The days of the large, live hillbilly radio shows are long gone, but these shows, which had their formatic roots in Vaudeville, were the true forerunners of television’s variety programs.
As early as 1931, KMOX had a regular, early morning program, full of talented people and led by Harry “Pappy” Cheshire. For 90 minutes each week, different acts paraded before the microphone in the cavernous KMOX studios. Each musician or group had a different sound, and Pappy, as the emcee, would weave it all together joking with members of the acts.
At least one of those acts was unique because of the age, and the experience, of the star. Little Georgie Goebel had come to St. Louis as a teenager after appearing for several years on the WLS National Barn Dance in Chicago. As was the case with all performers, Little Georgie was working on his image as he gained show business experience.
In a later interview, he credited his work at KMOX with helping his with his comedic timing.
He didn’t really hit the “big time” until after the end of World War II, and he dropped a letter in his surname along the way. Gobel’s guitar remained an integral part of his act, but he is remembered for his stand-up comedy.