In Which Mae West Offends the Public in Her 4th Medium (Radio)


A little post about a historical event which occurred on December 12, 1937. That is the date on which Mae West appeared on The Chase and Sanborn Hour starring Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.

Thus far in her career West had run afoul of the authorities and producers in the fields of vaudeville, the Broadway stage, and Hollywood films. She had been banned, censored, fined, arrested and even incarcerated for her naughty mouth and equally naughty pen. But thus far she’d had no run-ins with the radio networks (probably because she hadn’t done much radio). All that was about to change. Her appearance on the show featured a sketch where Don Ameche played Adam, and Mae played Eve – – an Eve who was all too willing to eat the apple of temptation, and only too glad to blow the boredom of Eden, which her character refers to as a “dump”. Then she did a skit with Charlie McCarthy where she said suggestive lines like “Honey, I’ll let you play in my wood pile”.

A massive protest write-in campaign occurred (mostly from religious groups) and Mae was banned from NBC for 12 years. Aside from Orson Welles’ “little green man” prank, this is one of the most notorious incidents of the classic radio era.

Curious to know what all the fuss was about? You can hear it here:

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.