Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Radio announcer Harry von Zell once referred to President Herbert Hoover on a live broadcast as 'Hoobert Heever.'
Origins: One of old-time radio's most renowned bloopers concerns long-time announcer Harry von Zell, who, legend has it, introduced the President of the United States on a live broadcast in 1931 by announcing: "Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States, Hoobert Heever." It's easy to see why this legend is so popular: What could be more embarrassing (and professionally damaging) than flubbing the President's name live on the air?
This tale does have a nugget of truth to it, but (fortunately for
I must have mentioned in that opening the name of Herbert Hoover no less than twenty times. I was very young at theHarry von Zell's career didn't end there, of course; he went on to enjoy a long and successful run in radio, television, and films as both an announcer and an actor. In fact, the incident might have faded into obscurity had not Kermit Schafer fabricated a "genuine recording" of the more sensational version for his Pardon My Blooper album, thus (as he did with
Last updated: 27 May 2005
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