The Daily Debunker brings you the top stories on Snopes.com.
The affable host finished telling his last story of the day, wished a good night to all the children in his audience, and sang his familiar sign-off ditty. As the station went to a commercial break, he leaned back in his chair, sighed, and said to no one in particular, “There, that oughta
hold the little bastards!” Unfortunately for the ill-fated host, the engineer was late in cutting to the station break, and the host’s disparaging remark was picked up by the still-open microphone and broadcast into millions of homes. The station was immediately flooded with thousands of telegrams from outraged listeners, and the humiliated host was fired before the day was out, never to broadcast again. Disgraced beyond redemption, he lived out the rest of his life in obscurity and died, an impoverished drunk, several years later.
Everyone has heard this story. And almost everyone who has heard this story has a friend or relative (a parent or grandparent, perhaps) who remembers actually hearing the infamous broadcast. At the very least, most everyone knows someone who recalls the national uproar caused by the incident, or who remembers reading about the firing of the hapless host in the newspaper. Very few of the people who recollect this event could tell you the name of that unlucky host, however, or recall the year the notorious broadcast took place. And even if you managed to find a few individuals who could supply some of these particulars, you probably wouldn’t get the same answers from any two of them. How is it that so few people can provide any specifics about such a widely-known incident? Why do so many people unquestioningly accept accounts of this event as true, in spite of all the disparities and missing details? The answer is that this tale is one of the most well-known pieces of modern folklore — it is a classic among urban legends, and legends don’t stand on detail. For the benefit of those who do have an interest in detail, however, let’s take a closer look at this legend’s background.
To begin with, this story seems to have been attributed, at one time or another, to virtually everyone who ever hosted a show for youngsters on radio or television. Adults who grew up in America during the years of radio’s prominence between the wars tend to name whichever local children’s host they listened to or were most familiar with as the culprit. Those who grew up after television became a fixture in American households are likely to identify one of the many ubiquitous kiddie TV personalities as the guilty party. Folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand, in one of his popular books of urban legends, provides a prime example of this phenomenon. After devoting a few pages on the legend to letters debunking the notion that this incident took place on a Bozo the Clown television show, Brunvand offers his own recollections: “To tell the truth, I always thought that the host of my own favorite kids’ radio show, ‘Happy Hank’ (heard in Lansing, Michigan, mid-1940s), had spoken these naughty words into a live mike.”1 Despite the wide variety of radio and television hosts to whom the legend has been attributed, over the years one name has been associated with this incident more prominently than any other: Don Carney, known to millions of pre-television youngsters as “Uncle Don”.
As radio rapidly gained in popularity during the early 1920s commercial stations began creating programming specifically for children, leading to the rise of numerous radio “uncles”, “aunts”, and “brothers”, broadcasters who related stories and songs and acted out skits with regular characters they invented for a largely preschool audience. These shows typically aired in the hours after school, on Saturday mornings, and in the early weekday evenings. 2 By far the longest-lived and most well known of these children’s hosts was “Uncle Don” Carney of Station WOR, who broadcast his show throughout a seven-state area including metropolitan New York six days a week for twenty-one years. 3Uncle Don, born Howard Rice in 1897, hailed from St. Joseph, Michigan. Rice left home to join the circus as an acrobat and ended up in vaudeville, where, at age fifteen, he first started using the stage name of Don Carney while performing stock Irishman parts. He traveled throughout the Midwest, performing in various stock and repertory companies, before gaining minor notoriety as a trick pianist who could play while standing on his head.4 After bouncing from job to job and state to state, Don Carney eventually made his way to New York, where he obtained jobs at stations WMCA and WOR,
working as an announcer, vocal handyman, and stand-by pianist When a toy manufacturer came to WOR one day looking for a children’s show to sponsor, Carney was tapped to audition for them. The routine he threw together in a few hours impressed the sponsors, and Don Carney was soon launched on a new career as the beloved kiddie host “Uncle Don”.Uncle Don’s show made its debut in September 1928 and ran for nearly two decades, until February 1947. His program aired six nights a week, Monday through Saturday, and at various times he also read the funnies to his audience of youngsters on Sunday mornings. His program was a combination of original stories and songs, jokes, advice, personal messages, birthday announcements, club news, and lots of commercials.5
Even before we begin any investigation into a possible factual basis for this legend, we can already determine that the repercussion aspect of the legend — the claim that Uncle Don was fired or suspended (or replaced with a sound-alike) for his careless remark — is clearly false. Don Carney broadcast day in and day out, six and sometimes seven days a week, starting in 1928 and ending only when he finally stepped down from daily broadcasting in 1947. (Even then, he continued on with WOR as a disk jockey devoted to playing children’s records before moving to Miami Beach in 1948 and hosting a weekly children’s show on Station WKAT until his death in 1954.6) His show was never canceled, and he was never taken off the air or relieved of his job for any period, no matter how short, until his daily spot was finally discontinued by WOR in 1947. There is simply no evidence of any kind that Don Carney was ever penalized for anything he said as an on-air radio personality.
What if we proceed from the assumption that Don Carney somehow managed to avoid paying a price for his blunder? Perhaps he was too popular a personality — and therefore too valuable a commodity — for WOR to take off the air, no matter how much of a scandal he caused with his unfortunate lapse. Even if the station decided not to take any action against Don Carney, surely the event would have been reported by the media. Such a gaffe, committed by the most popular children’s host in the history of radio, couldn’t help but make the news. It didn’t, though. Not one contemporary account of Don Carney’s involvement in the “bastard” incident appeared in any major news or trade publication of the day. The only articles linking the name of Uncle Don with the tale did not report it as recent news, but merely recounted the incident years later as an occurrence that took place at some indeterminate time in the past (a typical pattern for print account of apocryphal events). Even articles contemporaneous with Don Carney’s career describe the story as apocryphal, as can be seen in this excerpt from a 1939 Time article:
. . . [Uncle Don] would part with plenty to be rid of the persistent but apocryphal tale that one day, when he mistakenly thought he was off the air after a particularly luscious cluster of clichés and commercials, he sighed and said: “There! I guess that’ll hold the little bastards.” 7
An even earlier debunking of this legend appeared in an article written by Alton Cook, Radio Editor of The New York World Telegram, in the 2 March 1935 edition of that newspaper:
The most famous chapter in WOR history concerns Uncle Don. The story goes that as he finished his program for the kiddies he muttered to himself, ‘There, I guess that will hold the little so-and-sos until tomorrow.’ Unfortunately, the microphone had not been disconnected and the remark went out on the air.
The story has been told and retold but the whole thing is untrue. A Baltimore columnist made it up one dull afternoon and used Uncle Don’s name because these programs were not on a Baltimore station. 8
Even if we take these samples to be nothing more than denials made out of professional courtesy to a fellow media figure, they clearly demonstrate that the Uncle Don myth was already old enough to have been “told and retold” (and refuted) as early as 1935, and therefore anyone who claims to have witnessed the slip-up at a later date is either lying or mistaken. In fact, since the same story was reported in Variety (about a different kiddie host) as early as 1930 9, any involvement by Don Carney in this incident would have had to have taken place before then (unless, of course, one wants to resort to the ridiculous proposition that two different hosts accidentally uttered the very same phrase into an open microphone).
But what about the thousands of children and adults who claim to have been listening to the actual broadcast when Uncle Don said those very words? They couldn’t all be wrong, could they? How could so many people all have similar recollections if the story weren’t really true? The problem is that everyone doesn’t have similar recollections. Accounts of the incident vary widely, even in such fundamental details as what was said, who said it, when it was said, and what the subsequent consequences were. Reports from persons who claim to have heard the infamous live broadcast are so disparate and contradictory as to cast doubts on all of them. What are we to make of “earwitness” accounts such as the one from a woman who claimed not only to have heard, but to have actually watched the broadcast take place? According to her, it happened at the New Jersey Building of the New York World’s Fair in 1940, and “the audience almost pulled down the building when he made the remark.” 10 Her testimony is unquestionably in error, as we have just seen that Uncle Don’s alleged remark was already old news by 1935. Maybe she was just a little confused. Maybe she really did witness what she described, but she got the year mixed up. It really happened earlier, before 1935, and she just forgot exactly when over the course of time. Her description of where this all occurred is very specific, though, so there’s little chance of her being confused about that. (Indeed, she could hardly have seen the broadcast otherwise unless she were a guest in WOR’s studio.) And Uncle Don did broadcast his shows from the World’s Fair grounds in New York for a period of time, so that part of the story checks out. The trouble is, Uncle Don didn’t start broadcasting from the fairgrounds until 1939. 11 Her account either places the event as happening ten years after it was described in Variety (and five years after it was mentioned in a New York newspaper), or else it has Uncle Don holding his show in a complex of World’s Fair buildings several years before they were constructed. And even if all the details somehow worked out, there would still be no rational explanation as to how Uncle Don could call children ‘bastards’ during a live radio broadcast, in front of a live audience, at a World’s Fair, yet keep the incident out of the newspapers — much less remain on the air.
The contradictory nature of alleged personal accounts of the broadcast is further demonstrated by this excerpt from Sidney Skolsky’s syndicated column “Hollywood Is My Beat” of 24 July 1957:
“I’ve just run across your reference to Uncle Don’s classic blooper on radio and your bid for the exact story from a reader, who had some connection with the incident,” writes Oliver M. Sayler.
It was back in the winter of 1928-29. The station was WOR. I was in the fifth year of my weekly book and play review, “Footlight and Lamplight.” One of Uncle Don’s, programs for children immediately preceded my time on the air. I had no contact with it except, when occasionally, other studios were occupied and I was asked to broadcast in the studio he had used.
On this particular occasion, I was to follow Uncle Don on the spot, and I was standing by in his studio, waiting for the late Floyd Neal to sign him off, give the station break and introduce me. Uncle Don twittered his usual cheery wind-up, and then, not realizing that I was to follow on the same microphone, and thinking he was off the air, blurted out: “There, I hope that’ll hold the little b_______.”
Well, he wasn’t off the air! The nation-wide reaction to his blunt statement raised a furor that impaired his celebrated program. Only after a 10-year atonement and the spending of a fortune on his part to conduct a children’s entertainment concession at the N.Y. World’s Fair in 1939, did he manage to return fully to radio’s good graces. But he never again achieved his former vogue. 12
On the surface, this would appear to be a fairly credible account of the incident in question. It comes from someone purportedly in the broadcasting business, working at the same station as Uncle Don, and it describes a fairly specific time and place of occurrence (even if it does rely upon the amazingly fortuitous circumstance of the claimant just happening to be in precisely the right spot, at just the right time, to witness the event). Moreover, the timing of the event as described by Mr. Sayler is not implausible (unlike most other accounts), as it predates the earliest known print reference to the occurrence (the 1930 Variety article). What, then, are we to make of the fact that every one of Mr. Sayler’s comments about the backlash that followed the broadcast is wrong? How could there be a “nation-wide reaction” to an incident that wasn’t reported in a single major newspaper, entertainment magazine, or trade publication? How could this incident have “impaired [Uncle Don’s] celebrated program” when, during the very same period of time (1928-29), the Uncle Don, show was chosen as one of radio’s “blue-ribbon programs,” and Don Carney hauled in an astronomical $75,000? 13 If it took a “ten-year atonement” (starting in 1929) for Uncle Don to “return fully to radio’s good graces,” why did Radio Guide hail him as “saint, oracle, and pal to 300,000 children” in an article a mere two years later? 14 If Uncle Don “never again achieved his former vogue,” why was Don Carney appearing on over a dozen programs a week and pulling down over $90,000 a year at the height of the Depression? 15 And why would the Mutual Broadcasting Network elect to give a disgraced kiddie show host an unprecedented nationwide spot on their network in 1938? 16 Furthermore, since Don Carney didn’t even assume his “Uncle Don” personality until September of 1928, this incident, as described by Sayler, would have had to have occurred within months of the start of his career as a kiddie host. It is wildly improbable to think that any host could have survived such an mistake with his career intact, much less a fledgling broadcaster in his first few months on the job. (And how is it that Uncle Don “never again achieved his former vogue” if he only been on the air a short time before everything came crashing down on him? He must have made quite an impression in the few months he was on the air before letting loose with his celebrated faux pas!) As veteran radio writer Bill Treadwell offers in the chapter he devotes to this story in his biography of Don Carney, “If Don had really said this, he would surely have been removed from the air (which he definitely wasn’t). The trip back to the carnival circuit would have been an overnight one . . .” 17 Another point beyond belief is how Variety could recount the same events a year later, yet attribute them the wrong host (in the wrong city) and describe them as having taken place “a few weeks ago”. 18 And one last telling point: a check of the radio listings in The New York Times from the winter of 1928-29 reveals that Sayler’s “Footlight and Lamplight” program didn’t, as he claimed, follow the Uncle Don show but preceded it. (“Footlight and Lamplight” aired after the news at 6:15 PM;Uncle Don was on from 6:30 to 6:55.) How, then, did Sayler come to be in the studio at the conclusion of an Uncle Don program, as he says he was? It appears Mr. Sayler is at best possessed of a poor memory at worst a prevaricator, and his account of the ancillary details of the incident is so overwhelmingly wrong on so many points that his entire recollection cannot realistically be considered anything other than a complete fabrication.
Those who lived outside the New York metropolitan area might correctly recall that Uncle Don abruptly disappeared from the airwaves in 1939 and have mistakenly assumed that his disappearance was in some way connected with the famous legend. The truth is that the Uncle Don show began to be broadcast to a much wider audience when it was picked up by the Mutual Broadcasting System national radio network in 1938. The network dropped his show a little more than a year later, however, albeit for reasons that had nothing to do with a decline in Uncle Don’s popularity. The primary reasons for the decision by Mutual to stop carrying the Uncle Don show nationally were:
The paucity of brand products aimed at young children and marketed on a national basis made finding sufficient sponsorship to keep the show profitable a continual difficulty.
Broadcasting to large, geographically dispersed audience spread across different time zones fouled up the birthday mailings, hiding of presents by conspiring mothers, and other popular features of the show.
The popularity of Uncle Don’s show was heavily dependent on local publicity and local interest (including his frequent and numerous personal appearances before listeners) that just could not be sustained with such a vast audience. 19
What have other researchers had to say about this topic? Given the tremendous number of articles, books, and encyclopedias devoted to radio that have been produced over the years, surely someone would have turned up information supporting the claim of the “little bastards” incident as a true one if it had actually occurred. It doesn’t appear that anyone has, however. Buxton and Owen, in their reference work on radio have this to say about the story: “None of it is true, even though you can find people today who swear they heard it . . . It simply never happened.” 20 Robert St. John’s encyclopedia of radio and TV broadcasters labels the tale the “most apocryphal story in radio.” 21 John Dunning maintains in his radio encyclopedia that the facts are “unsubstantiated,” 22 and J. Fred MacDonald’s book on radio programming asserts that “[Dunning] is correct to argue that Uncle Don, much maligned with this rumor, did not utter the infamous profanity.” 23 Even Don Carney’s obituary from The New York Times reported the incident as “an apocryphal tale.” 24
More importantly, those persons who unquestionably know whether or not the infamous words were ever spoken on the Uncle Don show report that the story is indisputably untrue. Don Carney himself “spent most of his professional life denying [the] story”, and “swore in every interview that it never happened.” 25 Bill Treadwell, long-time writer and aide on the Uncle Don show, devoted a entire chapter to the incident in his 1958 biography of Don Carney. His simple revelation: “It never happened!” 26 Lest one jump to the conclusion that Mr. Treadwell was simply seeking to protect the reputation of his former close friend and employer, it should be noted that he deliberately waited until after Don Carney had died before publishing the biography because, Treadwell explained, Carney led a “Jekyll-Hyde existence”, was “a guy who dipped into . . . many fleshpots,” 27 and acted like “a real heel when it came to the multitudinous women in his life.” 28 The book was not published until four year after Don Carney’s death because what it contained was “true and could not have been written while Don Carney and some of his wives lived.” 29 If Treadwell had no qualms about exposing some of the more unsavory aspects of Don Carney’s private life, he would have had little reason to dissemble about a thirty-year-old story that everyone already believed anyway.
But if Uncle Don isn’t the source of the infamous quip, why has his name become so inextricably intertwined with the legend? One simple reason is that urban legends involving public figures or companies and their products, true or not, tend to gravitate towards the biggest and most famous examples of each type: thus any legend about fast food hamburgers eventually comes to be told about McDonald’s, and most of the racy anecdotes about talk show hosts that have circulated within the last forty years have been attributed to Johnny Carson. Uncle Don was one of the first — and certainly one of the most successful — children’s hosts of his day: he had the longest run of all the radio “uncles” played by the same man (Uncle Wip of Philadelphia was on the air for a longer period of time, but his character was voiced by a succession of different broadcasters) 30, and he had by far the largest audience (extending into eighteen different states at one point) than any of his fellow radio “relatives.” 31 All this would have made the Uncle Don character a natural eventual target for a scandalous tale about a kiddie show host, even if it had originally been told about one or more other hosts. Don Carney himself always maintained that the story was started by one of his numerous rival uncles. 32 Alton Cook’s 1935 article (cited above) suggests that the story was made up on a slow news day by a reporter for a Baltimore newspaper, who used Uncle Don’s name because his show was not carried in the Baltimore area. 33 Buxton and Owen offer the same origin for the story, 34 but neither source gives the name or even the approximate date of the newspaper in question. The original article, although apparently just as erroneous as all the other accounts of the legend, would be interesting to see (if it exists) to determine whether it predates any of the known newspaper articles on the subject, or the linking of Uncle Don’s name with it.
The whole thing might have died down after Don Carney’s death — or at least been less frequently associated with his name — were it not for a series of popular Blooper records that rekindled public awareness of the legend. During the mid-1950s, Kermit Schafer began compiling several albums of alleged boners, fluffs, and outtakes from radio and TV into his popular Bloopers series and issuing them in record jackets deceptively claiming that the events contained within were “authentic.” Treadwell describes an example found on the first record:
Uncle Don got his place in the sun on Volume 1— after a few words from the announcer which set the stage, Don was cut in saying his usual “Good-night” to the kiddies. There was a moment of silence, and then a muffled voice off mike muttered, “That oughta hold the little bastards.” Only it wasn’t Don’s voice! 35
One problem with Schafer’s “authenticity”: he didn’t distinguish between actual audio clips and recreations of broadcast events that were widely believed to have occurred, but for which no recording existed. The liner notes on his albums simply stated:
The material in this recording is authentic and was gathered from kinescopes, sound tracks, video tapes and other boni-fide sources.
Small wonder, then, that when Schafer fabricated an “authentic” recording of Uncle Don by hiring an actor to voice the infamous tag line, a whole new generation of listeners (most of whom had never heard the realUncle Don’s voice or had forgotten what it sounded like now that he was dead) believed it was the real thing. (Curious? Listen to the Kermit Schafer “re-creation” of Uncle Don’s faux pas for yourself. The audio fidelity far surpasses anything that could be expected from a rare recording of a 1920s radio broadcast.)
Even if Uncle Don were not involved in the incident, what about the possibility that some other host actually was? Although the exact origins of the story may always remain unclear, it evidently dates back to the earliest days of radio, and even then it was told about a multitude of hosts and not one personality in particular. Carney’s biographer claims to have first heard the story in 1931, 36 and Don Carney himself said he first heard the tale told about Graham McNamee back in the late 1920s. 37 Buxton and Owen report that the same story was attributed to two other radio performers of the time: “Uncle John” Daggett of KHJ in Los Angeles, and John “Big Brother” Keough of KPO in San Francisco.38 Glenhall Taylor confirms that he too first heard the anecdote told of John Keough in the late 1920s as well, but mentions that only later did he hear it ascribed to Daggett and Carney. 39
The true origins of this anecdote are made even murkier by a mysterious little article that appeared in the 23 April 1930 issue of Variety:
A wisecracking radio announcer in a Philadelphia station lost his job about two weeks ago as a result of a stern reprimand of the station by the Federal Radio Commission. Announcer had concluded a bed-time story for children and thought the power was off. For the benefit of the control room he added: ‘I hope that pleases the little b______.’
This went out over the air. Within 10 minutes several telegrams of protest, among them the Federal Radio Commission, had arrived. Others came later in bundles. 40
This item looks as if it could possibly be the actual source of the “little bastards” legend. It is the only article to appear in a major publication and (claim to) report the event at the time it happened. Upon closer inspection, however, one notices that the wording contains several features typical of urban legends. There is a curious lack of detail for an event that supposedly happened only “two weeks ago”: no specific host is named, no particular radio station is identified, and no date is provided, even though the story is supposedly quite recent. Just enough information is supplied (an approximate date of “about two weeks ago” and the name of a city) to lend the story an aura of authenticity. Moreover, telegrams of protest allegedly started arriving “within 10 minutes,” as if the people listening to the broadcast (including members of the Federal Radio Commission, who apparently had the facilities and staff to monitor every single program on the air) lived within yards of a telegraph office and had nothing better to do that evening than pop out the door and dash off telegrams of complaint. These details aside, the date of the article doesn’t square with the accounts of numerous radio veterans who profess to have heard the same story back in the 1920s. 41
A few radio writers have suggested that the Variety article does in fact report a real-life incident, with the culprit being Uncle Wip (or, as Llewellyn Miller puts it, “one of the many embittered men who have been Uncle Wip”) of station WIP in Philadelphia. 42 MacDonald’s book on American radio, for example, states outright that “[w]hen Uncle Wip of WIP inadvertently spoke a profane word into an open mike following a broadcast in April 1930, he was fined by the Federal Radio Commission and soon lost his job.” 43 Certainly this claim squares with the date of the Variety article and its mention of a “wisecracking radio announcer in a Philadelphia station” (as long as we discount the memories of some radio veterans who recall having heard the story prior to 1930). Attempting to assign the blame to Uncle Wip creates a whole new set of unresolvable discrepancies, however:
Where are the press articles about Uncle Wip’s remark and his subsequent firing? WIP was a prominent radio station in a large city, and Uncle Wip was a well-known character whose program had started way back in 1921. 44 Why is it that no publication outside of Variety— not even one of the several Philadelphia newspapers of the day — reported on the incident? The lack of press coverage is troublesome in itself, but even more suspicious is the fact that no one seems to have connected the name of Uncle Wip with this rumor until twenty years later. 45 As mentioned earlier, such retroactive reporting is often a sign that the event being described is apocryphal.
The phrase supposedly uttered by Uncle Wip has been reported as “I’m a s-o-b if this isn’t a hell of a job for a he-man”46 (or “I’m a bastard if this isn’t one hell of a job for a he-man!”).47 Not only are these not the words made famous by legend, but they’re not even the words reported in the Variety article. It’s hard to believe the story could have changed that much in the few weeks’ time between the actual occurrence and Variety’s coverage of it — either the “little bastards” version was invented during that brief two-week period, or it was an extant legend. Since the Variety article is at odds with other accounts of what Uncle Wip allegedly said, and since the Variety article is the primary source for associating Uncle Wip’s name with the incident in the first place, the Uncle Wip variant must be considered apocryphal as well.
If the legend isn’t based on any real-life occurrence, then just how did it get started? One obvious explanation is that it was made up out of whole cloth, an example of the “famous person is the opposite of what he appears to be” type of rumor. These kinds of rumors frequently arise about celebrities perceived by the public as having achieved tremendous success too easily, by blandly appealing to the lowest common denominator of popular tastes or by creating innocuous programming for children. (Prominent examples include modern-day rumors about popular singers John Denver and Mariah Carey.) Robert St. John characterized the “little bastards” rumor as “an amusing but unlikely story, for it is improbable that anyone could be as successful as Uncle Don was with millions of children and still have the contempt for them that the remark implied.” 48 This is precisely what we would expect this type rumor to describe: someone who had achieved tremendous success by creating lowbrow children’s fare but was the exact opposite of his famous genial, kiddie-loving host character. A man actually contemptuous of children! As both the most well-known and the most successful of all the children’s hosts, Uncle Don became a natural target for the rumor once it was set in motion; once the story became fixed in the public’s mind, there was no dislodging it. As Carney’s biographer wrote, “The story has been told so often even his close friends believe it,” so “who can blame the public for not wanting to forget a bit of its folklore?” 49
Another explanation, perhaps far-fetched, is that this rumor might in some way have to do with a fear of technology. Horror stories involving technological mishaps (such as the infamous “poodle in the microwave” legend) often arise after inventions based on new technologies take hold in society. With the advent of commercial radio, it became possible for the first time for a performer to make an embarrassing (or career-ending) mistake live, to an audience of millions. A flub committed while shooting a movie could be eliminated merely by filming another take; a gaffe made on the stage was seen by no more than a few thousand people. This new radio technology was dangerous, however: an unfortunate remark could instantly reach huge audiences over wide areas, and once it was said there was no way of retracting it. The “little bastards” rumor may not have ruined Don Carney’s career, but it certainly has unfairly sullied his reputation for nearly seventy years now.
Last updated: 5 August 2007
1. Brunvand, 185.
2. MacDonald, 43.
3. Boemer, 201.
4. The New York Times, 16 January 1954.
5. Buxton and Owen, 246.
6. The New York Times, 16 January 1954.
7. Time, October 9, 1939.
8. The New York World Telegram, March 2, 1935.
9. Variety, April 23, 1930, p. 71.
10. Treadwell, p. 77.
11. Treadwell, p. 55.
12. Skolsky, July 24, 1957.
13. Dunning, p. 622.
14. The New York Times, 16 January 1954.
15. The New York Times, 16 January 1954.
16. Treadwell, pp. 55-6.
17. Treadwell, p. 79.
18. Variety, April 23, 1930, p. 71.
19. Treadwell, pp. 55-6.
20. Buxton and Owen, 247.
21. St. John, p. 180.
22. Dunning, p. 622.
23. MacDonald, p. 372.
24. The New York Times, 16 January 1954.
25. Dunning, pp. 622-3.
26. Treadwell, p. 77.
27. Treadwell, p. 76.
28. Treadwell, p. x.
29. Treadwell, p. x.
30. Miller, p. 92.
31. Buxton and Owen, 246.
32. Dunning, p. 623.
33. The New York World Telegram, March 2, 1935.
34. Buxton and Owen, 246.
35. Treadwell, p. 78.
36. Treadwell, p. 78.
37. Treadwell, p. 77.
38. Buxton and Owen, 247.
39. Taylor, p. 20.
40. Variety, April 23, 1930, p. 71.
41. Taylor, p. 20.
42. Miller, p. 93.
43. MacDonald, p. 43.
44. Miller, p. 93.
45. MacDonald, p. 373.
46. Miller, p. 93.
47. Gross, p. 93.
48. St. John, p. 180.
49. Treadwell, pp. 78-9.