The very first Lum and Abner radio program was broadcast live on April 26, 1931 over Hot Springs radio station KTHS. Radio was still a relatively new medium and the Lum and Abner program was one of the early programs that helped usher in the Golden Era of broadcasting.
The characters that became household names across the country on the Lum and Abner Show were from Mena, Arkansas, Chet Lauck and Norris Goff. Movies would follow, as well as TV shows and all the fame one would expect, yet those who knew them often comment that they never forgot their hometown.
Chet Lauck (Lum) is shown with Mena businessman Doy Grubbs during a 1979 visit to Mena. Grubbs tirelessly promoted Mena and loved the Lum and Abner connection.
Lauck and Goff quickly became well respected actors and were personally acquainted with the starts of the day. In 1947 on the 16TH anniversary broadcast, an impressive list of those stars dropped by the studio to help them celebrate, including Jack Bailey, Kay Kyser, Andy Devine, Jim and Marion Jordon (Fibber McGee and Molly), just to name a few. You may notice in the broadcast that, mistakenly, it is referred to as the "17TH anniversary", but I have been assured that it is the 16TH.
To commemorate the 90TH anniversary of the first Lum and Abner broadcast, KAWX will air the 16TH anniversary show. The show was provided to KAWX by Donnie Pitchford, the Lum and Abner Comic Strip cartoonist, from a 74 year old 16 inch transcription disc. The show will air at 6:30 p.m. on KAWX 93.1 in Mena, 94.9 in the Hatfield and Cove area, or anywhere in the world at KAWX.ORG. You can also listen with a free KAWX app available at the App Store or Google Play, on any smart TV or device with the TuneIn app, or on Amazon Echo!
My grandmother used to tell me that she stopped her work in time to listen to Lum and Abner, and she way very well have been listening in 1931. And now 90 years later the show is still being played on radio stations around the country!
To learn more about Lum and Abner, visit the Encyclopedia of Arkansas or the National Lum and Abner Society. You may also want to visit the Lum and Abner Museum in nearby Pine Ridge, Arkansas operated by Lon and Kathyrn Stucker.
For those unable to listen at 6:30 p.m. on April 26TH, we will share a link on the KAWX Facebook page as well as my personal page to the show as a podcast.
4-25-21 5:35 p.m. KAWX.ORG
To listen to KAWX online, click on the old radio above.