Friday, May 6, 2011

Duffy's Tavern: Year One

Early radio broadcasting required fine-tuning -- and not the kind that came from dial twitching. Case in point: June 26, 1931. NBC presented “The Fearful Seven,” the tale of Merton Moth and his noiseless glider, Michael Mosquito -- brief glimpses into the home lives of Fanny Fly, Frankie Flea, Grand Roach and their friends. The NBC offering was promised to be a comedy, and ensured newspaper columnists that the comedy element would predominate the production. There was nothing funny with the story, and radio, had it not already established itself as a medium of music, news, prayer and commentary, might have been doomed as a result of disastrous broadcasts such as this. If radio audiences wanted authentic laughter from a weekly, half-hour program, what they needed was Ed Gardner. It would not be until ten years later that Duffy’s Tavern would usher in a new form of comedy entertainment.

As the genially sarcastic, ever-hopeful con man Archie -- who never had a last name, even as Duffy himself was never seen -- he defined the cynical second-generation Irishman at the outer fringe of New York’s social order. The program fast developed a following that crossed social, economic and geographical boundaries. Duffy’s Tavern ranked with Fred Allen’s program as broad an appeal as the goofiest slapstick comedies on the air.

Archie was the pivot of the establishment, but he was not alone there. Always on hand were the absent proprietor’s gabby, man-hungry daughter, known simply as Miss Duffy, who spoke in pure Brooklynese, and the waiter Eddie, a shrewd black menial who obeyed with “Yazzuh” but always got the better of his boss in their verbal exchanges. Habitu├ęs included Clifton Finnegan (who did not appear on the program until season two), a moron with occasional flashes of brilliance whose every line began with “Duhhh,” and radio veteran Colonel Stoopnagle, the orotund inventor of such useful devices as the 10-foot pole, “for guys who wouldn’t touch with one,” and the gun with two barrels, one to shoot ducks with and the other, which didn’t work, to not shoot other hunters with.

Crackpot O’Toole, forger and poet who wrote mostly bum check and sonnets “in pure cubic centimeter,” was another Duffy’s regular. Not heard but often discussed was Two-Top Gruskin, a two-headed baseball player whose value to his team was that he could watch first and third at the same time. Two-Top (whose real name was Athos and Porthos Gruskin) once went to a masquerade ball as a pair of bookends and won the affections of a pretty girl because he was a tall blond and brunette. “There was just something different about him,” she explained. Officer Clancy made frequent visits, usually threatening to close the place for some petty violation, ever thwarted by Archie’s logical argument: “You can’t close us up. We aint’ got a license.”

Archie wasn’t otherwise so successful with his unceasing efforts to con or exploit his guests. When smooth-talking Slippery McGuire, seeking to beat his bar tab, suggested to Archie how he can make a fortune by patenting electricity, Archie pays him $10 to register the patent. After coughing up another $3 to print stock certificates and $5 more to include DC along with AC, he believes himself the King of Kilowatts, even though Eddie is doubtful (“I always connected you more with natural gas”). The plans falls through when Archie learns that Benjamin Franklin had beaten him to the patent, but Slippery launches him on a new career by informing him that Franklin had carelessly forgotten to take one out on the kite.

The long-running radio program moved production to Puerto Rico in 1949 to take advantage of a tax exemption the island gave to new industries, although the Third Avenue setting remained the same. But the stellar guests who had once regularly visited Duffy’s didn’t care to travel so far for a broadcast, and the program’s ratings fell precipitously.

Duffy’s Tavern was the brain child of Ed Gardner, a former executive for an advertising agency, later responsible for such radio programs as Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not and The Joe Penner Show. The radio comedy retained a popularity large enough to spawn a stage play (1948), a major motion picture (1945) and a short-run television program (1952) plus two experimental pilots (1947 and 1949).

The success of Duffy’s Tavern was dependent on the gag writers for the program. The first two seasons consisted of three writers: Mac Benoff, Parke Levy and Abe Burrows. Having read every radio script, this author can verify that the funniest scripts are definitely the earliest broadcasts. But the program was doomed when Burrows and the other writers were unable to create enough scenarios to keep the program fresh. By late 1942, they had already begun recycling their plot devices: Archie tries to sell fake jewelry to Finnegan; Archie writes a pageant about American history; and the plot most often used… Archie entertains Mrs. Cornelia Piddleton (occasionally spelled “Pittleton” depending on which scripts you consult) and her Lord Byron Ladies’ Literary Society and, after losing his guest speaker, attempts to pawn off Finnegan as the celebrated presenter. The program's saving grace began with the third season, when Duffy's Tavern made the move to Hollywood and celebrities began making guest appearances. Archie and the cast were able to poke fun of the celebrities as they did in the first season. (The move to Puerto Rico in 1949 didn't help any, and proved a disaster, ultimately forcing NBC to make the decision to axe the program for good.)

Regardless of what past encyclopedias report, the July 1940 broadcast of Forecast failed to gain the immediate attention of a sponsor. The network, hoping to sell a number of studio-created in-house programs without the need of an advertising agency, made arrangements for every broadcast of Forecast to be transcribed, in case the program could later be sampled by a potential sponsor. It wasn’t until months later that Forecast ultimately helped convince the Magazine Repeating Razor Company to sponsor the program, thanks to the efforts of the J.M. Mathes Advertising Agency (who knew that Magazine wanted to hock their product, Schick Razor, on the radio). In September of 1940, two transcription discs were cut from Forecast and executives at Mathes circulated one recording to potential sponsors, while retaining the duplicate as a master backup.

The initial contract between the sponsor and the network stipulated a 16-week sponsorship from March 1, 1941 to June 14, 1941, which was a bit unusual since most contracts with the network were placed on a 13-week schedule (13 times 4 equals 52). Since it was proven that listenership was at the lowest during what was generally considered vacation time, 13 weeks in the summer were usually dedicated to a different radio program, paid for by the same sponsor, but for a cheaper price.

Digital photo capture of a copyright card from the Library of Congress.
One of many copyright cards for Duffy's Tavern radio scripts.
© 2011, Library of Congress. Photo used with permission.
To attract new listeners, at the suggestion of the network, the first season featured at least one celebrity guest every week. Under the same contract, CBS had the option of approval when choosing the celebrities. Obviously, the network made sure that no celebrity appearing on Duffy’s Tavern would cross-promote a radio program presently heard over a competing network. Celebrities include Parks Johnson and Wally Butterwroth, hosts Vox Pop; Colonel Stoopnagle was the weekly host of Quixie-Doodles; both programs aired over CBS. At the time Paul Lukas, Hildegarde, Milton Berle and Orson Welles were making their guest appearances, they were not presently committed to a radio program on the rival networks. And for the broadcast of June 7, 1941, certainly a major influence by CBS, Ilka Chase, actress and novelist whose radio program, Luncheon at the Waldorf, recently concluded, paid a visit to the tavern. Her appearance on Duffy’s was designed to promote her new radio program, which premiered on June 6. The announcer, John Reed King*, closed the episode with the following mention: “Archie wants me to thank Ilka Chase for coming here tonight and to announce that he will be her guest next Friday night on her new program for Camel Cigarettes… Penthouse Party.”

* Footnote: John Reed King was the first announcer for the series, who welcomed the studio audience by explaining the evening’s proceedings, and performed the commercials. King was also emcee of CBS’ This is the Life and announcer of the Gay Nineties Revue.

The first season also introduced listeners to two regulars: Shirley Booth and Eddie Green. Miss Duffy, the proprietor’s daughter, liked almost every man who walked into the tavern, and she had a friend, Vera, who also liked men. This certainly added a female element to the program, opening the door to jokes about matrimony, romance, dating and other similar topics. “In matrimony you marry an armful and wind up with a roomful,” Archie once quipped. “It takes two to make a marriage -- a single girl and an anxious mother,” Miss Duffy explained. After Miss Duffy explained her cosmetic affairs to Archie, the bar keep turned to Eddie. “What with lipstick on their lips, rouge on their cheeks, mascara on their eyes, polish on their nails, and now paint on their legs, the dames sure take a shellacking.”

Shirley Booth was known primarily as a Broadway actress, who, up to the time Duffy’s Tavern premiered, won critical praise for her role of Ruth Sherwood in the 1940 production of My Sister Eileen. During her tenure on Duffy’s, the first three seasons, she received top billing at the opening of every broadcast, always billed as “the star of My Sister Eileen.” When Booth left the series in 1943, actresses playing the role of Miss Duffy never received such limelight, down-graded to simply name mention like the rest of the cast.

BOOTH: (to Ilka Chase) Your friends are always so classy, ain’t they? They’re all raconteuses, chanteuses, danseuses… it’s a wonder you never bring down any hippopotamotuses.

Eddie Green, who would later find greater fame as Stonewall, the fix-it-all lawyer on Amos n’ Andy, played Eddie the waiter, gripper-extraordinary at Duffy’s, an apprehensive citizen of Harlem, and was in real-life a well-known Negro comedian. He was also in the food business (ironically), and owned a chain of Harlem restaurants for a couple decades. Eddie was the equivalent of Jack Benny’s Rochester -- who often had the best come-back lines for his employer.

ARCHIE: With a dame like Elsa Maxwell coming here you think this tablecloth is high class enough?
EDDIE: Well, I tell you what you can do with it.
EDDIE: Tear one more hole in the corner and tell her it’s Italian lace.

The listening audience often dismissed reality because orchestras like John Kirby’s did not play in taverns like Duffy’s; and sooner or later it would occur to the listeners as odd that although Archie was a bartender, no one ever seemed to take a drink. But no one noticed it at the time, which said something about one of the most original and consistently entertaining of current programs. With the aid of John Kirby’s famed Negro band, the music somehow fit the Brooklyn Tavern. Kirby was alumnus of Fletcher Henderson, Chick Webb bands, and even started his own in 1937 at New York’s Onyx Club. He was once married to actress Maxine Sullivan.

John Reed Kirby and his orchestra supplied the music for a full calendar year, until General Foods took up sponsorship. Kirby, like most orchestras that performed on the radio, spent a considerable amount of time performing for hotels. During the summer break between seasons, Kirby’s orchestra performed at the Ambassador East Hotel’s Pump Room. When he tenure on Duffy’s Tavern concluded, he returned to the Ambassador for a three-week engagement and then continued with a successful career in music.

In the premiere episode of the series, in an effort to introduce the weekly regulars to the radio audience, very little happens except to establish Miss Duffy and Eddie’s position at the tavern. Duffy wanting Archie to hire Irish tenors for musical accompaniment in the tavern, and visitor Colonel Stoopnagle, having heard the news, tries to get hired for the job.  
STOOPNAGLE: Well, I have one new thing here I’ve just invented.
ARCHIE: What is it Colonel? To me it looks just like a door.
STOOPNAGLE: It is a door. It’s a bathroom door that you don’t have to wait outside of because it opens into a closet.
ARCHIE: Gee, Colonel – you certainly have a furtive mind. I wish you could invent an Irish tenor.
STOOPNAGLE: Why, Archie?
ARCHIE: Well, Duffy says either I get an Irish Tenor or I’m fired.
STOOPNAGLE: My boy, never despair. I, Lemuel Q. Stoopnagle, am an Irish Tenor.
ARCHIE: But Duffy only likes Irish, Irish Tenors.

To prove his worth, Stoopnagle, with the assistance of the John Kirby orchestra, sings “Come Back to Ernie.” Stoopnagle fails to get the job, but his position on Duffy’s Tavern would, ten years later, become more influential than anyone predicted in 1941. Billboard magazine reviewed the series premiere:

Duffy’s Tavern, one of the better program ideas showcased in Columbia’s Forecast series last summer, comes back with Ed Gardner and a sponsor. Gardner, a director of note on other radio programs, plays Archie, a harried bartender in Duffy’s Tavern. Archie is Duffy’s languid man-of-all work and is afflicted with a remarkable Hell’s Kitchen dialect completely devoid of grammar and full of engaging malapropisms. Duffy is a mythical figure, his influence being indirect but very substantial. His presence becomes known when he telephones Archie to squawk about the music and demand an Irish tenor. These conversations are one-way affairs. Archie answers to Duffy explaining everything. Program did not score as well as the original Forecast show, but was plenty good. Everything will depend upon script and how consistently Gardner can perform. Session as it stands is certainly a novel comedy set-up. Band is John Kirby’s, a restrained tho swingy orchestra. Series’ first guest was Colonel Stoopnagle, strictly terrific in a lunatic impersonation of an Irish tenor. Some of the plugs for Schick Razor were cleverly worked into the script.”

 March 1 to June 14, 1941
Columbia Broadcasting System
Sponsor: Magazine Repeating Razor Company
Day and Time: Saturday, 8:30 to 8:55 p.m., EST
Music: John Kirby’s Orchestra
Announcer: John Reed King
Series Regulars: Shirley Booth and Eddie Green

Episode #1 -- Broadcast Saturday, March 1, 1941
Col. Stoopnagle
Plot: Plot is described above.

Episode #2 -- Broadcast Saturday, March 8, 1941
Deems Taylor
Plot: Still seeking musical night life for the tavern, in reference to Duffy’s request last week, Archie tries to figure out where he can hire musicians until Deems Taylor happens to drop-by. Taylor kindly invites Archie and Miss Duffy to be his hosts tomorrow at the Philharmonic. When Archie explains the tavern needs a little musical addition, Taylor gets them a calypso singer. John Kirby’s Orchestra performs “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” during the intermission.

Memorable Lines
ARCHIE: Eddie… what is a calypso?
EDDIE: Why, er, that’s when the sun gets blotted out.
ARCHIE: Eddie, that’s an eclipso… you see that, Mr. Taylor, and he’s twice as smart as Duffy – and it’s three to one you didn’t know what a calypso was until you go on Information Please.

Episode #3 -- Broadcast Saturday, March 15, 1941
Orson Welles
Plot: Discussions about the bard and Francis Bacon are discussed on account that Orson Welles is dropping by. Welles happens to be in New York City to do a play called Native Son, written by Richard Wright, which Welles and John Houseman were producing. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Archie tries to get Welles to participate as the feature attraction for the tavern’s St. Patrick’s Day pig roast since it’s the kind of job for a ham actor. Joan Edwards, who would later become a semi-regular on the program, is the musical guest and sings “Do I Worry?”

Memorable Lines
BOOTH: Mr. Welles, you’re my idea of the perfect Shakespeare actor. I will never forget you in that picture, “Romeo and Juliet.”
WELLES: I was never in the picture, “Romeo and Juliet.”
SHIRLEY: You see, Archie… it was Norma Shearer.

Memorable Lines
ARCHIE: Well, you’re lookin’ great. How’s things in the drama?
WELLES: Well, Archie. My theatrical activities have been somewhat curtailed since my Hollywood peregrination.
ARCHIE: Oh, well, of course that’s up to the individual.
WELLES: Well, naturally.
ARCHIE: So you were in Hollywood, hah? They keep you busy out there?
WELLES: Well, kind of.
ARCHIE: What were you doing?
WELLES: Same old thing – writing, directing, producing, and acting.
ARCHIE: Boy, you sound like a one-man Preston Sturges…

Episode #4 -- Broadcast Saturday, March 22, 1941
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson
Plot: An income tax inspector arrives to look over the books while Archie attempts to lure Bill “Bojangles” Robinson to perform at Duffy’s under an exclusive contract. Distracted because of the audit, Archie ultimately makes an error. While entertaining a man in the tavern named Sherman, Archie is unaware that the new guest is a spy for the Stork Club, and without Archie being aware of it, Robinson signs an exclusive to the Club and promptly leaves for new pursuits. John Kirby and his Orchestra perform “Why Cry Baby?” and “Hot Time in the Old Town.”

Trivia, etc. The "spy" from the Stork Club named Sherman was in reference to Sherman Billingsley who owned the Stork Club. (Many thanks to Bob Burchett for pointing this out to me.)

Episode #5 -- Broadcast Saturday, March 29, 1941
Hildegarde and Arthur Treacher
Plot: Treacher is billed as “Hollywood’s favorite screen butler” and steals the limelight from the entire radio cast in this script. Treacher goes from a gentleman’s gentleman to a bum’s bum when he is hired by Archie to become his assistant, who in turn also answers the phone for Archie. Treacher’s dreams of how to improve the tavern do not work, however, and Archie is forced to reduce the overhead. Hildegarde, who received top billing above Treacher in the opening of the broadcast, is constrained to a few lines of dialogue and singing “Sweet Petite.”

Episode #6 -- Broadcast Saturday, April 5, 1941
Morton Downey and the Vox Pop Boys
Plot: Miss Duffy tries to convince the Vox Pop Boys (Parks Johnson and Wally Butterworth) to allow her to audition for their program, and she sings “You Walked By.” Morton Downey shows up and sings “Molly Malone.” Eddie gets mistaken as a contestant for the Vox Pop program. John Kirby and his Orchestra performs “Keep an Eye on Your Heart,” and “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies,” the latter of which he performed in the first broadcast of the series.

Memorable Lines
WALLY: Well, the first question is: When waiting on table should you serve from the left or from the right?
EDDIE: Well, that depends on which side of the customer is closest to the kitchen.
WALLY: Sorry, Eddie, you should always serve from the left.
EDDIE: From the left, eh?
EDDIE: Well, personally, I ain’t superstitious.

Episode #7 -- Broadcast Saturday, April 12, 1941
Arthur Murray
Plot: Dance expert Arthur Murray gives some of the tavern’s guests, including Miss Duffy, some dancing lessons and Larry Adler, the world-famous harmonica player (now appearing at the Roxy in New York City), performs three variations on a theme by Paganinni. Duffy, meanwhile, spends his time stuck in a phone booth at the tailor shop without any pants, and is unable to come to the tavern and meet Murray in person. Archie pays Francis McCabe five bucks for dancing lessons. In order for Sam the Tailor to accept Duffy’s check, he needs proof Duffy is who he says he is, so Archie has Adler perform a song live on the radio by request of “Sam the Tailor.”

Episode #8 -- Broadcast Saturday, April 19, 1941
Colonel Stoopnagle
Plot: Archie thinks the tavern needs a hostesses to help bring customers in, so Archie hereby calls to order the Board of Directors of Duffy’s Tavern, Limited, (limited, of course) consisting of Archie, Eddie and Miss Duffy. Stoopnagle, making an idiot’s delight in assuming the tavern is no longer around, decides to buy a band and a bar and call it a tavern – Duffy’s Tavern – “what a name!” When Stoop discovers that there is already such a place, he decides to sue them for plagiarism. This is the first episode to make reference to Clancy, the Cop. Joan Edwards returns to sing another song.

Memorable Lines
ARCHIE: Oh, Colonel Stoopnagle… how are you?
STOOPNAGLE: Shhh, I’m traveling incognito.
ARCHIE: Incognito, huh?
STOOPNAGLE: Yes, I don’t want to know that I’ve bee here… Don’t refer to me by name.
ARCHIE: What’ll I call you?
STOOPNAGLE: Colonel Stoopnagle.
ARCHIE: I wish I were an idiot so I could enjoy this conversation.

Episode #9 -- Broadcast Saturday, April 26, 1941
Tallulah Bankhead
Plot: Archie tries to teach Eddie the proper way to introduce a woman of Bankhead’s stature to the tavern, by adding class to the joint. Eddie even fixes up the table with wax bananas. Bankhead, however, won’t eat at the tavern when she learns that beer and pig knuckles are on the menu. Archie happens to be away for a moment when Bankhead arrives and when he returns, he mistakes her for a normal customer, and makes embarrassing remarks about the tavern while talking up the great Tallulah Bankhead – unaware she is standing in front of him the entire time. Bankhead closes the broadcast reciting a dramatic poem, “Abe Lincoln Walks at Midnight.” John Kirby’s orchestra performs “Arabian Nightmare.”

Trivia, etc. The poem Bankhead recites originated from Burton Egbert Stevenson’s The Home Book of Verse (1879).

Episode #10 -- Broadcast Saturday, May 3, 1941
Hildegarde and Maxie Rosenbloom
Plot: When Maxie Rosenbloom stops by the tavern, he accidentally crushes Miss Duffy’s hand because of his strength. Hildegarde stops by and the prize fighter finds her “vivacious.” Because Archie is in love with the singer, he gets jealous and makes an attempt to woo her after referring to her as “Mademoiselle Hildegarde, from the Savoy Plaza - the chanteuse.” Hildegarde gives Archie a prompt rejection and proves to Archie, who was in disagreement with Rosenbloom, that a big handsome mass of muscle is what women really want.

Memorable Lines
BOOTH: Why did you give up fighting to go on the radio?
MAXIE: Well, all the time when I was a fighter, my ambition was to talk on the radio, but, at the end of every fight, they gave the other guy the microphone and he would say, “Hello, mom, I’ll be right home.”
BOOTH: Well, why didn’t you say hello mom, I’ll be right home, too?
ARCHIE: What, in his condition?

Episode #11 -- Broadcast Saturday, May 10, 1941
Elsa Maxwell
Plot: To celebrate Duffy’s 25th anniversary, Archie hires Elsa Maxwell, social set worker, to give a party at the tavern. He attempts to impress Maxwell with suggestions on party games, but Miss Duffy insists on playing post office and spin the bottle. Duffy, meanwhile, is beaten with a baseball bat and unable to attend the tavern to celebrate. Jacques Fray and Mario Braggiotti, a famed piano duo who performed on radio as early as 1932, supplied musical entertainment using their two pianos.

Memorable Lines
ARCHIE: Oh, hello, Duffy. Congratulations on your twenty-fifth wedding. Mrs. Duffy kissed you how many times? No kiddin’, twenty-five?… Oh, with a baseball bat.

Episode #12 -- Broadcast Saturday, May 17, 1941
Milton Berle
Plot: Comedian Milton Berle pays a visit to the tavern, having grown up in the neighborhood and hasn’t seen the place since he was a kid. He is shocked to see how the condition of the tavern has worn down. Archie attempts to convince Berle to emcee a floor show, suggesting it would improve the tavern’s clientele. When Duffy is disillusioned, Berle relents and performs comedy monolog.

Memorable Lines
ARCHIE: Say, Duffy, guess who’s coming here tonight? Milton Berle. That little noisy kid who used to hang around here all the time. Milton Berle… Duffy, remember the kid who used to buy joke books, memorize the jokes and then say he made them up himself?… Well, that’s Milton. Sure’s he’s been in Hollywood… yeah, done pretty good, too. Yeah, I know you always said he was a smart kid. Remember -- he was the only kid on the block who could explain the funny papers to you.

Trivia, etc. Orson Welles was scheduled make a return to the program for May 17 broadcast, but he took ill on the West Coast and was unable to fly to New York, so Milton Berle substituted.

Episode #13 -- Broadcast Saturday, May 24, 1941
Paul Lukas
Plot: Paul Lukas, recent winner of the NY Drama Critics Award, stops by the tavern as a guest. Miss Duffy assumes Lukas won the Nobel prize. Archie proposes to singer Peg La Centra, after she performs “A Romantic Guy, I.” She is swept off her feet when she meets Paul Lukas and Archie’s chances drop to zero.

Episode #14 -- Broadcast Saturday, May 31, 1941
James J. Walker
Plot: James J. Walker, former mayor of New York City, is an old friend of Duffy’s and stops by to check out the tavern and the people working hard behind the counter. Duffy apparently used to be an old election district captain and helped Walker get 600 votes in the district. Walker has ulterior motives, however, when he explains to Archie that he is here to help save the relationship between Duffy and his wife. Miss Duffy mistakes Walker as the new bartender and gives him tips on how not to overflow the glasses, and how they all have fake bottoms. This is the first appearance of Crudface and Dugan, Archie’s lawyers.

Memorable Lines
DUGAN: Don’t answer that, Archie.
CRUDFACE: I object.
ARCHIE: Objection sustained.
DUGAN: Hey Crudface, what’s that sustained?
CRUDEFACE: That’s a radio program without a sponsor.

Trivia, etc. To publicize this episode, CBS issued the following press release:
    It is going to cost the proprietors of the establishment something extra to entertain the former Mayor. The dapper Jimmy sent a wire to Ed Gardner, who plays Archie, the host of the joint, which read: “Just bought a new pair of shoes; be sure tou have new sawdust on the floor of Duffy’s place when I get there.”
    “Duffy will probably get sore, but what are you going to do when a guy goes to the expense of new shoes,” lamented Archie. “Besides, that sawdust ain’t been changed since repeal.”

Episode #15 -- Broadcast Saturday, June 7, 1941
Ilka Chase
Plot: Ilka Chase, actress and novelist, pays a visit to the tavern. Archie wants her to do for the tavern what she did at the Waldorf, and suggests calling the new radio program “Dinner at Duffy’s.” Such a stunt might keep the tavern open over the summer, but when the question of salary comes along, she says no dice. Chase adds: “Is this to be Dinner at Duffy’s or Supper at Sing Sing?” Chase leaves when the food is too rich at the tavern, having heard Archie explain what they serve, claiming she’s going back to the Waldorf for some good old-fashioned corned beef and cabbage.

Trivia, etc. In the beginning of this episode, Archie makes a mention that next week is the last night for Duffy’s Tavern, because Duffy plans to close the tavern for the summer. Chase’s former program, which was broadcast in the afternoon time slot, concluded just a couple weeks before her appearance on Duffy’s Tavern.

Episode #16 -- Broadcast Saturday, June 14, 1941
Miss June Nevin
Plot: Miss June Nevin of the Moore-McCormack Steamship Lines, the one that hires entertainers and bands for the boats that go to South America, is guest in this episode and when Archie finds out who is planning to pay a visit, not only does this prompt a Carmen Miranda joke, but he attempts to get Eddie Green “the singing waiter” to get booked for the coming season. Crudface and Dugan, Archie’s lawyers, show up towards the end of the broadcast and create a fiasco that messes up the entire affair.

Trivia, etc. At the conclusion of this episode, the announcer informs the radio audience that Duffy’s Tavern will return in the middle of September and to pay attention to local newspaper listings for details.

Shameless plug... I am finishing my book about Duffy's Tavern, which has been in the works for about ten years. Only thing holding me up is contacting a certain individual in the Midwest has what I know will fill in the remaining gaps I need to complete the manuscript. The book is contracted through Bear Manor Media and due for a 2012 release.