A native of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Don Ameche started his radio career
in 1930 on Empire Builders, a program broadcast from Chicagos
Merchandise Mart. By 1932, Ameche had become the leading man on
two other Chicago-based programs: the dramatic anthology First
Nighter and Betty and Bob, considered by many to be the
forerunner of the soap-opera genre.
In 1936, he moved to California and the following year began working
on The Chase and Sanborn Hour. As master of ceremonies, he
exchanged jokes with stars Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, singers
Nelson Eddy and Dorothy Lamour and countless guest stars from Broadway
Perhaps Ameches best-remembered role was that of the gruff
John Bickerson, whose verbal battles with his argumentative wife
Blanche (played by Frances Langford), were regularly heard on Drene
Time, Ameches 1947 variety show. Although this sort of
verbal jousting was new to both Ameche and Langford, the characters
proved so enduring that the pair later recorded a series of Bickersons
albums for Columbia Records.
After a long and successful career in radio, television and film,
Don Ameche died on December 6, 1993.
Don Ameche was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1992.
courtesy of Photofest.
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