Harry Von Zell

Show Count: 44
Series Count: 6
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Old Time Radio
Born: July 11, 1906, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Died: November 21, 1981, Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA

Harry von Zell (July 11, 1906 – November 21, 1981), born in Indianapolis, Indiana, made his mark as an announcer of radio programs and an actor in films and television shows.

Life and career

His family moved to California, where von Zell studied music and drama at the University of California, Los Angeles and worked at a variety of jobs. After friends tricked him into singing on a radio program, he received offers from radio stations, and his radio career began. Auditioning for Paul Whiteman's radio show, he beat out 250 other announcers. When that series came to an end in 1930, he headed for New York and became a CBS staff announcer, working with Fred Allen, Phil Baker, Eddie Cantor, Eddy Duchin and Ed Wynn. He also announced for The March of Time and The Birds Eye Open House with Dinah Shore.

As a young announcer, von Zell made a memorable verbal slip in 1931 when he referred to U.S. President Herbert Hoover as "Hoobert Heever" during a live tribute on Hoover's birthday. Hoover was not present at this tribute. Von Zell's blooper came at the end of a lengthy coverage of Hoover's career in which he had correctly pronounced the President's name several times. Some mistakenly believe Hoover was present when the incident happened because of a re-enactment fabricated by Kermit Schaefer for his Pardon My Blooper record album.

Von Zell was the vocalist for the first recording session of Charlie Barnet's musical career; a session on October 9, 1933 has von Zell singing "I Want You, I Need You" (which was remade on October 25, 1933), as well as "What Is Sweeter (Than the Sweetness of 'I Love You')?".

Radio comedy

As an actor, von Zell appeared on the Joan Davis radio series as the love interest of Verna Felton's character. When von Zell entered a room, Felton would often shout excitedly, "Why Mr. von Zellllllllllll!" Von Zell headlined his own short-lived radio program, The Smiths of Hollywood, which featured Arthur Treacher and Jan Ford (who would later becomeHoward Hughes' paramour Terry Moore).

Films and Television

As a film actor, von Zell appeared in at least 28 features and in his own series of slapstick comedy shorts for Columbia Pictures (1946–50). The exposure he received from the Columbia comedies led to his being hired for The Burns and Allen Show. Von Zell replaced the radio version's announcer, Bill Goodwin, in September 1951. Appearing under his own name (as Goodwin did), von Zell played the befuddled friend of the Burns family and the show-within-a-show's announcer. Prior to this, von Zell's first major television exposure was as announcer and spokesman for Pabst Blue Ribbon beer on Jackie Gleason's The Life of Riley in early 1950.

From 1958-1959, von Zell wrote the teleplays for four episodes of NBC's Wagon Train and acted in one of them. In 1962 he appeared in the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Ancient Romeo." He was also cast in an episode of NBC's western series, The Tall Man.

Von Zell delivered the commentary on Celebrity Golf, a series of half-hour nine-hole golf matches made in 1960 with Sam Snead taking on Hollywood celebrities at Los Angeles golf courses such as Woodland Hills and Lakeside Country Club. Those matches can now be viewed late nights on the Golf Channel. In his later years he was a commercial spokesman for Los Angeles-based savings & loan Home Savings of America. In 1976 he was one of the many leading radio announcers who participated in a television special, The Good Old Days of Radio.

Harry von Zell died of cancer in 1981 at the age of seventy-five.

Source: Wikipedia

Bright StarBright Star
Show Count: 20
Broadcast History: 1952-1953
Cast: Irene Dunne, Fred MacMurray
Burns & AllenBurns & Allen
Show Count: 283
Broadcast History: 15 February 1932 to 13 June 1934, 19 September 1934 to 24 March 1937, 12 April 1937 to 1 August 1938, 30 September 1938 to 23 June 1939, 4 October to 1939 to 26 June 1940, 1 July 1940 to 24 March 1941, 7 October 1941 to 30 June 1942, 6 October 1942 to 25 June 1945, 20 September 1945 to 23 June 1949 and 21 September 1949 to 17 May 1950
Sponsor: Robert Burns Panatella, White Owl Cigars, Campbell Soups, Grape Nuts, Chesterfield Cigarettes, Hinds Cream, Hormel Meats, Lever Brothers, Swan Soap, Maxwell House Coffee Time, Block Drugs
Cast: Bea Benaderet, Gracie Allen, George Burns, Elvia Allman, Mel Blanc, Margaret Brayton, Sara Berner, Clarence Nash, Elliott Lewis, Mary Lee Robb, Richard Crenna, Joseph Kearns, Eric Snowden, Hal March, Gerald Mohr, Marvin Miller, Wally Maher, Doris Singleton, Dawn Bender, Tommy Bernard, Gale Gordon, Hans Conried
Director: Ed Gardner, Ralph Levy, Al Kaye
Producer: Ed Gardner, Ralph Levy, Al Kaye
Fabulous Dr. Tweedy, TheFabulous Dr. Tweedy, The
Show Count: 5
Broadcast History: 2 June 1946 to 26 March 1947
Sponsor: Lucky Strike, Pall Mall
Cast: Frank Morgan, Barbara Eiler, Harry Von Zell, John Hiestand, Nana Bryant, Eddie Green
Fred Allen Show, TheFred Allen Show, The
Show Count: 89
Broadcast History: 23 October 1932 to 16 April 1933, 4 August 1933 to 1 December 1933, 3 January 1934 to 26 June 1940, 2 October 1940 to 25 June 1944, 7 October 1945 to 28 December 1947, and 4 january 1948 to 26 June 1949
Cast: Fred Allen, Portland Hoffa, Helen Morgan, Sheila berrtt, Roy Atwell, Charlie Carlisle, Jack Smart, Minerva Pious, Lionel Stander, Eileen Douglas, Town Hall Quartet, Merry Macs, Alan Reed, John Brown, Charlie Cantor, Peter Donald, Parker Fennelly, Kenny Delmar
Producer: Roger White, Sylvester Weaver, Vick Knight, Howard Reilly
Broadcast: Not known
Starring: Harry Von Zell
Added: May 12 2007
Broadcast: July 30, 1944
Added: Jun 26 2016
Broadcast: 30th November 1941
Added: Dec 16 2007
Broadcast: September 3, 1940
Added: Dec 08 2017
Broadcast: June 13, 1948
Added: May 06 2017
Broadcast: 28th December 1941
Added: Dec 30 2007
Broadcast: 1940
Added: Feb 27 2024
Broadcast: July 31, 1944
Added: Apr 25 2019
Broadcast: September 2, 1944
Added: Apr 20 2023
Broadcast: 1st December 1946
Added: Dec 13 2013
Broadcast: January 31, 1944
Added: Jan 28 2019
Broadcast: 21st December 1941
Added: Dec 23 2007
Broadcast: 2nd June 1942
Added: Apr 03 2011
Broadcast: 23rd November 1941
Added: Jan 14 2008
Broadcast: 16th November 1941
Added: Dec 09 2007
Broadcast: September 2, 1946
Added: Jul 19 2015