And now a
page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: February 16th, 1903, 111
years ago today . . . a day that's worth talking about.
For that was the day Edgar Bergen was born in Decatur, Michigan.
Bergen taught himself ventriloquism at the age of 11, and found fame and fortune once he teamed up with a wooden sidekick named Charlie McCarthy.
With his top hat and monocle and impertinent wise-cracking ways, Charlie McCarthy was a hit with audiences, first on the vaudeville circuit, then in films, and -- starting in 1937 -- on radio (an unlikely ventriloquism venue, some would say).
After their radio days ended in 1956, Bergen and McCarthy went on to Las Vegas and television, including a 1964 edition of "The Hollywood Palace," where Charlie tweaked Bergen for a professional shortcoming:
McCarthy: "I hope you won't embarrass me like you did in Las Vegas."
Bergen: "What about Las Vegas? I thought I gave a very moving performance."
McCarthy: "Oh yes, it was moving all right, especially your lips."
Edgar Bergen died in 1978 . . . and Charlie McCarthy moved on to a new home, the Smithsonian in Washington.
Today, Edgar Bergen's daughter Candace carries on the family acting tradition -- doing all her own talking.
For more info:
- Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy - Various radio appearances from 1937-1955 (Archives.org)