Host: Allan Newsome
Running time: 0:15:20
In episode 128, Tim Hollis mentioned that the namesake of Opie Taylor was from a fellow that appeared on the old time radio program “Lum and Abner” following having his very own radio program called “The Opie Cates Show.”
As you may have picked up on, Opie Taylor got his name from band leader and radio actor Opie Cates. On “The Opie Cates Show” (1947-1948), he played a naive unsophisticated person from the country (a.k.a. a rube or hick) getting adjusted to big city life. Cates started each show by saying, “The doggonedest thing happened to me th’ other day,” and then he’d go on to introduce the story for the week. The show never found a sponsor and lasted only 13 weeks.
He then basically moved right over to “Lum and Abner” with the same character in 1949 where he’d tell stories about his hometown of Clinton, Arkansas. Cates appeared on a pilot episode of Lum and Abner that same year but the show wasn’t picked up by the network.
Andy Griffith named Sheriff Taylor’s son after Cates. Both Andy and producer Sheldon Leonard liked Opie Cates so the name was a natural fit.
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- Lum And Abner Test Footage For TV Pilot – The Internet Archive has a copy of the pilot for you to view. Despite the dark and grainy kinescope quality of this clip, I enjoyed watching.
- National Lum and Abner Society
- Ain’t That a Knee-Slapper: Rural Comedy in the Twentieth Century – This book by author Tim Hollis traces the evolution of this classic American form of humor in the mass media, beginning with the golden age of radio, when such comedians as Bob Burns, Judy Canova, and Lum and Abner kept listeners laughing.
- Tim Hollis books on Amazon.com
- Tim Hollis on Facebook
Executive Producer of Two Chairs No Waiting Episode #129: Jay Hicks
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