Did The Bob and Ray Comedy Duo Get Their Start Due to Red Sox Game Rainouts?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to radio and the people “behind the microphone,” so to speak, and whether they are true or false.

RADIO URBAN LEGEND: Bob and Ray got started as a comedy duo due to Red Sox rainouts.

Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding, credited as Bob and Ray, were one of the top radio comedy duos of the 20th Century. Elliott’s comedy legacy continues to this day with his son, Chris Elliott, and his granddaughter, Abby Elliott, both being involved in comedy (Chris and Abby are the first and, so far, only father and daughter to both be cast members on Saturday Night Live).

Their official website (both men have since passed away) quotes the New Yorker on them, “Bob & Ray invented, dreamed up the lines for, and then played, mainly on radio and television, a surrealistic Dickensian repertory company, which chastens the fools of the world with hyperbole, slapstick, parody, verbal nonsense, non sequitur, and sheer wit, all of it clean, subtle and gentle… Bob & Ray’s humor turns on their faultless timing and on their infinite sense of the ridiculous. It is also framed by that special sly, dry, wasteless vision of life perfected during the last couple of centuries by middle-class New Englanders…”

But how did they get their start?

Both men worked on the Boston radio station, WHDH, in the 1940s. Elliott was a disc jockey and Goulding was a newscaster. They would frequently visit each other while the other was in the booth and joke around.

Well, WHDH thought that they had good enough chemistry that they began having the pair go on air when the Red Sox were rained out and they would do an impromptu show.

It was so well recieved that in 1946, WHDH gave them a 15-minute afternoon radio show called Matinee With Bob and Ray.

It was, of course, a hit and their 40-year-long comedy partnership had begun!

The legend is…


Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com

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