RUSC Christmas Radio Station

Wonderful Smith

Show Count: 1
Series Count: 1
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Old Time Radio
Born: June 21, 1911, Arkadelphia, Arkansas, United States
Died: August 28, 2008, Northridge, Los Angeles, California, United States
Wonderful Smith (June 21, 1911 – August 28, 2008) was an African-American comedian from Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He was most notable for his routine, "Hello, Mr. President" which was an imaginary conversation with American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that lampooned the New Deal and World War II preparations. The routine appeared in Duke Ellington's satirical revue "Jump for Joy". No complete copy of the routine exists, although most of the routine appeared in the 1941 movie Top Sergeant Mulligan, performed by Smith, and was later re-released on the Smithsonian's Jump for Joy LP in 1988. Smith also made numerous appearances as an extra in various movies, such as a stage hand in the cavernous backstage scene in This is Spinal Tap.He also was a member of Red Skelton's radio show in the early 1940s. Others in the cast during this time were Ozzie and Harriet Nelson. When Smith returned from his World War II service, he found that his role in the show had been changed, along with the program's format. Smith attempted to claim racial and veterans' discrimination. The radio show's sponsor pointed out that his contract had been honored and that while his role in the show was smaller than it had been previously, he was not written out with his contract paid off.

Source: Wikipedia