Thurl's Career On Radio

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The Goose Creek Parson
Thurl's career began on radio in the mid-1930s. He appeared on The Goose Creek Parson, which was broadcast from Hollywood every morning on KFAC. CBS picked up the show and it aired nationally three nights a week. Thurl was a member of the Goose Creek Quartet along with Al Harlan, Bill Days, and William McDougall. Thurl did much of the announcing and portrayed several characters including Elijah "Lige" Gupton and Grandpa Hortle. After William Hogg, who played the title character, Parson Josiah Hopkins, passed away in 1937, his widow Virginia Hogg, known on the show as Sister Sarah, kept the show going into the early 1960's. For more information on the Goose Creek Quartet visit The Country Church of Hollywood website. Thurl left the show to join the Paul Taylor Choristers.

Shows with The Paul Taylor Choristers
Thurl joined the Paul Taylor Choristers who were on a couple of popular radio shows: The Gilmore Circus and the Kraft Music Hall, the latter which stared Bing Crosby. Bill Days and Max Smith were part of the group which consisted on eight men and six women all singing around one microphone. Also on these shows was Spike Jones, who was the drummer in the NBC Studio Orchestra at the time.

Shows with The Sportsmen
Thurl joined the Sportsmen in 1938, teaming up with Bill Days and Max Smith again. At one point the Sportsmen were on 14 different radio programs, including The Al Pearce Show (on which they were billed as The Merry Men), The Sealtest Village Store with Rudy Vallee, The Ginny Simms Show, and The Burns and Allen Show. The were on the show In Little Old Hollywood where they were billed as The Hollywoodmen. Since the shows were not recorded, this meant they did one show for the East Coast and another one for the West Coast (three hours later), a total of 28 shows a week. 

The Sportsmen made frequent guest appearances on The Jell-O Program starring Jack Benny in the late 1930s and early 1940s. One such appearance was the January 25,1942 show called "The Frightwig Murder Case" (2:58), in which the quartet portrays Jack's lawyers.

Thurl left the Sportsmen in 1942 to join the military, and by the time Thurl returned to Hollywood in 1947 the Sportsmen were regulars on Jack's show, which had changed networks and was re-titled The Lucky Strike Program. After the war, the Sportsmen continued to be the #1 radio quartet and Thurl made a few appearances with them on shows starring Jack Benny, Judy Canova, and Eddie Cantor before going on to create a new quartet, The Mellomen. Even after Thurl formed the Mellomen, the Sportsmen had continued success on radio primarily with Jack Benny, but others they worked with included Edgar Bergen, Mel Blanc, and Phil Harris. 

Shows with The Mellomen
Thurl's new quartet, The Mellomen, spent most of their time in the recording studio backing up some of the best know singers in Hollywood, but they also appeared on a number of  radio shows, most notably The Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy Hour. They were also on The Railroad Hour as part of the Norman Luboff Choir. On a few episodes of The Railroad Hour, Thurl did some solo work and even had an occasional speaking role. The Mellomen frequently appeared on The Roy Rogers Show and were regulars on The New Edgar Bergen Hour in the mid 1950's

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