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Tommy Riggs (center) with Hank Ladd (left) and Bert Wheeler as they joined the show's cast in 1941.

Tommy Riggs and Betty Lou was an unusual radio situation comedy broadcast in various timeslots from 1938 to 1946.

Tommy Riggs switched back and forth from his natural baritone to the voice of a seven-year-old girl, Betty Lou. These dialogues found a shape in later episodes when the character of Betty Lou Barrie was established as Riggs' niece.

In his hometown of Pittsburgh, where Riggs ran a poultry business, he was a pianist-vocalist on WCAE in 1931. When station manager J.L. Coffin heard Riggs' little girl voice, he put The Tom and Betty Program on WCAE's schedule, and Riggs later moved on to KDKA (Pittsburgh), WTAM (Cleveland) and, in 1937, WLW (Cincinnati), where Harry Frankel (aka Singin' Sam) called a New York agent. An audition in New York led to a transcribed series for Chevrolet, and after Rudy Vallée heard the Chevrolet show, Riggs' agent told him he had two days to get ready for an appearance on Vallée's Royal Gelatin Hour. Vallée signed him for a 13-week contract. The audience reaction catapulted Riggs to fame and the Tommy Riggs and Betty Lou show. Anita Ellis was the program's vocalist.

It was one of the earliest shows scripted by comedy writer, comedian and bestselling author Jack Douglas. Despite the contributions of Douglas, Riggs never attained a level equal to that of Fanny Brice, famed for her Baby Snooks character. In the 1940s, Riggs faded as the popularity of Edgar Bergen expanded.

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9 videos found

Command Performance - Episode 2 3/3

Recorded: 09-03-1942 Cast: Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians, Joe E. Lewis, Tallulah Bankhead, & Tommy Riggs & Betty Lou.

Burns & Allen Santa & Pirates 1942

Burns & Allen Episode Titled Santa & The Pirates. Original Air Date Was 12/22/1942. George & Gracie's "SWAN SHOW" aired on CBS' Tuesday night schedule at 9pm...

Command Performance (Tallulah Bankhead, Fred Waring, Joe E. Lewis)

Command Performance is a radio program which originally aired between 1942 and 1949. The program was broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Network (AFRS) with ...

Command Performance - Episode 2 1/3

Recorded: 09-03-1942 Cast: Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians, Joe E. Lewis, Tallulah Bankhead, & Tommy Riggs & Betty Lou.

Vitaphone Varieties - "Mirrors" featuring Fred Rich And His Orchestra

A fun short from Fred Rich entitled "Mirrors" with Vera Van and The Eaton Boys produced in 1934. In 1922, Fred Rich and his band began their residency at the...

Command Performance - Episode 2 2/3

Recorded: 09-03-1942 Cast: Fred Waring & His Pennsylvanians, Joe E. Lewis, Tallulah Bankhead, & Tommy Riggs & Betty Lou.

Tommy Riggs Part 1

Part 1.

Bobby Friss at Summerfest

Bobby Friss at Summerfest.

Tom and Pete - Day 3

 
9 videos found

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