Comedy Show (1941 - 47 )
The Bob Burns Show was a comedy show that debuted in
September 1941 as The Arkansas Traveler. It often
featured the music of Spike Jones.
Burns became well known for playing his "Bazooka," a homemade
instrument that he made from a whiskey funnel and two gas
pipes. He invented the word "bazooka" and copyrighted it
in 1920.During WWII, the soldiers
began calling their rocket launchers "bazookas" thanks to
their likeness to Bob Burns' instrument. The Bob Burns
Show was sponsored by Campbell's Soup, Dreft, American
Foods, Lever Brothers, and Lifebuoy Soap.
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Bob Burns was born in Van Buren, Arkansas. He grew up with
a love of music, tooting around on his cornet and trombone.By thirteen, he had his own stringed band. He discovered
his trademark "Bazooka" instrument one evening while practicing
in the back of the local Hayman's Plumbing Shop.Legend
has it that, much to the amusement of his fellow prepubescent
band members, he tripped over some gas pipe in the middle
Falling to the floor, he didn't miss a beat
– as his trombone skittered across the linoleum, he put
the gas pipe to his mouth and blew it to emit a noise much
like an ailing moose. A small-time peanut farmer, WWI Marine Sergeant, and salesman,
Bob Burns finally found his home in the radio and movie
industry after a stint as a hillbilly and blackface in vaudeville.
Burns played on the Rudy Vallee Show, giving long-winded
political speeches much like Will Rogers. When Will Rogers died, however, he became so well known Burns had to change
his act. Burns was later introduced by Bing
Crosby on his Kraft Music Hall Show, which led
to the creation of his own radio program. His favorite characters
were his fake hillbilly relatives, Uncle Fud, Grandpa Snazzy
and Aunt Doody.
For Bob Burns recordings from the 1930's, see also: Komedie Kapers.