1 9 5 3 – 1 9 5 6 (USA)
Sharp-tongued satirists Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding had such an excellent on-air rapport as staff announcers at a local radio station in Boston that they were offered a national network show by NBC.
Before long, their show – which was broadcast “approximately coast-to-coast” – became one of radio’s most frequently listened-to segments.
Bob and Ray developed such memorable characters and sketches as Wally Ballou, “radio’s highly regarded and totally inept” remote broadcast reporter (who always began his reports in the middle of a sentence because he had forgotten to turn on his microphone); Mary McGoon, the oddball talk -show hostess who was a combination of home economics expert Mary Margaret McBride and Julia Child; The Transatlantic Bridge; Robin Hood of Sherman Forest; Pemberton the weatherman (“How’s the weather for the weekend? It’s hard for me to explain. Suffice to say it’s going to be peachy”); Mr District Defender; Sports reporter Steve Bosco (who opened each report with “This is Steve Bosco, rounding third and being thrown out at home”); Tales Well Calculated to Keep you in Anxiety; “Do It Yourself” handyman Fred Falvy; and One Feller’s Family, a parody of the long-running popular radio series, One Man’s Family.
The duo had a matchless ear for all the cliches of radio and television, its announcers, its commercials, its comedians – and they pitched them in recklessly at the most inappropriate moments.
They also had a soft spot for soap operas, presenting segments such as Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife (a sketch that spoofed the Mary Noble, Backstage Wife daytime radio series) and Helen Harkness, Sob Sister, the engrossing behind-the-scenes story of newspaper life as seen through the eyes of an attractive widow.
Bob and Ray were on the air in various time slots on several local stations in Boston and New York and were heard on National Public Radio stations after their network show ended.
Ray Goulding became ill in the late 1970s, suffering from kidney disease and enduring regular dialysis treatments. He died on 24 March 1990, aged 68.
Bob Elliott died from throat cancer on 2 February 2016. He was 92.