Boy, Have Things Ever Changed!

#OldTimeRadio #OTR #MaeWest #CharlieMcCarthy
Mae West, Charlie McCarthy, and Edgar Bergen

In 1937, Mae West made a guest appearance on the radio program “The Chase and Sanborn Show.” She appeared in two skits during the show. One was a scene with ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy (and star of the show), Charlie McCarthy. The other skit was a parody of the biblical account of Adam and Eve, in which she played Eve to Don Ameche’s Adam.

The script had been approved in advance by network censors, and West delivered her lines exactly as they were written. What the network and the show’s sponsors failed to account for was the flirtatious and sultry tone of her voice and manner of her delivery of her lines. Before the show was over, NBC’s switchboard was flooded with calls from outraged listeners who objected to such indecency. As a result, Mae West earned a lifetime ban from NBC.

Along the same lines, Bob Hope once remarked, “Back when I started out, you weren’t allowed to say the word pregnant on the air. Now, not only can you say it, but you can show how she got in that condition to start with.”


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