Lives Of Those Around

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lives of those around Lum and Abner

Hendricks 1

Lum and Abner

What is the first thing you think of when you here of the 1930s, Amos and Andy or how about Lum and Abner?  Lum and Abner werent really expected to do anything with their lives; they were just having fun trying to make something of them selves.  They became two of the most famous people from Polk and Montgomery counties: Chet Lauck- Lum, Norris Goff- Abner, and the history of Lum and Abner.  
Chester Lauck was born in Alleene, Arkansas, February 2, 1902. (Alleene, Arkansas)(  His parents were W.J. and Cora Lauck. (Cate, Micheal, 190)  Chet moved to Mena in 1911, where he met Norris Goff.  They became very good friends.  Chet lived on Port Arthur Avenue in Mena.  His father owned the sawmill and was the Union Bank president.  Chet went to Mena high school.  He played baseball, basketball, football, and track.  He had two older brothers and one younger sister.  He graduated from high school in 1920.  After high school, Chet went to the University of Arkansas and got a degree in advertising.  He was the co-editor of the Universitys humor magazine and was a Razorback cheerleader.  After the University of Arkansas, he went to study at Chicago Institute of Fine Arts. (Stucker, Kathryn Moore)  In 1926, Chet married Harriet Wood.  He had three children: Shirley, Nancy, and Chet Jr.
Norris Goff was born in Cove, Arkansas, May 30, 1906. ( page1.htm)  His parents were Rome and Dora Goff. (Cate, Micheal, 190)  He lived on Reine Street.  His father worked as a wholesale grocer. (Williams, Troy, 70)  When Norris was in high school, he was quarterback for the football team.  He graduated in 1924.  He then went to the University of Arkansas and the University of Oklahoma.  
Hendricks 2
After college he worked at his fathers company.  In 1929, Norris married Elizabeth Bullion.  They had a boy, Gary, and a girl, Gretchen. (Stucker, Kathryn Moore)
Waters was the name of the town Chet and Norris got started in.  Waters sounded like a swamp so they changed the name of the town to Pine Ridge, because of the woods and valleys of the Ouachitas.  In Pine Ridge there was a sawmill, post office, blacksmith shop, gristmill, and other necessary services to the farm community.  The community started in the early 1900s.  Lauck and Goff lived close to each other.  
By 1931, they became Amos and Andy imitators.  Chet and Norris liked clowning around at the Elks Lodge and Possum Club Banquets.  On July 27, 1931, they made their national radio debut on NBC radio network from Chicago.  The program Lum and Abner aired from 1931 to 1953.  The programs were fifteen to thirty minutes long.  The first sponsor was the Quakers Oats Company.  Other sponsors were Ford Motors Company, Horlicks Malted Milk, Alka Seltzer (the longest lasting association), and General Motors.
Their philosophy was simply best summed up in one piece of advice: Never put your faith in seed catalogues.  That thing with the double barreled name always turns out to be radishes. (Williams, Troy, 71)  
Chet Lauck once said during the 1930s, Were sort of like Mussolini.  Weve created Pine Ridge and people in it, the mayor, the justice of the peace, the fire chief, the
grocer.  Were dictators by remote control.  Its our town and we run it to suit ourselves. (Williams, Troy, 71)  

Hendricks 3
The personalities of the people they swapped stories with, while stopped at rural stores, were to become the characters they created for their radio programs.  Grandpappy Spears was based of Cling Wilhite, from one of the earliest Waters families both wore floppy hats and rode a white mule.  Cedric Wehunt was based on Lester Goble, slow of speech but humorous.  The real Ola Hooper became Elizabeth Peabody, large of heart and stature but stern of voice in hand.  Eva May ONeal became Little Pearl, each planned on becoming a nurse but Miss ONeal died at age 18 from injuries received in a fall from a horse.  Margaret Wilhite became Sister Simpson, Anna Risenhoover became Aunt Charity Spears and Aunt Chat Lawrence was Widder Abernathy. (Williams, Troy, 70)  Lauck and Goff carried the show mostly by themselves, doing different characters.  Occasionally there ... more

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Nine Stories

J D Salinger wrote Nine Stories with the same brilliance as Catcher In
The Rye. His style is so unique and complex that all of his short
stories are truly enjoyable. Two of those stories are ^A perfect day
for a bananafish^ and ^For Esme with love and squalor.^ The main
characters in both of these stories, Seymour and Sargent X, have served
in World War II, and the fighting has taken its toll on them. Their
physiological well being was sacrificed and as a result they are no
longer the same people they were before. Both feel alienated from the
people in their life, the same people they had loved before the war.
The isolation the war has caused is carried over into their lives, and
it caused these men to search for new forms of comfort and security, in
the respective forms of Sybil and Esme.
In ^A perfect day for a bananafish,^ Muriel and her husband
Seymour have different perspectives of life. Muriel is a
carefree and complacent person, while her husband is quite
strange and slightly paranoid. His paranoia is illustrated when
he looses it in the hotel elevator, ^I have two normal feet and
I can^t see the slightest God-damned reason anyone should stare
at them.^ Muriel, however, is unacquainted with Seymour^s wild
breakdowns. She is rather confident that Seymour is perfectly
sane as she reports to her mother on the telephone. Muriel
doesn^t know about this side of Seymour because he has become
alienated from her after the war. Their personalities don^t
match anymore, if they ever did, and he is seeking some sort of
understanding that he knows Muriel can not provide. Seymour^s
relationship with Sybil is making up for Muriel^s shortcomings.
Seymour is looking for the understanding of a child and the
love of an adult. He wants someone who will not judge him.  He
rea!  lizes the impossibility of his desires with Sybil when he
gets a loud reaction from her after kissing the arch of her foot.
Seymour has no one who understands him, which causes his feeling of
isolation. He can no longer relate to the world he lives in and with no
one to provide comfort and security he is driven to suicide.
Sargent X has an interesting relationship with Esme in ^For
Esme with love and squalor.^ Esme is quite aware of the horrors
of war and says to Sgt. X, ^I hope you return from the war with
all your faculties intact.^ Sgt. X in fact would not have
returned with all of his faculties intact if it were not for
Esme and the letter she wrote him. Sgt. X, because of the war,
is stationed far away from home and is isolated from the woman
he loves. He is isolated from his whole world, which is why he
carries around the ^stale letters.^ The letters perhaps are
from his wife and provide him with comfort. Esme senses Sgt.
X^s feeling of alienation, which is why she approaches him in
the tearoom. Sgt. X feels comforted by Esme^s presence along
with the innocence of Charles, Esme^s brother. It^s like she is
his only connection to the real world, which is why he agrees
to write her. Especially after fighting in the war and being
^shelled^ the world outside of war is distant to Sgt. X and
Esm!  e is his last connection to reality. The childish ^HELLO
HELLO HELLO^ LOVE AND KISSES CHARLES^ from the letter is comforting and
enlightens Sgt. X that there is still some happiness out there. In a
time when X has nothing to relate to, Esme^s friendship gives him the
comfort and security to keep his faculties intact.
In these cases war is what causes alienation, as it distances
people from the world they^ve known and lived in before. With
no one to understand and comfort them, one has little to keep
themselves happy and sane. Isolation leads to depression and
suicide, which is why someone who can help keeps reality close
by is so important, such as Esme was for Sgt. X.  Esme provided
comfort and security for Sgt. X, while no one could do so for
Seymour. The comfort ... more

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