Opie Cates

Show Count: 10
Series Count: 3
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Old Time Radio
Born: October 10, 1909, USA
Died: November 6, 1987, USA

Opie Cates (10 October 1909, Arkansas, USA – 6 November 1987, Oklahoma, USA) was an American clarinet player and band leader in the 1930s and 1940s, during the swing era, who became a radio actor.

Cates was born Opal Taft Cates, the son of a farmer in Arkansas, and was also raised in Kansas and Missouri.

By 1931 he was on the radio with his own band. He served for a time in the 1940s as musical director on radio's Judy Canova Show, where his Arkansas drawl amused audiences when he introduced songs. He then became the star of his own radio sitcom, The Opie Cates Show, on ABC in 1947–1948, where he played a naive rube getting adjusted to big city life. Barbara Fuller played his love interest, with Francis X. Bushman as her father, Opie's boss. Cates would begin each show by saying, "The doggonedest thing happened to me th' other day," and proceed to introduce the episode's plot. The show found no sponsor and lasted only thirteen weeks. He reappeared in more or less the same role in the rural milieu of radio's Lum and Abner in 1949, telling stories about his hometown of Clinton, Arkansas, and was included in the pilot episode of an unsold television version of Lum and Abner that year.

Cates was also musical director of the NBC radio show Meet Me at Parky's (1945), starring Parkyakarkus, and of Granby's Green Acres, a 1950 CBS radio show with much of the Lum and Abner cast that later inspired the television series Green Acres.

Andy Griffith named his character's son "Opie Taylor" on The Andy Griffith Show after Opie Cates, whom Griffith and producer Sheldon Leonard both liked.

Source: Wikipedia


Granby's Green AcresGranby's Green Acres
Show Count: 6
Broadcast History: 3 July 1950 to 21 August 1950
Cast: Bea Benaderet, Gale Gordon, Parley Baer, Louise Erickson
Director: Jay Sommers
Producer: Jay Sommers
Judy Canova Show, TheJudy Canova Show, The
Show Count: 49
Broadcast History: 6 July 1943 to 27 June 1944, 13 January 1945 to 30 June 1951, and 29 December 1951 to 28 May 1953
Sponsor: Emerson Drug Company, General Motors, Colgate, Smith Brothers
Cast: Gale Gordon, Judy Canova, Mel Blanc, Verna Felton, Sharon Douglas, Hans Conried, Sheldon Leonard, Ruby Dandridge, Ruth Perrott, Joe Kearns, Gerald Mohr, Joseph Kearns, George Niese, Elvia Allman
Director: Joe Rines
Producer: Joe Rines