Stoopnagle and Budd
were a popular radio comedy team of the 1930s, who are sometimes cited as forerunners of the Bob and Ray
Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding were an American comedy team whose career spanned five decades. Their format was typically to satirize the medium in which they were performing, such as conducting radio or television interviews, with off-the-wall dialogue presented in a generally deadpan style as...
style of radio comedy. Along with Raymond Knight
Raymond Knight was an actor, comedian and comedy writer, best known as a pioneer in satirical humor for network radio....
(The Cuckoo Hour
The Cuckoo Hour, aka The KUKU Hour and The Raymond Knight Cuckoo Hour, was an NBC radio series created in 1929 by radio comedian Raymond Knight....
), 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
WBEN is an AM and FM radio station serving the Niagara, Buffalo and Western New York area, broadcasting on 930 AM and, as of April 5, 2011, simulcasting on sister station WLKK at 107.7 FM. It previously simulcasted between 1946 and 1960 on 102.5 FM as WBEN-FM. Both stations retained the WBEN...
) in 1930. The great-grandson of British-born Aaron Lovecraft of Rochester, New York
Rochester is a city in Monroe County, New York, south of Lake Ontario in the United States. Known as The World's Image Centre, it was also once known as The Flour City, and more recently as The Flower City...
, Taylor was a first cousin of author H. P. Lovecraft
Howard Phillips Lovecraft --often credited as H.P. Lovecraft — was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction....
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
Dead air is an unintended interruption in a radio broadcast during which no sound is transmitted.The term is most often used in cases where program material comes to an unexpected halt, either through operator error or for technical reasons, although it is also used in cases where a broadcaster...
, 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 Spoonerism
A spoonerism is an error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched . It is named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner , Warden of New College, Oxford, who was notoriously prone to this tendency...
s, 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.
For many years a rumor circulated that novelist Robert Bloch
Robert Albert Bloch was a prolific American writer, primarily of crime, horror and science fiction. He is best known as the writer of Psycho, the basis for the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock...
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.
The public finally saw them in action when Paramount released International House
International House is a comedy film, directed by A. Edward Sutherland and released by Paramount Pictures. The tagline of the film was "the Grand Hotel of comedy".-Actors:*Peggy Hopkins Joyce as herself*W. C. Fields as Prof. Henry R...
(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
Fleischer Studios, Inc., was an American corporation which originated as an Animation studio located at 1600 Broadway, New York City, New York...
's Screen Songs
Screen Songs is the name of a series of animated cartoons produced by the Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount Pictures between 1929 and 1938. They were revived by Famous Studios in 1945 starting with the Noveltoon Old MacDonald Had a Farm....
, 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
Educational Pictures was a film distribution company founded in 1919 by Earle Hammons . Educational primarily distributed short subjects, and today is probably best known for its series of 1930s comedies starring Buster Keaton, as well as for a series of one-reel comedies featuring Shirley...
in 1934, The Inventors
, in which they show a college class how to assemble a "Stoopenstein," their version of a Frankenstein
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel about a failed experiment that produced a monster, written by Mary Shelley, with inserts of poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty-one. The first...
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
As solo performers
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
Mutual may refer to:*Mutual organization, where customers derive a right to profits and votes*Mutual information, the intersection of multiple information sets*Mutual insurance, where policyholders have certain "ownership" rights in the organization...
radio network before returning to local Buffalo radio stations.
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
Fred Allen was an American comedian whose absurdist, topically pointed radio show made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the so-called classic era of American radio.His best-remembered gag was his long-running mock feud with friend and fellow comedian Jack Benny, but it...
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
Vaughn Wilton Monroe was an American baritone singer, trumpeter and big band leader and actor, most popular in the 1940s and 1950s. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for recording and radio.-Biography:...
's Camel Caravan
(1947-48) and Duffy's Tavern
Duffy's Tavern was a popular American radio situation comedy which ran for a decade on several networks , concluding with the December 28, 1951 broadcast....
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."
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!