Just Plain Bill

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Just Plain Bill
Ruthrussell.jpg
Drawing of Ruth Russell by actor-singer Norman Sweetser (1894-1980)
Other namesBill the Barber
GenreDaytime dramatic serial
Running time15 minutes
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Syndicates CBS,
Blue,
NBC Red
StarringArthur Hughes,
Ruth Russell
Announcer Don Pardo
Created by Frank and Anne Hummert
Written by Robert Hardy Andrews
David Davidson
Directed by Martha Atwell
Original releaseSeptember 19, 1932 – September 30, 1955
Opening theme"Darling Nellie Gray"
Ending theme"Polly Wolly Doodle"
Sponsored by Kolyonos Toothpaste
Anacin

Just Plain Bill was a 1932-1955 15-minute American radio drama program heard on CBS Radio and NBC Radio. [1] It was "a story of people just like people we all know.” [1]

Contents

Originally called Bill the Barber,[ citation needed ] the program began on CBS on September 19, 1932. It was originally broadcast at night, but on October 16, 1933, CBS added a daytime version. Night broadcasts ended in 1935, leaving only the daytime program thereafter until the show ended on September 30, 1955. [2]

It told the story of Bill Davidson (Arthur Hughes), a barber [3] in the town of Hartville, and his daughter Nancy (Ruth Russell). Bill often became involved in helping his friends and neighbors when he wasn't cutting hair. Davidson was seldom directly affected by the problems in which he became involved, but he wanted to help people — especially Nancy — when they faced difficulties. [4] Also in the cast: Dick Janaver (1911-1999).

The show was created by Frank and Anne Hummert, who produced many radio daytime drama series, including Amanda of Honeymoon Hill , Backstage Wife , Front Page Farrell , John's Other Wife , Little Orphan Annie , Ma Perkins , Mr. Chameleon, Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons , Our Gal Sunday and Young Widder Brown .

Music was by Hal Brown (1865–1942), who played harmonica and whistled the Just Plain Bill opening theme, "Darling Nellie Gray". The closing theme was "Polly Wolly Doodle." Don Pardo was the program's announcer towards the end of the series, which came to an end on September 30, 1955.

Personnel

Characters in Just Plain Bill and the actors who portrayed them included those shown in the table below.

CharacterActor
Bill Davidson Arthur Hughes [5]
Nancy DonovanRuth Russell [5]
Toni Darnay [2]
Kerry DonovanJames Meighan [5]
Wiki DonovanSarah Fussell [2]
Madeleine Pierce [2]
Kathleen ChattonAra Gerald [5]
Jonathan Hillery Macdonald Carey [5]
Shirley KingAudrey Egan [5]
Reba Britton Charlotte Lawrence [5]
Margaret BurnsElizabeth Day [5]
Humphrey FullerCharles Eggleston [5]
Pearl Sutton Ann Shepherd [5]
John Britton William Woodson [5]
Laticia DavenportVera Allen [6]

Announcers included Andre Baruch, Fielden Farrington, Ed Herlihy, and Roger Krupp. [5]

Sponsors

The series was sponsored by Anacin for 18 of the program's 23-year run.[ citation needed ] Its initial sponsor was Kolynos toothpaste, [1] In September 1936, Anacin and BiSoDol replaced Kolynos, with each product sponsoring half of the episodes in a week. (Even with the change, corporate sponsorship remained the same, since all three products had the same manufacturer.) [7] A later sponsor was Clapp’s baby food.

Cultural references

In The Three Stooges short Goofs and Saddles Larry Fine's character is known as "Just Plain Bill."

The April 24, 1949 episode of The Jack Benny Program has Jack shopping for a new car, passing up such dealers as Madman Muntz and Psychiatric Sam in favor of "Just Plain Bill." This episode was remade on February 24, 1952. Bill was played by Jim Backus in the original, and Joseph Kearns in the remake.

The January 14, 1950 episode of The Bob Hope Show has Hope, with guest star Bing Crosby, performing a soap opera parody called "Just Plain Bing." [8]

In the M*A*S*H episode "Major Fred C. Dobbs," Hawkeye tape-records an encounter between Frank Burns and Hot Lips in the latter's tent, then plays it back for Frank in the guise of "my favorite armed forces soap opera, Just Plain MacArthur."

The comedy team Bob and Ray parodied the show in their sketch "Just Fancy Dan."

Listen to

See also

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References

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  2. 1 2 3 4 Cox, Jim (2015). Radio Crime Fighters: More Than 300 Programs from the Golden Age. McFarland. p. 150. ISBN   978-1-4766-1227-0 . Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  3. "Commercial premiers" (PDF). Billboard. September 30, 1933. p. 16. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  4. Edmondson, Madeleine; Rounds, David (1976). From Mary Noble to Mary Hartman : the complete soap opera book. Bratcliff Manor, New York: Stein and Day. p. 56. ISBN   0812820940.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 186. ISBN   978-0-7864-4513-4.
  6. Steinhauser, Si (March 9, 1945). "Radio Comics Establish Youth Foundation". The Pittsburgh Press. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. p. 37. Retrieved April 16, 2020 via Newspapers.com.
  7. "Air Briefs" (PDF). Billboard. September 26, 1936. p. 10. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  8. "The_Bob_Hope_Program". Archived from the original on 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-08-24 via Internet Archive.