Duffy’s Tavern

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Ed Garner’s Duffy’s Tavern

Duffy’s Tavern was a popular American radio situation comedy which ran for a decade on several networks (CBS, 1941–1942; NBC-Blue Network, 1942–1944; NBC, 1944–1951), concluding with the December 28, 1951 broadcast.

The program often featured celebrity guest stars but always hooked them around the misadventures, get-rich-quick schemes and romantic missteps of the title establishment’s malaprop-prone, metaphor-mixing manager, Archie, portrayed by Ed Gardner, the writer/actor who co-created the series.

In the familiar opening, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” performed either solo on an old-sounding piano or by a larger orchestra, was interrupted by the ring of a telephone and Gardner’s New York  accent as he answered, “Hello, Duffy’s Tavern, where the elite meet to eat. Archie the manager speakin’. Duffy ain’t here—oh, hello, Duffy.”

Writer, Actor and Co-creator Ed Gardner

Owner Duffy was never heard over the telephone or seen (in the 1945 film adaptation or the short-lived 1954 TV series). Archie constantly bantered with Duffy’s man-crazy daughter, Miss Duffy (played by several actresses, beginning with Gardner’s real-life first wife, Shirley Booth), and especially with Clifton Finnegan (Charlie Cantor, later Sid Raymond), a likeable soul with several screws loose and a knack for falling for every other salesman’s scam. Eddie the Waiter was played by Eddie Green; the pianist Fats Pichon took over the role after Green’s death in 1950. Hoping to take advantage of the income tax free status of Puerto Rico for future projects, Gardner moved the radio show there in 1949.

The series featured many high-profile guest stars, including Fred Allen, Mel Allen, Nigel Bruce, Billie Burke, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Boris Karloff, Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, Peter Lorre, Tony Martin, Marie McDonald, Gene Tierney, Arthur Treacher and Shelley Winters. As the series progressed, Archie slipped in and out of a variety of quixotic, self-imploding plotlines—from writing an opera to faking a fortune to marry an heiress. Such situations mattered less than did the clever depiction of earthbound-but-dreaming New York life and its individualistic, often bizarre characters.

Duffy’s Tavern was Gardner’s creation, and he oversaw its writing intently enough, drawing also on his earlier experience as a successful radio director. His directing credits included stints for George Burns and Gracie Allen, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and The Rudy Vallee Hour. Gardner also brought aboard several keen writing talents, including theatric humorist Abe Burrows (the show’s co-creator and head writer for its first five years), future M*A*S*H writer Larry Gelbart and Dick Martin, who later was the co-host of television’s groundbreaking Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.

Early in the show’s life, however, its name, Duffy’s Tavern, was changed—first to Duffy’s and, for four episodes, Duffy’s Variety. A staffer for Bristol-Myers — whose Ipana toothpaste was the show’s early sponsor—persuaded the company’s publicity director to demand the name change because the original title promoted “the hobby of drinking” too much for certain sensibilities.

DuffysTavern the Movie

Bristol-Myers eventually admitted the staffer had little to go on other than a handful of protesting letters, and—to the delight of fans who never stopped using the original name, anyway—the original title was restored permanently. The name change was often subverted by the Armed Forces Radio Network. When the AFRN rebroadcast those episodes for U.S. servicemen during World War II, the announcer referred to Duffy’s Tavern.

Listen to Duffy’s Tavern on the American Comedy Channel from the ROK Classic Radio Old Time Radio Network!

Listen Now

Duffy’s Tavern -Bond Drive with Boris Karloff (1943)

1943/Duffy_s_Tavern_-_Bond_Drive_with_Boris_Karloff
Syndicated in January 1955. The TV edition wasn’t as successful as the long-running radio show.  It lasted just one season!

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The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe

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Creator of Nero Wolfe - Rex Stout

Nero Wolfe is a fictional detective, created in 1934 by the American mystery writer Rex Stout. Wolfe’s confidential assistant Archie Goodwin narrates the cases of the detective genius. In total, Stout wrote 33 novels and 39 short stories from 1934 to 1974, with most of them set in New York City.

Wolfe’s residence, a luxurious brownstone on West 35th Street, features prominently in the series. Many radio, television and film adaptations were made from his works.

The Nero Wolfe corpus was nominated as the Best Mystery Series of the Century at Bouchercon 2000, the world’s largest mystery convention, and Rex Stout was nominated as the Best Mystery Writer of the Century.

The Radio Series

Nero Wolfe first appeared on radio on July 5, 1943 on the NBC Blue Network in The Adventures Of Nero Wolfe. This series did not last very long and starred Santos Ortega as Wolfe and Luis Van Rooten as Archie.

The second series was aired during 1945 on the Mutual network in The Amazing Nero Wolfe. This lasted only until December 15, 1946 and starred Francis X. Bushman and Elliot Lewis as Archie.

The third series was known as The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe. Starting on October 20, 1950 it lasted only until

The Most Successful Incarnation of Nero Wolfe - Sidney Greenstreet

April 27, 1951. It starred Sidney Greenstreet as Nero Wolfe. The part of Archie was played by Lawrence Dobkin for the first twelve shows. Gerald Mohr took over for the next four shows after making a guest appearance in the twelfth show. Harry Bartell was Archie for the remainder of the series.

Nero Wolfe, also known as the galloping gourmet, was an armchair detective. He rarely left the house; instead his assistant, Archie Goodwin, would collect the facts and report back. Nero Wolfe would probably not have taken on many cases had he not needed the clientsâ money to pay for his two true passions: fine food and the collecting of orchids. Archie Goodwin, Wolfe’s male secretary, prodded him into taking cases whenever the bank balance got a little low. Wolfe, as a character, is difficult to like. He’s a self-assured type that does nothing unless he wants to, making his assistant, Archie Goodwin, deal with the outside world.

The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe is based on a series of books begun in 1934 by Rex Stout.

LISTEN NOW!The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe – The Lost Heir

LISTEN NOW! – The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe – The Lost Heir

Lawrence Dobkin played Archie

There were two previous incarnations of the radio series: The Adventures of Nero Wolfe which ran in 1943 and 1944 and The New Adventures of (aka The Amazing) Nero Wolfe which ran in 1945 to 1946. Very few episodes from these earlier series are in circulation today. There was also one later series created by the Canadian Broadcasting Company in 1982.

Listen to the New Adventures of Nero Wolf on the Crime, Suspense and Horror Channel from the ROK Classic Radio Old Time Radio Network!

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