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Virginia Payne as Ma Perkins, 1934.
|Other names||Oxydol's Own Ma Perkins|
|Genre||Daytime daily serial|
|Running time||15 minutes|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Created by||Frank and Anne Hummert|
|Written by||Robert Hardy Andrews Orin Tovrov|
|Produced by||Frank and Anne Hummert|
|Original release||August 14, 1933 – November 25, 1960|
|No. of episodes||7,065|
Ma Perkins (sometimes called Oxydol's Own Ma Perkins) is an American radio soap opera which was heard on NBC from 1933 to 1949 and on CBS from 1942 to 1960. Between 1942 and 1949, the show was heard simultaneously on both networks. During part of its run on NBC, that network's coverage was augmented by use of transcriptions. Beginning April 1, 1935, nine stations broadcast the transcriptions.Oxydol dropped its sponsorship in 1956. The program continued with various sponsors until 1960.
The series was produced by Frank and Anne Hummert with scripts by Robert Hardy Andrews, Orin Tovrov and others. Ma Perkins began August 14, 1933, on WLW in Cincinnati. On December 4 of that year, it graduated to the NBC Red network. On NBC and CBS the series ran for a total of 7,065 episodes.
"America’s mother of the air" was portrayed by actress Virginia Payne, who began the role at the age of 23 and never missed a performance during the program's 27-year run. Kindly, trusting widow Ma Perkins had a big heart and a great love of humanity. She always offered her homespun philosophy to troubled souls in need of advice.
Ma Perkins is widely credited with giving birth to storytelling and content-based advertising.
Ma owned and operated a lumber yard in the small Southern town of Rushville Center (population 4000), where the plotlines pivoted around her interactions with the local townsfolk and the ongoing dilemmas of her three children, Evey, Fay and John. One of her children died during World War II. Ma's daughter Fay was played by Isabelle Krehbiel and Rita Ascot. Gilbert Faust had the role of John. Evey Perkins was played by Dora Johnson, Laurette Fillbrandt and Kay Campbell, who later became known for playing Grandma Kate Martin on the television soap opera All My Children . Shuffle Shober, Ma's best friend, was played by Charles Egelston (and later Edwin Wolfe). Murray Forbes (1905-1987) was heard as Willie Fitz, and Cecil Roy portrayed Junior Fitz.
In "Sounds from the Past," Chris Plunkett offered an overview of the series:
When the show ended on Friday, November 25, 1960, the day after Thanksgiving Day, it was one of only eight entertainment shows still on the CBS radio network. The last episode was the only one in which Virginia Payne's name was mentioned, by Payne herself in a farewell speech. In all other episodes, the announcer at the close of the show would run down the names of all the actors in the cast (but one), and then say, "... and Ma Perkins."
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