July 7, 1896|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Died||June 12, 1976
Woodland Hills, California
Arlene Harris (July 7, 1896 - June 12, 1976) was a Canadian-born American radio, film, and television actress. (Another source gives her date of birth as July 7, 1898.) She was perhaps best known for her role as "the human chatterbox" on Al Pearce's radio program.
Harris was born in Toronto, Canada, and was educated primarily in England. During the first three years of Harris's life, she was unable to hear. At age 5, she was entertaining her family with comedy sketches. When she was older, she "branched out into the art of impersonating."
Harris "toured in vaudeville as Arlene Francis in the 1920s. She had to retire after being injured in an automobile accident, but the Great Depression in the United States caused her to return to entertaining -- this time in radio.
Before her career in film, Harris was well known as a comic actress on the radio program, The Chatterbox.
She first appeared on radio on KFWB in Hollywood, California. She was a regular on Al Pearce and His Gang, where she was known as "The Human Chatterbox" in monologues that involved telephone conversations with an un-heard friend." A CBS statistician once calculated that she averaged four words per second during one of her rapid-fire monologues. She also co-starred with Pearce in Here Comes Elmer.
Harris played herself in an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show in 1964, as did Bert Gordon, another old-time radio star (the "Mad Russian" from The Eddie Cantor Show). She also appeared on Panorama Pacific and made guest appearances on several TV programs.
Harris was married to Dr. Harry G. Harris.
- DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 121.
- Dache, Dorothy (February 16, 1937). "What About Arlene, the Chatterbox of 'Al Pearce's Gang'?". Harrisburg Telegraph. Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. p. 23. Retrieved May 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Nicoll, Bruce (February 28, 1937). "Behind the Mike". The Lincoln Star. Nebraska, Lincoln. p. 38. Retrieved May 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Radio Riddle Answer". Washington Court House Record-Herald. Ohio, Washington Court House. January 19, 1938. p. 7. Retrieved May 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. P. 15.
- "Arlene Harris Tribute Sunday; Willson In Anaheim Friday". Santa Ana Register. California, Santa Ana. June 17, 1976. p. 28. Retrieved May 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- ""Here Comes Elmer"". Harrisburg Telegraph. Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. December 23, 1944. p. 23. Retrieved May 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Arlene Harris to Present 'Talk of the Town' for Club". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. April 6, 1969. p. 39. Retrieved May 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "(TV listing)". Independent Press-Telegram. California, Long Beach. March 29, 1964. p. 118. Retrieved May 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- The Return of Edwin Carp - Season 3 : Ep. 27 of the Dick Van Dyke Show
- "Woman's Club Monday Meeting Time Advanced". Redlands Daily Facts. California, Redlands. November 18, 1961. p. 3. Retrieved May 13, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Arlene Harris". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 13 May 2016.