One of the biggest, and probably the longest, radio dramas
ever to be broadcast, Ma Perkins paved the way for modern
Ma Perkins, played for 27 years by Virginia
Payne who was only 23 years old when she started, was
the woman's answer to Just Plain Bill. Ma Perkins was
the owner and manager of a lumber yard in Rushville Center,
which had a population of just 4,000. The show revolved
around Ma Perkins, her three children, Evey, John, and
Fay, and their children.
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Evey is a superficial woman whose only goal is to become
the head of the 'crème de la crème' group
of the community, the Jolly Seventeen. Even though her
shrewd persona gave off a snobbish aura about her, Evey
has one saving grace is her warm and kind heart. Evey
is married to Willy Fitz, who's always coming up with
Perkins was only on the show shortly because, unfortunately,
he was killed in World War II and
was buried "somewhere in Germany in an unmarked grave."
Ma's darling was Fay, a miniature version of her mother.
Fay was the victim of love and was said to be "thoroughly
at the mercy of her emotions." Fay went through many
love affairs, one ending tragically as her husband was
killed in 1940, less than a year after their marriage.
The lumber yard's co-owner, Shuffle Shuber, was in many
ways like Ma Perkins. He was very up front about his feelings
and was true to the human spirit. His keen way of looking
past deceitful actions overshadowed his inability to be
glib, like Ma Perkins. He and Ma would usually sit on
Ma's porch and talk, sentimentally, about the world around
them and their loved ones. Even though they didn't solve
any of their problems by talking about them, they departed
with an ease in their hearts that allowed them to bear
By the end of the shows run, it was already being broadcast
around America, including Hawaii, and throughout Europe
on Radio Luxembourg.
For more popular soap opera dramas, see also Hearts in Harmony, Mary
Noble, Backstage Wife, and Young
This collection is in the extensive Hummert Radio Factory Collection. Called the parents of soap opera, Anne and Frank Hummert also created Betty and Bob, Front Page Farrell, Mr. Keen Tracer of Lost Persons, Ma Perkins, Just Plain Bill, Mary Noble Backstage Wife, Young Widder Brown, Mr. Chameleon, Stella Dallas, Manhattan Merry Go Round, Lora Lawton, The American Melody Hour, Hearthstone of the Death Squad, Lorenzo Jones, Nona From Nowhere, Our Gal Sunday, Inspector Thorne, Romance of Helen Trent, and more.