RUSC Radio - US Presidents
Phil Harris

Phil Harris

Show Count: 273
Series Count: 3
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Born: June 24, 1904
Old Time Radio, Linton, Indiana, U.S.
Died: August 11, 1995 , Rancho Mirage, California, U.S.
A well-known musician and comedian who could be heard on the radio in many different shows including The Fitch Bandwagon that later became the Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show. He was born Wonga Phillip Harris on 24th June, 1904 in Linton, Indiana, Phil spent his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee. In the 1920s he began his career as a drummer, which later led to the development of his own band in the 1930s.

His career also spanned the film industry. In 1933 he made a film called So This is Harris for RKO. It ended up earning an Academy Award for best live action short subject.

A few years later, in 1936, Harris became the musical director for the Jack Benny Show. He sang and led the band. But he also had a speaking role as a comic Southern character. It was at this time that he became as well known for his comedy as for his musical talent. At the same time he began recording swing tunes with unusual arrangements that made his music really stand out from the crowd.

In 1941 he married Alice Faye – who he remained married to for 54 years. It was the second marriage for both, but clearly they found the right person this time around. The couple was invited to play on The Fitch Bandwagon and did so.

While the show was originally developed to highlight all kinds of swing bands, Phil and Alice became immediate fan favorites and eventually their popularity led to the show morphing into the Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show.

This version of the show was a comedy that featured one song from the couple each episode. The show was incredibly popular and ran for six years. On 18th June,1954 it aired the last episode. At this time radio programs were being taken over by the dawning of the television age.

After the radio show ended, Harris continued to honor his musical roots and continued with his musical career. He made television appearances and did voiceover work including the voices of Disney characters Baloo in the Jungle Book, Thomas O’Malley in the Aristocats, and Little John in Robinhood.

On Radio Phil often made guest appearances on other shows and can be heard on The Dinah Shore Show, Kay Kyser Kollege of Musical knowledge, The Big Show and The Fred Allen Show. He also starred along with his wife Alice Faye in an episode of Suspense entitled Death On My Hands.

In his later years, Harris made generous donations to students in his hometown of Linton as well as Palm Springs where he took up residence in late adulthood. Much of his memorabilia was donated to the Linton Public Library where it can be found displayed to this day. He died of a heart attack in 1995 at 91 years of age. His wife Alice lived another 3 years after his death.

Source: Wikipedia

Fitch BandwagonFitch Bandwagon
Show Count: 11
Broadcast History: 4 September 1938 to 17 June 1945, 23 September 1945 to 16 June 1946, and 29 September 1946 to 23 May 1948
Sponsor: Fitch Shampoo
Cast: Alice Faye, Phil Harris, Eddie Cantor, Andy Devine, Cass Daley, Francis Trout, Henry Russell, Elliott Lewis, Robert North, Jeanine Roose, Anne Whitfield, Walter Tetley
Director: Paul Phillips
Producer: Ward Byron, Bill Lawrence
Host: Dick Powell
Broadcast: January 18, 1951
Added: Apr 15 2019
Broadcast: April 16, 1942
Added: May 17 2015
Broadcast: May 10, 1951
Starring: Alice Faye, Phil Harris
Added: Apr 03 2009
Broadcast: March 3, 1949
Added: Sep 18 2014
Broadcast: 15th June 1944
Added: Jun 18 2007