Fragment #27: Mae West & Charlie McCarthy Redux

Last year, I posted a fragment (#4) featuring transcribed dialogue from a saucy exchange between Mae West and Charlie McCarthy. Now, thanks to my current penchant for messing about with iMovie’s editing software, I can give you the audio of their talk with some accompanying photographs, my first attempt at this kind of thing. This is a supplement to the short Bergen and McCarthy film, Nut Guilty, that I posted yesterday. Here’s the explanatory text from my earlier post:

On 12 December 1937, Mae West appeared on the Chase and Sanborn Hour with ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his monocled knee-pal (dummy), Charlie McCarthy. [You can hear the whole broadcast here.] Stars of stage and screen and airwaves, Bergen and McCarthy had a huge following, and West was keen to promote her latest film, Every Day’s a Holiday. She appeared in two sketches, including “The Garden of Eden” with Don Ameche, and a flirtatious banter with McCarthy. The announcer introduces the meeting as “the romantic battle of the century”, a contest of seduction which the dummy might just prove strong enough to resist. There follows a blistering back-and-forth, during which West describes Charlie as “all wood and a yard long”. This was too much for many listeners (though the studio audience found it hilarious), especially on a Sunday, and the Federal Communications Commission deemed it indecent. NBC banned West (you couldn’t even mention her name) from all their radio stations. She didn’t appear on radio until January 1950.

1 thought on “Fragment #27: Mae West & Charlie McCarthy Redux

  1. Pingback: Spectacular Attractions Video Podcast #004: Speaking for Ventriloquism | Spectacular Attractions

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