The Hy Averback Centennial

Born 100 years ago today, radio/tv/film actor/comedian/announcer/director/producer Hy Averback (1920-1997).

I’m certain I first encountered Averback’s name in the credits to sit-coms. He was not only one of the producers and directors on M*A*S*H (1972-82), he was also the funny voice on the loudspeaker. He also produced F Troop and other shows, and directed episodes of The Real McCoys, Columbo, Quark and many another program. He directed one of my favorite comedies I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968), as well as films like Chamber of Horrors (1966), Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? (1968), The Great Bank Robbery (1969) and Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? (1970).

Minneapolis native Averback got his start with Armed Forces Radio during World War Two, experience that informed his bits on M*A*S*H. He returned to the States to do announcing chores on the radio shows of Jack Paar and Bob Hope; he also made several appearances on The Jack Benny Program all in 1947 and 1948. On TV in the 50s you could see (and/or hear) him on The Saturday Night Revue, The Colgate Comedy Hour, The Red Skelton Hour, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, I Love Lucy, The Danny Thomas Show, and Our Miss Brooks. You can also see him in movies like Francis in the Navy (1955) and The Benny Goodman Story (1956).

Averback retired in the mid 1980s, although he did emerge in 1992 to play an announcer in the TV movie of Mastergate by his old colleague Larry Gelbart.