duffy's-tavern

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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.

Last night’s show at Duffy’s Tavern was a ton of fun!

Thanks to all our stringz who came out. And a huge thanks to For The Birds for having us. You guys (and gal) put on such a ridiculously amazing performance! So glad we had the chance to share the stage with you again!

The next shows we have are lined up for February 4th (Aspetta Cafe in Kensington Market) and a valentines show at the Garrison on February 12th! Hope to catch ya’ll there! xo

Ed Gardner was born June 29, 1901. The actor, writer, and director is best known as the creator and star of Duffy’s Tavern. Gardner starred as Archie, the manager of the titular tavern (Duffy, as it was explained every week, was never found in his own place), and he found fame as the wisecracking bartender with a loose grasp of proper grammar. Duffy’s Tavern aired on radio from 1941 to 1952.

In honor of his birthday, I’ll post some of Gardner’s radio work. For more from the Golden Age of Radio, click here to subscribe to the “Down These Mean Streets” podcast in iTunes.

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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.

In honor of its anniversary, I’ll post some Duffy’s Tavern radio episodes. For more from the Golden Age of Radio, click here to subscribe to the “Down These Mean Streets” podcast in iTunes.

"Duffy's Tavern" (July 29, 1940)
Ed Gardner
"Duffy's Tavern" (July 29, 1940)

On July 29, 1940, Duffy’s Tavern debuted on an episode of Forecast on CBS Radio. Forecast was a forum for auditions for potential new shows on the network; another CBS hit that grew out of a Forecast appearance was “radio’s outstanding theater of thrills,” Suspense. Audience reaction to Ed Gardner and his memorable character of Archie the manager led to a regular series that launched in March 1941 and remained on the air for a decade.

In honor of its anniversary, here is that audition program for Duffy’s Tavern as presented on Forecast.