Claim: Radio announcer Harry von Zell once referred to President Herbert Hoover on a live broadcast as ‘Hoobert Heever.’
One of the most famous spoonerisms of all time occurred at the inauguration of Herbert Hoover as President of The United States. Harry von Zell, radio announcer: “The next voice you hear will be that of our new president, 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 the
Harry 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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