Stoopnagle and Budd

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Stoopnagle (left) and Budd in an NBC publicity photo, 1936.

Stoopnagle and Budd were a popular radio comedy team of the 1930s, who are sometimes cited as forerunners of the Bob and Ray style of radio comedy. Along with Raymond Knight (The Cuckoo Hour), they were radio's first satirists.

Musician Wilbur Budd Hulick and former broker-lumberman Frederick Chase Taylor (1897-1950) were both announcers at Buffalo station WMAK (now WBEN) in 1930. The great-grandson of British-born Aaron Lovecraft of Rochester, New York, Taylor was a first cousin of author H. P. Lovecraft.

Radio[edit]

Stoopnagle and Budd in 1932.

Hulick and Taylor came together as a team when a transmitter failure kept the station from receiving the scheduled network program. To prevent dead air, they delivered a barrage of spontaneous, impromptu patter. Hulick called Taylor "Colonel Stoopnagle" while Taylor played "I Love Coffee, I Love Tea" and other selections on the organ. The audience responded with so much enthusiasm that the duo's goofiness became a regular feature on WMAK, generating such local interest that within a year they were headed for New York.

Amid much network hoopla, they were heard on The Gloomchasers, beginning on CBS May 24, 1931. Spouting Spoonerisms, Taylor became known under the full name Colonel Lemuel Q. Stoopnagle as the partners appeared in several different formats on CBS, creating a variety of voices for their crazy characters, addlepated antics and wacky interviews. The announcer on their early 1930s shows was Louis Dean (1874-1933).

For many years a rumor circulated that novelist Robert Bloch was a scriptwriter for the program, but Bloch stated that he only sold the team a few gags shortly after he graduated from high school.[1]

Film[edit]

The Minute Men (1936-37) was sponsored by General Foods' Minute Tapioca.

The public finally saw them in action when Paramount released International House (1933). Their very brief appearance—which looks like it might have been staged for one of Paramount's Hollywood on Parade short subjects—shows the colonel demonstrating his newest inventions, including "a revolving goldfish bowl for tired goldfish". The duo also appeared in Fleischer Studios's Screen Songs cartoon Stoopnocracy, released on August 18, 1933 in which they appeared in a live-action segment in the middle of the cartoon. They also filmed a two-reel comedy for Educational Pictures in 1934, The Inventors, in which they show a college class how to assemble a "Stoopenstein," their version of a Frankenstein monster.

Stoopnagle & Budd also appeared in a two-reel musical comedy for Vitaphone, Sky Symphony, and they were featured in the Vitaphone short Rambling 'Round Radio Row #1 (1932).

As solo performers[edit]

The partners went separate ways after The Minute Men (1936-37). Neither Taylor nor Hulick ever commented on the separation and did not disclose the reasons for the split. Hulick became a radio game-show emcee, hosting What's My Name?, Music and Manners and Quizzer Baseball for the Mutual radio network before returning to local Buffalo radio stations.

Taylor as host of the Quixie-Doodles show, 1940.

Retaining his "Col. Lemuel Q. Stoopnagle" stage name, Taylor appeared in comedy movie shorts and whimsical radio programs. After a comedy series with Donald Dickson on the Yankee Network, Taylor was a summer substitute for Fred Allen on Town Hall Tonight in 1938. He did the goofy quiz show Quixie Doodles on Mutual and CBS (1941-44), continuing through the 1940s with The Colonel (1943), Stoopnagle's Stooperoos (1943), Burns and Allen (1943), substituting for Bob Hawk (1947), Vaughn Monroe's Camel Caravan (1947-48) and Duffy's Tavern.

NBC president Pat Weaver recalled how the two zanies "used to come into my office and, while we talked, lick my supply of stamps, one after another, and flip them up to stick on the ceiling. There was a knack to it that I never mastered, but they carried it off with amazing success. By the end of the summer my ceiling was virtually papered with stamps." [2]

Books[edit]

Taylor had four books published under the name of "Colonel Stoopnagle", including:

  • You Wouldn't Know Me from Adam (1944)
  • Father Goosenagle: Nonsense and Fun for Everyone (1945)
  • My Tale is Twisted! Or the Storal to This Mory (1946)
  • My Back to the Soil; or, Farewell to Farms (1947)

Television and Legacy[edit]

Following a foray into television with Colonel Stoopnagle's Stoop (1949), Taylor died in 1950 in Boston of a heart ailment at the age of 52. He is remembered for his catchphrases and signature lines, "If it weren't for half the people in the United States, the other half would be all of them," "Stoopnocracy is peachy" and "People have more fun than anybody."

In recent years, Taylor's humor has been revived by Rick Squires in his Stoopnocracy is Peachy! website.

References[edit]

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