Parker Fennelly

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Parker Fennelly
Allensalleyset.jpg
The "Allen's Alley" cast (l to r): Fred Allen, Kenny Delmar, Minerva Pious, Peter Donald and Parker Fennelly.
Born (1891-10-22)October 22, 1891
Northeast Harbor, Maine, U.S.
Died January 22, 1988(1988-01-22) (aged 96)
Peekskill, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1924-1971

Parker Fennelly (October 22, 1891 – January 22, 1988) was an American actor who appeared in ten films, numerous television episodes and hundreds of radio programs.

Early life[edit]

The son of gardener Nathan Fennelly and Estelle Dolliver Fennelly,[1] he was born and raised in Northeast Harbor, Maine, and studied classical acting in Boston. He was a member of Boston's Toy Theater company and participated in Chautauqua readings.[2] He studied under performing arts educator Leland T. Powers.[3]

Stage[edit]

In 1915 and 1916, Fennelly toured on the Midland Chatauqua Circuit with the Maud Scheerer Shakespeare Players.[3] In 1919, he traveled and acted with the Jack X. Lewis Stock Company.[4] Fennelly and his wife, Catherine Reynolds Fennelly, formed the Parker Fennelly Duo, presenting short plays, readings and impersonations (1921[5] - 1923[6]).

Fennelly's performances on Broadway included Mr. Pitt (1924), The Small Timers (1925), Florida Girl (1925), Babbling Brookes (1927), Black Velvet (1927), The County Chairman (1936), Yours, A. Lincoln (1942), Our Town (1944), Happily Ever After (1945), Live Life Again (1945), Loco (1946), and The Southwest Corner (1955). His other Broadway credits include directing Technique (1931), providing source material for Fulton of Oak Falls (1937), and writing Cuckoos on the Hearth (1941-1942).[7]

Radio[edit]

Fennelly and Arthur Allen played "Yankee codgers" on two programs, The Stebbins boys of Bucksport Point and Snow Village Sketches, in the early years of radio.[8]

Allen's Alley[edit]

Fennelly personified the crusty New England Yankee in roles on radio, films and television. He was heard weekly as Titus Moody on the "Allen's Alley" segment of Fred Allen's radio show where he delivered his famous opening line: "Howdy, Bub."[9]

Other radio[edit]

Fennelly's other roles on radio included the following:

Program Character
Lawyer Tucker Tucker[10]
Ma and Pa Pa
Mother and Dad Dad[11]
Mr. Feathers Mr. Feathers[12]
Prairie Folks Smiley[13]
The Adventures of the Thin Man Eb[14]
Valiant Lady Mike Hagen[15]

In 1960, Fennelly recorded Moody Speaking, a series of "sparkling one-minute and five-minute vignettes" produced by Banner Radio Company for local stations.[16]

Television and films[edit]

Note how this poster illustration was cleverly designed to disguise the face of Parker Fennelly, who stepped in to replace series regular Percy Kilbride.

Fennelly made numerous appearances on live television shows of the early 1950s, including Lux Video Theatre, The Philco Television Playhouse and Studio One. In 1970-71, he played Mr. Purdy on Headmaster on CBS.[17]

In film, Fennelly portrayed the millionaire in Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble with Harry (1955), and he replaced Percy Kilbride as Pa Kettle in the final film of the "Ma and Pa Kettle" series. After Angel in My Pocket (1969), his last movie role was Universal's movie How to Frame a Figg (1971) starring Don Knotts.

In later years he became a familiar face as the Pepperidge Farm's television spokesman between 1956 and the 1980s, delivering the slogan "Pepperidge Farm remembers" in his New England accent.[18]

Personal life[edit]

In 1918, Fennelly met and married Catherine Deane "while both of them were playing in a stock company in Moline, Illinois."[1] They had two daughters, Mary and Jane, and a son, John.[1]

Recordings[edit]

In 1950, Fennelly made a children's record, Ride 'Em Cowboy (I and II) (CGR-1003).[19] In 1953, he recorded another children's item, Hunters of the Sea (Record Guild 9006).[20]

Death[edit]

The gravesite of Parker W. Fennelly and his wife

Fennelly died January 22, 1988, aged 96, at his home in Peekskill, New York. He was survived by his wife, two daughters, four grandsons, and one great-grandson.[8]

His widow, Catherine Fennelly (1892—1988), died five months later, aged 95. Their remains were interred in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Matthews, Chester (July 20, 1935). "The Man from Home" (PDF). Radio Guide. p. 6. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  2. ^ "King's Daughters Give Series of Entertainments for Charity". Iowa, Des Moines. The Des Moines Register. September 24, 1916. p. 4. Retrieved December 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  3. ^ a b "Fennelly, the Man from Maine". Iowa, Marble Rock. Marble Rock Journal. January 18, 1917. p. 3. Retrieved December 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  4. ^ "The Theater". North Carolina, Charlotte. The Charlotte News. August 5, 1919. p. 11. Retrieved December 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  5. ^ "Parker Fennelly Duo". Oklahoma, Boynton. Boynton Index. November 4, 1921. p. 4. Retrieved December 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  6. ^ "Parker Fennelly Duo Big Attraction At Lebanon Valley". Pennsylvania, Lebanon. Evening Report. January 22, 1923. p. 22. Retrieved December 14, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  7. ^ "Parker Fennelly". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Blau, Eleanor (January 23, 1988). "Parker W. Fennelly Dies at 96; Was Actor in Radio, Film and TV". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  9. ^ Bertel, Dick; Corcoran; Ed (November 1971). "Parker Fennelly". The Golden Age of Radio. Season 2. Episode 8. Broadcast Plaza, Inc.. WTIC Hartford, Conn. 
  10. ^ "Barrister". Harrisburg Telegraph. May 31, 1947. p. 17. Retrieved March 29, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  11. ^ Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.
  12. ^ Chase, Sam (December 3, 1949). "Radio and Television Program Reviews: Mr. Feathers" (PDF). Billboard. p. 3. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  13. ^ "Wednesday's Highlights" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 14 (4): 46. August 1940. Retrieved 7 March 2015. 
  14. ^ Chase, Sam (July 3, 1948). "Radio and Television Reviews: New Adventures of the Thin Man" (PDF). Billboard. p. 10. Retrieved 16 December 2015. 
  15. ^ Fairfax, Arthur (December 28, 1940). "Mr. Fairfax Replies" (PDF). Movie Radio Guide. 10 (12): 43. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 19, 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "(Banner Radio Company advertisement)" (PDF). Broadcasting. February 29, 1960. p. 59. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  17. ^ Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1979). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows: 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-25525-9. P.257.
  18. ^ Klimkiewicz, Joann (July 29, 2004). "`Peppridge Faahm' Pitchman Remembered". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  19. ^ "Record Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. July 8, 1950. p. 115. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 
  20. ^ "Packaged Record Review Ratings" (PDF). Billboard. December 19, 1953. p. 46. Retrieved 17 December 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Old-Time Radio Memories by Mel Simons (BearManor Media).

External links[edit]