People Are Funny (January 11, 1946)

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People Are Funny

Released on January 11, 1946: (running time 1 hour and 27 minutes) A fictionalized story of how the famous "People Are Funny" radio show was created, using audience members as the stars of the show.

Produced by Sam White, William H. Pine, and William C. Thomas

Directed by Sam White

The Actors: Jack Haley (Pinky Wilson), Helen Walker (Corey Sullivan), Rudy Vallee (Ormsby Jamison), Ozzie Nelson (Leroy Brinker), Phillip Reed (John Guedel), Bob Graham (Luke), Roy Atwell (Mr. Pippensigal), Barbara Roche (Aimee), Clara Blandick (Grandma Wilson), Art Linkletter (himeself, Art Linkletter), Frances Langford (herself, guest), William 'Billy' Benedict (NBC usher), Dorothy Donegan (Ann Jenkins, boogie woogie piano player), The Vagabonds (musicians), Wheaton Chambers (program participant), Joe DeRita (Mr. Hinkley), Casey Johnson (contestant), Lillian Molieri (Hey Jose singer), Byron Foulger (Mr. Button, Rudy Vallee's assistant).


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When I first moved to Cleveland, Ohio in the 1970's the big rock 'n roll radio station was WMMS, a station that was proclaimed in the famous magazine 'Rolling Stone' for several years as the most popular rock 'n roll radio station in the nation. But one year it was discovered that radio station employees and friends were sending in hundreds of duplicate and false entries for that honor every year, effectively winning by cheating. But this was not the first famous incident of stuffing the ballot box to win fame and fortune.

In 1930 Ozzie Nelson was a band leader in New York City, but he was far from the most famous. That distinction in 1930 would belong to the Paul Whiteman Orchestra that was recording many hit records. But when a big New York City newspaper ran a contest for its readers to fill in an entry and vote for their favorite band, Ozzie and his band members collected hundreds of discarded newspapers and 'stuffed' the ballot box with entries for his little-known band. He won the contest, and after that became famous as all of New York wanted to hear this famous band that no one knew about. Of course, Ozzie Nelson developed one of the first situation comedy television shows in 1944 using his real wife and sons in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. This movie was made in 1946, after Ozzie had been on television for two years, when he was approaching the heights of popularity. Ozzie plays the part of one of a sax player trying to push a new radio concept on a wealthy sponsor, played by Rudy Vallee. The movie tells a comic tale of how the popular radio show "People Are Funny" was created. The popular radio show began in 1942 with Art Baker as it's host, but the next year he was replaced by Art Linkletter, and the show catapulted him into one of the most famous men on radio and then television for many years. The radio show moved to television in 1954 and for many years the People Are Funny television show was one of the most popular on the little screen. Art Linkletter was even selected by Walt Disney to host the grand opening of the new theme park that Disney had created in California, Disneyland.

Pop a bowl of white kernel popcorn with warm melted butter on it and enjoy a light hearted view of 1946 radio with the show concept that first brought regular audience members to the stage as the funny stars that America loved to laugh at.

Ann Jenkins playing boogie woogie pianoArt Linkletter
Ann JenkinsArt Linkletter
Barbara RocheBob Graham singing on the radio
Barbara RocheBob Graham
Bob GrahamHelen Walker
Bob GrahamHelen Walker
Helen Walker and Jack HaleyHelen Walker, Ozzie Nelson and Clara Blandick
Helen Walker and Jack HaleyHellen Walker, Ozzie Nelson and Clara Blandick
Helen Walker and Ozzie NelsonHelen Walker
Helen Walker and Ozzie NelsonHelen Walker
Jack Haley and The VagabondsJack Haley
Jack Haley and The VagabondsJack Haley
Phillip ReedPhillip Reed and Helen Walker kissing passionately
Phillip ReedPhillip Reed and Helen Walker
Phillip ReedRoy Atwell
Phillip ReedRoy Atwell
Rudy Vallee and Byron FoulgerRugy Vallee
Rudy Vallee and Byron FoulgerRudy Vallee
The Vagabonds, 1946
The Vagabonds, 1946