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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cruise of the Poll Parrot (OTRR Certified)

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In 1922, businessman Paul Parrot sold his shoe business "Poll Parrot Shoes" to the International Shoe Company, which was already selling Red Goose and Weatherbird shoes. The shoes were designed for children and so sponsoring a children's radio show seemed like a good idea. In 1937, they launched a syndicated children's serial named "Cruise of the Poll Parrot". The show was sold in thirteen segment blocks, and three complete blocks exist today. The shows exponentially boosted shoe sales, helping International compete against the leader in children's shoes: Buster Brown.

The main character for the show was a 24 year old man from St. Louis, Missouri, named Marvin Miller. This was some of his first radio work. He was the voice for the main character, Captain Roy Dalton, the Master of the ship Poll Parrot, and also the voice of the parrot that was the pet of the Captain. Marvin Miller went on to work on hundreds of other radio shows, mostly as an announcer. He acted in a number of films, most notably in 1947 starring with Humphrey Bogart in "Dead Reckoning". Miller played a crooked gambler's sadistic henchman named Krause. He became most famous as Michael Anthony, the man who handed out the million dollar checks in the 1950s TV series, "The Millionaire". Miller died in Los Angeles of a heart attack in 1984 at the age of 71.

The Cruise of the Poll Parrot takes place in 1858 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, center of the United States whaling industry. Besides Captain Roy Dalton, the cast included Ezra Grange, owner of the Poll Parrot, Ezra's little sister Sue, and her friend Johnny Robbins. Other characters on the show were first mate George Wainwright, a one legged sailor named Old Dickson, a muteness crew member named Red Mahooley, ship keeper Breckenridge, and El Testi who was an agent for another shipping company. (From the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group)







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References: Old Time Radio Researchers Group, Wikipedia, Frank Passage & Others OTR Logs, Archive.org, Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning, Australian Old Time Radio Group

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