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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Duffy's Tavern

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Duffy's Tavern, an American radio situation comedy (CBS, 1941-1942; NBC-Blue Network, 1942-1944; NBC, 1944-1951), often featured top-name stage and film guest stars but always hooked those around the misadventures, get-rich-quick-scheming, and romantic missteps of the title establishment's malaprop-prone, metaphor-mixing manager, Archie, played by the writer/actor who co-created the show, Ed Gardner. The final show on radio was broadcast on December 28, 1951.

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

Duffy, the owner, was never heard (or seen, when a film based on the show was made in 1945 or when a bid to bring the show to television was tried in 1954). But Archie always was — bantering with Duffy's man-crazy daughter, Miss Duffy (played by several actresses, beginning with Gardner's real-life first wife, Shirley Booth); with Eddie, the waiter/janitor (Eddie Green); and, especially, with Clifton Finnegan (Charlie Cantor), a likeable soul with several screws loose and a knack for falling for every other salesman's scam.

The show featured many high-profile guest stars, including Fred Allen, Mel Allen, Nigel Bruce, Bing Crosby, Boris Karloff, Veronica Lake, Bob Hope, Peter Lorre, Tony Martin, Gene Tierney, Arthur Treacher, Alan Ladd, Marie McDonald and Shelley Winters. (From Wikipedia)



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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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