to the position of Dramatic Director at KHJ while Elvia was coming up on her own at the station. Elvia Allman's rising star didn't go unnoticed. Indeed, while working at KHJ, MacHarrie was also the Production Manager for TransCo, a company which recorded and marketed programming on electrical transcription discs for syndication to independent Radio affiliates as a turnkey production.

KFRC's The Blue Monday Jamboree had been airing over first CBS from KHJ and then Don Lee-Mutual throughout the 1920s over KFRC and KHJ. Elvia Allman developed several of her most memorable early characters during the Blue Monday Jamboree years, among them: Auntie MacCasser, Octavia Smith-Whiffen, and home economist Pansy Pennypincher. MacHarrie remembered Elvia Allman's captivating and versatile contributions to Blue Monday Jamboree and when it came time to develop a comedy -- variety format, for syndication he tapped Elvia Allman to fill a variety of needs in the format--singer, dialectician, straight-man and comedienne. Their first outing together was with Komedy Kapers (1933), which TransCo licensed or sold to Bruce Eells and Associates for 1934 syndication as Comedy Capers. Elvia Allman appeared in at least thirteen of the Komedy Kapers installments.

Elvia Allman's first major, coast-to-coast exposure was over Bob Hope's The Pepsodent Show. In September of 1938 she introduced Hope's nationwide audience to her character, Cobina, the man-chasing, man-crazy debutante. Much as with Barbara Jo Allen's ''Vera Vague'' and Minerva Pious' ''Mrs. Nussbaum'', Elvia Allman's ''Cobina Gusher'' was so successful in her own right that Allman reprised the role in both Film and Animation.

Indeed, her debut in Animation came five years earlier than her Film debut. By the mid-1930s, a favorite of both the Leon Schlesinger -- Warner Bros. animated features as well as those of The Disney Studios, Elvia Allman voiced numerous, well-remembered characters from the early animated classics, including the voice of Clarabelle Cow in several of the Walt Disney animated features between 1930 and 1942.

Elvia Allman married popular sports promoter, C.C. 'Cash & Carry' Pyle in January of 1937. He'd become famous--or infamous--for the Bunion Derby (1929), a trans-continental marathon comprised of athletes from virtually every possible discipline--and reputation. He was also responsible for successfully recruiting ''The Galloping Ghost'' himself, Red Grange, to professional football. Within two years Pyle would be dead of an unexpected heart attack at the age of 56. Elvia Allman was at his side when he passed.

A tall, strikingly attractive young woman in her own right, it wasn't long before she began appearing in feature films. There was clearly a method in the apparent madness of a woman as naturally attractive and statuesque as Elvia Allman downplaying her classic figure and beauty. As with many of the most successful comediennes throughout modern entertainment history, she discovered that the secret to longevity was continually playing to the irony of such an inherently attractive woman portraying oddball, neurotic, outlandish, or eccentric female characters of one stereotype or another.

Viewed by her contemporaries much as the generation of the 1980s viewed Carol Burnett, Elvia Allman was taking on a dimension of her own with the extraordinary success of her Radio work. She'd been heard coast-to-coast over both CBS and NBC at one time or another, as early as 1933. Her work with Bob Hope on his Pepsodent Show made her a natural addition to Hope's film Road To Singapore (1940), the first of the sextet of 'Road' films starring Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. Though appearing uncredited, it's clear that her appearance at all in the film was a tip of the hat from Hope to Allman in recognition of her contribution to The Pepsodent Show--and her talent. Bob Hope was long known for both his loyalty to, and promotion of, his hardest-working ensemble players. Elvia Allman was no exception.

Never truly a 'star', as Carol Burnett eventually became, Allman's consistent contributions to all manner of character roles over the next fifty years of an incredibly prolific Film and Television career simply underscored her reputation and lustre.

It's also worthwhile remembering that even with her increased success in Television, Animation and Film, Elvia Allman compiled an estimated 4,000 appearances in Radio over a fifty-year career that spanned the entire Golden Age of Radio, including its Revival years in the 70s and 80s. Among her most memorable roles throughout the era were her numerous characters cited above, as well as Cora Dithers on both the Radio and Television versions of Blondie, and literally hundreds of other archtypal, matronly shrews.

Viewed as much as an ensemble player on virtually every program she contributed to during the era, she ultimately became one of Radio's most recognizable voices from the era. But the best was yet to come.

It was Elvia Allman's Television audiences that identified most closely with her various characters over the years. As recognizable as her voice had already become, the tall, statuesque queen of mirth lent that same towering height to even more over the top performances via the more visual medium of Television. The highly practiced, matronly authority figures from her greatest Radio triumphs were ideally suited to all manner of situation comedies throughout the Golden Age of Television.

Once again leveraging her tried and true formula of self-deprecation and self-parody, she now lent an even more ironic dimension to her portrayals. With her long graceful neck, her patrician nose, her high cheekbones and perfect jaw, combined with her relatively towering height, she was a natural to portray everything from snoopy neighbors to snooty blue-bloods--and every objectionable, overbearing and irritating matron or spinster in between. And she most certainly did.

A simple review of the names alone of her 100+ characters in Television during her career speaks volumes about the types of characters she portrayed. Indeed, given her own considerable comedic writing talent over the years, one finds it easy to imagine her devising the vast majority of those characters' names herself. Allman became a familiar face to television viewers throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s with numerous guest appearances on the most successful situation comedies of the era.

With frequent appearances on Abbott and Costello, I Married Joan, I Love Lucy, December Bride, The People's Choice, The Bob Cummings Show, and Bachelor Father, America was soon demanding she appear in numerous other similar roles on Television. And the smarter producers and networks of the industry complied.

Known for her brilliant comedic timing from her Radio work, her most memorable Television characterizations continued on through seven appearances on The Jack Benny Program, several guest appearances on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Hazel, The Addams Family, and then recurring roles in both Petticoat Junction (as Selma Plout) and The Beverly Hillbillies (as Elverna Bradshaw).

As Ms. Allman approached her 70s, her more active Television and Film careers began to wane--by choice, reportedly. But her Radio work continued, in voicing Elliott Lewis' wonderful Radio Revival programs Hollywood Radio Theatre and Sears Radio Theatre.

Indeed, once Hollywood sat up and took notice, yet again, of Elvia Allman, she was tapped for another fifteen Television appearances during the 1980s.

And in one of the Entertainment Industry's wonderfully seredipitous ironies, 1990 brought her entire, sixty year career full circle with her voicework as Clarabelle Cow for the animated feature film The Prince and The Pauper.

Within two years she would pass away from complications of pneumonia at the age of 87. She'd lost her third husband, Jerome Bayler in 1978.

One of the Entertainment Industry's most identifiable voices, faces and figures, Elvia Allman's body of work over some sixy-five years in one entertaining capacity or another spanned the very beginnings of The Golden Age of Radio, encompassed the Golden Age of Film, outlived the Golden Age of Television, and appropriately enough, memorialized that entire expanse of talent with her last credited performance.

A sublime and fitting end to one very extraordinary woman's career. A classically attractive woman who, wisely, found that her very genius in downplaying her own attractiveness and figure were the secret to her resounding success in every entertainment venue she pursued. She was brilliant, charming, exceptionally well grounded, and clearly one of the Entertainment World's most respected performers.

All we can say to that is "Here, here!"




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