On March 1, 1941, Duffy’s Tavern opened for business on radio. Ed Gardner created the show and starred as Archie, the manager who ran the tavern (and mangled the English language) in the perpetual absence of the titular owner. He was supported by a memorable cast of characters, including Miss Duffy - the man-crazy boss’ daughter; Clifton Finnegan, a loveable lug and barfly; and Eddie, the waiter and Archie’s friend and confidant.
Over the years, dozens of guest stars stopped in at the tavern, including Alan Ladd, Bob Hope, Fred Allen, Gene Tierney, and Veronica Lake. Ed Gardner oversaw the production, but he was supported by an immensely talented young team of writers including Abe Burrows, Larry Gelbart - future writer of M*A*S*H, and Dick Martin - later half of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.
The series spawned a 1945 feature film, but it failed to perform at the box office. A 1954 syndicated TV series likewise failed to engage an audience. But on radio, the hijinks at Duffy’s Tavern were at their best, with listeners coming back to “where the elite meet to eat” for ten years.