For more than 20 years, the radio comedy team of Chester Lauck and Norris "Tuffy" Goff entertained millions of Americans with their homespun rural humor. Their "Lum and Abner," show featured Lum Edwards, (pronounced "Eddards"), and Abner Peabody, who operated a small country store ("The Jot 'Em Down Store") in the mythical village of Pine Ridge, Arkansas.
Lauck and Goff were themselves Arkansas natives and built their stories around characters very much like the people they had known in real life. In addition to the main protagonists, Lum and Abner, Lauck and Goff did the voices for Squire Skimp, Cedric Weehunt, Dick Huddleston, Snake Hogan, Mousy Gray, Ulysses S. Quincy, and Milford Avery "Grandpappy" Spears. These characters shared Lum and Abner's adventures in a daily 15 minute serial.
The program became one of the most listened to shows in America and Lauck and Goff, the native sons who made the show what it was, were particularly well regarded by their fellow Arkansans. In 1936, in response to the popularity of the program, the residents of the tiny town of Waters petitioned to have the village renamed Pine Ridge. It is located about 20 miles east of Mena, and although little remains of what was never a large town, Pine Ridge remains the site of a museum dedicated to the memory of those who made it famous--Lum and Abner.
Fortunately, Chet and Tuffy were diligent about saving recordings of their broadcasts, and though some of their 5,000 plus broadcasts occurred over 70 years ago, many remain in circulation and can be easily acquired on the Internet. Unlike the programs of the great Bob Hope and others who depended upon topical humor, the Lum and Abner shows hold up very well today. They remain funny because their humor derives from the foibles of an unchanging human nature.
If you have not heard this wonderful show, I heartily recommend you invest an hour or two with Lum and Abner. Unless your funny bone is very different from mine, you will become a fan. (Perhaps, I need to point out that I am in no way associated with the show, the town, or the museum. I am just a fan who has derived great enjoyment from this show.)
Although, I became a Lum and Abner devotee a number of years ago, I got my first chance to visit Pine Ridge just last year. My wife and I greatly enjoyed our visit to the little town's only commercial structure--the combination general store, post office, and Lum and Abner Museum. The storekeeper, postmistress, and museum guide, Kathy Stucker, made us feel very welcome.
The photo below appears on Kathy's web site for the museum, while the remainder are photos that I took in 2004.