Today is the birthday of Frederick Chase Taylor (1897-1950), a.k.a Colonel Lemuel Q. Stoopnagle. His partner on radio from 1930 through 1937 was Wilbur Budd Hulick (1905-1961). Together they were the popular comedy team of Stoopnagle and Budd.
Like most modern people, I discovered the team through their brief appearance in the all-star 1933 Paramount comedy International House. Their comedy was very quirky and witty: surreal and satirical with much in common with Ed Wynn and Fred Allen, and they have been called forerunners of Bob and Ray. They were also among the first personalities to have gotten their start in radio (as opposed to having a prior career in vaudeville.) They were both local announcers at a Buffalo station (Taylor was also a musician); an emergency caused the network to go dead one day in 1930 forcing the two to improvise, and they became an instant hit. Several months later they became network stars at CBS. Much like Wynn, Stoopnagel was famous for his whimsical “inventions”, such as an upside-down lighthouse for submarines. Another trademark were his Spoonerisms, deriving comedy by transposing letters between two words in a phrase. (“Prinderella and the Since” rather than “Cinderella and the Prince”). “Stoopnocracy” too became both a feature of their shows and a national catchphrase. The team is also credited with being the first national broadcasting personalities to incorporate impressions of other celebrities into their comedy. After the team broke up in 1937, the partners each had separate solo careers, with Stoopnagel enjoying the greater success, remaining a nationally popular figure until his death. Hulick hosted several national game shows before going back to local radio in Buffalo.
One last bit of entertaining trivia: Taylor (Stoopnagle) was first cousins with H.P. Lovecraft!
To learn more about comedy history please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc. To learn about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.