Lum and Abner

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Lum and Abner

Hendricks 1

Lum and Abner

What is the first thing you think of when you here of the 1930s, Amos and Andy or how about Lum and Abner?  Lum and Abner werent really expected to do anything with their lives; they were just having fun trying to make something of them selves.  They became two of the most famous people from Polk and Montgomery counties: Chet Lauck- Lum, Norris Goff- Abner, and the history of Lum and Abner.  
Chester Lauck was born in Alleene, Arkansas, February 2, 1902. (Alleene, Arkansas)(www.mu.net/stemple/page1.htm)  His parents were W.J. and Cora Lauck. (Cate, Micheal, 190)  Chet moved to Mena in 1911, where he met Norris Goff.  They became very good friends.  Chet lived on Port Arthur Avenue in Mena.  His father owned the sawmill and was the Union Bank president.  Chet went to Mena high school.  He played baseball, basketball, football, and track.  He had two older brothers and one younger sister.  He graduated from high school in 1920.  After high school, Chet went to the University of Arkansas and got a degree in advertising.  He was the co-editor of the Universitys humor magazine and was a Razorback cheerleader.  After the University of Arkansas, he went to study at Chicago Institute of Fine Arts. (Stucker, Kathryn Moore)  In 1926, Chet married Harriet Wood.  He had three children: Shirley, Nancy, and Chet Jr.
Norris Goff was born in Cove, Arkansas, May 30, 1906. (www.me.net/stemple/ page1.htm)  His parents were Rome and Dora Goff. (Cate, Micheal, 190)  He lived on Reine Street.  His father worked as a wholesale grocer. (Williams, Troy, 70)  When Norris was in high school, he was quarterback for the football team.  He graduated in 1924.  He then went to the University of Arkansas and the University of Oklahoma.  
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After college he worked at his fathers company.  In 1929, Norris married Elizabeth Bullion.  They had a boy, Gary, and a girl, Gretchen. (Stucker, Kathryn Moore)
Waters was the name of the town Chet and Norris got started in.  Waters sounded like a swamp so they changed the name of the town to Pine Ridge, because of the woods and valleys of the Ouachitas.  In Pine Ridge there was a sawmill, post office, blacksmith shop, gristmill, and other necessary services to the farm community.  The community started in the early 1900s.  Lauck and Goff lived close to each other.  
By 1931, they became Amos and Andy imitators.  Chet and Norris liked clowning around at the Elks Lodge and Possum Club Banquets.  On July 27, 1931, they made their national radio debut on NBC radio network from Chicago.  The program Lum and Abner aired from 1931 to 1953.  The programs were fifteen to thirty minutes long.  The first sponsor was the Quakers Oats Company.  Other sponsors were Ford Motors Company, Horlicks Malted Milk, Alka Seltzer (the longest lasting association), and General Motors.
Their philosophy was simply best summed up in one piece of advice: Never put your faith in seed catalogues.  That thing with the double barreled name always turns out to be radishes. (Williams, Troy, 71)  
Chet Lauck once said during the 1930s, Were sort of like Mussolini.  Weve created Pine Ridge and people in it, the mayor, the justice of the peace, the fire chief, the
grocer.  Were dictators by remote control.  Its our town and we run it to suit ourselves. (Williams, Troy, 71)  

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The personalities of the people they swapped stories with, while stopped at rural stores, were to become the characters they created for their radio programs.  Grandpappy Spears was based of Cling Wilhite, from one of the earliest Waters families both wore floppy hats and rode a white mule.  Cedric Wehunt was based on Lester Goble, slow of speech but humorous.  The real Ola Hooper became Elizabeth Peabody, large of heart and stature but stern of voice in hand.  Eva May ONeal became Little Pearl, each planned on becoming a nurse but Miss ONeal died at age 18 from injuries received in a fall from a horse.  Margaret Wilhite became Sister Simpson, Anna Risenhoover became Aunt Charity Spears and Aunt Chat Lawrence was Widder Abernathy. (Williams, Troy, 70)  Lauck and Goff carried the show mostly by themselves, doing different characters.  Occasionally there