Welcome to OTRCAT.com: Old Time Radio Catalog
 > 
  Comedy   Personality   Music  

Phil Baker Collection

His earliest stage successes were in Boston area amateur shows, but he is best known on radio for hosting Take It Or Leave It, which eventually became The $64 Question. Guest Appearances by the Zany Baker and his Feisty Heckler! Update: additional broadcasts

10%
OFF

30 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 17 hours, 3 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
or
12 Audio CDs


Choose your CD format
or order disks individually: Add to Cart
Add to wishlist
Play a sample episode from May 11, 1947:

"Command Performance with Guest Star Phil Baker"



... or click here to save the Mp3 file to your computer

About this Old Time Radio Show

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Phil Baker - Laugh?  I simply Howl at Phil Baker
Guest appearances on Comedy and Musical Variety Shows(1930s-1950s)

Phil Baker's instrument of choice, the accordion

Early network radio comedy could be viewed as an extension of the Vaudeville circuit of the early decades of the Twentieth century. Many of the early radio stars had known each other, worked together, and often been friends while working in Vaudeville. The list of Vaudevillians in radio is practically a Who’s-Who of radio comedy; Fred Allen, Ed Wynn, Jim and Marian Jordan (Fibber McGee and Molly), George Burns and Gracie Allen, Jimmy Durante, and Jack Benny, just to name a few.

Phil Baker, 1930s radioPhil Baker had his career beginnings on the stage of his local movie house, then later in the vaudeville circuit. He went on tour in the 1920s with Ben Bernie as an accordion-violin playing headliner. His early work included accordion music and radio skits with an English butler character who had a love for Shirley Temple dolls. Interestingly, Phil Baker was a very nervous actor, and would get the trembles before he went on the air. To calm his fears, he created a heckling character nestled somewhere in the audience that would shout at him through a megaphone. The heckler shouted that he was no good and should get off the air. By creating and thus controlling his worst fear, the heckler, this helped Phil to relax and allowed him to proceed with his show in a calm manner. It also provided great comedy relief that kept the show moving.

Some of these Vaudevillians seemed to be working in broadcasting as a way to make ends meet until the radio fad passed and they could get back on the circuit, but most appreciated radio for what it was; a way to reach a larger audience and a means to make a decent living in show business while still getting the chance to sleep in their own beds every night.

Vaudeville did not die right away the way radio would a couple decades later when TV came around. There was still enough demand for live performers to keep a few of the Vaudeville circuits open, or perhaps the performers never got the work about what a sweet setup radio was. As it turns out, many of them didn’t get the word because they were down at the racetrack, putting a bet on a losing horse.

Phil Baker and Carmen MirandaPhil Baker was a latecomer to radio. Born in Philadelphia, 1896, Baker grew up in Boston, and his earliest stage successes were in Boston area amateur shows, just like Fred Allen had started in. Pretty soon he partnered his piano playing with violinist Ed Janis in a serious musical act, but he turned to the accordion because its tone was more reliable than the questionably tuned pianos found in the average vaudeville house. At 19, he teamed with violin player Ben Bernie (who would later have a name dispute with Jack Benny, who performed under the stage name Ben K. Benny early in his career). Benny and Baker began incorporating more comedy into their act, sensing that it made audiences happier than their music.

When America became involved in WWI, Baker joined the Navy (the path Jack Benny also followed) and returned to Vaudeville after mustering out, initially as a single. Soon he added Sid Silvers as a planted heckler in the audience. The heckler bit worked, and Baker was on his way to becoming a headliner. He took some time out of Vaudeville to appear in Broadway revues. Even though Broadway took a big hit at the beginning of the Great Depression, Baker stayed with it. After all, his bookie had to eat, too.

Although ticket sales were down, the lights were kept on long enough for Rudy Vallee to introduce Phil Baker to a national radio audience. Soon after debuting on The Fleischmann’s Hour, Phil was given his own show on St. Patrick’s Day, 1933. In support, he had Sid Silver, still as a heckler but this time a ghost rather than an audience member. He also had a very English butler named Bottle played by Harry McNaughton. Ratings began to sag by the time the show entered its fifth season, a victim of the sudden popularity of quiz show. Baker returned to Broadway for a season, and then took an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ’em” attitude and began hosting Take It Or Leave It, which eventually became The $64 Question, in 1942.

Phil BakerBaker’s most famous moment in broadcasting came at the expense of Fred Allen. Take It Or Leave It had the timeslot immediately after The Fred Allen Show. This helped Baker’s show with a primed audience, but Fred, who often tinkered with his scripts right up to air time, habitually ran over his timeslot. One night, just after the second sponsor’s spot, Phil Baker barged onto Fred’s show, claiming that he had been keeping track of all the times that Fred ran long, and to date Fred owed Phil fifteen minutes. Therefore, he was starting Take It Or Leave It right then. Allen and company went along with the farce, even though Fred was famously bitter against quiz shows. Of course, the whole thing was a setup in a similar vein as the Jack Benny/Fred Allen Feud, and like the feud it boosted ratings for both shows.

In 1950, Take It Or Leave It was retooled as The $64 Question, and the hosting duties rotated between Baker, Gary Moore, and Jack Paar. By the end of 1951, Paar was the only host. Phil Baker did take a stab at Television, hosting the pilot for the quiz show Who’s Whose, where the panel tried to determine which of the contestants was married to the guest. The show was canceled after one episode.

Baker was married to Danish model Ingraad Erik. In 1960, the couple moved to Copenhagen where Baker died in 1963.

On February 8, 1960, just a short time before the move to Denmark, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was dedicated at 6247 Hollywood Blvd to honor Phil Baker’s contributions to Radio. The Star is co-located with Stars honoring June Knight and Hedy Lamarr.

This collection includes Phil Bakers guest appearances on various programs, such as Burns and Allen,Command Performance, Duffy's Tavern and Jack Benny, as well as a few episodes of Take It or Leave It, a quiz show that he hosted from 1941 through 1947.

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:
  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    30 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $4.50
    total playtime 17 hours, 3 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      30 shows - total playtime 17 hours 3 minutes
      1. Beechnut Hour Phil Baker No Ending.mp3
      2. Big Show 510107 Fred Allen, Danny Thomas.mp3
      3. Big Show 510318 E20 Fred Allen, Phil Baker.mp3
      4. Big Show 510318 Fred Allen, Phil Baker.mp3
      5. Burns Allen 461114 Louella Parsons.mp3
      6. Com 57 Goldwyn Follies 1938 Bergen Mccarthy.mp3
      7. CP 420416 Clifton Fadiman, Dinah Shore.mp3
      8. CP 431221 Fred Waring, Kate Smith, Orson Welles.mp3
      9. Cp 470223 253 Ginger Rogers Rose Marie Phil Baker.mp3
      10. CP 470511 Phil Baker.mp3
      11. Duffys Tavern 440222 038 Quiz Show W.phil Baker.mp3
      12. Duffys Tavern 510427 407 Balancing Books.mp3
      13. Fred Allen 430228 Phil Baker.mp3
      14. Fred Allen 460106 052 Take It Or Leave It.mp3
      15. Fred Allen430208 Phil Baker.mp3
      16. Guest Star 470410 0003 Phil Baker.mp3
      17. Hall Of Fame 440227 013 Aldrich Family Pt 1.mp3
      18. Hollywood Is On Air 380000 Goldwyn Follies.mp3
      19. Jack Benny 430110 1415 Sixtyfo.mp3
      20. Jack Benny Program 461201 598 Jack Appear Phil Bakers.mp3
      21. Mail Call 430407 032 Lionel Barrymore Langford Phil Baker.mp3
      22. Radio Hall Of Fame 440723 034 I Want To Be Happy.mp3
      23. Recollections At 30 560801 Crash Of Hindenburg.mp3
      24. Redsk 461119 Automobile Parking Problem.mp3
      25. Rexall 461115 Foreign Legion. Phil Baker.mp3
      26. Song 1923 I M Syncopatin Mamma.mp3
      27. Song 1925 Big Butter And Egg Man.mp3
      28. Stars In Afternoon 460922 1946 Cbs Programming Preview.mp3
      29. Take It Or Leave It 421108 First Catagory Football Teams.mp3
      30. Take It Or Leave It 470713 Popular Broadway Songs.com.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    30 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $4.50
    total playtime 17 hours, 3 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      30 shows - total playtime 17 hours 3 minutes
      1. Beechnut Hour Phil Baker No Ending.mp3
      2. Big Show 510107 Fred Allen, Danny Thomas.mp3
      3. Big Show 510318 E20 Fred Allen, Phil Baker.mp3
      4. Big Show 510318 Fred Allen, Phil Baker.mp3
      5. Burns Allen 461114 Louella Parsons.mp3
      6. Com 57 Goldwyn Follies 1938 Bergen Mccarthy.mp3
      7. CP 420416 Clifton Fadiman, Dinah Shore.mp3
      8. CP 431221 Fred Waring, Kate Smith, Orson Welles.mp3
      9. Cp 470223 253 Ginger Rogers Rose Marie Phil Baker.mp3
      10. CP 470511 Phil Baker.mp3
      11. Duffys Tavern 440222 038 Quiz Show W.phil Baker.mp3
      12. Duffys Tavern 510427 407 Balancing Books.mp3
      13. Fred Allen 430228 Phil Baker.mp3
      14. Fred Allen 460106 052 Take It Or Leave It.mp3
      15. Fred Allen430208 Phil Baker.mp3
      16. Guest Star 470410 0003 Phil Baker.mp3
      17. Hall Of Fame 440227 013 Aldrich Family Pt 1.mp3
      18. Hollywood Is On Air 380000 Goldwyn Follies.mp3
      19. Jack Benny 430110 1415 Sixtyfo.mp3
      20. Jack Benny Program 461201 598 Jack Appear Phil Bakers.mp3
      21. Mail Call 430407 032 Lionel Barrymore Langford Phil Baker.mp3
      22. Radio Hall Of Fame 440723 034 I Want To Be Happy.mp3
      23. Recollections At 30 560801 Crash Of Hindenburg.mp3
      24. Redsk 461119 Automobile Parking Problem.mp3
      25. Rexall 461115 Foreign Legion. Phil Baker.mp3
      26. Song 1923 I M Syncopatin Mamma.mp3
      27. Song 1925 Big Butter And Egg Man.mp3
      28. Stars In Afternoon 460922 1946 Cbs Programming Preview.mp3
      29. Take It Or Leave It 421108 First Catagory Football Teams.mp3
      30. Take It Or Leave It 470713 Popular Broadway Songs.com.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    30 recordings on 12 Audio CDs
    total playtime 11 hours, 8 min

    Phil Baker Disc A001

    1. Beechnut Hour Phil Baker No Ending
    2. Com 57 Goldwyn Follies 1938 Bergen Mccarthy
    3. Song 1923 I M Syncopatin Mamma
    4. Song 1925 Big Butter And Egg Man
    5. Hollywood Is On Air 380000 Goldwyn Follies

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Phil Baker Disc A002

    1. CP 420416 Clifton Fadiman, Dinah Shore
    2. Take It Or Leave It 421108 First Catagory Football Teams

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Phil Baker Disc A003

    1. Jack Benny 430110 1415 Sixtyfo
    2. Fred Allen430208 Phil Baker

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Phil Baker Disc A004

    1. Fred Allen 430228 Phil Baker
    2. Mail Call 430407 032 Lionel Barrymore Langford Phil Baker

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Phil Baker Disc A005

    1. CP 431221 Fred Waring, Kate Smith, Orson Welles
    2. Duffys Tavern 440222 038 Quiz Show W.phil Baker

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Phil Baker Disc A006

    1. Hall Of Fame 440227 013 Aldrich Family Pt 1

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Phil Baker Disc A007

    1. Radio Hall Of Fame 440723 034 I Want To Be Happy

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Phil Baker Disc A008

    1. Fred Allen 460106 052 Take It Or Leave It
    2. Burns Allen 461114 Louella Parsons

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Phil Baker Disc A009

    1. Rexall 461115 Foreign Legion. Phil Baker
    2. Redsk 461119 Automobile Parking Problem

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Phil Baker Disc A010

    1. Jack Benny Program 461201 598 Jack Appear Phil Bakers
    2. Cp 470223 253 Ginger Rogers Rose Marie Phil Baker
    3. Guest Star 470410 0003 Phil Baker

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Phil Baker Disc A011

    1. CP 470511 Phil Baker
    2. Take It Or Leave It 470713 Popular Broadway Songs.com

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Phil Baker Disc A012

    1. Duffys Tavern 510427 407 Balancing Books
    2. Recollections At 30 560801 Crash Of Hindenburg

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

LISTENERS WHO ENJOYED THESE RECORDINGS ALSO COLLECTED