Excerpt from 100 Years of Buffalo Broadcasting
F. Chase Taylor (Col. Stoopnagle) and Wilbur “Budd” Hulick were announcers for the Buffalo Broadcasting Corporation at WMAK Radio in 1930 when Hulick was on the air and the CBS Network feed went down.
With 15 minutes to fill and nothing prepared, Taylor dragged an old organ into the studio, and the two went back and forth in character, using the kind of silly banter that they’d been doing around the station off-air.
The pair quickly became Buffalo’s most talked about radio personalities, and their WKBW program “Ask for Mail?” had people sending letters and listening for their chance at fame on the show.
In 1931, their “extemporaneous buffoonery” caught the network’s attention.
“The Gloom Chasers” final Western New York appearance before heading to New York to fulfill that new network contract was a series of sold out shows at Shea’s Buffalo—in a deal personally arranged by Michael Shea.
Stoopnagle & Budd became among radio’s first high-paid national personalities, appearing on their own programs, in movies, and on the Vaudeville circuit.
After the act broke up, both men appeared on programs in both acting and emcee roles in the earliest days of television. Hulick returned to Buffalo in 1947 and hosted radio and TV programs with his wife Helen. The couple interviewed Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz when Jamestown-native Ball visited on a mid-50s trip to Western New York.
Taylor continued to appear as Stoopnagle and write for television shows until his death in 1950 at the age of 52.
This page is an excerpt from 100 Years of Buffalo Broadcasting by Steve Cichon
The original 436-page book is available along with Steve’s other books online at The Buffalo Stories Bookstore and from fine booksellers around Western New York.
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