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The Hank McCune Show began locally in New York in 1949. The show went national on NBC, briefly, in 1950.
Former radio comedian McCune portrayed a television variety show host named after himself. Hank always had good intentions but was easily confused and his curiosity continually got him into some outrageous predicaments.
Hank shared a bungalow with a friend named Lester Mayberry (Hanley Stafford). In fact, Lester regretted this fact and kept track of the time since Hank moved in (“two months, seven days, three hours, 26 seconds”).
Lester worked at the West Trust and Savings Bank for 18 years. He was close to becoming first vice president of the bank, but his boss, Mr Higgins (Thurston Hall), told him that the misadventures of McCune were actually holding him back from promotion.
Significantly, this show is credited with being the very first show to employ a laugh track. In a review of the show, Variety didn’t quite know what to make of the canned laughter. Little did they realise how often it would be used over the next few decades.
A syndicated version of The Hank McCune Show, with a different supporting cast, was seen briefly in 1953-1954.