Carroll, Carroll served as the head writer for the Kraft Music Hall for many years, and it was he more than anyone else who developed the relaxed, jovial persona of Bing Crosby so well remembered today. Both Bing and Carroll shared a love affair with big words and alliteration (“There’s a lot of limber lumber on that calfskin”), and the casual, laid-back banter with the show’s guests convinced many a listener that the show was completely ad-libbed. Carroll wrote memoir of his years in the radio writing biz entitled None of Your Business: Or My Life with J. Walter Thompson (Confessions of a Radio Writer) in 1970, and he succinctly summed up the attitude of KMH by commenting that the program served to “treat opera as if it were baseball and baseball as if it were opera.”
Crosby would sit in the host’s chair for nearly a decade, but the Kraft Music Hall spotlighted an equally talented roster of performers, many of which went on to appear in their own individual programs. Chiefly among these performers was Bob Burns—“the Arkansas Traveler”—who served as a bucolic sidekick to Bing, regaling him and the audience with tall tales of life back home. Listeners soon became acquainted with an unusual musical instrument invented by Burns that consisted of two pieces of two-inch pipe (which slid together like a trombone) and a funnel, which head writer Carroll Carroll likened to “one cut above a jug.” Burns dubbed this bizarre bass instrument a “bazooka,” a name which was appropriated by the military for their anti-tank rocket gun, and is still in wide use today. After serving a five-year stretch, Bob landed his own comedy-variety program with The Bob Burns Show, heard over CBS and NBC from 1941-47.
We'll hear the witty conversation and some of the programs that this writer worked on.