Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy [inscribed photograph, in frame]

Edgar Bergen. Presumed one of multiple originals, but uniquely inscribed. Photograph (Inscribed, in frame with no glass). The frame is approximately 5.125 inches by 7.125 inches and the black and white photograph is approximately 5 inches by 7 inches. At the top, is the handwritten inscription All the best to you, Joel Edgar Bergen. There is some fading of the inscription but all words are legable. There is some staining and discoloration at the bottom of the photograph. Edgar Bergen, (born Feb. 16, 1903—died Sept. 30, 1978, Las Vegas, Nev.), American ventriloquist and radio comedian whose career in vaudeville, radio, and motion pictures spanned almost 60 years. Bergen was best known as the foil of his ventriloquist’s dummy Charlie McCarthy. The Edgar Bergen-Charlie McCarthy Show was a permanent fixture on American network radio from 1937 until 1957. Other characters created by Bergen, such as Mortimer Snerd, were woven into the perennially popular program, which was rated as radio’s most popular in 1937–40 and 1942–43 and among the top seven from 1937 to 1952. When he was 11, he discovered a facility for vocal tricks and an interest in ventriloquism. He had the head of the dummy Charlie McCarthy carved (he made the body himself) while in high school. By the time he attended Northwestern University, he was proficient enough to earn his expenses with ventriloquism and magic tricks. He went into vaudeville and performed in nightclubs in the United States and Europe. During World War II Bergen took Charlie with him to entertain American service personnel and appearing on many special radio shows. After their radio show terminated, Bergen and McCarthy appeared often as guests on variety television shows. Charlie McCarthy is famed dummy partner of American ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. Charlie was part of Bergen's act as early as high school, and by 1930 was attired in his famous top hat, tuxedo and monocle. The character was so well known that his popularity exceeded that of his performer, Bergen. Charlie's personality was that of a mischievous little boy, who could wisecrack, misbehave and flirt shamelessly in a way that Bergen could not. Bergen's original dummy was built by noted carpenter/dummy-maker Theodore Mack, and was later rebuilt by Frank Marshall. Charlie and Bergen made their radio debut on NBC's The Royal Gelatin Hour in 1936, where they proved such a hit that the following year the network gave them a starring role on The Chase and Sanborn Hour, where they were initially supported by emcee Don Ameche, singer Nelson Eddy, actress Dorothy Lamour and comedian W. C. Fields. The following year Charlie would be joined by a much dumber dummy, "Mortimer Snerd". After a famous mock feud with Fields on the program (during which Charlie often vowed to the comedian that he would "mow him down"), the dummy soon became a true icon. By 1939, Charlie was commanding 35.7% of the audience share and was referenced by Barbara Stanwyck in 1945's hit comedy Christmas in Connecticut. Though shortened to thirty minutes as The Chase and Sanborn Program, it wasn't until 1947, in a rare case of star taking precedent over sponsor in the title, that the series was officially renamed The Charlie McCarthy Show. After a year's hiatus while the duo toured onstage, 1949 brought a switch to CBS and change of sponsors to Coca-Cola. In 1955, Charlie and Bergen entered their last format, with the ventriloquist taking top billing for once, in The New Edgar Bergen Hour, which ran until 1956. During this lengthy tenure, Charlie's guest roster was filled by many of the biggest stars of the day, including Henry Fonda, the Andrews Sisters, Rosemary Clooney, Roy Rogers, Frank Sinatra, Carol Channing, Groucho Marx, Dinah Shore, Liberace, and in occasional appearances, Charlie's "sister" Candice Bergen. Bergen and McCarthy also co-starred with Mickey Mouse in the 1947 Disney film Fun and Fancy Free. McCarthy also had a cameo in the 1938 Disney cartoon Mother Goose Goes Hollywood, tormenting W.C. Fields, who appeared as Humpty Dumpty. In 1977, Charlie appeared with Bergen and Mortimer Snerd on Episode 207 of The Muppet Show. Fozzie's dummy "Chuckie" is based on Charlie. Bergen and McCarthy made their final film appearance in The Muppet Movie, as guest judges of the Bogen County Fair beauty contest. Bergen died in 1978 shortly after filming this sequence, and the film is dedicated to his memory. One of the original Charlie dummies is now part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History. Condition: Fair.

Keywords: Actor, Comedian, Autographed Photograph, Performer, Ventriloquist, Charlie McCarthy, Dummy, Vaudeville, Motion Pictures, Radio, Entertainer

[Book #87894]

Price: $550.00

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